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Reality Radio: Telling True Stories in Sound (Documentary Arts and Culture, Published in association with the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University) Paperback – March 15, 2010
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Radio has suffered corporate deadening just like other “traditional” media, yet it retains an edge thanks to public, community, and college stations and the popularity of radio documentaries. Biewen, audio program director for Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies, offers a lively history of creative documentary radio in his introduction to 19 passionate, instructive, and unexpectedly moving essays by innovative audio journalists and artists who “use sound to tell true stories artfully.” Such artists include the Kitchen Sisters, who write about their “deep need to bear witness and try to heal the culture through stories and revelations,” and Ira Glass, who generously reveals just how much patience, effort, and luck are involved in creating This American Life. Jad Abumrad’s description of his work with Robert Krulwich on the wacky Radio Lab series is matched by provocative accounts of radio diaries and bold audio performance art and Katie Davis’ beautiful essay about her collaborations with Washington, D.C., teens in Neighborhood Stories and the practice of “deeper listening.” Invaluable and many-faceted coverage of a thriving, populist, and mind-expanding art form. --Donna Seaman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
[Biewen] offers a lively history of creative documentary radio in his introduction to 19 passionate, instructive, and unexpectedly moving essays by innovative audio journalists and artists who use sound to tell true stories artfully. . . . Invaluable and many-faceted coverage of a thriving, populist, and mind-expanding art form.--Booklist
What is striking about this collection is how clearly the reader can 'hear' the diverse voices and stories, despite the print medium. . . . A wonderful and accessible read. . . . Highly recommended.--Choice
An incredibly important contribution to the field of public media, one that will invite introspection, spark creativity, and hopefully teach people that the first step in learning is listening.--Public Radio Makers Quest 2.0
This book is valuable for those who believe radio's future is in the art of storytelling and can be a particularly good resource for students enrolled in radio narrative or radio/audio documentary classes, and a valued tool for faculty teaching documentary, narrative, audio drama, and radio writing.--Journal of Radio and Audio Media
Biewen . . . chronicles this rebirth of the documentary . . . profiling a new breed of radio producers who . . . are willing to get involved with their subjects, reveal parts of their own lives, and paint vivid pictures with sound.--Duke Magazine
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If you'd like to make your recordings richer, more compelling, and more interesting to your listeners, learn from the best. That's what you'll find in this book.
This book expanded how I look at podcasting, and the kinds of recordings I want to make.
I was a little uneasy buying this book, because it seemed a little expensive for stories I might not learn from. I shouldn't have worried. From the first few pages, the "ah-HA!" moments were worth every cent.
Before relaunching my podcasts, I'm re-reading this book. I was almost overwhelmed, the first time, because this book wasn't what I expected. Reading it the first time, it was as if someone had lifted the curtain and showed me an entire landscape of ideas and approaches that take recordings into a new dimension.
This book is the collected stories, in essay form, of some of those who create the art. Exclusive of the opening and closing essays, there are 18 essays here from creators of audio documentaries. All of them are excellent.
There are no dull essays in this book. Each reveals, to one degree or another, the mind of the creator: what drew them to the audio medium, given up for dead in the middle of the 20th Century. What stories they are trying to tell. Often, they include their techniques for producing their audio documentaries, how they let the subjects lead, for example, or how they made the sounds or edited the components to achieve the effect they intended.
Some the essays struck me as a bit pretentious, but not overwhelmingly so.
On the whole, this is a marvelous book that paints vivid portraits in written words of those who create vivid portraits, most often, in the spoken word.
Be sure to check out page 205 for a link to a site containing samples of the essayist's work and much more.