Articles

Essays

Towards a Poetics of Audio: The Importance of Criticism by Sarah Montague 

It is an exciting time for audio. The tumultuous growth of podcasting and the concomitant development of digital channels, multiple platforms, and user-driven content has not only expanded and re-energized the form, but forced public radio to loosen its stays and let down its hair.

Where once we might have talked of “the system” or “the industry,” we can now confidently say we are part of “a culture.” But—we are missing two important components of a vital culture: a critical language, and with it, a critical practice. The language should be expressly designed to describe our forms, tropes, and themes, but with reference to the larger culture and world of ideas. And the practice should be constant, robust, and open, with critical tools wielded to help us better understand our work, and ourselves, and to help our public to better understand us as artists.

Essays

5 Questions With Homecoming's Eli Horowitz by Devon Taylor

1. For those who are unfamiliar with your background, you have done everything from manage a literary magazine (McSweeney’s) to write and design a digital novel (The Silent History). Your work is innovative and experimental, often pushing the boundaries of a particular genre or medium. In that sense, it is perhaps not surprising that you’re experimenting with podcasting, but I was curious about your decision to work specifically within this medium. What drew you to podcasting and why did you feel it was the right fit for a project like Homecoming?

Essays

Creating Babble by Malin Axelsson

Why improvise audio fiction? Why not just sit down and write an ordinary script? In the radio of our times, whether documentary or fiction, we often search for methods to sound "as ourselves." If we want to reach out to listeners today, it is central to create what the critics of podcasting sometimes refer to as ”babble” or ”waffle.” Babble is the sound of the authentic, as if everything we say is invented spontaneously in the moment. One tool to achieve this is improvisation, and in this essay I will describe how we worked with improv in the podcast series The Dinner Party (2016) at Swedish Radio Drama. 

 

Essays

Angels on the Head of a Tape Recorder: Adapting Philip K. Dick for Audio by Jonathan Mitchell

We’ve seen a mini-boom of fictional podcasts pop up over the past year or two (LimetownArchive 81, and The Bright Sessions, to name but a few). Even so, there’s still not a lot of audio fiction in the world, especially when you compare it to the vast amounts of fiction literature, films, and plays produced each year. But bridging that gap is a bit tricky because what makes an audio story work is very different from what works well in print, film, or on stage. The lack of visual elements in audio storytelling poses particular challenges for fiction, which relies on building imaginary worlds and characters. And I think one of the best ways of understanding what these challenges are and how to tackle them is by exploring the process of adaptation.

Latest

Very, Very, Short, Short Stories Finalists (Part 1)

Serendipity Ep 17:

Very, Very, Short, Short Stories Finalists (Part 1)

In this episode of Serendipity, we play 5 of the 10 finalists for our 2016 Very, Very, Short, Short Stories Contest. Featuring: "Bitterly Cold" by David Garland, "The Staging Area" by Jason Gots, "Noir" by Pa Ying Vang, "#blessed" by Jackie Heltz, and "Blinking" by La Cosa Preziosa. Read More

Towards a Poetics of Audio: The Importance of Criticism

Essays

Towards a Poetics of Audio: The Importance of Criticism

It is an exciting time for audio. The tumultuous growth of podcasting and the concomitant development of digital channels, multiple platforms, and user-driven content has not only expanded and re-energized the form, but forced public radio to loosen its stays and let down its hair.Where once we might have talked of “the system” or “the industry,” we can now confidently say we are part of “a culture.” But—we are missing two important components of a vital culture: a critical language, and with it, a critical practice. The language should be expressly designed to describe our forms, tropes, and themes, but with reference to the larger culture and world of ideas. And the practice should be constant, robust, and open, with critical tools wielded to help us better understand our work, and ourselves, and to help our public to better understand us as artists. Read More

Getting On with James Urbaniak

Reviews

Getting On with James Urbaniak

James Urbaniak is the kind of podcaster that other producers love to hate. His show, Getting On with James Urbaniak, consists of nothing but a single voice reading a fictional soliloquy, often written by someone else. There is almost no elaborate soundscaping, no intricate plot development, little evidence of endless editing sessions to get the thing just right. Getting On sounds like Urbaniak cruised into the studio, an iced latte in hand, and finished recording before his drink grew tepid. None of this would be infuriating if the podcast in question wasn’t so good. Read More