The Power Of Radio: Why We Listen In A Changing World
People connect to the world around them in more ways than ever before. Although the world has changed dramatically since the days when people gathered around their radio to listen to the nightly news, radio continues to occupy an important space in our daily lives.
With so many ways for people to connect, what is it about the experience of listening that captures our imagination and keeps us tuning in for more?
If you ask CPR’s audio storytellers, they'll tell you there’s something special about the experience of listening that you just can’t get anywhere else.
Sophie Beal/CPRCaptivating The Imagination
Listening to the radio requires an active imagination in ways no other medium does.
“A well-told story – whether on the radio or around a campfire – engages a listener’s imagination to fill in details and bridge gaps,” says Music Editor Jon Pinnow. “In that way, listeners help make the story. It’s a collaborative process that requires some theater of the mind.”
In the same way radio requires an active imagination, using sound in the storytelling process also impacts listeners’ interpretations of what they hear on the radio.
“Before coming to CPR, I never had to think about sound as part of my reporting,” says Government Reporter Allison Sherry. “I’ve found that sound can convey the emotions of a story much better than words alone.”
In paying close attention to audio detail and its subtle cues, reporters and producers enhance the listening experience, helping people create deep, emotional connections to the stories and music they hear.
Jon Pinnow/CPR“The beauty of radio is that it allows you to interact with information in a really unique and powerful way,” says Content Producer Rebekah Romberg. “There’s a certain emotional attachment because radio lets you hear different perspectives straight from the horse’s mouth.”
Bringing People Together
Colorado Public Radio stories create a sense of community by illuminating diverse perspectives and inviting reflections from listeners that help us understand each other better.
“I want listeners to gain something beyond just surface-level understanding,” says “Colorado Matters” producer and host Nathan Heffel. “My goal is not for people to always agree with what we put on air, but at least to listen, digest it and really take it to heart.”
In addition to the many different voices and perspectives you hear on the radio, the act of tuning in also connects fellow listeners everywhere through a shared experience.
“There’s a sense of community when you actually hear something on the radio,” says CPR’s OpenAir host Jessi Whitten. “It connects you to thousands of other people who are also listening, even if you’re tuning in alone in your car.”
Sophie Beal/CPRThe people behind the microphone are also an important part of the community radio offers. Whether you’re listening to a thought-provoking story or a moving piece of music, these voices serve as a guide, reflecting on the details of each broadcast alongside the listener.
“Radio provides a companion for the listening journey,” explains CPR Classical host David Rutherford. “There’s power in that connection and that’s a piece of why radio will always be part of the human experience.”
Colorado Public Radio will continue to bring listeners together, building community and capturing imaginations with stories and music that Coloradans depend on every day.
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