KCRW’s UnFictional ★★★★
Listening to all these storytelling, documentary, and personal diary/journal podcasts is making me aspire to be a better storyteller. Frankly, I long to be able to captivate an audience even for a few minutes with an engaging story, because so often I fall flat on my face and either forget the witty ending or mix up the punch line. I get caught up in the excitement of the story and can’t pull it all together to make it flow. I suspect it’s tied to memory and concentration which I’ve always had a hard time with – at least as an adult. Being able to tell a great story is a crowd-pleasing party trick. I want people to like me at the party.
UnFictional is a Los Angeles-based radio program by KCRW. It tells short stories in the tone of other great podcasts like This American Life, The Mortified Podcast, StoryCorps, The Lapse, Neighbors, etc. The production quality is great and the host, Bob Carlson, blends in nicely with the segments and provides smart segues. Per its own description, the show features stories that run the gamut from “sophisticated” to “profane.” This is perfect because it describes people and life, which is what stories are about.
I wax poetic a bit today because I have been thinking about why I’m so drawn to these stories. In part it’s because they make me feel, and open my mind and heart. But, it’s more than that. I started listening to podcasts to learn. Storytelling podcasts sort of feel like a break from learning. There’s no discussion of onion futures like on Planet Money or insider political insight like on The Axe Files here, but I’m realizing I learn a lot from podcasts like UnFictional. I learn there are multiple ways to solve problems, that people are unique yet so similar, and that I have something in common with almost everyone. There’s a thread that connects me to people of all kinds, even those I’ve never met. I hear single episodes or entire shows that make me think of someone I know, even acquaintances. I want to share with them that they, like me, are not alone and are like someone else whose brave or funny or smart story I’ve heard on a podcast.
I’m going to soak up as many episodes of UnFictional as I can. It’s not interrupted by any annoying ads, shows seem to be about 25-35 minutes (great for a commute), and it moves quickly. This podcast uniquely makes me think of my own life and experiences and reminds me I have a story. If I continue to listen, maybe I can up my party ante and be a bit less socially awkward.
What do you think of this podcast? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss!
Audible Feast Ratings
Educational Value (4 / 5)
Pop Culture Value (3 / 5)
Host Listen-ability (5 / 5)
Flow & Production Value (5 / 5)
Humor (4 / 5)
Investigation (2 / 5)
Storytelling (5 / 5)
Makes Me a Better Person (5 / 5)
Overall Audible Feast Rating: (4 / 5)
You May Also Like …
Death Sex & Money, Strangers, The Longest Shortest Time, This American Life, StoryCorps, First Day Back, Neighbors, Only Human, Nocturne