Sounds in Podcasts

This podcast started off with the sounds of a person flipping open a page and clearing their throats. This gives listeners the signal that they are about to be told a story and that they should start to listen. An important trick for narrating that Abel discussed was lowering the pitch of your voice. Clearing one’s throat helps people do this and tells people that they are about to say something important. The man who is telling the story has a very deep and low-pitched voice. The producers of this podcast worked to incorporate different sounds that would be appropriate for the story, like when he talked about locusts, you could hear bugs swarming. This helps listeners visualize the story for themselves. When they talked about locusts as a threat, they played tense music, to show that it is a real problem.

Sound effects play an important role in podcasts. Abel wrote about Steven Strogatz’ interview about fireflies. It was successful because the podcast had visual details, pauses at appropriate times, and music to help visualize the scene being described so the listener can hear what was happening. This podcast incorporates the same elements, which makes it easy to imagine the scene for the story being told. When the person talked about Australia being taken over, there was a soundtrack of people in Australia in the background. A man who lived there said how they have taken everything. As he was saying this, the sound of locusts taking over played loudly. This sound makes the story feel real, because you can hear exactly what the locusts sound like and how scary it is. The sound effects make it feel like you’re really there because it gives you the tools to put the scene together.

Kern’s tricks and lessons for narrating well in “Reading on the air” can be applied to inquiry-driven, story-telling podcasts, because they help people tell a story that people listening to can easily visualize. He says that the person talking should not speak as if they are giving a lecture. He says that they should speak with expression and picture what they are talking about. The person telling the story in this podcast speaks very thoughtfully. They are picturing the story in their head as they are speaking, which makes it easy for listeners to understand and picture it for themselves.