Cheri Trusler caught up with Ira Glass to chat about the future of radio, the West and being heard. Glass came to Missoula to perform a solo show as part of Montana Public Radio’s 50th anniversary year.
What is the future of podcasting? Is this just the start of something or will its popularity fizzle out?
I can talk authoritatively about the little corner of journalism that I’m in, right? That is long-form narrative journalism. In our little corner of the world, it has never been better. It’s hard to believe with millions of people downloading these podcasts that there’s not going to be a way for that to continue.
Nationally, radio stories from Montana and small places seem to be underappreciated; how can we make ourselves heard?
I mean if you find a good story, people will want to run it elsewhere. Things are going on here that other people around the country, I’m sure, will want to hear. I don’t know anything about Montana at all. But I can tell you, I and lots of people have hours of airtime to fill and we are looking for stories that people haven’t heard before. If that’s what you guys have, you should be aggressive and let us know what they are.
What should we as young journalists be doing to catch this wave of momentum?
If you can make something that seems really special, all you have to do is do it once, I think. Just get it onto some show and I think people will notice. I really do think that any one good story can be your calling card.
So, it’s about finding the one thing that you’re best at telling?
It’s about finding a story that’s really great and telling it well. The way you do that is by making a bunch of stuff. You just keep making stuff and you be rigorous about it. You have people listen to it and critique it and you make your stories better and better. That’s something I did as a baby reporter.
Is there a difference between radio in the West and in the East?
Are you trying to start a rap war? I know nothing about the difference so I can’t help with this, but the notion that you guys would have a hip-hop war with the Columbia Journalism Review, I completely support that. Because those guys are definitely suckers.
Cheri Trusler grew up listening to radio on her family ranch in Eastern Montana, practicing her own radio voice. College led her to the world of podcasting. She works at Montana Public Radio as the evening newscaster.