Telling a Story

Radio is a thing of the past. Sitting around the radio and listening to talk shows used to be the main source of entertainment. Now, with the visual stimulation of the television, internet and new forms of media, radio talk shows have nearly deceased. But, the power of storytelling has not. Neither has the idea of listening to these stories without the added visual stimulation. The modern day radio talk shows have taken a new form- the podcast. Podcasts have a lot of pressure on them. They need to not only compete with each other, but also compete with all the more engaging forms of entertainment as well. So how does one produce a successful podcast?

Well, the answer mainly resides in good story telling. Storytelling that keeps the listener hooked. Hooked and intrigued enough to resist going on instagram, FaceBook, or going to listen to that new song they just heard and can’t get enough of. So, what does good storytelling entail? For starters, its character driven. The story follows an individual who goes through a chain of events and comes out at the end changed in one way or another.

Within the two podcasts I listened to, both from Invisibilia, the stories centered around one individual. In one, the individual is living their dream life, and then one day it all comes crumbling down when she wakes up in the hospital unable to speak. The story starts out blissful, reminiscing on childhood memories and leading up to a dream life, but then suddenly it shatters. This dichotomy creates the tension and suspense needed for a good story. It also creates a strong sense of empathy from the listener. This was further reiterated through the usage of real recordings of the individual slowly but surely trying to regain their ability to speak. The story also used symbolism. The speaker reminisced on a prayer that she used to practice with her father as a kid, this prayer was then the tool she used to try to speak again. It instills in the listener a symbol of hope and importance of family.

The second podcast I listened to was centered around an individual who hated talking on the phone. And probably like most people, he especially hated it with his own mother. In turn, he wouldn’t answer her calls leaving her no option but to leave voicemails. The turn in the story happens when his mother becomes very ill with cancer; eventually losing her life to it. He realized that the most special thing he had from his mother were those voicemails. Those annoying unnecessary wordy voicemails from a caring mother. This podcast was not only emotionally intriguing, but it was relatable and eye opening. Essentially the listener is left with the cliche realization that “you never know what you’ve got until it’s gone”.

I guess that lesson was similar in both the podcasts when I think about it. The things we take for granted are the most noticeable when gone. Whether it’s just having the ability to talk, or having a caring mother annoy you with their phone calls.