• Radiolab Paints Images with Sound and Music

  • The Dolby Institute shines a light on Radiolab, a beautifully quirky radio show that airs on more than 450 US National Public Radio stations.

    • From time to time, we here at the Dolby® Institute point your attention to people who use sound and music in distinctive and interesting ways to tell stories. Excellent sound design isn't exclusive to big-budget Hollywood blockbuster movies. We hope you’ll take some inspiration from these stories.

      Radiolab Investigates Big Topics Through Sound

      Radiolab, produced by WNYC for public radio, with more than 1.5 million listeners per week, sounds unlike any other radio show. Using a unique combination of music, sound design, and voice, the show explores scientific and philosophical topics.

      Radiolab founder and host Jad Abumrad draws on his background in experimental music composition, using music and sound effects to paint images and build a compelling listening experience for the show's audience. His subjects include the nature of time and the way animals perceive color. 

      Now in its 11th season, Radiolab has won numerous awards, including the National Academies Communication Award and the coveted Peabody Award. 

      The creative angle that Radiolab takes in telling stories makes it one of the most successful podcasts available, and it's designed and mixed to be experienced through a great-quality sound system.

      Abumrad, who also received a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" in 2011, says about the unique sound of the show: "If I do my job right, I can use words and sounds that are like words, or somewhere between words and music, to create images in your head.

      "They're so immediate and undeniable that literally those images will just pop into your head. But those images don't exist. You have to paint them, so I'm starting the process and you're finishing it. It's like I hand you the paintbrush, and you finish the painting."

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      The Dolby Institute

      Our mission is to educate and inspire content providers in the effective use of audio and visual technologies as a creative tool.

  • Radiolab Explore Radiolab's distinctive approach to using sound and music to tell stories.