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Help us gather the world's sounds and bring them to public radio. We're making public airwaves a little weirder and more full of sound.
Help us gather the world's sounds and bring them to public radio. We're making public airwaves a little weirder and more full of sound.
233 backers pledged $12,256 to help bring this project to life.
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The World According to Sound: a 90-second podcast

$12,256

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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!

The Show

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.)

Our Sounds

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.

Oh, just another rad image by Cal.
Oh, just another rad image by Cal.

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. 

Sam interviewing a mud pot - Photo by Gundi Vigfusson
Sam interviewing a mud pot - Photo by Gundi Vigfusson

 

Chris interviewing a dog - Photo by Alyssa Kapnik Samuel
Chris interviewing a dog - Photo by Alyssa Kapnik Samuel

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!

You know Cal, drawing stuff
You know Cal, drawing stuff

Rewards

These are digital mockups, real sample photos to come!

Stickers

Stickers for laptops and bikes
Stickers for laptops and bikes

Sound Notebook 

3.5 X 5 Inch pocket notebook with 32 dot grid pages. Design by the talented Benjamin Harnett (Yes, one of us is related to him.)
3.5 X 5 Inch pocket notebook with 32 dot grid pages. Design by the talented Benjamin Harnett (Yes, one of us is related to him.)

 

The back of the notebook features images from 3 episodes: something small, something big, and something massive--all making sound!
The back of the notebook features images from 3 episodes: something small, something big, and something massive--all making sound!

Mud Pot Greeting Card

A mud pot greeting card - It's like a physical radio show. Put it on your coffee table, impress your guests.
A mud pot greeting card - It's like a physical radio show. Put it on your coffee table, impress your guests.

 The Tote

Of course we have a tote. This is public radio!
Of course we have a tote. This is public radio!

Custom Waveform (Music by Devin Waldman. Check him out!)

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T-shirt

An American Apparel t-shirt. Men's and women's sizes available.
An American Apparel t-shirt. Men's and women's sizes available.

 Personalized episode

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.

WATS Producer

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.

Radio Consultation

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.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Laptop or Bike Sticker

    A laptop or bike sticker with our logo drawn by the inimitable Cal Tabuena-Frolli. Free shipping worldwide.

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    49 backers
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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Pocket Notebooks

    The sticker plus a little pocket notebook

    Keep track of all your favorite sounds!

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    20 backers
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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Mud Pot Greeting Card

    The sticker plus a mud pot greeting card.

    When you open this card it will have text from the episode and play the actual sound of mud pots. Mail someone some mud! It will brighten up their day. Free shipping worldwide.

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    7 backers
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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    The Tote!

    Sticker plus a tote bag featuring our world logo drawn by the tremendous Cal Tabuena-Frolli.

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    22 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    Make Your Own Waveform

    We’ll turn any sound/recording of your choice into a colorful waveform like the ones in the video.

    You could use this to send someone an audio/visual note or their favorite song turned into a mesmerizing wave. Sing them happy birthday! (Add 30 dollars to any gift level and we'll throw this in along with whatever else you're getting!)

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    World T-shirt

    A t-shirt featuring our world logo drawn by the formidable Cal Tabuena-Frolli.

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    23 backers
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    Pledge $85 or more About $85

    The Fan Pack

    NOT A FANNY PACK. T-shirt, tote, mud pots sound card, and sticker.

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    14 backers
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    Pledge $145 or more About $145

    Double Fan Pack

    2 of everything in the fan pack!

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    3 backers
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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    We Will Mix You a Personalized Episode

    Fan pack, plus we will put together your very own episode with a sound and narration of your choice.

    Record a sound you love and add voiceover. Or compose a letter to someone with a meaningful song bedded underneath. More details below.*

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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    Be a WATS Producer for a Day

    Fan pack, plus come be a producer with us for a day!

    Sit in at the studio as we produce new episodes of the show. Bring some sounds and we’ll work through an episode together. We’ll help you narrate your own episode and let you take home a recording. More details below.*

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Radio Consultation

    Fan pack plus 4-hour consultation with Chris and Sam on a radio project.

    We can help with audio editing, voicing, podcast conception, or any other aspect of radio creation or distribution. (No project too big or too small!)

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    2 backers
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Funding period

- (30 days)