Creativity 50 2011: Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich

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With "Radiolab," Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich have crafted a public-radio program that often verges on sound collage -- so much so that the characteristic editing and sampling sound nothing like radio at all.

"We're on the radio, but I'm not sure we're of the radio," said Mr. Krulwich. "We have an enormous audience that doesn't even own a radio." The show airs on New York's public-radio affiliate WNYC and has also expanded to podcasts, video episodes and a blog.

Mr. Abumrad, a former film composer and documentarian, started the program in 2001 to showcase international audio documentaries, but it eventually evolved into a one-hour program exploring topics in science and philosophy. Mr. Krulwich, a NPR science correspondent, became co-host a few years later. . By 2010, Radiolab picked up a top honor in radio journalism, the George Foster Peabody Award for broadcast excellence.

Radiolab has cultivated a global audience. Mr. Krulwich tells of walking into a room in Oslo, Norway, to find hundreds of people wearing WNYC T-shirts.

"I think it does have to do with borders and disregarding them," said Mr. Abumrad. "This is a show that disrespects the kind of boundaries between what people should and should not expect to hear."

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