Radiolab

radiolab

Radiolab is a radio program produced by WNYC, a public radio station in New York City. The show is nationally syndicated and is available as a podcast. Hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, the show focuses on topics of a scientific and philosophical nature. The show attempts to approach broad, difficult topics such as ‘time’ and ‘morality’ in an accessible and light-hearted manner and with a distinctive audio production style.

Each Radiolab episode is elaborately stylized. For instance, thematic—and often discordant—music accompanies much of the commentary. Abumrad explained the choice in music thusly: ‘I put a lot of jaggedy sounds, little plurps and things, strange staccato, percussive things.’ In addition, previously recorded interview segments are interspersed in the show’s live dialogue, adding a layered, call-and-response affect to the questions posed by the hosts. These recordings are often unedited and the interviewee’s asides appear in the final product. Abumrad said, ‘You’re trying to capture the rhythms and the movements, the messiness of the actual experience…It sounds like life.’ And unlike traditional journalism, in which the reader is given only access to the final article, not the interview, Abumrad added that Radiolab’s process is more transparent.

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