This was submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for an MSc in Science Communication at Imperial College London, handed in on the 3rd of October, 2011. It's concerned with Radiolab, a 'curious things' podcast which I won't describe here, because it's in the dissertation! I'm also not going to read it again to paraphrase, because I'll spot things and kick myself.
WNYC’s Radiolab: a successful experiment?
As innovative science writing for lay people blooms across the web, I wonder: where are the innovators and explorers of our airwaves?
As amply demonstrated by Orson Wells’ retelling of War of the Worlds in 1983, radio can be a powerfully convincing medium, hijacking the auditory nerve to feed the imagination, creating stories in the ‘theatre of the mind’. However, whereas Wells subverted conventional codes, I will look at an slice of radio which creates a new form of storytelling.
RadioLab takes it upon itself to explore topics gut-wrenching, heart-swelling, knee-slapping and mind-bending, marching guilelessly from its position of ignorance to ask science ‘Why’?
In this document, I intend to examine the programme’s origins, its distribution methods, its experimental construction and form, and its effect on an audience.
It is my aim to establish what makes Radiolab a unique piece of aural science communication, and whether it works at engaging and informing an audience.
Read more here [pdf file, 802K, 48 pages]
I think I managed to pull out some interesting things, feel free to let me know what you think. Now to sort out the prize draw for all the lovely people who made it possible by filling in my survey.
I'd also like to thank my Mum and a certain df who helped me pull (and hold) it all together. Couldn't have done it without you.