by Kiera Feldman
Click HERE to watch the video
Youth radio programs began popping up about ten years ago at high schools and community and public radio stations across the country (Blunt Youth Radio in Portland, Maine and Youth Radio in Berkeley were among the first). Thanks to these training programs, people who can't vote and haven't graduated high school are producing radio stories. Historically speaking, this is an unprecedented phenomenon. Never before has there been a mass media in which young people are both textual consumers and producers.
Youth radio has important implications for the future of public radio. It enables a different kind of storyteller and perhaps a different kind of public radio listener -- one who is interested in hearing stories that aren't told by people who are mostly white and highly educated. While the sound and narrative style of public radio has remained virtually unchanged since its founding in 1970, youth radio has the potential to rescue it from stagnation. Indeed, youth radio producers see their undertaking not as seeking to replicate a perfected formula but rather engaging with an evolving form---one that they are helping to redefine.
Since February I have hosted a podcast called YouthCast. YouthCast is distributed by alt.NPR and a radio website called [The Public Radio Exchange](PRX). Every two weeks I pick a youth-produced radio story to feature. These stories come from PRX, where stations and individual producers can upload their work and license pieces. For each podcast, I conduct an accompanying interview with the producer and put it on the YouthCast blog (www.youthcast.org).
The youth radio part of PRX is called Generation PRX, which has a prominent educational component. There are links to pages with audio production tutorials, as well as a list serv for youth radio teachers to share resources.
One of my goals from day 1 on the YouthCast job has been to make the podcast have an educational component as well. So far, my efforts in this department have been limited. I try to focus a good part of the producer interview on "process" questions (eg "How did you manage to record underwater?" or "How were you able to get those strangers to tell you all that deeply personal stuff?"). It is my hope that such "behind the scenes" questions will give listeners insight into their own production endeavors. As a producer, I view it as my responsibility to encourage and enable listeners (ie consumers) to be producers.
This video aims to be a crash course in the technical aspects of podcasting. It shows viewers how to record audio, upload audio to the Internet, get an rss feed, and submit the podcast to the iTunes podcast directory. There are countless ways to make a podcast; this just happens to be the way I find simplest.
I chose to make a podcast tutorial as opposed to a tutorial for making individual radio stories because I wanted to teach not only the tools of production but also distribution. I believe that teaching the tools of production and distribution is a radical process. The production of media tends to be cloaked in mystification. This video is an attempt to pull back the curtain and reveal the inner workings at their most basic level. I hope to encourage YouthCast listeners to be producers (especially those who are not already involved in production).
Note: this video is a working draft. After making revisions, I will post it on the YouthCast blog and announce its posting in the accompanying episode of YouthCast. This video is part of a broader effort to develop YouthCast's educational potential.