Opname van een hoorspel / Recording a radio play
Opname van een hoorspel / Recording a radio play, by Nationaal Archief on Flickr (no known copyright restrictions)

A couple years ago, I followed the inception of Longshot magazine (then called 48 Hours), which was a full print magazine issue some very smart magazine people put together from submissions to print-ready in just two days. I didn’t know that some very smart radio people had started occasionally doing the same thing in radio, too.

Until last week, when I stumbled onto an announcement that Longshot Radio, in conjunction with Radiolab and the 99% Conference, were going to do their thing again, this time on the topic of creativity, revision and failure.

As it happens, I’ve had the topic of creativity and failure at the front of my mind this month, even more than usual, and my reaction to that news was, “Ooh, that’ll be interesting. No wait, I’ll pitch a story!” Once I started my email to them, I forced myself not to apologize for not actually knowing much about making radio. I just introduced Mighty Ugly and plugged myself. I’m kind of uncomfortable rereading that plugging-myself part of the email, but it wasn’t, like, ego-maniacal, and, well, no going back.

And you know? I heard back from them an hour later, asking me to write a short piece and pairing me up with a producer named Pat Walters. The rest was a whirlwind of some seriously intense discussion of creativity and failure, some hyperactive writing, some feverish looking for my microphone, some fitful sleep, and some recording.

And then it was done. And a lot of people made some awesome radio. I especially love the Q & A stuff they did through the Radiolab blog, and the woman who told about making mud pies in her mother’s kitchen. That the producers included my piece in the final cut of the show makes me feel all tingly. What a thrill, man!

It was the most fun I’ve had online since that Joss Whedon thing.

Have a listen, eh? What do you think?

[Edited to add photo, and to point out, in case it’s not obvious, that the moral of this story is that it can’t hurt to ask, and asking is way more fun than sitting around thinking about what it would be like to ask.]

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This is the best radio piece ever (disclaimer: I may be biased).

Jennifer Lindberg

I will listen, but wanted to pop in and say – GREAT MORAL! Thanks for reminding us all. 

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