Someone recently said to me, “radio is a dead medium, my man.” I checked their pulse to see if they were talking about themselves. Are you out of your mind?! It’s never been more important, popular, democratic, and experimental. Plus, don’t use “my man” when ending a sentence, hombre.
Let me make this clear, I did not come up making radio. I don’t have any stories about gigging at my college radio station playing Chuck Brown 45s while doing questionable character sketches with friends. Well, I did do those things, but with video cameras. I’m a filmmaker.
I will always vouch for the importance of moving image in art. But I have my frustrations with it. In particular, when it comes to making non-fiction, challenging, personal, and fun work, it can be a daunting task to look at a project and realize how much personnel, equipment, and cost it may incur. Also, it made me ask, what am I really after when it comes to producing stories through film?
I felt it when I had to interview an older couple five years ago for a mini-documentary. I had no crew and decided to record all the audio separately via my Zoom recorder. The husband was suspicious about speaking on camera to begin with, but when I removed all equipment and sat with a microphone and maintained eye contact, he talked to me like we were living on a life raft. Listening back, it was more engaging than anything I shot with my camera. I am excited to announce that Brooklyn Free Speech Radio is focusing on this art form and asking you to provide your voice.
Your medium is what works best for the type of storytelling you want to accomplish. I believe audio is one of the most intimate, personal, and challenging forms out there. On top of all of that, we are encountering the largest population of audio storytelling consumers since our grandparents sat in front of their radios listening to Little Orphan Annie. People are hungry for good audio. Are you gonna help me prove it ain’t such a dead medium, my man?