First and foremost, there's a website called Transom.org where you can find essays by the most experienced people doing radio documentaries, including a few This American Life regulars (Nancy Updike, Alex Blumberg, Jonathan Goldstein, Sean Cole, Dave Kestenbaum, John Hodgman, Sarah Vowell, Paul Tough and Scott Carrier) but also greats like Errol Morris, Studs Terkel, Robert Krulwich, Brooke Gladstone and Dave Isay.
Ira Glass's "Manifesto" on Transom is here.
Transom also has a Tools section that has reviews of cheap, good equipment you can use to make radio. They have guides on how to do digital editing and mixing.
An here are some other resources to help you learn to make radio:
Our Comic BookWe put this comic book out as a how-to, for anyone who wants to make radio stories. You can also get it as a PDF download. Other guides:
Radio Diaries Teen Reporter Handbook
Don't be put off by the title. This handbook – which is free and online – has lots of advice that'll be useful to any beginner.
Reality Radio: Telling True Stories in Sound
John Biewen, editor, with Alexa Dilworth
This book, by the Center for Documentary Studies, includes essays by lots of producers, including Joe Richman, Jay Allison, the Kitchen Sisters, Stephen Smith and Ira Glass.
Ira Glass on Storytelling VideosIra writes: "These videos were shot by producers with that TV channel Current.com, which encourages amateurs everywhere to shoot and make their own stories and put them on the air. It's one of a series of videos they did with all kinds of broadcasters giving tips to beginners. On the Internet, I seem to be more famous for these videos than for any of my actual work."
Third Coast Audio Festival
The Third Coast Festival is both an international radio competition and a convention of like-minded radio people from around the world. Here are some useful discussions from the festival:
- Our Senior Producer Julie Snyder on a panel about how to pitch your story to a radio show
- Radio Lab's Jad Abumrad giving a workshop on music in radio stories
- Planet Money's Dave Kestenbaum giving a workshop on explaining the world in four minutes
- Radio Diaries' Joe Richman giving a workshop on first person radio stories
- The Salt Institute's Rob Rosenthal on bringing extra batteries and other essential basics
The Public Radio ExchangePRX's mission is to find ways to bring newcomers into public radio. They have a system for you to get your stories out to stations, and a special project for younger producers called Generation PRX.
Jobs and Internships:
- Current.org's Directory of Public Radio Jobs and Internships
- NPR's Next Generation Project
- NPR Kroc Fellowships
- NPR Jobs and Training Opportunities
- NPR Internships
- Chicago Public Radio internships
- Our internship
- The Salt Institute for Documentary Studies
- The Transom Story Workshops
- Columbia University Journalism Grad School
(where our own Alex Blumberg teaches documentary-making)
- UC Berkeley Grad School in Journalism
- The Stanford Storytelling Project