One of the podcast episodes I chose to listen to was “Numbers Stations” from 99% Invisible. The episode is hosted by Roman Mars, who discusses mysterious shortwave radio frequencies used to broadcast endless strings of numbers, also known as numbers stations. Something I found very interesting about this topic was the degree of mystery and obscurity behind these broadcasts. It is assumed that the numbers represent coded messages, but nobody knows who is meant to receive them. The most popular theory is that these shortwave frequencies are used by government agencies such as the CIA to communicate with spies around the world, but there’s no way to be certain.
The producer does an excellent job at keeping the podcast interesting and engaging through the use of various sound clips. He sprinkles in recordings of numbers station broadcasts throughout the episode, allowing listeners to feel like they are directly tuning in to them. Additionally, there is a lot of creepy background music which serves to reinforce the sense of mystery behind numbers stations and make the listener want to know more about them. Finally, the content is explained in a way that is relatively easy to understand. The producer avoids using heavy jargon in order to keep his audience as broad as possible.
After listening to this episode, I realized how important it is to have good background music and other appropriate sounds. It adds a whole new dimension to the experience. Depending on the topic I choose, I plan to implement strong auditory elements into my own podcast to hopefully make it more engaging.