Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Podcast - Old Time Radio Drama for the 21st Century

Author:  Jose G. Barr

The development of the radio in the early 1900’s allowed new, free entertainment opportunities to be developed for the public. By the 1930’s, and with the depression in full swing, these radio broadcasts were a way for people to escape from the reality of their lives, even if only for an hour or so.  Families would gather around the radio in anticipation of the nights broadcast, whether it was a drama, comedy or the news it did not matter, it was good entertainment for free.

By the 1940’s radio shows were a staple of everyday life. Shows like the Campbell Playhouse (sponsored by Campbell Soup), Dragnet (later turned into a television program), Inner Sanctum Mystery (often sponsored by Lipton Tea’s and Soup), etc. there were literally hundreds of show to meet the needs of people everywhere. Adults and children alike lived to hear the next chapter of their favorite shows.

With the advent of television, the radio dramas slowly faded away, almost into oblivion.  While television is great visually, it does not truly stimulate our imaginations like radio did. Radio programs gave friends and families something to talk about, how they perceived an audio drama. The beauty of these radio programs was that each and every one of us visualized it differently, our own experiences playing a role in what we could visualize it in our minds.  

Today, podcasts (a digital audio file made available on the internet as part of a series or installments) have given the old time radio dramas a new life.  Many of the programs from the past are now available as podcast, along with new material and special effects that give it a modern day feel.

One of my favorites podcasts is “we’re Alive: A Story of Survival”.  The podcast was created by KC Wayland who had intended it to be a TV show. When he was not able to get any interest from television, he decided to turn it into an audio drama.  The premise is similar to AMC’s The Walking Dead, but with much greater plot twists throughout the 4 seasons.  I won’t give anything away, but it had me coming back for more each and every day.

Another great audio show is the “Black Tapes” podcast.  The show is a serialized docudrama hosted by Alex Reagan, documenting her search for the truth behind Dr. Richard Strand, a professional paranormal skeptic. I've heard other attempts at paranormal type programs, but none come close to what Alex Reagan has done with this one. I look forward to the development of this podcast along with its many fans and will be waiting to hear the next installment as it is produced.

For those of you that like to learn about the origins of legends or myths, download the “Lore” podcast. This podcast is produced and narrated by Aaron Mahnke. He delves into a different legend during each podcast, giving insight into how legends or myths came to be.

Either of these shows will be sure to entertain you and provide plenty of fuel for your imagination. As for me, I wait in anticipation of the next episode of my favorite audio drama, much like my father and grandfather did before me.  Give the reborn radio dramas a try my friends, you will be pleasantly surprised at how good they are at stimulating your imagination. 

No comments:

Post a Comment