Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio


I am at work on a major project on narrative techniques and ideas of the new generation of great American journalists/storytellers on the radio and podcasts. Jumping off from Radio: an Illustrated Guide, a 32-page comic I did in collaboration with Ira Glass back in 1999 (and which you can still buy via TAL), I’ve been talking to radio people and thinking about radio and story pretty much nonstop since April of 2012.

The book will be close to 200 pages, and will be out in August 2015 from Broadway Books.we are all storytellers

The book will feature producers from

This American Life (Ira Glass and others)

Snap Judgment (Glynn Washington, Stephanie Foo, Mark Ristich, Pat Mesiti-Miller, Julia Dewitt)

Planet Money (Adam Davidson, Alex Blumberg, Chana Joffee Walt, David Kestenbaum, Robert Smith, Zoe Chace)

Radiolab (Jad Abumrad, Robert Krulwich, Sean Cole, Soren Wheeler)

The Moth (Catherine Burns)

99% Invisible (Roman Mars)

…and more.

These people are pretty much the smartest, coolest people out there in any art form (other than comics) and they know their stuff. I will be doing my best to draw together their insights and knowledge in an engaging manner, of course, but also in a way that will be useful to storytellers in all media.

They also have a LOT to say, most of which I won’t have room for in the book, so I expect to begin a series of posts with interview excerpts and possibly audio/video in the next months.

If you’re interested in this, you can sign up to follow me in any number of forums.

My newsletter will have links to recent material, and I’ll probably start a radio-comics-specific sub-list at some point, for which you can indicate interest when you sign up.

Jessica Abel on Twitter

Facebook: this is my “personal” account, but I treat it as public. If you follow me there, you’ll be able to find out when I start a FB page for this book.

and of course, here’s the old reliable RSS for this site.

Ira. Do you have a name for this kind of radio?