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Making the complex simple

With a background in big mainstream news organisations, Robert Krulwich accidentally “fell upon the future.” The result is the very popular podcast Radiolab, a programme that is known for its unique narrative and ability to make even the most complex of issues simple.

Explaining how the Radiolab team approach their work, Robert Krulwich turns to audio examples. The audience is treated to a programme clip on “randomness”, illustrated by a story about a little girl called Laura Buxton who released a balloon skywards only to have it returned by another girl named Laura Buxton.

Radio is powerful, and when Radiolab build a narrative it is remarkably different to how anyone else does it. Krulwich argues this is more powerful. His creative partner Jad Abumrad has a composer background, something that comes out in their programming.

The accident in the Radiolab story is more than a story about two men meeting and finding common ground. It is about two people not creating content regularly enough for broadcast radio, but happening to be around at the exact same time as Apple launched the iPod and podcasts started taking off.

It’s different now. Over time some 400 radio stations broadcast Radiolab’s take on the world, and over 4.5 million people now subscribe to the podcast.

Our web reporter Endre Lundgren talked to Robert Krulwich after his session:

And here you can watch his whole session.