Richard Davies
Richard Davies

297. Learning, relearning and unlearning the magic of broadcast

Richard Davies, co-host of the How Do We Fix It? podcast, fell in love with radio and broadcasting at the ripe old age of nine.

“My dad bought a big Sony reel-to-reel tape recorder,” he recalled. “I started playing around with it. I have a recording of myself doing newscasts, making up stories about people doing various things.”

Now, after a 30-year career in broadcast, Davies heads up a podcast production company, embracing the new frontier of audio recording.

His career in journalism started in newspapers, which kept him grounded and taught him the discipline that has served him well in his tenure, most of which was spent at ABC News.

Davies laments that journalism has become more of a business, with more care and attention to what drives ratings.

“Journalism has become less interested in issues in issues and more interested in clashes, controversy and celebrities,” he said. “You’re either thrilling people or shocking people or surprising people. I’m not saying all forms of broadcast journalism are like that, but I do think there’s a bias toward over-dramatization in journalism that is perhaps now more pronounced than ever with cable TV news being so prominent in the past 20 years.”

Davies values, more than anything, the power journalism has to stitch communities back together and sees podcasting as a logical continuation of radio’s magic.

“Radio sometimes is on in the background. Podcasts are rarely on in the background. They’re often consumed in headphones at a time when the listener is not distracted by other forms of media on your screen,” he says. Additionally, the voice or voices featured in the podcasts are more likely speaking directly into the listener’s ears, putting them in the listener’s head.

A podcast “demands something a little bit different,” he said. “Radio’s dealing with audio, and podcasting’s dealing with audio, but it’s different in some ways. It’s been that aspect of learning and unlearning that’s been fascinating to me.”

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