Why Making Radio?

John Spear

john2I am a big fan of radio, especially the story telling on National Public Radio and podcasts online. During long car rides I listen to shows like This American Life, Radio Lab, Love + Radio and Invisibilia. I listen to public radio all the time, so much that I caught my son humming the theme music to NPR’s All Things Considered when he was two. I don’t know how to create radio, so I really had no business offering this spring program. I believed that trying to make radio would give students practice with storytelling, which requires listening, asking questions and being genuinely curious about the person in front of you.

We decided to model our work this week after Natasha Haverty’s radio series for North Country Public Radio on the Tug Hill called “This Must Be the Place.” We’re indebted to Tasha for her permission to steal her idea and for the support and encouragement she gave us. We are also grateful for the help of Brain Mann, the Adirondack Bureau Chief of NCPR, who spent the morning with us on Monday and shared advice that we kept referring back to all week. Joel Hurd, the production manager at NCPR, gave us great technical advice on the gear to purchase to help us sound like we knew what we were doing.

I hope you enjoy our work as much as we enjoyed making it.

Brain Mann, the Adirondack Bureau Chief for North Country Public Radio, with the Making Radio crew.

Brain Mann, the Adirondack Bureau Chief for North Country Public Radio, with the Making Radio crew in Northwood’s library.From left to right: Eric, Ivan, Gerry, Brian, Alec and Khaly.

Here’s an brief illustration of what students learned this week. On day one, when he wasn’t listening or trying to be curious, Ivan interviewed Dave-O. This is what he got:

After a little practice, Ivan went back to Dave-O and asked for another interview, and he got better results:

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