The Full Spectrum Storytelling Intensive


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AIR’s Full Spectrum Storytelling Intensives started with Localore and Makers Quest 2.0, two experiments in public media that challenged a handful of talented, creative producers to come up with new ways of finding and telling stories.

The Full Spectrum curriculum emerged from our findings: The result is a week of intense training with curriculum covering community stories, experiments in writing and interviewing, sound in space and the future of audio.

Where: UnionDocs in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York

When: The next Full Spectrum Intensive will take place in December.

A glimpse at the curriculum: Summer 2017

Full Spectrum will expand your definition of what audio can be, while imparting concrete skills to add to your producer tool kit. Multimedia producers Isaac Kestenbaum and Josephine Holtzman will lead an interdisciplinary group of accomplished specialists to take you on a journey from storytelling to interactive design to composing—and beyond.

The week will be a combination of hands-on instruction, workshops, lectures, pitch sessions, experiments—and even an excursion or two. We’re looking for mid-career audio producers with the desire to expand their skills and their minds.

Leaders Isaac Kestenbaum and Josie Holtzman will draw from lessons learned through their recent multiproject public media project, “Frontier of Change,” which was part of AIR’s Localore: Finding America. “Frontier of Change” required them to wear many hats, sometimes all at once: oral historians, radio producers, event planners, designers, composers, audio tour producers — and more. Alongside Allison Herrera of “Invisible Nations,” Isaac and Josie have gone on to be chosen as one of NPR Story Lab Workshop’s 10 winning teams for their project, “Inter(Nation)al.”


All classes take place at UnionDocs in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. There will be an evening excursion (date TBD), a happy hour (Monday), and a lunch on Monday. Participation is encouraged, but optional.


Summer Intensive: June 25-30, 2017

Full attendance is mandatory. If you are unable to attend each day of the intensive, please do not apply. Class meets from 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Lunch will be provided on Monday. Snacks will be provided.


Who is eligible?

Full Spectrum has a competitive application process. We are looking for mid-career producers and story-first technologists from all walks of the media industry and beyond who have demonstrable skills in digital sound gathering, editing and mixing.

Filmmakers and those whose primary focus has been print, visual or moving image are strongly encouraged to attend, as well.

AIR membership is not required, though AIR members are eligible for a small travel stipend. A work sample is required with your application.

Please note: Participants will not produce projects during the week.


Deadline: Friday, May 12 at 5pm P.T.
Tuition: $850

Applicants must submit a $75 deposit to hold their spot. If selected, that deposit will go toward the full coast of tuition. Deposits will be returned immediately to those who are not selected for the workshop.

Please note: There is a 3-percent processing fee for Paypal payments.


AIR members living outside of NYC are eligible to receive a stipend ($100) to help underwrite fees and travel. If you’ve received a stipend or mentorship opportunity in the past two years from AIR, you may not be eligible.

If you’d like to join AIR to become eligible for the travel stipend, go here. Participants coming from outside NYC are responsible for their own transportation and room and board during the intensive. UnionDocs can provide assistance in locating housing and guidance for getting around town for those not native to New York.

Refund Policy

Full payment by May 12, 2017 from those accepted to Full Spectrum is due before students are eligible to attend.

Summer 2017 Curriculum Overview

Redefining Immersive Multimedia
Isaac Kestenbaum and Josephine Holtzman, “Frontier of Change,” Localore: Finding America
“Immersive” and “multimedia” are perpetual buzzwords, perhaps calling to mind an expensive virtual reality headset being hawked by a startup at SXSW. But this session will redefine those concepts—showing you how simple tools and a willingness to break rules can turn audio pieces into powerful storytelling experiences. Josephine Holtzman and Isaac Kestenbaum will draw on their work producing soundwalks, events, and interactive experiences to lead this session.

Telling Stories About Community
Christopher Allen, Founder and Art Director, UnionDocs
UnionDocs has been working on the interactive project and documentary Living Los Sures for the past five years. In this session, we’ll explore how to tell meaningful stories about a community in many voices and over a long period of time.

