My first time EVER listening to a story without visuals was last night when I listened to Moon Graffiti by The Truth Podcast.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve listened to my friends tell me stories about their days, radio shows, and my parents read to me as a kid–but in each of those scenarios I either had a face to connect with, the “stories” were more so commentary, or I had some form of pictures.
Personally, I am a visual learner, so listening to this took a little more concentration than it probably should have.
But one thing that kept reappearing in my mind was when Jad Abumrad brought up the idea of empathy spread throughout radio.
Now you see, I LOVE space, but I didn’t really think I would be entertained/interested in this podcast episode. However, the empathy I was able to feel in order to connect with the astronauts is what helped tell the story and make me want to pay attention.
The sound effects and music in the background helped set the tone. They were exactly what the story needed, but did not overshadow what was actually going on.
But what made this episode excellent was the conversations on the moon.
The conversations between the astronauts weren’t just “We are stuck here,” or, “Ok the flag is on the moon.” The conversations were descriptive, and the tone of voice, speed they talked in, and tone showed their frustration and fear.
I actually really enjoyed getting to listen to this story through the form of a podcast because it let me set the scene in my own head. I was able to vividly picture everything that was happening–which is a HUGE perk of audio storytelling.
When there are no visuals, the listener can interpret everything on their own, which forces them to connect with the piece no matter what. But that connection isn’t the same for everyone. If I were to place an apple in front of you and talk about fruit, the main thing you would think of is an apple because that is the visual I supplied you with. But if I were to remove the visual and give a speech on fruit, my audience would probably all be thinking of a different one.
This idea takes place in this story too.
Although yeah, the basic principles of the moon, astronauts, etc. are all in place, the colors of the suits, the way the ship looks, etc. can all be interpreted differently, making the connection special for the listener.
Abumrad also brought up the idea that radio has been predicted to die many times, yet it hasn’t. In my opinion, I think it’s because of this special connection listeners are able to make that has kept it alive. Because although you can listen to the radio with a group of people, the true visual interpretation that occurs in the back of your mind is a unique experience for everyone.