Intersection - Transom Radio Workshop

Oct 13, 2016

Credit Matthew Keefe / Flickr

This week on Intersection we're taking a closer look at how great radio is made. We talked with people who took the Transom Traveling Radio Workshop in Columbia this summer about what they learned. We also talked with Rob Rosenthal, a radio producer who taught the workshop.

Listen to the full story here:

  

Listen to the stories we featured from the workshop here:

Liza Lichtenfeld is a medical student in North Carolina. She traveled to Columbia to participate in the workshop. Her story places listeners in the mind of a man with a mental illness. She follows Steven Wright as he reconciles his creative ambitions with the limitations of his disease.

Shane Epping is a professional photographer. His story follows Rigel Oliveri and her husband, Michael Byrne, as they face his cancer diagnosis.

The other stories produced during the workshop are available to listen to on the Missouri Audio Project website.

A selected transcript from our interview with Rob Rosenthal on the Transom radio workshop:

Can you tell a little bit about the workshop? Kind of what that week looks like?

It’s hectic. It's actually exhausting. I think people leave, and the first thing they do is go to sleep because we've worked them so hard. And also they leave exhilarated because they produced a radio story in the course of a week. And that's primarily what the workshop’s about. Students come in – most of them have had no experience, or maybe they’ve had just a little bit of experience. They are dabbling, and maybe they've gone so far as to produce a story or two for a radio station. But I think broadly, you could categorize them as beginners. And our task in the workshop is for them to produce what we hope will be a broadcast-quality, first-time-out-of-the-gate, radio story. And we take them through all of the steps. Even before the workshop begins, we’re talking about how to find a story. And then during the workshop, we’re teaching students how to interview, how to use their recording equipment, how to gather sound. What is a story? You know, defining what story is. Writing for radio, voicing for radio, mixing and editing, ethics ​– we’re covering the gamut. The days are long. But in the end, the students leave with, what I hope is, a good understanding of the best practices for producing a radio story as well as a system. A system for repeating this, so when they leave the workshop, they can go do it again.

And if you could choose, I mean there are lots of things that you are learning throughout the workshop as a student, but if you could chose one main takeaway that you want students to leave with, what would that be?

They can do this. I think most people, I think for most people, radio is a bit of a mystery. How the heck does that get made? I mean it sounds kind of flawless when you turn on the radio and you hear these stories. They don't have a lot of problems in them. They are so well produced, and written, and delivered and so on. But how does it get made? And I want to make sure people leave feeling like they can make radio stories afterward. If I had something other than inspiration, something curricular to say, I want them to know how to tell a good story. What makes for a good story? Something that people are going to want to listen to.