“The atomic element is the story”

A little while ago, I wrote about why I think segmentation matters for on-demand radio. In an interview with the Nieman Journalism Lab, This American Life production manager Seth Lind agrees:

[U]sers often don’t want the whole show. “Right now people often share an episode, but they’ll say, ‘Act 3!’ Or, ‘Fast-forward to this time!’” Lind told me. For users, he discovered, “the atomic element is the story, rather than the episode.” That might seem kind of obvious to web publishers, but it doesn’t necessarily fit with the narrative philosophy of the show — a handcrafted hour of storytelling, woven together by a common theme. “I think we’re sort of purists, in terms of wanting people to get the entire episode and to encourage them to listen to it as a whole,” Lind said.

Soon, each TAL story will have its own page, with its own URL and a full transcript.

CBC, please, start your photocopiers.

Filed under: Private Radio, Radio



  1. Jason Millar says:

    I think you're completely right here. I work in academia, and I do a LOT of research in radio. It's where so much of the good tech stories seem to be told, and I have time to listen to podcasts while going to sleep. I love digesting whole episodes of TAL and Spark, but when I find a bit of audio that I want/need to send to a colleague so they can incorporate it into research/presentation material, I need to be able to get the audio snippet as fast as possible. Spending large amounts of time shuttling through audio to find a story marker just adds time to the process.

    Books of essays have themes, but they also have chapters, and tables of contents (and despite AC/DC's odd insistence, their albums have tracks). There's no reason why a radio magazine ought not to be similarly organized.

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