I found Ira Glass‘ advice about storytelling on the radio extremely helpful. He pointed out some useful tips that can make any boring ordinary story sound fascinating and intriguing, which he demonstrated quite well.

It was great that he let all young or aspiring storytellers know that it is okay not to have amazing stories at first, it takes time and conversational maturity. Glass also mentioned that the perfect story is not going to show up right away. It can take weeks, maybe months to come up with that interesting story that everyone is going to love.

I now know that my stories need to be a sequence of events, there needs to be an anecdote, I need to start with an action, something to catch the listener’s attention (bait), and there needs to be a meaningful reflection at the end, almost like the moral of the story. Although all of this is helpful I know it will still be quite difficult to implement.

Once when I was in middle school, I signed up for a six week class where a partner and I had the chance to make our own radio show. Now I don’t remember anything that I learned from it only that the final product sounded incredibly dumb and childless. I hope that it is lost forever and no one will be tortured by listening to it. We had no direction for the radio show. We were just told to come up with an idea and say whatever we wanted. Who allows middle schoolers to run wild like that? I’m sure if we had watched Glass’ video, we would have had a better final product with more interesting stories.

One interesting aspect that Glass mentions is that interactions with other people is imperative for radio storytelling. I never thought that being “conversationally mature” was so important for storytelling, but it is quite logical. I cannot count how many times I have been driving to work and listening to radio hosts talk about their new mattress or some other mundane event. How is that radio? I realize now that it is not, at least not the type of radio that Glass discusses. The story should never be one sided and it needs to catch someone’s attention.

My hopes after listening to these videos is that I will be better equipped to do radio storytelling since I know that it’s coming up sometime in the future. I will certainly be going back and following all of the advice from Glass and hopefully my up coming stories will be decent.

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