Out on the Wire

Out on the Wire

The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio

Book - 2015
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"Go behind the scenes of seven of today's most popular narrative radio shows and podcasts, including This American Life and RadioLab, in graphic narrative. Every week, millions of devoted fans tune in to or download This American Life, The Moth, Radiolab, Planet Money, Snap Judgment, Serial, Invisibilia and other narrative radio shows. Using personal stories to breathe life into complex ideas and issues, these beloved programs help us to understand ourselves and our world a little bit better. Each has a distinct style, but every one delivers stories that are brilliantly told and produced. Out on the Wire offers an unexpected window into this new kind of storytelling--one that literally illustrates the making of a purely auditory medium. With the help of This American Life's Ira Glass, Jessica Abel, a cartoonist and devotee of narrative radio, uncovers just how radio producers construct narrative, spilling some juicy insider details. Jad Abumrad of RadioLab talks about chasing moments of awe with scientists, while Planet Money's Robert Smith lets us in on his slightly goofy strategy for putting interviewees at ease. And Abel reveals how mad--really mad--Ira Glass becomes when he receives edits from his colleagues. Informative and engaging, Out on the Wire demonstrates that narrative radio and podcasts are creating some of the most exciting and innovative storytelling available today"--
"This graphic novel takes readers behind the scenes of their favorite radio shows and podcasts to show the storytelling techniques and ideas that produce these beloved programs"--
Publisher: New York :, B/D/W/Y/Broadway Books,, 2015
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780385348430
Characteristics: xi, 226 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Glass, Ira


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JCLEmmaF May 26, 2017

Abel takes us behind the scenes of the most popular radio shows and podcasts, including This American Life, Serial, and Invisibilia, in this documentary style graphic novel. With the help of Ira Glass, readers meet their favorite voices and producers, and come to understand the inner workings of the podcasts and radio shows we so dearly love. This comic is interesting and informative, text heavy for those who do not quickly select comic books.

May 13, 2016

It suffers from the same fault all "talking head" documentaries suffer from (that is, there's no action or feelings, and it's boring), and the added fault of having a topic that isn't amenable to graphic storytelling. A lot of dialogue, somewhat repetitive, and the secret to radio documentaries is all too often just "intuition."

JCLChrisK Mar 17, 2016

A documentary graphic novel about the making of documentary radio stories. And it is a story about storytelling.

Abel spent two years conducting interviews and shadowing behind-the-scenes events with the producers of This American Life, The Moth, Radiolab, Planet Money, Snap Judgment, Serial, Invisibilia, and other narrative radio shows. Then she figured out how to weave all of that material into a compelling, personal narrative she could illustrate. She, Ira Glass, and her other subjects talk to her, to each other, and to readers in turn. They talk about who they are as artists and the processes they follow to create their art.

The material is woven into themes that speak to anyone interested in stories and storytelling. Abel's subtitle may call these things "secrets," though simply listing them isn't particularly revealing. The journey through them, however, as presented in Abel's book, certainly is. This is a fascinating, engaging, informative meditation on story creation helpful for all types of storytellers.

multcolib_karene Jan 17, 2016

A fascinating and informative walk through ''narrative radio shows/podcasts.'' And inspiring - I totally want to do my own little podcast now!

Aug 03, 2015

Out of the Wire is an interesting peak behind the scenes at the world of radio storytelling. My first impression was that it was overly wordy for a comic about concise storytelling. The dialogue boxes are less dense by the end, but the whole first chapter seems needlessly crowded. I think those readers more invested in the medium or the industry will be less bothered by it.

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