Piece Comment

Review of Outlaw Pt 1

It's hard to understand what the focus of this program is and how it's meant to engage the listener.

From the description of the program here on PRX, we're told that the program is an interview with a man named Clyde, who has lived on the fringe of society since the 1960s. However, it would be hard to gather that from listening to the program. Outside of one isolated mention four minutes into the program (and another three minutes before we hear the interview), Clyde isn't introduced. If the listener doesn't catch that brief mention in minute three, you are left clueless about who this man is and why he's being interviewed--for the rest of the hour.

The program tries to tie music into the story by drawing contextual connections from the music to the interview, as well as highlighting inspirational bonds between the 60s era, the interviewee, and the music. However, if the producer wishes to use music to establish mood like this, they should play enough of the music to establish that mood (10-20 seconds, tops), and then move on to the meat of the program instead of playing every piece of music in its entirety. Additionally, some of the musical/interview explanations offered by the host are tenuous.

Focus is the big issue here. If the point of the program is to share Clyde's experience, why does seven minutes pass before we hear from him at all? Even when Clyde is heard (in minute seven) the interviewer doesn't introduce him, or share why he's being interviewed. It feels like you are joining a conversation in the middle and it makes the listener feel left on the outside. Further, during the course of the interview, Clyde is not reintroduced in order to catch up any listener who’ve tuned in since the program began.

The interview itself could use some editing--there are too many unnecessary tangents, too much insider laughing, and a general lack of focus to the interview. The discussion does follow a linear time line, but again, without any idea who this is or why the discussion is significant, the content (and meaning) are lost on the listener.

Oddly, the program ends with a fundraising pitch for the host station (complete with phone number).

While this program may work at its home station, this program won't be compatible with the production standards at many other stations.