What Makes a Podcast
N’Jeri Eaton, Senior Manager of Programming Acquisitions, NPR
What makes a podcast stand out? How do you develop the concept to establish a unique style and voice, and find your audience? N’Jeri Eaton is Senior Manager of Programming Acquisitions at National Public Radio, where she oversees new podcast development. She will talk about what catches her ear and why, pull back the curtain on the development process, and give you the opportunity to workshop your own podcast idea.

Next-Level Interviewing
Sean Cole, “This American Life”
In radio/audio storytelling, reported pieces and non-narrated pieces are dependent on good tape. Sometimes good tape, even great tape, falls in your lap. But that’s rare. More often, getting the tape you need is an act of will. Veteran reporter Sean Cole will go through how to find the right interview subject, planning questions, thinking on your feet, and various interview techniques he’s used over the years.”

Stories and Numbers
Jenny Ye, Data Director, WNYC Data News Team
Numbers can help tell stories, if you know how and where to look. WNYC’s Jenny Ye will lead this session on how to find the tales hidden in data—and how to best visualize those stories. We’ll also look at making maps, charts, and even sonifying data. Jenny will be available to advise on data-driven pieces in development.

Composing For the Ear
Alex Overington, “Radiolab”
Learn how to use music and sound design to turn radio pieces into true compositions. Alex Overington will lead this session on how to score your pieces with music—and other sounds. You may never need to resort to the Free Music Archive again.

The Revolution Will be Fictionalized
Ann Heppermann, founder of The Sarah Awards and host of “Serendipity” fiction podcast
Not all podcasts are nonfiction—this session will give you tools to write and produce groundbreaking audio dramas for radio and podcast. And a lot of what you’ll learn—narrative structure, pacing, character development—will help you become a better producer of true stories as well.

Diversity of Stories
Nadia Reiman, Senior Editor, “Latino USA”
Stories on race and diversity can all too often end up in the realm of the cliché. Yet reporting on these subjects is increasingly important. Nadia Reiman will talk about avoiding blind spots, finding original subjects, recognizing clichés—and what separates a proper story from an “explainer.”

Winter 2017 Instructors and Guest Speakers

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Josephine Holtzman, lead isntructor

Josephine Holtzman is a lead producer for NPR Music’s multi-platform and award-winning program “Jazz Night in America.” She is also the head producer for “The Trip,” a travel podcast for Roads and Kingdoms. She is co-creator of “Frontier of Change” part of AIR’s Localore: Finding America initiative. A graduate of Vassar College and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, her reporting has aired on “Weekend Edition,” “All Things Considered,” “Studio 360,” and the “ReSound” podcast. She is co-founder of the climate change audio project, “Winters Past.”

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Isaac Kestenbaum, lead instructor

Isaac Kestenbaum is the co-creator of Localore: Finding America’s“Frontier of Change,” a multimedia project about the changing climate and culture in Alaska. He is the former Production Manager at StoryCorps, where he won a George Foster Peabody Award and an Alfred I. duPont award for work commemorating the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001. Other production work includes: “The Fix,” a series on NYC’s opioid crisis for the GroundTruth project, and “Winters Past,” a multimedia piece about changing winters.

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Christopher Allen

Christopher Allen is a founder of UnionDocs and is currently the Artistic Director. After graduating from Columbia University and studying at Trinity College Dublin, Allen worked as a social entrepreneur, documentary director, and new media artist. His individual works and collaborative projects have been exhibited at the MoMA, Harvard’s Carpenter Center for Visual Arts, the Volksbühne Theatre, DirektorenHaus in Berlin, Independent Film Week, Sonár, DIVA, and Conflux Festivals, among many other venues. He directed the interactive documentary Capitol of Punk, which was part of “Design and the Elastic Mind” at the Museum of Modern Art, and he is currently in post-production on the feature Diamond Vehicle, shot in Tibet, China, Nepal, and India. Christopher was founding-partner of Counts Media, and played a leading role in the invention and execution of many art & entertainment concepts there, such as The Ride NY, a live theatrical and cinematic experience on the streets of the city, and Yellow Arrow, a place-based storytelling project exhibited online and in galleries and museums internationally.

