“Who Am I?” I’ve always wanted to know..

In the podcast “Who am I?” from Radiolab, I really enjoyed the use of distinct sound movement and sound placement to create a cohesive and illustrated story. When I say this, I mean several things.  First, I consider sound movement to mean how it a sound moves a story along and ties one piece to the next.  Sound placement is probably obvious, but I consider it to be where the author of the work places specific noises and sounds.   Cohesive pieces are works that take each element and come together in unison to create a podcast that audiences will understand — not multiple elements that are all placed together and don’t really work together to create understanding. Finally, when I say “creating an illustrated story” I’m referring to how the sound movement and placement and the other elements (speaking and audio) work to create a story that an audience can  visualize and understand.  Since this medium is solely based on listening to audio, creating an illustration can be particularly difficult, but if it’s done — and done well — it is especially useful to connecting to the audience. 

Some particular moments throughout this podcast really stuck out to me.  Around 8:25 there are two speakers going back and forth and there is noise and sound in the background and one of the speakers says “wait, how — …” and dives into a question. As soon as he says wait, the sounds die off and it goes silent in the background and the audio is dedicated to the question.  This allows audiences


Another moment was around 15 minutes when the topic switched over to the story where the woman talked about her mother.  This entire section was interesting to me because it incorporated a lot of sounds and noises but didn’t have any interruption from the radio hosts.  This made the podcast really open up and communicate to the audience (or me at least!).  When the older mother was talking about going to aerobics class, aerobics music would slowly glide into the background music, similar to the ambulance truck noises when she said someone called 911.  This is exactly what I mean when I say that the noises and sounds create an illustration of the story — it allows the audience to become engaged and visualize the story piecing together. 

Overall I feel like the podcast could have been shorter since the topic was a bit abstract, but I kind of liked all the little tidbits of information I picked up form the piece – including the monkey story, to the Bill Clinton mirror effect, to looking scientifically into the brain and the vocabulary of a neuron.  Seems like I have a new conversation topic! 






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