The Story Structures of Radio Programs…Drawn onto Cocktail Napkins
Head’s up, fellow radio/podcast fans: Bradley Campbell did a bit of analysis into what it takes to put together a great piece of audio content, and diagrammed each show’s structure on that most inspiring of canvases: the back of a napkin.
Many years ago, Bradley was a print reporter. He says everyone he worked with kept talking about structure. He knew they meant the way in which a story is organized, but that left him with a question: Organized how? So, he asked a friend of his from the Village Voice “What’s structure?” The guy grabbed a napkin and a pen and made a drawing. “Click!” Suddenly, it all made sense.
Now, Bradley’s a radio reporter for Rhode Island Public Radio. He says he’s listened long and hard to stories on public radio to understand how they’re configured and to create skeletal renderings of their structure.
“Napkin #1″ is Bradley’s drawing for This American Life, a structure Ira Glass has talked about ad infinitum: This happened. Then this happened. Then this happened. (Those are the dashes.) And then a moment of reflection, thoughts on what the events mean (the exclamation point).
I’m sure there’s some sort of creative inspiration here (like how awesome ball point pen looks on paper napkin) but I mostly just like looking at a dissection of some of my favorite programs. Check out the full story:
My Kingdom For Some Structure [HowSound.org]