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Arts & Culture

Audio Stories Demand The Focus And Imaginations Of Listeners

A photograph of the author, Imran Ali Malik

I first discovered narrative storytelling podcasts at a time of great transition in my life. I had never before appreciated power of the real human voice that tells a story of something that really happened to them, something that they really felt.

What I fell in love with was the art of it — light on images but suffused with the human voice and heart. How it demands the focus and imagination of its listeners. When I was introduced to rock music as a teenager, it wasn’t long after that I got a guitar and spent all day teaching myself how to play. Over a decade later, I fell in love again, and I had to learn how to create and participate in this magic.

The Audio Academy is a rare chance to be initiated into this craft—a rare kind of craft that engages so much of your mind and spirit. We’re about halfway through the program. In a few short months I’ve learned a lot about ProTools from KALW’s excellent engineers. I’ve been mentored by a seasoned journalist who has shown me how to be tenacious and determined in getting sources for my reporting. I’ve learned how a newsroom and production team functions to produce a show that airs multiple times a week. But more than anything, I’ve been encouraged and emboldened to listen to my own curiosity, to use my own mind and voice to narrate the things that I see in the world, and to use that mind and voice to help others to hear what I have heard, and to see things as I have seen them. For that and other lessons, for the camaraderie, and for the initiation into a field that engages so much of the heart, I feel an enormous amount of gratitude to those who make my presence in this program possible.