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Sean Cole

Sean Cole began his radio career as an intern at Boston station WBUR in 1997, and went on to work as field producer for WBUR’s “Morning Edition” and then as a reporter for the documentary series “Inside Out.” Over the years, he’s contributed to lots of other public radio programs including “Radiolab,” “Marketplace,” “Studio 360,” “All Things Considered,” “99% Invisible” and “This American Life” where he is currently on staff. Sean’s awards include an Overseas Press Club citation for his documentary “South Africa’s Kwaito Generation – Inside Out” and a UNITY Award for his story about P.B.S. Pinchback, the first African American governor in U.S. history.

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N'Jeri Eaton

N’Jeri Eaton is the Senior Manager of Programming Acquisitions at National Public Radio (NPR) where she is charged with sourcing new content, partnerships and talent. Previously, N’Jeri was the Content Development & Initiative Manager at the Independent Television Service (ITVS) where she managed the Diversity Development Fund and the Open Call production funding initiatives. N’Jeri is also a freelance documentary producer and editor. Her feature film First Friday had its national premiere on PBS World Channel series AfroPop in 2016. Her short film Perry County screened at festivals around the country was distributed by New Day Films. She was the Associate Producer for the Oscar shortlisted film “The Waiting Room,” which premiered on Independent Lens on PBS. N’Jeri received a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts Studies at Emerson College and her master’s at the UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.

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Ann Heppermann

Ann Heppermann is a documentary artist, reporter, and educator. Her Peabody award winning work has aired on numerous public radio shows including “This American Life,” “99% Invisible,” and “Radiolab.” In 2011 she was named a United States Artists Rockefeller Fellow. She teaches audio fiction and narrative journalism at Sarah Lawrence College in its writing program. Bitch Magazine once called her a “sort of Goddess of podcasting.” She lives in New York.

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Alex Overington

Composer and producer Alexander Overington was born and raised in New York City. He is responsible for the sonic footprint of Q2 Music’s “Meet the Composer” podcast, which he co-produces along with host Nadia Sirota. After double-majoring in both acoustic and electronic music composition at Oberlin Conservatory, he apprenticed under composer/producers Valgeir Sigurðsson and Ben Frost at Greenhouse Studios in Reykjavik, Iceland. Alex now lives and composes in New York, where he has opened his own studio and co-founded the record label, Rest Assured. Alex can be found teaching sound design at The New School.

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Nadia Reiman

Nadia Reiman is Senior Editor at “Latino USA.” She has been a radio producer since 2005. Before joining the “Latino USA” team, Nadia produced for StoryCorps. Her work there on 9/11 stories earned her a Peabody Award. She has also mixed audio for animations, assisted on podcasts for magazines, and program managed translations for Canon Latin America. Nadia has also produced, edited, and mixed stories of queer Africans for “None on Record,” and worked on a Spanish language radio show called “Epicentro” based out of Washington, DC. She graduated from Kenyon College with a double major in International Studies and Spanish Literature.

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Jenny Ye

Jenny Ye is the Data Director of the WNYC Data News team. She works closely with reporters and editors on data driven stories, from research to visualization. The team’s projects include gathering and displaying Congress members’ positions  on the proposed American Health Care Act, uncovering the Brooklyn voter purge in 2016, and a Twitter bot that tweets when March Madness games are close and ending soon. Jenny is from Manhattan’s Chinatown, and studied computer science and ethnic studies. She tweets @thepapaya.

UnionDocs (UnDo) is a Center for Documentary Art that generates and shares big ideas. We bring together a diverse community of experimental media-makers, dedicated journalists, critical thinkers, and local partners on a search for urgent expressions of the human experience, practical perspectives on the world today, and compelling visions for the future.


AIR is a vibrant, tightly networked association of more than 1,100 journalists, documentarians, technicians, media entrepreneurs, and sound artists spanning 46 states and 20 countries worldwide. Founded in 1988, AIR has emerged as a force for identifying, cultivating, and deploying talent to accelerate public media innovation and expand service to more citizens across the U.S. AIR’s mentorship and training programs, unique in the industry, were launched in 1995 with a grant from the MacArthur Foundation and continuing support from the National Endowment for the Arts, NYSCA, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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Major funding for Full Spectrum is provided by NYSCA, the New York State Council on the Arts.