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How to make great radio: know what’s possible

Posted on 17 February 2013

Earlier this week, I was taking a lunch-break walk when I realized “I work for CBC.” Of course, I know I work for CBC since I show up every day, but on this particular day I was hit by the enormity of that fact. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is such a large and respected and historic information that I don’t often reconcile the fact that I’m a (small) part of everything it does.

What surprises me more is that I’m doing it without any formal training. Everything I knew before walking through the door of that job interview was self-taught, and limited. Since then I’ve generously been mentored and taught by some of the best in the business. But there’s still so much I don’t know. What’s worse, I don’t really know everything I don’t know. So all I can do is keep listening to stuff that’s far, far better than what I create, and then try to sound more like them.

I’ve written before about my love of This American Life and my discovery of How Sound. Both are amazing resources that expose you to the possibilities of what can be done using radio. That’s the first step in making great radio: knowing what’s possible. Now I’ve finally discovered PRX. Short for the Public Radio Exchange, this is a huge database of amazing sounds and stories and radio shows made by public radio producers around the world- mostly American, but Australians, Norwegians, and, yes, the CBC are all on there as well.

I’ve been exploring the site and the accompanying blog that go along with it and am just being blown away. It makes everything I’ve made sound terrible, which is great, because it means there’s so much for me to learn. I’m going to eventually put together a list of my favourite radio pieces, but in the meantime I encourage anyone interested in making radio to head over to PRX and start listening.

 

Filed under: journalism, radio

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