“I’ve Got Some Learning to Do” Reports KALW Audio Academy Student Who is Learning How to Produce Audio Stories
Students attending The KALW Audio Academy were asked to reflect on what they hope to achieve during the two semesters. Here is the sixth of those musings.
By Guest Blogger David Boyer, KALW Audio Academy, Class of 2014
This city and this Bay Area is changing rapidly. Money is flooding in, the rough edges are being smoothed and the vibrant fringe is being pushed further afield. I want to spend my time at KALW drawing attention to what might be disappearing and celebrating what’s almost gone. But first, I’ve got some learning to do…
Right now, my native language is print and I translate to audio. I come at stories from an oral historian’s perspective and write for readers. By the end of the Academy, I want to think in audio and produce stories that transport listeners. I know I couldn’t have landed in a better place for that. The KALW newsroom is filled with smart producers and reporters who are passionate about radio and mentoring, as well as the news and the Bay Area. On Day One, practically every staff member reiterated some version of, “Don’t be afraid to ask questions. And don’t be afraid to push us and yourself.” So, that’s my plan. I want to work on lots of different pieces and push past what’s comfortable. Do the challenging interview, the extra piece, the quicker turnaround. I want to experiment with sound and form and the conventions of public radio. I want to be both a fly-on-the-wall and a fresh perspective. And at the end of it all, instead of saying “I’m a writer,” I want to be able to say, “I’m a radio producer.”
At 41, I know it’s a gift: to have this time and opportunity to re-invent myself creatively in this supportive, open environment. And it’s an invaluable motivator to have the chance to work on great projects (Crosscurrents! and StoryCorps!) for a real and engaged audience. So thanks to everyone at KALW for dreaming up this Audio Academy and inviting us in.
David Boyer is a writer and oral historian who is moving from print to audio.
He began his career writing pop-culture pieces for Bay Area magazines and developing health-education media campaigns for local AIDS organizations. Subsequently, he published two oral histories, Kings and Queens: Queers at the Prom, an alternative LGBT teen history, and Bachelor Party Confidential, the first behind-the-scenes look at the age-old ritual. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Might, The Boston Phoenix, as well as Salon. His first audio documentary, which was about the closing of Marlena’s Bar in Hayes Valley, aired on KALW’s Crosscurrents. David is also a copywriter and the sole proprietor of IDEAMAN!