In the podcast “Who Am I?” from Radiolab, there are many layers of sound that are put together in order to create the final product. This layering of sounds, like blipping noises and different music tracks, allows the listener to almost visualize what is being said, instead of relying on only voices telling the story. For example, when the author is explaining his experience while hooked up to the machine with the sensors, there is a monotone, wavy sound behind his voice. When he explains how his adrenaline spiked after making a joke, the monotone sound quickly and gradually increased pitch, providing an aural example of the spike on the paper the author was speaking about.
When you are afforded only the sense of hearing in order to make a point, it becomes imperative that the author does the work for the listener. When you write written word, it is easy to make your reader do some work in regards to inferring what you are saying because they have time to stop and think about it. When it comes to hearing, the listener is usually unable to pause the audio in order to think about what was just said. Everything must be explained clearly in order to ensure the audience’s understanding.
The two men running the podcast introduce each segment, which gives the audience an overview of what to expect for each part of the podcast. For example, the podcast is opened by one of the moderators introducing one of the guests on the show, who wrote a book. After the introduction, the author speaks briefly about the experiences he had in order to write his book, which was followed by another segment of the moderator further explaining what the author had said. This works with the aforementioned idea of making sure everything is given to the audience so it can understand.
My take-away from this podcast is that it is important to make sure your audience understands the story you are trying to tell. Even more, you need to make sure that your audience is entertained. This is achieved not only by having an interesting story, but also presenting it in an interesting way. You cannot depend solely on people’s voices to keep your audience engaged and interested. Make sure your audience can visualize the story you are telling through the use of sound effects. But most of all, make sure your audience doesn’t have to guess and understands the story you’re telling.