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Weldon Writes ... Almost a Blog

Podcasting: The New OTR

I've long enjoyed old time radio (OTR) programs since I first experienced them in college. My freshman year, I happened to hear an episode of Arch Oboler's Lights Out series about a massive, ever-expanding chicken heart that threatened to destroy the planet. I became instantly hooked! I then started to collect other horror, science fiction, and suspense radio programs--such as Suspense, The Shadow, The Hermit's Cave, The Witch's Tale, The Whistler, Dimension X, X Minus One, Escape, Inner Sanctum, and the fabulous Mercury Theatre on the Air. I continue to collect the recordings to this day.

Of course, the Internet and today's technology makes collecting these vintage shows even easier. Just recently, I discovered a CD boxed set of 50 episodes of the Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce Sherlock Holmes radio series. Hundreds of half-hour radio programs can be stored as MP3s on a single DVD! Amazing! A quick search on Ebay will yield a wide array of OTR CDs and DVDs.

But, aside from the phenomenal CBS Mystery Theater radio program in the early '70s and a handful of other superior but short-lived programs, radio shows began to lose favor in the '50s as every home acquired a television. TV killed the OTR star.

That is, until the advent of podcasting!

Many enterprising, Web-savvy folks have, in recent years, started producing podcast programming that borrows from the radio programs of old--think OTR of the 21st Century! The shows tend to be anthology programming, strongly based on storytelling. And we're talking quality here: sound effects, dramatic readings, even background music. Most of the podcasts are available as iTune downloads, so you can even listen to them on your iPod! If you have not discovered these wonderful shows yet, start with any or all of the following.

The Drabblecast

The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine

Escape Pod

Podcastle

Pseudopod

WellToldTales


I love Drabblecast, not only because they produced three of my stories so far, but because I think Norm Sherman has best mirrored (intentionally or not) in his Drabblecast shows the experience I get when listening to old time radio. Bravo!

By the way, if you like what you hear in these podcast programs, be sure to send them some $$$ to keep up their efforts. (Their sites usually have a "donation" option for online contributions.) Most of these folks are doing this for the love of the medium, and the productions are financed on shoestring budgets. Support them if you can!
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