Top tips from Kim Fox on Audio Storytelling

Kim Fox (photo via Twitter)

Kim Fox is a Radio Journalism Professor at The American University in Cairo and a former reporter and host @WOSU.

You can find examples of her work at:

She spoke to J463 about her experiences working in commercial and public radio in the US and teaching audio storytelling in Egypt.

5 tips for audio storytelling

  1. You need passion for your topic, she said. “You want to be able to retain an interest in that topic,” she said.
  2. Try to have conversational topics. Do your background research and find people who are great storytellers.
  3. Figure out how to write a piece well. Find out how to write about the juicy soundbite you’re going to use.
  4. “Use of nat sound and music always puts people in a certain space.” Always record nat sound. It’s hard to look for music that fits your topic.
  5. Good audio. “This is the key.” “You can use your iPhone, but you need to treat it as a microphone.” She’s seen projects that have awful audio. But sometimes there are tradeoffs.
“People will be forgiving of bad audio if you have a good storyteller.”

When you can incorporate three of the five tips, you’re getting there.

On success in podcasting

“How long will podcasting be sexy? I don’t really know…” But “you can craft a position for yourself.”


  1. “Passion for the field.” If you’d do it for free, keep on keeping on.

2. Network. “People know each other.” “Don’t be afraid to send someone famous a note” with one of your piece if you don’t think it will be “too laborious.”

3. Go make stuff: “At the end of the day, you just need to produce something,” she said.

On the media in Egypt

“It’s a different media landscape.”

The pecking order for media in Egypt and in Cairo is TV, newspapers and magazines, then audio in terms of popularity.

There’s a top hits-style station. Other stations do talk radio.

“A lot of talk is about politics.”

“Somewhere on the dial there’s a BBC program.” But she usually just gets that online.

“Just because it’s third in line,” it’s still very popular in taxis.

Egypt is a population of 85 million people, and Cairo has something like 15 million inhabitants, said Damian. There’s a potentially huge market there.

Rush Hour in Cairo

Notes written by Jonathan Bach.