Studying media has opened my eyes to a lot of great programmes on television and radio. Actually, I was never a huge fan of radio…until I started doing my masters in Broadcast Production for Radio and TV. I decided to seek out new types of radio and try out very different shows. I was surprised to find that I like the medium much more than I expected.
I first came across my new favourite podcast after listening to the famous “War of the Worlds” broadcast by Orson Welles. We had an assignment to write on how the piece was produced and the effects etc (if you haven’t heard it – you should give it a listen. Its wayyy ahead of its time!). I stumbled across a website for a New York based public radio station called WNYC and a show, simply called: Radiolab.
Radiolab is presented and produced by Jad Abumrad and co-presented by Robert Krulwich – two very charismatic guys who have the ability to lure the listener in with their humour and their chemistry as a duo. The show’s content is based around a quest to answer some of life’s big questions – and when I say big, I mean BIG. They call on our curiosity as listeners and take us on a journey as they scientifically investigate topics like “Placebo”, “Time”, “Mortality”, “Race” and “Musical Language”. Their first show was born out of a conversation about how memory works. The producers talked to scientists, interviewed people, recorded various sound effects and music and voila! Radiolab was born.
One of the best things about the programme is its accessibility. I can honestly say, I have no real interest in science. If I was choosing to listen to a radio documentary, science (and possibly religion) would be very low on my list. However, Radiolab takes these big scientific ideas and makes them attractive to humans in general. I constantly find myself looking shocked, gasping or laughing out loud while listening to the show (…people on the bus must think I’m a mental-er).
Another thing that makes the programme stand out, is the unique and very distinctive way its produced. The editing is fast paced, the music is appropriate and best of all, the interviews feel real. Instead of the presenters introducing the guests, the audience gets to hear the presenter arriving at someones apartment and getting buzzed in. Most of the time the guest ends up introducing themselves. Its like you’re there, investigating too! I also found out recently that most of the sound effects used are made from people’s interviews! Sounds crazy, but the genius producers of Radiolab can take snippets of interviews, play with them by slowing them down, speeding them up and putting them through various compressors and get ideal sounds to go with the programme. It really is unbelievably good.
So, if you’re looking for something new and interesting to listen to – check out Jad and Robert by clicking here. Or subscribing to the podcast on iTunes! Their show is also broadcast on the new RTE DAB Channel, RTE Choice! I love all of the shows, but I’d particularly recommend one of the shows called, coincidentally, “Choice”.