Transom » Radiolab: An Appreciation by Ira Glass

by Scott Smith

The editorial vision of the show is also utterly original. What other show takes on the kinds of subjects Radiolab does? What other show would even take up the question of walking speed in different cities, much less invest dozens of hours in manufacturing an original audio experiment? (And BTW they just did a second all-over-the-globe audio inquiry like this one, about tic-tac-toe.) As Bill McKibben pointed out in the New York Review of Books about Jad and Robert: “In an almost comic attempt to make their job hard, the duo take only the most difficult subjects from science and philosophy: ‘Time,’ ‘Morality,’ ‘Memory and Forgetting,’ ‘Limits.’” Listening to Radiolab I have the unusual experience where nearly every story is something I’ve never heard of or thought about before, and the stories lead to ideas I’m utterly unfamiliar with. That’s a standard very few of us even aspire to, much less achieve.