Stories in Sound with Ben Manilla

Stories in Sound with Ben Manilla

December 9, 2015


Podcasting students Duncan Authrey & Celeste Perry at the July 2015 workshop. Photo credit: Sebai

As podcasting workshop alumna Nadine Sebai describes in the segment above, producing a successful podcast requires a few key ingredients, including a compelling story, narration and natural sounds, but award-winning radio journalist Ben Manilla knows the extra magic needed to bring an audio story to life.

He’s sharing his wisdom on January 7 and 8 in Podcasting: Telling Stories in Sound. The certificate-earning course teaches a group of media professionals how to produce a one-minute radio piece in the span of 48 hours.

While the centuries-old tradition of telling a good story audibly may be easy enough, producing a high-quality audio piece is not. Manilla brings close to 40 years of professional experience to help his students create podcasts. In addition to instruction at the Berkeley Advanced Media Institute, Manilla also runs his own Peabody Award-winning production company.

The task of producing podcasts is both technical and an art. Manilla teaches students how to use recording equipment and audio-editing software and helps them bring their stories to life by teaching them how to write for listeners. This includes instruction on how to effectively capture and incorporate natural sounds, whether it’s a bustling city or a sigh, to evoke the imagination.

“The idea that this is a super personal medium, it’s like the person you’re listening to is speaking directly to you, nothing will ever replace that,” said Manilla.

Manilla’s latest production is a 60-minute documentary titled The Science of Gratitude, which argues gratitude is the key to happiness, and even survival. Using scientific research and individual stories, the show describes the power of gratitude in several situations, such as at the workplace or in personal relationships.

To learn more about the Podcasting: Stories in Sound workshop:

If interested, please contact Flynn May via phone at 510.642.6049 or email

Upcoming Workshops: