Pictured within the YouTube clip above is Jad Abumrad, creator of the hit public radio series RadioLab. RadioLab is produced by WNYC, a public radio station in New York City, and is then broadcast on public radio stations throughout the United States.
Since I am not much of a podcast listener, I had never heard of Abumrad until I ran across the TED Talk presentation linked above. I encourage you to listen to it, in its entirety. It is extremely professionally produced (though I was personally disappointed that no one ever picked up that banjo in the background). Abumrad's TED Talk is just over thirteen minutes long, and celebrates Dolly Parton's wonderful song, "My Tennessee Mountain Home." Hearing from Abumrad, in this TED Talk, is a worthwhile commitment of your time.
Abumrad tells us how his work with Dolly Parton gave him a new perspective on what his RadioLab segments should be trying to accomplish. Getting to "Wow" is good, and that is where he began, but Abumrad started to think that "Wow" wasn't quite good enough. Then, Abumrad began understanding that if his podcasts could present and dramatize significant divisions and difference within our society, this could help listeners gain important and worthwhile insights. He focused his podcasts on doing that, but he ended up not being completely satisfied with that kind of focus, either.
Finally, Abumrad did a nine-part series on Dolly Parton, and came up with a new idea. "A story cannot end in difference," says Abumrad. "It has to end in revelation." We have to find a place, he says, "where the things we hold as different resolve themselves in something new." Dolly Parton, Abumrad says, has found a way to do that with her audience.
We have to do that with our country.
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