A student once asked me “How do you find the stories you feature on HowSound?” I’m asked that a lot, actually. And, I’m sorry to say, I don’t have any secrets to reveal. I probably find stories and podcasts the same way everyone else does. Here’s my very quick and cursory list.
- I listen to the radio. A lot.
- I ask people “What are you listening to that was really interesting? Or that pissed you off?”
- I pick the brains of my students. They often get out their phones and rifle through what they subscribe to.
- I’m always scouring newsletters and emails on radio listserves I belong to:
a. The list for the Association of Independents in Radio
b. The Transom Story Workshop Alumni listserve
c. The list for the Sonic Soiree, a local listening group in Boston (I bet there’s a group near you).
d. The newsletter from the Bello Collective
e. The newsletter from Hot Pod
f. Sam Greenspan’s occasional newsletter YSLTF: You Should Listen to Fridays.
- I’m a member of a couple of Facebook groups:
a. The Podcasters Support Group
b. The BEA Teaching Audio Production Group
- I subscribe to podcasts that feature work from a lot of different producers:
a. Short Cuts from the BBC
b. Unfictional from KCRW
c. The BBC’s Between the Ears podcast
- I search for subject matter I’m personally interested in. For instance, I might search for “Arctic” and “podcasts.” Or, “podcasts on the environment.”
I’m sure I’ve left something out. (What would you add?) Perhaps the short answer is: my ear radar is always on; I’m constantly on the hunt.
I should mention, too, that as I’m listening, I look for a way into the story for a HowSound episode. Is there a “teachable moment” in the piece? Did the producer do something unusual and notable? Do I find myself wondering “How the heck did they do that?!” Sometimes it’s just a matter of being satisfied by the story or a production technique.
That’s what this episode of HowSound is about. On a recent road trip, I listened to several hours of stories and made a mental list of segments from those stories that caught attention, that I found satisfying. This is a different way of producing HowSound. Typically, I find one story and interview the producer. But, today, I feature a slew of clips that caught my ear and I offer some thoughts about what worked and what didn’t. Stories from Earshot, The City, and Sound Africa.
If you get a chance, let me know if this episode worked for you. And, tell me what I should be listening to next.