The In-Between Stuff of Radio Shows

Over at the Adaptive Path blog, Dan Saffer has an interesting post called The In-Between Stuff Matters. It’s about product and interface design, but I think it’s particularly (and maybe unintentionally) relevant to making radio.

[N]ow, with increased processor speeds, new interaction paradigms, and richer interactions possible on most platforms, the in-between stuff–transitions, animations, interaction logic, the connective tissue between features and content, how everything fits together–is becoming ever more important. One could argue that this is where the experience design flourishes the most.

I couldn’t agree more, especially when the experience is radio.

On Spark, we’re trying really hard to make the show’s connective tissue live up to its content. That comes in the form of story treatments, editing techniques, music choices, sound design, scripts, segues, and all the other tiny little bits that go into making a radio program. Dan says :

Features will eventually be copied and become obsolete. Right now, someone is out there copying your features! But the experience of using your product is significantly harder to duplicate.

Replace “features” with “stories” and it all starts to makes sense.

Quirks and Quarks and Radio Lab are both public radio shows about science and discovery, but they’re entirely different listening experiences.

Outfront and This American Life are both public radio shows that often include intimate, first-person storytelling, but again, they’re entirely different listening experiences.

Why? It’s the in-between stuff that matters.