It was the widespread adoption of FM broadcasting and the alternative ethic of Public Radio that gave birth to today’s efforts in “acoustic storytelling”. And Now Public Radio has become a home to stories enhanced with sound. There’s a hint of it NPR’s “All Things Considered” news style and in small, independent public stations around the country. Your local public station is a good place to search for great audio storytelling. But now that public radio is, to a certain extent, in the business of paying its bills and catering to larger audiences, sadly, it isn’t always easy to find.
Instead, Internet streaming and podcasting have increasingly provided a space for storytellers and radio producers to explore the art of traditional aural storytelling. Below, you’ll find an evolving list of some great websites and podcasts that are actively engaged in and producing both audio content and articles on the art of crafting acoustic storytelling. If you’d like to suggest additional programs or sites please use the contact page to reach me!
More great online resources...
An incredibly informative site exploring virtually every aspect of storytelling in public media. A creature of Atlantic Public Media in Massachusetts, “Transom is a performance space, an open editorial session, an audition stage, a library, and a hangout.” It will even explain how you can produce audio stories and podcasts.
A podcast platform from the producers of This American Life, it produces and streams, unique true stories in episodes over the course of a “season”. Nobody knows where the story will lead, even the producers. Each week a new chapter takes you another steop forward on the storytelling journey. Serial is a production of WBEZ, Chicago.
Also produced by WBEZ and Chicago Public Media, this is a website/podsite streaming via the Internet and broadcasting This American Life episodes over more than 500 public radio stations. It has won every major broadcasting award in America and is synonymous with great contemporary audio storytelling. Just go there.
This is a podcast site that “features in-depth, otherworldly-produced interviews with an eclectic range of subjects, from the seedy to the sublime.” You’ve never heard anything like it before. New installments are added monthly. “It has some of the most emotionally complicated stories and portraits of people that anyone is doing anywhere.…I totally recommend it.” – Ira Glass, host, This American Life.
Radiolab is a show about curiosity. “Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience.” It examines the big questions in life through compelling storytelling. It is heard on about 450 public radio stations and streams from this site. Great radio.
Minnesota Public Radio and its parent, American Public Radio, is the largest regional public radio network in the nation, stretching from Minnesota to California. It was one of the first publicly funded and supported public radio systems in the U.S. and is a major national producer of public radio content. They have undertaken an abitious archiving project, which includes many streaming audio files…it is located here.
This is an ambitious enterprise based in San Francisco and dedicated to archiving and making accessible all of the digitized information in the world. Organized in 1996, it has archived a massive collection of digital files including movies, music video and audio files. The audio collection includes a massive collection of radio program files, podcasts, many soundscapes and more.
Another superb podcast site, this one is a co-production of WNYC and Public radio International. The site features a weekly podcast show and some of the storytelling is amazing.