Fresh Air breathes life into storytelling

To be perfectly honest, before doing this extra credit assignment, I barely listened to the radio, with the only exception being live sports coverage.  I used to belief that just audio alone was no way of telling a story because as the phrase goes: “seeing is everything.”  I had come to believe that visuals are the best and only way to convey any story (funny how the mind works, listening to live sports radio coverage contradicts my erroneous logic). But after listening to NPR’s Fresh Air with Terri Gross, I’ve come to realize that with audio stories we are limited to only one sense and through hearing we receive so much more context because we are not distracted with visual clutter. A person’s voice is enough to move us and we are forced to actually listen with our ears and not with are eyes, where we become distracted with a person’s mannerisms, appearance, and surroundings. Audio storytelling makes you listen closely and this was an experience that I felt with the interviews the talk show host did with Tina Fey, Will Ferall, a revisiting of a Sidney Lumet  interview, the recollections of two war photographers, and the recollections of a Freedom Rider during the Civil Rights Movement.

But as I quickly learned, audio may be suited for some interviews and stories but not for others. For example, Terri Gross tends to play clips from the TV shows or movies where the interviewee starred in. I thought it was interesting to only listen to the audio of scenes from Tina Fey’s “30 Rock” and Will Ferall’s guest appearance in “The Office.” It was a different perspective but the scenes were no longer funny because in those scenes you need to see to facial expressions of the actors and that is what makes the scene funny. Without the physical comedy, you lose much more and feel that the lines are out of place and nonsensical.  On the opposite side though, the seriousness of the subject matter of war and discrimination was made heartfelt through the pained voices of the people recalling those events. Just through their voice alone, you gain a deeper understanding without the distraction of visuals.

Overall though, I enjoyed this project and I will definitely tune into more radio programs because as I’ve learned, we have five senses and listening can be just as powerful as sight.


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