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How little do you need?

Posted on 29 July 2013

I’ve only listened to a few episodes, but one of my absolute favourite podcasts is Love + Radio. In a recent interview on How Sound, creator Nick van der Kolk describes the show as an exercise in autership, which I think is a perfect description of what it accomplishes.

Going through back episodes yesterday, I listened to “With A Bullet”, stories about guns. There was one portion that I listened to three times in a row as soon as I heard it. It’s embedded below, and starts at the 18:15 mark and lasts until 21:19 (direct link here).

What I love about this is how little of the normal radio storytelling elements are present. There is no narrator. And there is no evidence of a narrator, either. There is no one telling us where we are, who is present, what they are doing. No host introduction, not even the characters introducing themselves in the “Hi, I’m ____” manner that is sometimes used. By the time the piece ends we still have no idea who we were listening to, but we know exactly what was going on- and yet I suspect how we feel about it is going to be completely different based on our own particular experiences.

I don’t know how often this could be pulled off in the realm of your average radio program, but it is my new standard for minimalism in audio storytelling: how close can you get to this, and still get away with it? How little do you need?

See also: Say Less

Filed under: journalism, radio

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