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Radio: The Big Picture

Public Group active 1 year, 8 months ago ago

Radio: The Big Picture

Background Music for News Programs (6 posts)

  • Profile picture of Brit McGinnis Brit McGinnis said 3 years, 8 months ago:

    Does music add an emotional, human element to news programs? Or does it make a program seem hokey and less legitimate? I’m interested to hear opinions.

  • Profile picture of Jones Franzel Jones Franzel said 3 years, 8 months ago:

    This is a VERY thought-provoking question, because I think you’re also raising the question of whether music can be part of manipulating the listener. Is that appropriate in a news story? Does documentary fall into a different-enough category that music is a better fit there? It’s funny, because although both news and documentary programs present non-fiction “stories,” my personal feeling is that only documentaries can really get away with music.

    Here’s a question to your question… does infusing a news story with music turn it into a more documentary style program? I’m on the fence about all of this.

    I need to go stew on this some more… Thanks for raising such a good question, Brittany!

  • Profile picture of Brit McGinnis Brit McGinnis said 3 years, 8 months ago:

    In my own (extremely limited, I admit) experience, documentaries CAN indeed get away with music far more often than “straight news”. This may be because documentaries are typically closer in format to “case studies” as opposed to “mass reports” in terms of the human experience, but that’s just one evaluation.

    For my demographic (19-24 year old college males), I CAN’T serve straight news. It hurts, because I adore straight news in the style of Morning Edition or BBC World News. The fact is that it doesn’t capture their attention. It feels like quality prostitution to just sprinkle in news amongst a backdrop of music! For now, I’m following up legitimate news stories with music of a similar theme.
    Examples:

    Recent statistics of college rape and sexual assaults -> fade into -> “Mary Jane” by Alanis Morrisette
    Genetically altered salmon approved for mass consumption -> pop over to -> “The Tide is High” by Blondie

    It’s necessary for tis demographic, I feel. Just hoping Terry Gross doesn’t cringe upon listening, if you catch my drift.

  • Profile picture of Jones Franzel Jones Franzel said 3 years, 7 months ago:

    Apropos of this conversation… are you following SaltCast? It is AWEsome – a podcast on radio storytelling from the wonderful Rob Rosenthal. Recently, he featured this story – Powered By Laughter – and it begins with this statement:

    “Music is emotional fascism.”

    And takes it from there. Take a listen! It’s great fodder for this discussion…

    - Jones

  • Profile picture of Brit McGinnis Brit McGinnis said 3 years, 7 months ago:

    Oh yes, I ADORE the Saltcast. And I truly take the “emotional fascism” aspect when utilizing music. Right now I’m running a music analysis show, and sound editing is so so important. It took forever to find a theme song, because the proper tone has to be set for something like that. I finally settled on “Back in Black” by AC/DC, an exciting song that, if anything, only connotates gearing up to play music. It is a very different setting, and requires a whole different thought process.

    Jones Franzel said:

    Apropos of this conversation… are you following SaltCast? It is AWEsome – a podcast on radio storytelling from the wonderful Rob Rosenthal. Recently, he featured this story – Powered By Laughter – and it begins with this statement:

    “Music is emotional fascism.”

    And takes it from there. Take a listen! It’s great fodder for this discussion…

    - Jones

  • Profile picture of Molly Adams Molly Adams said 3 years, 7 months ago:

    I avoid music in almost anything I produce. It’s nonsensical to use in news because it might be hard for people to catch a word if there’s a news bed, and it can be “scoring” unless it’s just one of those intense “news bed” type Jim Lehrer pieces.

    In docs or features, I like to let people’s voices and silences do the punctuating. Shows like Love + Radio will repeat a phrase, slow something down, or add reverb to make a point. I think this is a nice, natural way to tell stories.