Technology in our current times is every changing and evolving. What once were live performances of music then turned into records, then radio which is still used today. Radio has been transformed into applications, CD’s, etc. The newest form is now a podcast. Podcasts do not necessarily feature music. They more tell stories or describe events. A podcast is defined specifically by Google as a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading. The podcasts are typically available as a series or in installments.
The most recent podcast I listened to was created by WBEZ entitled, “This American Life”. It was about Harper High School located in Chicago, Illinois and more specifically Englewood. It was about the growing rate of violence primarily by gangs. In one year alone, 29 residents and students were shot. The journalists covering this story interviewed teachers, counselors, and students at the school to better understand the environment in which they live and learn. What they found was horrifying.
It was made a point by multiple interviewees that the neighbor is not safe. You are not supposed to walk alone but you are also not really supposed to walk with someone as it is seen as gang relation. If a specific gang sees you walking with someone, they will automatically assume you are in a gang and likely start some sort of trouble.
The most troubling aspect of the entire issue was that kids were placed in gangs not because they wanted to join them but because of where they lived. Gangs are based on the block you live on and not necessarily who you hang out with. It was awful to hear that the gang violence does not get left out of the school doors. Students have been shot and killed. Some for no reason in particular they were just in the midst of the action. Students at the school are terrified of what happens as soon as they leave the school doors to go home. Drama that happens in school between gangs will likely not be solved in the classroom and will then be brought to the street to which point the violence occurs.
This two part podcast was incredible in the sense that it truly told the story of what these kids go through on a daily basis. The journalists who covered the story did so in a narrative manner even during the interviews. I thought this was an effective way to tell the story as it provided the listener with the ability to only focus on the voices that were speaking and the sounds of the school in the background. Had this story been told on a television, I believe it would have taken away from the heart of the matter. It would be difficult to tell the story on a radio station as it would take quite some time to do so in between commercials and songs. Podcasts are the new an upcoming medium.
Radio is still an excellent medium for music and the exchange of information about artists. Podcasts are now surfacing as the new way to tell stories and exchange news. Both of these work cohesively with the other. The existence of podcasts now allow more time for radio stations to play music and get new, popular music out to listeners while radio allows podcasts to focus their time and energy in telling a single story whether it be all in one session, or in installments. Podcasts are new and upcoming and will soon be more diversely spread amongst the population nationwide.