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Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio (Paperback)
A Library Journal Best Book of 2015
Go behind the scenes of seven of today’s most popular narrative radio shows and podcasts, including This American Life and RadioLab, in graphic narrative.
Every week, millions of devoted fans tune in to or download This American Life, The Moth, Radiolab, Planet Money, Snap Judgment, Serial, Invisibilia and other narrative radio shows. Using personal stories to breathe life into complex ideas and issues, these beloved programs help us to understand ourselves and our world a little bit better. Each has a distinct style, but every one delivers stories that are brilliantly told and produced. Out on the Wire offers an unexpected window into this new kind of storytelling—one that literally illustrates the making of a purely auditory medium.
With the help of This American Life's Ira Glass, Jessica Abel, a cartoonist and devotee of narrative radio, uncovers just how radio producers construct narrative, spilling some juicy insider details. Jad Abumrad of RadioLab talks about chasing moments of awe with scientists, while Planet Money’s Robert Smith lets us in on his slightly goofy strategy for putting interviewees at ease. And Abel reveals how mad—really mad—Ira Glass becomes when he receives edits from his colleagues. Informative and engaging, Out on the Wire demonstrates that narrative radio and podcasts are creating some of the most exciting and innovative storytelling available today.
About the Author
Cartoonist and writer JESSICA ABEL is the author of two textbooks about making comics, Drawing Words & Writing Pictures and Mastering Comics, written in collaboration with her husband, the cartoonist Matt Madden. She is also the author of the graphic novel La Perdida and a new science fiction comics series called Trish Trash: Rollergirl of Mars.
Praise for Jessica Abel's Out on the Wire
A Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2015
A Tech Times Best Comic of 2015
“A boundary-pushing comic, a love letter from one blossoming new media to another...Out on the Wire is a terrific book for radio superfans and would-be producers, a niche audience that isn't so niche anymore.”—Los Angeles Times
“With comics and podcasts both on the rise, it’s a perfect time for a media collision: Abel investigates modern narrative radio and its stars.” –Entertainment Weekly
“One of fall's coolest graphic reads...Consider the 240 pages a documentary comic and Abel your host.”—Marie Claire
“What makes [Out on the Wire] especially fascinating is its use of visuals to represent an aural form; not only are we reading behind-the-scenes stories of what we eventually hear, but we get a rare glimpse of what the people and places in them look like thanks to the not-often-enough-used comics journalism.” —Chicagoreader.com
“This instructive, impassioned, and educational volume uses a deliberate and friendly approach in the vein of Scott McCloud… A must-read not just for listeners of today’s great flowering of audio storytelling but for those who want to learn how to do it themselves.”—Publishers Weekly
“A richly engaging graphic narrative about radio storytelling and storytelling in general… A spirited work whose readership should not be limited to those who make radio narrative or love to listen to it.” —Kirkus Reviews [starred]
“Abel (La Perdida) has performed a metamasterpiece by reporting with visual finesse and detail the complicated and sometimes precarious process behind public radio shows such as Radiolab and This American Life… Indispensible for communications collections and a valuable asset for anyone considering a career in media.” —Library Journal [starred]