Focusing through Narration

While listening to both broadcasts, This American Life and House on Loon Lake, the biggest problem I faced (as did others) was maintaining focus. The average attention span of most people is around thirty minutes, these narratives however were longer. I believe mine is shorter as I could not concentrate on listening to these podcasts any longer than ten minutes at a time without pausing and doing something else for a moment.

I was more interested in House on Loon Lake as it was one long story and had my attention as it was more of a movie where I painted the picture in my mind. I felt that it was easier to connect to one long continuous story rather than the shorter stories where the host skipped around so frequently. Maybe it was the art of a radio story which made me feel lost or bored during some. I feel I am more engaged when reading something rather than listening. This is where the whole concept of going at your own pace comes in, which someone previously mentioned. While reading, you create your own mental image, with you as the narrator. You can read and reread as much as you want simply by moving your eyes. However, with a broadcast, the instant you let your mind wander you immediately need to stop the piece and rewind. Kind of annoying to say the least as I did this numerous times during my listening.

From the technical aspect of radio broadcasting, it is interesting to hear the different sounds the author uses to illustrate the key points. The music chosen usually goes with the theme of the text that was just read and is mostly lyric free, probably to keep the reader interested in the story rather than the background music. I felt that with House on Loon Lake the insertion of background noises heightened during a time of thickening plot – to keep the suspense building into the next scene. This is very similar to the way authors end chapters in a book- keeping the reader wanting more. After listening to these pieces, I do not feel like I gained the whole radio experience. It would be interesting if you were also able read these narratives and then listen to see which experience the audience would like better.


Marissa Casagrande


~ by bighouse113 on January 31, 2011.

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