Apr 10, 2018
Welcome to Night Vale. The Message. Steal the Stars. Homecoming. The Bright Sessions. All are fiction podcasts that have seen downloads in the millions. Some have been optioned for television or film adaptation. All were launched in just the last few years.
For much of the early to mid 20th century, millions of listeners tuned in each week to listen to radio dramas and fiction broadcasts in genres ranging from adventure (Superman) to science fiction (War of the Worlds) to crime noir (Dragnet).
But by the early 60s, due to the rise of television, the radio drama faded in popularity, and most were canceled by the end of 1962. Though some broadcasters continued to dabble in the medium, most people today have grown up without having listened to a single radio play.
Podcasting, however, has led to a resurgence in this kind of audio fiction, and a whole new generation of fans are tuning in to new episodes, attending live events, and ordering merchandise online.
Why are we seeing this resurgence in what was thought to be a bygone medium? To answer this, I interviewed Alasdair Stuart, the owner of Escape Artists Inc, which produces a number of popular fiction podcasts in the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres.