Podcasting has come a long from This American Life. Know it or not, podcasts have their own set of formats, styles, and genres that gives the listener a variety of creative ways to explore the vast of amazement that is sound. Podcasting is the only medium that was able to bring back a form of entertainment that originated from radio to your mobile device: Audio Drama.
What is audio drama. Well, think of it as a TV show or film that you has no video; only sound. It started in the early 1920s with British adaptations of popular public domain stories like Shakespeare’s A Mid Summer Night’s Dream, but became popular after the premiere of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds. for the next few decades, radio drama took dominated the media with mysteries, thrillers, soap operas, and comedies. The radio serials racked up big bucks in ad revenues and no company knew that more than the BBC, or the British Broadcasting Company.
Originally against the idea, due to their reputation as being above American-style stories, decided to try it out and it was worth it. Soon they weren’t just adapting plays. They were making them, producing shows like Dick Barton, Special Agent, Mrs Dale’s Diary, The Archers. The last show I point out continues to running as the longest running radio-drama of all time.
However, all good things must come to an end.
With the rise of television, audio dramas became rare to make for a while. The advertisements switch to showing commercials on TV. For a long time, radio drama faded into the background.
That is until the invention of the iPod. Shows like This American Life could be carry around inside your pocket, ready to be listened.
Podcasting slowly rose to being recognized as the next popular medium, but it was still experimental. BBC continued to produce radio dramas but, made it convenient for downloading.
When 2014 hit, audio drama began to make a comeback, it form of people like us. The best part was that we didn’t need to purchase expensive equipment to produce them. We could buy microphones, computers, and editing software at any Wal-Mart (though I would do some research first). Audio dramas to a huge shift into creating a comeback with shows like We’re Alive: A story of survival, Limetown, and The Truth.
Even though Serial was the podcast that brought podcasting to new heights, audio dramas became one of the reasons that made it stay. Soon, the advertisers came back to sponsor independent creators, companies like MailChimp and Squarespace became instant successes, and it gave people a chance to hear what made radio dramas popular to begin with.
It even came to a point when people wanted to adapt from the podcasts themselves.
The Informant! and Unaccompanied Minors are two wildly known films, both of which were inspired by episodes from This American Life. Those movies probably still run on channels like TBS, USA, TNT, or in the second movie’s case Cartoon Network.
Another adaptation from podcast to film was an episode of The Truth, a anthology fiction podcast that tells a different story every other week. Last summer, a short film was produced. It was inspired by one of the Truth’s earliest stories. It’s about a man that gives his classmates a lesson about politics. A lesson that they will never forget.
I watched the movie and was amazed at how relevant it was.
Maybe that’s why networks decided to take a gamble with podcasting. With the best movies and TV shows being adaptations of other works, why not adapted an entire podcast.
More on that in the next time.
Until we meet again my friends, Peace.