In late 2001, Jad Abumrad was asked to host a showcase of documentary radio. He called it Radiolab. For a few years, Jad picked pieces that he liked and played them on Sunday nights. Every so often, Jad would make his own story ... or conduct his own investigation...and include it in his show. More and more, Radiolab featured Jad's original work, and played fewer and fewer of his favorite documentaries from around the world. Then one day in November of 2003, Jad was having breakfast with his friend Robert Krulwich. As Jad aired more of his own work, Robert was becoming impressed with how different and wonderful the show was sounding. On this November morning, Robert and Jad were discussing the mystery of how memory works, when one of them came up with the idea of taking that conversation into the recording studio. Whether that idea came from Jad or Robert may be lost to the still-unsolved mystery of how memory works. But they went ahead and talked to some scientists, and Jad embroidered and illustrated the resulting conversations with sounds and music. Before long, Robert and Jad decided to team up and re-launch Radiolab in its current form.
Radiolab is a special event. Unlike daily and weekly shows, we don't have a regular slot on the broadcast schedule. We produce five new episodes each season. Asking when a season will air is like asking when the monarch butterflies will migrate. Year to year, it depends on the weather. And when Radiolab does come back, it might be at 3pm, 9am, or 7pm. Listen for our promos, and ask your local station. Stations may run Radiolab as a week-long daily event, a five-hour marathon, or even as a weekly program airing all 20 episodes from all four seasons. Sign up for our newsletter, and we'll let you know when the new season is out. And if you sign up for the podcast, we'll deliver the latest episodes straight to your headphones.
Subscribe to our podcast. We release a new podcast every two weeks.
On the Radio:
Check with your local station for scheduling details. Stations that carry Radiolab.
Check out our episode archive, where each hour is organized by season.
Every two weeks, Radiolab releases a podcast - a free audio file that automatically downloads to your computer using software like iTunes. Subscribe to our podcast, and you'll always have the latest episode. Listen to podcasts on your computer, or transfer the files to your iPod or MP3 player and take them with you anywhere.
OK. We know. We know. Many listeners have written in to correct us on an error we made in a piece on Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" (from the episode Musical Language.) The animation for "Rite of Spring" in Fantasia was NOT, as we said, the dancing mushrooms ... but the story of the growth of life on Earth--a stormy little number from lava to dinosaurs. Thanks to everyone for filling us in!
Radiolab takes time. Each hour is like a little movie for your ear, and that takes time! Our particular blend of reporting and documentary is heavily researched--and sometimes we're reporting on stories that are still unfolding. Unlike a daily news program, we're able to wait to see how the story ends. And we work hard to create layered sonic experiences -- we hire actors, create and record our own sound effects, and compose music. All of this takes time. Be patient. It'll be worth it.
Radiolab is produced by WNYC Radio. You can support Radiolab with a gift to WNYC.
Radiolab uses a wide range of recording equipment when it steps out of the studio and into the world. We frequently use Sound Devices 7-series digital audio recorders with an Audio-Technica AT835 shotgun mic. But we've been known to go to great lengths to get good sound, using every variety of microphone and recorder imaginable: stereo mics, carddioid lavaliers, omni-directional mics, even parabolic microphones. And we've been known to use all kinds of recorders as well: DATs, minidiscs, tiny handheld digital recorders (the edirol R-9 or H2 zoom). But the most important part is what happens next ... when we feed our digital audio files into our Digidesign ProTools editing system. We spend an inexcusable amount of time bending, twisting, condensing, and transforming the sounds we collect on our Apple computers.
Radiolab is not currently seeking interns. But check back for future opportunities to volunteer.