I’ve been a listener of the Ted Radio Hour and Radiolab for a while, or they are at least on my regular rotation of Podcasts. To be honest, until this assignment, I didn’t realize these Podcasts were actual radio broadcasts. I also never listen to AM/FM radio. It drives me crazy, and I would rather drive in silence than have to listen to it.
I started listening to Radiolab many years ago and had already noticed how they layered the sounds into the stories they tell. Like most Podcasts, they use relevant sounds to the topic that they were talking about in the moment. For example, I recall one Radiolab episode where they were telling a story about showing up to someone’s house for an interview. We heard a knock on the front door, then people answering the door and greeting each other. Although I know that these effects were edited into the episodes in post-production, they help the story feel more immediate like you’re listening to it as it happens.
When I later discovered the Ted Radio Hour, I recognized the format and the use of layering sounds into the program from other Podcasts. They also frequently use music to set the mood of their stories. For example, they might play suspenseful music when they want the listener to feel the anticipation of what comes next in the story. The use of music really helps the listener feel immersed in the story and can elicit a stronger emotional response.
This is obviously my first time listening to Scott Lo. While he has a great radio voice, I was surprised at how old these recordings are. I’m sure the topics are still relevant, but I’m also sure the digital world and technology has drastically improved since these were recorded. It was difficult to listen to him talk about technologies that are about 10 years old. For example, he suggested downloading an episode of the Lo Down and putting it on your iPod.
That being said, there were a few good nuggets of information that I took away from these episodes. For example, he talks about copyright issues and how it’s a “fuzzy” area when it comes to school projects. He also recommends using Creative Commons licensed content to avoid copyright issues entirely. He recommended Freesound.org for audio resources, which I will be checking out for my assignments. (Yes, I verified that this website still exists before linking to it here on my blog.)