Thoughts on Audio Storytelling

After listening to the two YouTube videos from RadioLab’s Jad Abumrad, here and here, I have to say that I agree with many of his points. Audio storytelling isn’t something I’ve thought of much before, as so often I watch TV or movies, which also include visual storytelling. But there is, as he notes, an emotion in the human voice and words spoken by the human voice that can’t be replaced by anything else. It creates an interactive experience with the listener and allows them to take the story and make it into what they imagine in their head, so it can mean many different things for many different people. Even though I don’t listen to any purely audio stories, I understand this perspective just from telling and listening to stories from my friends, picturing all those scenarios and the skill it takes to tell a good story to another person. This ideas goes back to what Abumrad said, that audio storytelling is timeless, and even in radio and audio storytelling, despite so many advances in technology that give us awesome new ways to tell these stories, audio storytelling will always have a quality of being timeless.

Next, I watched the above audio story, which told a story in a way I’ve never heard before! I think I made a mistake, listening to this eerie story after dark while I was alone in the living room. I don’t usually listen to any podcasts or radio dramas, but after this one I think I’ll reconsider that. My friends are always talking about listening to podcasts, but I’ve never really taken the opportunity to listen to one yet, so this was an exciting one for me.

I think, the eerie atmosphere and tone of this story couldn’t have been told better any other way, not even with video. As told in the previous YouTube videos, just having the audio allows the mind to fill in the gaps itself, and it gives this story a sense of emotion and an eerie tone that lends itself well to the unknown and imagination. The combination of the static in the voices, the background music, and the sound effects set the scene in a way words can’t. Tying the story to a real event like the moon landing and what could’ve gone wrong there gives the story more emotional impact too, and just adds to the overall effectiveness of the experience, especially with Nixon’s speech on the sacrifice of the astronauts at the end; I was shocked to discover that the speech was actually written, in case the moon landing turned out differently. I really liked this Podcast and it’s given me a different perspective on what a good radio drama can be.

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