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Sound School Podcast
Sound School Podcast
Rob Rosenthal/PRX/Transom.org

The Backstory to Great Audio Storytelling, hosted by Rob Rosenthal, for Transom and PRX.

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Tips to Elevate Your Reporting and Storytelling from Ira Glass

Ira Glass of This American Life is a master audio storyteller. He's equally skillful at laying out the mechanics of... more

04 Jun 2024 · 56 minutes
Safety First: Recording with Actors for an LGBTQ Story in Uganda

It's illegal to be queer in Uganda and incredibly unsafe. Queer people risk violence, eviction, harassment, and arrest. How then... more

21 May 2024 · 23 minutes
Shocking, Heartbreaking, Transformative…and Ethical?

There's a moment in this episode when Rob is gasping and holding his hand to his chest. Why was he so... more

07 May 2024 · 35 minutes
Introducing Sound Judgment

Deadlines, production meetings, staff management, show scheduling... in any given day, there's rarely time to pause and consider the craft... more

23 Apr 2024 · 46 minutes
Thanks, NPR. That Was Satisfying.

Have NPR's news magazines occasionally been sounding more radiophonic lately? Rob thinks so. He's collected a handful of satisfying moments... more

09 Apr 2024 · 22 minutes
The Um, A Deep Dive

"Ums." You're supposed to cut them out, right? But what if the "um" means something? Talia Augustidis noticed her boyfriend... more

26 Mar 2024 · 14 minutes
Revisiting: Should I or Shouldn’t I — Recording in Stereo

One of the top three questions Rob often hears when he's teaching is, "Should I record in stereo?" Rob says... more

12 Mar 2024 · 19 minutes
Small, Random, and Meaningful

In the tsunami of serialized documentary making over the last decade, what happened to the short story? Where are the... more

27 Feb 2024 · 50 minutes
For the Love of Radio, Get Out of the Studio!

In honor of World Radio Day this week, The Sound School Podcast is celebrating with a story that exemplifies the... more

13 Feb 2024 · 18 minutes
A Triple Whammy

Katz Laszlo says writing and tracking for herself is complicated enough. But it's an even greater challenge writing for and... more

30 Jan 2024 · 20 minutes
Tracking Partners

It's a brave thing to share the outtakes from a tracking session. All the blemishes are right there. But, Martine... more

16 Jan 2024 · 24 minutes
Revisiting: Goldstein on Writing, Fonts, and The Goldstein

While there were many great podcasts released in 2023, no one will remember the year as a good one for... more

02 Jan 2024 · 41 minutes
Which Is the Better Open?

Rob takes himself to task on this episode. He felt the beginning of the last episode of Sound School was... more

19 Dec 2023 · 11 minutes
Reporting Out at the Edge

Theo Greenly reports for a public radio station in the far-flung Aleutian Islands in Alaska. When he started, about two and... more

05 Dec 2023 · 19 minutes
Mixing Fiction with Non-Fiction

Fiction should stay in its corner, non-fiction in its corner. Or so Rob thought until he heard producer Pippa Johnstone... more

21 Nov 2023 · 23 minutes
Interview Strangers on the Street, Make a Podcast

Catherine Carr has turned vox into artful conversation with a deceptively simple question: Where are you going? That's also the... more

07 Nov 2023 · 20 minutes
Revisiting: Remembering Studs

Studs Terkel is considered by many to be a patron saint of documentary radio journalism. It's been 15 years since... more

24 Oct 2023 · 24 minutes
Pleasing to the Ear

Rob acts as a story DJ on this episode, featuring excerpts from stories he’s recently found pleasing to the ear.... more

10 Oct 2023 · 38 minutes
Salt at 50!

What do radio producers Phoebe Judge (Criminal), Zoe Chase (This American Life), Greg Warner (Rough Translation), Matt Kielty (Radiolab), Emily... more

26 Sep 2023 · 32 minutes
Revisiting: Dead Mom Talking

This year's Third Coast Festival winners and finalists produced incredible work. It got us thinking about winners from previous years.... more

12 Sep 2023 · 25 minutes
So You STILL Want to Start a Podcast, Eh?

It's unusual for a producer to share a work in progress. It's rarer still to do it twice. Nina Porzucki updates Rob... more

29 Aug 2023 · 19 minutes
Going Behind the Mic On Climate Change Reporting

Rebecca Hersher, a climate science reporter at NPR, offers excellent tips on reporting on climate change. But, at the heart... more

15 Aug 2023 · 31 minutes
Revisiting: Sound Art Meets Poetry Meets Cicadas

Summer means cicadas. Those crackly, buzzy bugs that drone and drone in the heat like a live electrical wire spewing... more

01 Aug 2023 · 22 minutes
Next-level Scoring

Get your headphones on for this episode! Rob dives into three remarkable examples of scoring. He features examples from the... more

18 Jul 2023 · 27 minutes
Lean In and Listen Like It’s Music

Rob's a fan of the "radio art" style of audio storytelling from Europe but often, after listening, he finds himself... more

05 Jul 2023 · 34 minutes
Revisiting: Avoiding Pesky Sound Problems

No matter how good you are recording in the field, you're going to encounter challenges. Rob Byers does an incredible job explaining how to... more

