These are my favourite go-to resources for making stories using sound.
There are so many great tips in this book that your highlighter will be dry by the time you've finished reading it. This book is a collection of 20 essays written by well known radio producers that demonstrate, through stories and transcripts—how and why they make their radio stories the way they do. Writers include Jad Abumrad, Jay Allison, Scott Carrier, Sherre DeLys, Ira Glass, The Kitchen Sisters, Joe Richman + more.
I never considered making any other type of radio except radio documentaries until I read this book. It’s a how-to handbook for audio journalists (plus anyone working with sound) that covers topics like finding and pitching stories, structuring your story, sounding conversational, editing ethically etc… And yes, it is written by the Executive Producer for Training at NPR. It's my bible.
A graphic novel (strange to read but it does flow) that goes behind the scenes of seven of today’s most popular narrative radio shows and podcasts, including RadioLab, Planet Money, Snap Judgment, Serial and Invisibilia. Jessica Abel made the comic guide for This American Life back in the day, and this is an extension of that.
The quickest and easiest way to go from zero radio skills to enough to make your first radio documentary or podcast! Alex Blumberg (the guy who created Gimlet Media e.g. Startup Podcast, Mystery Show and Reply All) has an incredible online class you must take. The delivery makes you feel like you are there in the room with Alex. Not convinced? See my notes here.
They've got soul over at Transom. In every thoughtful essay (written by well known radio producers) you'll learn loads. It's a treasure trove of tools, tips and audio. It's free and it's well worth exploring + supporting.
Competitions (that anyone serious about making radio need to enter) as well as must listen to podcasts. I especially like listening to past competition winner's pieces to see what makes for a winning entry.
Chances are you've probably heard of PRX now that This American Life is going to be self distributing their shows via their marketplace. But guess what, YOU can also upload your audio stories and earn royalties when stations buy and play your pieces too. Which means you can then say, "My work has aired on [insert station name here]".
And if you can't make a piece of audio "work" you can submit it to be reviewed by PRX staff who'll give you advice on how you can make it better (this is one of their special initiatives called Second Ear).
Free digital academic journal that reviews the best radio documentaries and features from around the world. Sounds too academic for you? Then I recommend you listen to this radio documentary and then read the critique (click download on the top right hand of the page to read).
Seven videos about people who make radio including The Kitchen Sisters, Johnathon Goldstein and Roman Mars.
Other sites of interest:
Rob Rosenthal's podcast is about how some of the best audio stories are made. It's fantastic! Not only do you get to listen to some great radio, he also chats to the producer about their production decisions. Insightful, helpful, interesting and an easy listen (most episodes are between 10-20 minutes.) If you like what you hear, check out the early incarnation of the podcast, Salt Cast.
New! Join cartoonist Jessica Abel (yes, I've featured her book above) as she breaks down the principles of storytelling and puts you on the path to crafting your own story—in prose, comics, audio, video—in any narrative art form, fiction or nonfiction. Featuring radio and podcasting star producers from This American Life, Radiolab, Planet Money, Snap Judgment, and many more. There's a participation element, which I love, listen to the preview to learn more.
Listen to radio makers talk about their work and how they got started in the biz. It's an insightful and inspiring podcast.
Well known radio producers play their favourite audio stories.
Learn how to make radio documentaries
What places am I missing? Please let me know where else you can study radio.
Some of the links above are affiliate links. But that in no way sways my recommendations.