Two From The Road In Nashville

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Listen to “Two From The Road In Nashville”

When students attend a Transom Traveling Workshop they lose sleep — and their minds. Don’t believe me? Look at the this drawing.

Kristin Leong drew that graph. Kristin recently attended a workshop in Seattle at KUOW. On the ‘x’ axis, the days of the workshop. On the ‘y’ axis, Kristin’s mindset over the course of the week.

Her lowest point came mid-week during the instruction of Hindenburg, the software students learn to use at the workshop. Kristin says she dislikes learning new technology so much she considered faking her death.

At the end of the workshop, we often hold a public event where students play the stories they produced during the week. That’s when Kristin peaked. She was off the charts in love with making radio!

Okay, so, Kristin was joking about faking her death but those highs and lows are real. I think all workshop students ride that roller coaster. I was recently wondering what makes the students push through the rigors of the workshop and produce solid stories in a week. What motivates them to work so hard? Is it because they’re driven to work in radio and podcasting? Probably. Is it because there’s a public event and they want to present the best work they can? No doubt. But, I wonder if it has something to do with the people they profile in their stories.

The assignment at the workshops is to profile someone interesting and the thing that makes them interesting needs to make a sound (it’s radio, after all). Invariably, students find fascinating people. Take for instance the folks profiled at a recent workshop at Nashville Public Radio. Cariad Harmon discovered the inspiring story of a man in an adult literacy program while Nicholas Phillips uncovered the hidden story of a famous country singer — from Ivory Coast.

After an interviewee freely gives a student a couple of hours of their lives and opens up to a stranger with a microphone, I think students like Kristin and Cariad and Nicholas commit themselves to producing a story that does justice to the person they’re profiling. They want to get it right. You can hear it in their work.

On this episode, we listen to the stories Cariad and Nicholas produced in Nashville. You can listen to Kristin’s story and read about her week at the workshop here. And, if you’d like lose sleep and your mind, too, applications for Transom’s summer workshops are now open.

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