20 Jun 2023 · 13 minutes
The Best Audio Storytelling According to Pushkin

Pushkin Industries released a "Best Of Audio Storytelling: 2022" but instead of putting it out as a podcast series, it's... more

06 Jun 2023 · 28 minutes
Happy 15th Sound School!

The Sound School Podcast launched 15 years ago this month. But it was called Saltcast back then. And for the... more

23 May 2023 · 23 minutes
What's Grabbed Antonia's Ears?

Antonia Cereijido has her ear to the ground. It's her job as Executive Producer at LAist to listen to what... more

09 May 2023 · 38 minutes
The Fingerprint of Chris Brookes

A light went out recently. The bright light of Chris Brookes — a sorcerer of audio documentary and sound art.... more

25 Apr 2023 · 52 minutes
Producing a Non-narrated Obituary

What's the value of a non-narrated story for the listener? "It's direct," says NPR's Quil Lawrence. The characters in the... more

11 Apr 2023 · 13 minutes
What’s Next for Munira?

Munira Kaoneka first started as a blogger in Tanzania. But she says sometimes you need to shout so she started... more

28 Mar 2023 · 23 minutes
Still More Darts and Laurels

Rob takes a hard listen to three podcasts -- You Didn't See Nothin', Lights Out, and Noble Champions. He then... more

14 Mar 2023 · 26 minutes
Think of a Radio Station (or Podcast) as a Musical Instrument

Steve Junker says he thinks of a radio station as a musical instrument -- a pipe organ, to be specific.... more

28 Feb 2023 · 25 minutes
Dear Birth Mother

In this episode, Rob turns the mic on himself to mark the 10th anniversary of meeting his birth mother for the first time.... more

14 Feb 2023 · 38 minutes
Studs Terkel Meets Brian Eno in the Woods

It's good to look beyond your borders for inspiration. That's what this episode is about. Brian Harnetty is a sound... more

31 Jan 2023 · 17 minutes
This is Good, But I Have a Question

Three great new podcasts raised production questions for Rob. Why use sound effects in All There Is With Anderson Cooper?... more

17 Jan 2023 · 27 minutes
Recording Sound Design in the Field

John Scott Dryden takes a very unique approach to sound design for the fiction podcasts he produces -- he records... more

03 Jan 2023 · 18 minutes
Why Two Narrators When One Will Suffice?

The vast majority of stories are told by one narrator. But not at NPR's Planet Money. They regularly have co-narrators.... more

20 Dec 2022 · 20 minutes
Caves and Bears and Neanderthal Flutes - Stories from Slovenia

What's the best way for reporters to break out of their boxes and think creatively? Give them an unusual assignment... more

06 Dec 2022 · 26 minutes
Writing An Audio Essay

Rarely do reporters turn the mic on themselves to divulge the challenges in their own lives. So, when they do,... more

22 Nov 2022 · 24 minutes
Story Dissection: When the Lede Gives It All Away

The opening to a story, especially a long series, requires a dance. How much do you give away? How much... more

08 Nov 2022 · 18 minutes
We Need More Words To Describe Audio Stories

When you limit language, you limit thinking. When you limit thinking, you limit creativity. When you limit creativity, audio storytellers wind... more

25 Oct 2022 · 21 minutes
Hand Over the Cash?

Reporter David Weinberg knows the rule: don't pay sources. For fifteen years, he never did – until he reported on Phoenix... more

11 Oct 2022 · 26 minutes
Getting Honest —The Editor, Producer Relationship

Typically, what happens between an editor and a producer is private. In this archive episode of the Sound School Podcast... more

27 Sep 2022 · 23 minutes
Darts and Laurels Minus the Darts

In another installment of Sound School’s occasional episodes offering darts and laurels for exceptional and not-so-exceptional work, Rob is offering nothing... more

13 Sep 2022 · 23 minutes
Two Years of Reporting Whittled Down to Fourteen Minutes – Elissa Nadworny

This is the first episode of the Sound School Podcast (formerly HowSound). It's still from PRX and Transom. Rob's still... more

30 Aug 2022 · 23 minutes
Wolves, Horses, Boars, Birds, and Bugs

Field recordist Melissa Pons says one of the most important elements of recording soundscapes isn't the gear -- it's you.... more

16 Aug 2022 · 16 minutes
Tips For Interviewing Shy People (Especially Nuns)

Some interviewees are shy. Others guarded. Yet, you need to talk to them for a story. How do you help... more

02 Aug 2022 · 34 minutes
Nausea, Forehead Mics, and Immersion

Almost every reporting trip has its pitfalls. Andrew Leland's recent story for Radiolab had more than most: He reported people... more

19 Jul 2022 · 18 minutes
Sound School Podcast
Two Years of Reporting Whittled Down to Fourteen Minutes – Elissa Nadworny
Sound School Podcast

Listen now on

Apple Podcasts
Google Podcasts
Podcast Addict
Pocket Casts
Player FM
Podcast Republic


This is the first episode of the Sound School Podcast (formerly HowSound). It's still from PRX and Transom. Rob's still the host.... more