Writing, Radio, and Aurality


In this course, we will explore what it means to write for radio and other aural contexts. The course will involve deep listening, critical analysis, and discussion of narrative texts. We’ll listen to and compare a variety of works across radio genres and from around the world, from the personal narratives on This American Life to the more artistic, thematic pieces being aired internationally on ABC and the BBC to the Prix Europa and the big-idea stories common to Radiolab and NPR’s Planet Money. All the while, we will be making radio of our own. As we workshop our pieces, we’ll “mic” ourselves closely, examining what happens at the intersection of sound and the written word. What does it mean to give a literal voice to your writing? How will the words you’ve written on paper adapt as they move onto the air? And how is it best to give voice to someone else’s story? Also, sound can mean theatre—when is it ethical to instill drama into a story, and when is it overkill? The technical aspects involved in the course will include microphone techniques, interviewing skills, digital editing, and podcast creation. We will plan an end-of-semester field trip to WNYC, New York Public Radio.