Who Am I – Analysis

Who Am I (http://www.radiolab.org/story/91496-who-am-i/) used a ton of great techniques to make for a pleasant audio broadcast.

One of the things they did was use music.  One way that music was used was by playing it in the background.  Too much background music is distracting and not good, but they used it just sparingly enough.  The hints of background music did a good job or mirroring the emotions and the feel of the broadcast.  Similar to how a sitcom uses pre-recorded laughter to help guide your emotions, I think the background music helped guide the listeners emotions as well.

Music was also used as a transition between parts of the broadcast.  This allowed the listener to distinguish one part from another.  Also, music wasn’t the only sound that functioned to distinguish between parts; various other sounds were used to do that as well.

Another thing I really liked was how they used various voices.  This allowed the listener to keep track of various streams of thought.  A lot of times a line of thought may require you to go off on a tangent slightly to explain something, so you could then proceed.  Using a different voice to go on this minor tangent helps to keep us focused on the main direction.  For example, maybe they need to qualify something with a scientific explanation, so they’ll have a scientist take 20 seconds to explain something before the main hosts proceed forward.  I wish I could do something like this when I write!

I loved the Bill Clinton part!  In addition to being funny, it did a great job of illustrating for us Bill Clinton vs. the subject.

While I liked the use of audio techniques, I thought the broadcast of a whole wasn’t good because it was lacking of substance.  It didn’t really have a point, and used lots of vague terminology that doesn’t clearly correspond to something real.  See http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Mysterious_Answers_to_Mysterious_Questions.

– Adam Zerner

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