The Radio Star’s Not Dead

This week I was introduced to a variety of audio editing and producing methods, the first of which being sound layering.

It was great to see how, as in the Joanne Rosser story, audio layers can effectively pull a story from what could otherwise be construed as a boring interview. We joined Joanne on the journey of creating paper cards starting from the moment of walking in the door and up the stairs to her workshop. The differences between active tape, stationary interview, and ambient sounds were especially fascinating. Hearing her describe her personal story over the sounds of the metaphor helped to pull the picture together. Each element of sound served a purpose. The active tape helped us walk through her process of creating paper, while the stationary interview helped demonstrate the deeper level of meaning in why she creates paper in this particular town. The sounds of the blender and other ambient sounds on their own serve as paragraph indents, starting off a new section of the story.

Another interesting audio technique explored was the absence of audio completely. In the case of the TED Radio Hour clip the background music stopping signified a surprise, or unexpected change in the story. It brought to mind a scene from The Office in which the director included nearly 30 seconds of silence between two characters.

In this case it brings the audience to empathize with the tension and awkwardness between the characters. Similar to the TED Radio Hour clip mentioned above, when the music stops and there is silence, we feel uncomfortable, like we’re not sure if it was supposed to happen that way.

In listening to the Radio Lab audio A Very Lucky Wind, I noticed a great amount of audio techniques. The hosts used sound effects, music fit for the mood of each piece of the story, and narrative layered over the story being told to help bring home the points they wanted to make. It was clear that the interviews, narrative, and sound effects were not all from one sit down interview, but rather elements layered on one another. This method is even used on the singular voice of the narrator to build tempo and anticipation.

I think the audio did a really good job of incorporating the right type of music for each piece of the clip. When discussing the “spookiness” of the coincidences, we heard spooky music and a fade our repetition. When discussing the future, we heard futuristic music. My favorite effect was the sound used as the narrators described zooming in and out of the country as they discussed specific areas of the country. With this effect, I really could picture zooming to the various locations they mentioned.


3 thoughts on “The Radio Star’s Not Dead

  1. Pingback: Another Week | aprilshowersmayflower

  2. You did well for the listening exercises this week, please keep them in mind when you will be doing your own audio editing in week 5. I hope you have an appreciation now for the way shows like radio lab are sandwiched together as layers of sound. They have shared screenshots of their editing screen, and it has as many as 20 different tracks for different voices, sounds, etc.

    I am really pleased with that example you shared from The Office. It’s a scene where much is said without saying it, while it is uncomfortable for the lack of talk (silence in a conversation usually is) as well as the interchange between the characters. It is enhanced by the switching of the camera angles too, but as you suggest, it might be something we do not think of employing as a narrative technique.

  3. Oh one thing about those YouTube embeds, they can be tricky. It shows up on your blog as a link rather then embedded. You can remove the link in the editor by selecting the text, and use the “unlink” icon, it looks like a broken chain link.

    The other method is to use a shortcode again on its own line like (hopefully the code shows below)


    More info on this

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