Arts & Life, Features

Jad Abumrad and the process of storytelling

Walking down the streets of New York City, Jad Abumrad had an epiphany while staring down a manhole. Aware of the pipes and drains that make up a larger infrastructure, the podcaster realized the vast extent of components and ingredients that go into doing his job of telling stories.

“From how to find the most interesting aspect of a story, to tugging on a question until another emerges, Jad knows how to grab a listener’s attention and hold it,” said Franz Neumann, external communications director for the Carpenter Performing Arts Center. “[He knows how] to arrive with them at a revelation that sticks with the listener and lets them see a question or issue in a new light.”

“The Miracle of Indoor Plumbing” is the title that Abumrad, co-host and creator of radio station WNYC and NPR’s “Radiolab,” came up with for his lecture series, which he is bringing to Long Beach State’s Carpenter Center Nov. 16. For the show, he will share his process for finding the hidden ingredients behind the captivating stories told on the award-winning podcast.

A New Yorker at heart, Abumrad began his career as a music composer, having studied creative writing and music composition at Oberlin College in Ohio. He worked for several different broadcast programs before he came up with the idea for “Radiolab,” which he currently co-hosts with Robert Krulwich.

“I wouldn’t have really considered myself a journalist at any point until I became successful,” Abumrad said.

“Radiolab” began broadcasting on radio, though the program started gaining mostly podcast listenership in 2013. In 2010 and 2015, “Radiolab” received a Peabody Award. In 2011, Abumrad was named a MacArthur Fellow. The success of “Radiolab” allows the show’s team members to branch out and seek larger opportunities.

“[Building our team] is something we are going to continue to lean into as we move forward,” Abumrad said.

Student tickets are $25 online with the code Hottix or at the box office with a student ID.

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