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HowSound

A Technology, Podcasting and Arts podcast
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When The Going Gets Tough, Keep Asking Questions
It’s kind of funny. For years, you listen to someone on a podcast or on the radio and you think you know them. You’ve heard their voice and their stories. They beam into your life and fill the space where you listen. Or, if you’re wearing headphone…
Some Fav And Not-So-Fav Sounds
I was listening to Bodies the other day and I nearly drove off the road in anger. The episode was called “Bleeding.” A woman was telling a personal story about her body — in this case about her first period — and then, practically out of nowhere, i…
Getting Inside Someone Else’s Skin
Every once in a while, I think HowSound should focus solely on interviewing. To heck with sound design, writing, ethics, tracking, and the like. Just focus on “the backstory to great radio interviewing.” Why? Because interviewing is how radio produ…
Eight Things I Like About 10 Things That Scare Me
The vast majority of podcasts feature talk or narrative-based content. Conventional best-practices for these podcasts holds the following: • There should be a host. Someone to welcome and orient listeners. • Guests should be named. • Production sho…
Nuggets
I’m frequently asked, “What podcasts are you listening to?” Unfortunately, I’m usually stumped. The answer is, “Too many. I can’t remember them all.” In fact, I don’t seem to have allegiance to any one single podcast. My ears are all over the place…
How Sruthi Tracks
At a school where I taught radio, in the mic booth, there was a photo of Studs Terkel hanging on the wall. Under it, someone wrote “Talk to Studs.” The picture was there to help with tracking. Narration will sound more conversational if you pretend…
An Editor’s Fingerprints
Editor Julia Barton starts her process at Revisionist History practically cold. “I might know generally that he [Malcom Gladwell, the host] is working on this or that,” Julia says. But, I haven’t seen the script until we’re all gathered in a room a…
All The Sound We Can Not Hear
There’s a very cool sound in an episode of Here Be Monsters. The episode is called “The Bats that Stay,” and in the story Jeff Emtman, the producer, is on a hike with a couple of friends in Colorado. They’re climbing up to a cave nicknamed the Glor…
Two From The Road In Nashville
When students attend a Transom Traveling Workshop they lose sleep — and their minds. Don’t believe me? Look at the this drawing. Kristin Leong drew that graph. Kristin recently attended a workshop in Seattle at KUOW. On the ‘x’ axis, the days of th…
A Sonic Conjuring
Take a look at the photo above, the two strips of film from the collection at the Imperial War Museum in London. They document the sound of Armistice Day, the end of World War I, and the silencing of artillery. On the left, the war at full tilt a m…
Twitter Vox
Think back to September 2018. Christine Blasey Ford testified that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh attacked her decades prior. Doubting her testimony, President Trump tweeted that had Ford been attacked she would have reported it. The Twitter…
Taking Control Of The Music
I’ve begun to wonder if I wait too long to think about the exact music I’ll use to score a story. The first time I think about music comes as I’m reporting. I start wondering how to tell the story and scoring may come to mind. Nothing specific. Jus…
Your Skull Is An Ear
In my classes at Transom, I talk about the fact that many disciplines inform radio stories. Picture, if you will, a sphere with many axes running through it. An axis for journalism and storytelling. Another for sociology and anthropology. Another f…
Making Sense Of A Pile Of Tape
It must be every radio producer’s dream — a pile of tape. Why? Because a pile of tape just might be a treasure trove of radio gold. Bianca Giaever says going through it “is sort of like a child going through Christmas presents.” Bianca should know.…
Enticing Listeners To Press Play Again
Writing the start of a story often feels like throwing my shoulder against a stuck door. I bang and I bang and I bang until the door opens. That opened door is liberating. I find that once my lede is in place I can write several pages — or at least…
These Are A Few Of My Favorite (Recent) Clips
A student once asked me “How do you find the stories you feature on HowSound?” I’m asked that a lot, actually. And, I’m sorry to say, I don’t have any secrets to reveal. I probably find stories and podcasts the same way everyone else does. Here’s m…
You Just Won’t Know If You Don’t Ask
Jennifer Kingsley told me that just because you show up doesn’t mean there’s a story. She was referring to her documentary “Humans of the Arctic” for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. In the doc, Jennifer travels the Arctic with no plan other …
Fictional Sounds For A Fictional Story
Can I tell you how much of a pain in the tuckus it was to record a simple sound — the sound of me walking up a gangplank? What I thought was a ten-minute job took about forty minutes instead. Ridiculous. Let me paint the scene: It’s Sunday afternoo…
The Podcast Mindset: Part 2
Listening to Nocturne, a podcast about the night, I pictured Vanessa Lowe exploring corners of the dark with her microphone and a flashlight. I imagined she sometimes wore a headlamp so she could record her nighttime stories more easily. There she …
The Podcast Mindset: Part 1
This summer, I went to mow the lawn and the mower wouldn’t start. I tried and tried. Nothing. I checked the gas. Fine. I checked the oil. Fine. So, I pulled the chord again and again. Still nothing. I looked on-line for solutions. A few websites su…
Color Notes
A school bell. A siren. Traffic. An airplane. Crickets. An opening door . . . These sounds are known as “signature sounds.” You know what they are as soon as you hear them. To be honest, I don’t know what the opposite of a “signature sound” is exce…
Three Stories, Marfa Style
At Transom Traveling Workshops, we throw students into the deep end. It’s sort of like “Here’s your gear. Go swim.” The workshop assignment is this: In just a week, produce a profile of an interesting person that lives near the workshop. The thing …
Story Endings
What is this drive we seem to have, this built-in, seemingly innate desire to end stories on an up-note? The proverbial “happy ending.” Neat. Tidy. And, most importantly, positive and hopeful. The internet abounds with theories about why we yearn f…
Anatomy Of A Scene
The word “scene” is used all the time when discussion audio storytelling. “Do you have any scenes for your story?” “What’s the opening scene?” “Oh, man, I recorded some good scene tape today!” But, what is a scene? In short, think of it as a chapte…
A Rockin’ Start
Maybe it’s because I love the song. It’s a musical detonation and an f-you to dad. “A primitive howl in the face of all that is proper and refined,” as David Weinberg puts it. And so, maybe that’s why I’m so keen on the opening to David’s documenta…
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Podcast Details
Started
Jul 26th, 2011
Latest Episode
May 14th, 2019
Release Period
Weekly
No. of Episodes
203
Avg. Episode Length
20 minutes
Explicit
No

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