Today I was out and about running several errands, catching up on my backlog of podcasts. Two shows that came up in the queue really got my attention, and I think everyone involved in media (especially online or mobile media, particularly any media with an audio component) should listen — REALLY listen — to them both in full.
They’re both retrospectives of Tony Schwartz — an agoraphobic genius who produced over 30,000 sound recordings, thousands of groundbreaking political ads, media theory books and Broadway sound design. He also invented the portable tape recorder and was a pioneering folklorist. He died in June.
I feel like an idiot. For all my work in media, I knew nothing of Schwartz’s work. Until today. Now I’m obsessed. He pulled together the threads of human nature, psychology, the nature and effects of sound, motivation, persuasion, provocation, media and communication in clearly human terms.
So I’ll be learning more about his work. Here’s a sample:
In the meantime, here are the podcasts that grabbed my attention:
- The Listening Life, from On the Media, June 27. Brilliantly produced by The Kitchen Sisters.
- Tony Schwartz for the Next Generation. Christopher Lydon of Radio Open Source interviews TV documentarian David Hoffman about the Schwartz’s impact and insight.