Saturday night, Michigan Radio and the Ann Arbor Summer Festival welcome Snap Judgment to the Power Center. Snap Judgment is one of the newer additions to the public radio lineup and its creator calls it storytelling with a beat.
“I’m a big, big public radio head from a long time ago,” said Glynn Washington, the creator, executive producer, and host of the show. “But sometimes public radio can get a little bit boring. And I was trying to come up with an idea to get rid of the boring stuff and leave everything that I loved. What we try to do at Snap is get rid of the exposition, drop people right into the heart of the story, and the way that we do that is through soundscaping.”
Many of Washington’s personal stories and experiences have made it onto the show, sometimes even stories his family members have never heard. His mother often appears as a character in his stories.
"Sometimes Mommy doesn’t appreciate it too much," he confessed.
Washington explained that while it has been difficult to maintain such a level of transparency on the air, it has also been very rewarding.
“It’s been interesting getting used to sort of bleeding into the microphone every week, but I do find it very, very cathartic in the end. I find that storytelling is kind of the way that I process my own issues. And, you know, stories have a beginning, middle, and end, but life doesn’t really have an end, and so putting these stops on things is helpful for me at least.”
The show on Saturday will feature some of the world’s best storytellers, and they have all been asked to tell a tale that will move the audience. Accompanying the storytellers is a live band directed by Alex Mandel. Washington expects that everyone who attends will not be disappointed.
“It’s a duet between the storytellers and the musician that really creates a new art form, and I’m really excited for everyone to hear it. You’re going to be blown away.”
Recently, The Atlantic wrote an article about Washington hailing him as “NPR’s Great Black Hope.” Washington said that while he loved the article, he felt that it was an unfortunate headline.
“I see what they were doing. ‘Let’s get the most clicks we can for our headline, let’s put something provocative out there.’ And I understand because I do it myself all the time,” he said. “I think what they were trying to say was that what Snap Judgment is doing is reaching out to audiences that public radio has traditionally left behind. If I wanted to be provocative, I would have called it This New American Life, but Ira would really be upset if I did so.”
Glynn Washington and Snap Judgment will be here Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Power Center. Tickets are on sale now.
-Michelle Nelson, Michigan Radio Newsroom
Listen to the full interview above.