Why We Need Your Support
Radio is based on sound, but there's not that much sound on public radio—it's pretty much all talking and storytelling. We're doing something different: our show is all about sound and we try to talk as little as possible. And it's making an impact. Public radio stations are starting to play our tiny sound show. With your support, we can make The World According to Sound a staple of the public radio landscape and get a lot more sound on stations across the country.
Labor of Love
The entire show is just the two of us, and we both have day jobs in public radio—Sam is a reporter and Chris is a sound engineer. For the last year and a half we have been meeting up every Sunday to make The World According to Sound. We don't have any advertising, and it may be hard to believe, but radio stations only pay us 3 dollars an episode. The show is a a labor of love, but it has grown to the point where we need some support. Once we reach our goal, we can start gathering sounds and making episodes for season 2!
We make a podcast that brings you sounds and the stories behind them. Most podcasts are over thirty minutes long and almost all talking. Our show is 90 seconds long and focuses on sound. In every episode we bring you one sound that helps you rethink the world through your ears, not just your eyes. You can hear all the sounds we dug up for you in season one by clicking play below. (Do it! Listening to sound is so much better than reading words.)
Sometimes our sounds come from things you’ve seen but never listened to: bridges, ants, or giraffes. (Yes, giraffes make noise. Listen below.) We’ve found sounds that express data, tell a piece of history, and let you get inside someone else’s head. We don't tell stories and we don't tell you what to think. We try to talk as little as possible, just enough so you can really get into the sound. Our hope is that these sounds can create a little space for you to listen and let your mind wander, a space that is becoming harder and harder to find these days.
Launching Season 2
We have a list of over 150 sounds we want to record and with your help we can go out and get them. We have plans for series of episodes on vanishing industrial machines and sounds made inside the human body. We want to go to an anechoic chamber and use high-powered microphones to record objects too quiet for the human ear to perceive. And we're working with the Library of Congress to bring back sounds that haven't been listened to in years, like this album by Charles Kellogg. Listen to him sing like a bird!
We did the first season all on our own. We have no advertisers and no corporate sponsors. That's the kind of talking we wish was never on public radio. With just a tiny operating budget we have had a big impact. Our little sounds have aired on NPR, The California Report, and public radio stations around the country. And this is great, because even though radio is completely based on sound, there's really not that much sound on the radio.
Who We Are
We started this show with one idea: to make radio that's about sound not storytelling. Storytelling is great. We both do it in our public radio day jobs—Sam as a reporter at KQED and Chris as a sound engineer at KALW. But we believe the medium has potential for so much more. That's our bigger goal—to bring more sound, more experimentation, and more weirdness to mainstream public radio.
The Power of Sound
For more of our thoughts on radio and sound, here is an interview we did with Rob Rosenthal of HowSound. The big takeaway is that we want to create a space where you can listen to sounds and aren't being told what to think. By making the show 90 seconds, we don't need to create narrative tension to make you keep listening. We can just give you the sound and let you mind go wherever it wants!
Taking the Show Live
On August 26th and 27th we're doing our first live show in San Francisco. Here are the details if you can join us! We're going to turn the lights down low and play all sorts of sounds on an 8-channel array of massive speakers. With some extra resources in season two we can bring this hour-long audio experience to more venues. There are so few places where a person can get fully immersed in what they're listening to. Help us take our sounds beyond radio!
These are digital mockups, real sample photos to come!
Mud Pot Greeting Card
Custom Waveform (Music by Devin Waldman. Check him out!)
For the personalized episode we will mix together any sound and narration for non-commercial purposes. Perhaps you want to make someone an audio gift or commemorate an event. We will mix together anything within reason as long as we do not have any moral or ethical issue with the content. Max length is 5 minutes.
One eight-hour day with the two of us. What could be better! Don't feel like you have to answer that. This doesn't cover transportation or lodging, but we'll take you to lunch at our favorite taco spot.
Do you have a podcast or radio show? Would you like to start one? We can help at any stage of the progress and with anything from voicing and writing to sound mixing and editing. Individuals and organizations both welcome. We can do this in person if you happen to be in The Bay Area, or over the phone if you are afar.
Live Show Attendees
For anyone who bought tickets to our live show, thanks! We'll knock 10 dollars off any award level except the sticker! Just use the "donate without a reward" field up at the top and put in 10 dollar less than the reward you would like. Then we can get in touch after the campaign is over through the message system to confirm your reward items!
Risks and challenges
We have made fifty episodes of the show and they've been broadcast on public radio stations across the country. The challenge will be to continue getting our sounds on the air as we push the boundaries of conventional radio. If we reach our goal, we will have additional resources and can spend more time working with outside public radio outlets to fit our episodes into their programming. We will develop these relationships further to make sure these sounds and this approach to radio reaches as many ears as possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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