Love + Radio
“Nick van der Kolk’s Love and Radio features in-depth, otherworldly-produced interviews with an eclectic range of subjects, from the seedy to the sublime. Get inside the mind of a rogue taxidermist. Find out what it’s like to experience a stroke firsthand. Or spend time with an artist who gives away her life savings every night. You’ve never heard anything like it before.”
In its self-description, Radiotopia’s Love + Radio (that’s Love and Radio, not Love plus Radio) is right, you really haven’t ever heard anything like it before. From the peculiar sorts of stories that this podcast tells to the unique and definitively experimental manner in which it tells them, Love + Radio is one of the finest examples out there of what the medium of podcasting allows for: a platform for non-mainstream subjects produced and told through abstract audio techniques. As you may gather throughout this review, it’s hard for me to say enough good things about Love + Radio. It may or may not be the first podcast to employ these techniques effectively, but it’s the first one I knew about and was exposed to.
The exact format of Love + Radio is tough to pin down, but suffice to say it’s a storytelling podcast that generally sticks to between one and three stories per episode. What sets it apart from other storytelling shows is in part the subject matter that it explores. Love + Radio emphatically does not shy away from difficult subject matter, and by that I mean that G-rated material (or even PG-13 rated material, for that matter) isn’t really this podcast’s MO. Rather, if you’re looking for a show that’s unafraid (brave, even) in its exploration of the themes of sex and violence (amongst other such topics), look no further than Love + Radio. From gut-wrenching interviews with pedophiles to probing the means and meanings of everyday violence like street fights to an in-depth reporting on a dangerous man running a strip club out of his home, Love + Radio doesn’t just go there, it brings you with it too.
Just how it brings you with it is part of what makes this podcast so unique. The way the audio is creatively edited and spliced together non-chronologically or repetitiously and then warped or transfigured serves as a reminder that these stories, indeed stories everywhere and in general, are rarely the straightforward soundbytes they’re so often presented to us as. They’re not just audio tales we can take at face value. The narrators may be untrustworthy. There may be an unremovable tension between interviewer and interviewee. It may be impossible to separate oneself from the story one is reporting on. But at its best, the production of Love + Radio is beautiful exemplar of the ways in which artists use lies to tell the truth. So go download it. Now, please.
There has arguably been a drop-off in consistently good episodes lately, but the early seasons particularly shine.
I am in awe of what Nick van der Kolk has created. As mentioned, he is one of the few creating a show that fully utilizes the medium of podcasting.
Many, particularly in some of the high-stakes episodes.
High, though the most recent season was not as good as the earlier seasons.
30 minutes - 1 hour
Overall Score: 9.3
- Show Me Yours
- How I Found Out My Relationship Had No Future, Pt 1 & 2
- Dirty Balloons
- The Wisdom of Jay Thunderbolt
- The Pandrogyne
- Another Planet
- An Old Lion, or a Lover’s Lute
- A Red Dot
- Points Unknown
- The Living room
- But really, listen to all of them.
If you like this podcast, you’ll probably like:
- The Heart
- This American Life
- Snap Judgment