In an age of readily available visual media, I always wondered what place something like the radio or podcasts had in society. In recent years I’ve started listening to the latter, with This American Life being one of my favorites. After listening to days’ worth of podcasts, I still couldn’t nail down why I enjoyed them so much. However, for my digital storytelling class, I was assigned to watch short videos featuring podcast hosts explain the importance of audio storytelling, including Ira Glass from the aforementioned This American Life and Jad Abumrad from Radiolab. These clips made me finally realize why audio storytelling is important.
Both hosts allude to “less is more.” Jad Abumrad talks about how using the radio allows the listener more room to imagine a scene and think, unlike video which provides what to “imagine” for us. Ira Glass talks about something similar, with “abandoning crap.” Audio storytelling requires removing anything unimportant, which creates engagement. This means that good audio storytelling is often more engaging/interesting than visual storytelling.