Graduate Reflects on Her New Audio Future Influenced by KALW Audio Academy
By Ben Trefny, News Director, KALW and Lisa Wang, KALW Audio Academy Graduate
It’s been a busy summer! Here are KALW, we recently completed a 14-episode run of our podcast Bounce: The Warriors Last Season in Oakland. Our Sights & Sounds team held a live block party alongside Eastside Arts Alliance in East Oakland, featuring a mini-documentary film called “Where is East Oakland,” which was recently accepted at the Oakland International Film Festival. And we started working with nearly a dozen emerging journalists in our summer training program, along with five high school interns who will be producing a podcast about the ways in which they interact with the media. Exciting stuff!
While we’re always looking ahead, it’s also nice to reflect. We’re going to do that, today, with recent Audio Academy graduate Lisa Wang, who recently moved from the Bay Area to Brooklyn:
I’m moving to New York because I got a six-month production internship with Stitcher where I’ll be helping out with two podcasts — Science Rules! with Bill Nye (a call-in show) and another true crime documentary podcast. I’m going to say the most cliched thing possible now: I can’t believe this is happening. I’ve been building up a steady career in tech for the past eight years, and to leave that behind for a very uncertain future in audio is really scary. Thinking about it too much breaks me into a cold sweat. But it also makes me all tingly and excited the way that falling in love or going to college made me feel.
This didn’t happen overnight. I’ve been immersed in all things audio for the past nine-months as a KALW Audio Academy fellow. I had taken some radio classes before, but my experience at KALW has really solidified my love for the process of creating a radio story: pitch, report, draft, edit, rinse, repeat. In my first feature, I reported on the story of a non-profit in the Mission District that dove deep into real estate development in order to help the people in their community better. Initially, I thought the premise was simple enough, but soon, I found myself drowning in housing acronyms (RAD, PHA, SRO, etc) that I had never heard of before. My mind went into meltdown many times over all the facts and figures, but my editor, Jeneé Darden, steered me back to my core story every time things got too overwhelming. After many grueling months, I finally finished my story. When I heard it on air, I was immensely thankful for all the people who were involved that made it happen: the people I interviewed (even the ones whose voices didn’t make it to air) who were kind enough to share their story with me, my editor, my Audio Academy mentor and other Audio Academy fellows who supported me emotionally, the amazing sound engineers. So yeah, I guess when I really think about it, I shouldn’t be so afraid of my uncertain future in audio because I’m going to have all these amazing people pushing me through.
Originally, my start date at Stitcher was going to be on June 17, which is the day that we’re having our Audio Academy graduation. Everyone (myself included) was super bummed I wouldn’t be able to walk out along with the rest of the graduates. But Stitcher agreed to extend the start date, and so I was able to attend in person (the alternate was a cut-out of me), walking out to some bangin’ music and celebrating with some of the best people I’ve met in my adult life. I’m so jazzed for my own future and for all my fellows’ futures. I can’t wait to hear all the stories that we’ll make one day and think of the tingly and excited way that making our first radio stories here at KALW made us feel.