Nick Van Der Kolk is the creator of the American podcast Love + Radio which has been on air since 2005. Each monthly instalment features in-depth, otherworldly-produced interviews with an eclectic range of subjects, from the seedy to the sublime.
Love + Radio by Nicholas Van Der Kolk
Nicholas Van Der Kolk nominated writer, radiomaker and audio artist Gregory Whitehead
I first heard Gregory Whitehead’s work on Chicago Public Radio—a piece called “Mind, Body, and Soul”. Though it’s relatively accessible by Whitehead’s standards—a pretty straightforward (fictional) interview with a man committing himself to eating several books—it stopped me in my tracks. So-called public radio in the US is a conservative (small ‘c’) medium, with an increasing emphasis on doing things in a way that is repeatable and never calls attention to itself. “Mind, Body, and Soul” was the opposite: bizarre subject matter permeated by jarring though obviously intentional choices of cuts and sound effects.
Whitehead’s work opened a door to thinking of radio as a medium for intuitive association and poetic investigation. And, unlike a lot of audio art, whose tone of self-seriousness can lead to alienation, Whitehead never loses a deep sense of playfulness. Today, the popularity of podcasts has exploded thanks to a basic understanding of what is listenable. I think his spirit is an important one to keep in mind if this young medium is going to continue growing—not just in terms of downloads—but creatively as well.