Reality Radio: Telling True Stories in Sound (Documentary by John Biewen

By John Biewen

Over the past few many years, the radio documentary has constructed right into a strikingly vivid type of inventive expression. thousands of listeners pay attention arresting, intimate storytelling from an ever-widening array of manufacturers on courses together with This American lifestyles, StoryCorps, and Radio Lab; on-line via such websites as Transom, the general public Radio trade, listening to Voices, and Soundprint; and during a starting to be number of podcasts.Reality Radio celebrates trendy top audio documentary paintings by way of bringing jointly probably the most influential and leading edge practitioners from the us, Canada, the uk, and Australia. In those nineteen essays, documentary makers tell--and show, via tales and transcripts--how they make radio the way in which they do, and why.Whether the individuals to the quantity name themselves newshounds, storytellers, even audio artists--and even if their essays are only as various in content material and approach--all use sound to inform real tales, artfully.Contributors:Jad AbumradJay Allisondamali ayoJohn BiewenEmily BoteinChris BrookesScott CarrierKatie DavisSherre DeLysLena Eckert-ErdheimIra GlassAlan HallNatalie KestecherThe Kitchen SistersMaria MartinKaren MichelRick MoodyJoe RichmanDmae RobertsStephen SmithSandy Tolan

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Problem is, that description never inspires shivers of delight. Something about ‘‘big ideas’’ feels like homework. So then I say, okay, well, it’s a show about curiosity. And discovery. Too vague. At this point, the expression of the person I’m talking to flips from boredom to confusion. ’’ I believe the job of a great storyteller is to lead people to moments of wonder. But how do you do that? That’s what the ever-persistent editors of this book asked me to address. And so I decided to annotate an actual excerpt from the show.

When Sam sold Elvis’s contract to Colonel Tom Parker, he used the 42 The Kitchen Sisters money to create the first all-girl radio station in the nation, wher, in the third Holiday Inn ever built. The minute we heard this story we knew we had to chronicle it for our Lost & Found Sound series. We were able track down seventeen of the original wher girls, as well as the station’s console and record library. We produced two twenty-twominute stories for All Things Considered chronicling these women and the life of the station from 1955 to 1971, set against the backdrop of the birth of rock and roll, the civil rights movement, and the women’s movement.

And a few interviews, the best being with the guy who took me there in the first place—a street singer, a veteran of the Korean War, and an alcoholic. What he said on tape was very good, but you could tell he was drunk. Also black, and poor. So this was a new problem—I had good tape but I couldn’t play it. Luckily, when he sang you couldn’t tell he was drunk. In fact, he sang beautifully. It was like you could hear his whole life in his voice. I wrote the story so you never hear him talk but just follow him through an evening and into the next morning, and then at the end he sings a song about Jesus being inside of him.

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