You might hear your grandma hounding on about the time that she used to sit around the ‘wireless’ on a Sunday evening and listen to a ‘radio serial’, like Adam and Eva or Adventures in Toyland.
If you’re a member of Gen-Y, then you mightn’t understand much of that last sentence. Do something that your grandma might disagree with and google the words you don’t understand.
2013 saw the rise and rise of new and interesting radio shows, podcasts and radio investigations. A heads up, most of what I’m going to be talking about will be stuff from NPR and PRX because in Australia I feel we live in a world of ‘conservative radio values’. We play it safe most of the time (but more on that on a later date).
I wanna highlight some of my favourite shows of 2013.
5 – Snap Judgement
I’ve spoken a lot about this so I wont go on about it too much. Snap Judgement weaves stories and magical, musical beats together to create an ultimate storytelling experience. Check out their 100th episode on PRX and NPR. Its a live show and its a cracker!
4 – On The Media
In a world that is driven by ratings driven content, its rare that media will stop reporting the news and start making the news. Earlier this year WNYC program On The Media produced a report on American Homeland Security and their performance. Producer Sarah Abdurrahman and her family, all American citizens, where detained for hours on end at the American/ Canadian boarder. They’ve not received any explanation, any apology for their treatment or any answers to their questions.
This episode is killer but I’d suggest you also listen to some follow up episodes.
Listen to the show here.
3 – NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour
Out of all the radio shows that I’ve started listening to this year, PCHH, is maybe my favourite. Its your generic panel radio program but its crazy good! Linda Holmes is the anchor of the show and the blogger for NPR’s pop culture blog, Monkey See. This year the show has offered a point of difference. It seems each week one of the member of the team has been replaced by another NPR guest.
One of my favourite shows is when All Things Considered co-anchor, Audie Cornish fills in and talks Hunger Games. She hasn’t read the books, she barely watched the first film so she almost has no clue whats happening (its great!). If you love ATC or Hunger Games or simply fish out of water, you’ve got to listen to this!
2 – 99% Invisible
If you’re sick of me talking about 99% then skip this. Its actually my favourite radio thing ever. It’s a radio show about design and tells stories in a similarly musical flavour as Snap Judgement.
The other night I stayed up until 1:00 AM just to listen to Roman Mars, the host of the show, do a live 99% on KALW, a local station in San Francisco.
This year they did another hugely successful kickstarter call out and made a heap of money, which they’ll put back into public radio and 99%. The show is pushing the boundaries of what public radio is and how it is consumed. All their shows are perfect and can be consumed anywhere, anytime.
Just go online and listen to all of them now at the same time!
1 – Planet Money
Planet Money doesn’t get as much credit as they show. PM is a show about economics but not in a boring way. They mix some pop songs with interesting household economics that you can use in real life.
They’ve just been finishing up a very cool little project. Its so cool that it is my favourite radio thing of 2013.
Planet Money decided to fund their show and make a t-shirt. Concequently, they decided to make a radio program about the construction of their t-shirt. They followed the cotton from the US to Indonesia where is was spun into yarn. They followed to the creation of the t-shirt in Colombia and Bangladesh, then all the way back home again.
There are a bunch of episode on it you can find on their website. Or you can go to their mircosite, which is entirely built for the project. It’s got videos, stories and audio. You’ve got to check it out.
Planet Money have shown that radio can still be uber cool and super relevant today through their use of every medium possible. Radio, unlike TV has the ability to capture you in every moment of your life. Its super portable, emotive, memorable and addictive. Thats why radio has become cool again in 2013.