The Spot: Sound matters!

Mar 11, 2018

This week on KALW's showcase for the best stories from public radio podcasts and independent radio producers...

Brains, Cars & Tigers,” from the podcast Sound Matters, March 2016.

Sound Matters from B&O is an award-winning podcast looking at – and listening to – the sounds of the world around us. Sound Matters investigates our noisy cosmos, how we listen to sounds, the stories we tell about them, and all the ideas, inventions, discoveries, possibilities and ideas that live in the realm of the audible. In the past two seasons, they’ve recorded underwater, in the jungle, and in outer space to explore the sounds that make up our lives, and that we rarely take the time to really listen to. 

In this episode, host Tim Hinman speaks with Trevor Cox – professor of acoustic engineering, specializing in room acoustics, signal processing and perception at the University of Salford in Manchester – and gets the lowdown on what’s up with the brain and how (we think) it cognates sounds.

The new season of Sound Matters is just about to launch, so be sure to catch every episode by subscribing to the show on Apple, Stitcher, and wherever else you listen to podcasts.

Postcard #9 - Pacifica, CA,” from the podcast Van Sounds, September 2017.

Van Sounds uses a wide variety of sounds to tell stories from all over the Americas: Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Nevada, and yes, here in our Bay Area. Each episode of the podcast usually covers one location through the stories of local musicians and artists. Every few episodes, the show breaks its usual format to share an  audio postcard, which is less a story and more like sound poetry, like this one from one of the show’s contributors Emily Jiang. In “Postcard #9,” she takes us on a ride from one from side of the bay to the other.

I hope you packed a jacket and your backpack, because it’s chilly out and we’re going hitch hiking.

You can see photos of Emily’s coastal journey at, which is also where you can explore more episodes of the podcast. You can also subscribe to the show on Apple, Stitcher, and RadioPublic.

This week's episode featured music from: Black Moth Super Rainbow, Django Reinhardt, Beach House, Podington Bear, and Electrelane.

If you have a suggestion for a podcast or an audio project we should feature, please drop us a line at

Tune in next week for another episode of The Spot, only on KALW San Francisco.