Long, long, long gone are the days when people sat around their radios to be entertained. Thanks to the rise of tablets and smartphones, even TV is getting a run for its money in the fight for our attention. But as the rise of technology would seemingly spell the slow demise of the age-old medium, some would argue the Internet has breathed new life into radio and audio storytelling.
One of those is public radio and podcast host Brooke Gladstone. In a new video series, the host of On the Media says, "I think this is a golden age of romantic radio, radio that is based in bringing the listener in up close and personal."
This Is Radio is a new seven-part web series from Transom.org that shines a spotlight on some of radio's best storytellers, including Gladstone, Roman Mars, Jonathan Goldstein, Glynn Washington, Joe Richman, Daniel Alarcon and The Kitchen Sisters. Creator and producer Andrew Norton says the goal of the series was to take a closer look at the various storytelling techniques in radio and why it still engages and inspires audiences despite all our other distractions.
"What attracted me to public radio is that there’s just something in the voice, it’s tough to put your finger on, but it’s something about the intimacy and honesty that comes through," says Norton, who works as a multimedia producer at Greenpeace Canada. "For me the goal was to convey even a little bit of that spark that makes you want to lean into the radio a bit more to listen closer. And by pulling back that curtain a little bit, seeing what goes into this stuff, maybe people can take something from it they can apply to their own work."
The series also touches on how the public radio approach is thriving online in the form of podcasts. In the first episode, Roman Mars says, "I think that the podcasting medium in particular, people want it to be more personal, and it doesn't feel like broadcasting it feels like a one-to-one connection. I think this is part of why radio is the way it is, it feels personal to me, it feels like it's just for me, and that's what I love about it."