Manifesto

Mission Statement:

Audio drama is one of the most intimate and expressive dramatic mediums, rivaling theater and film in poetic, visual, and narrative qualities. Many people are unaware of this - a stigma lingers that "radio drama" is a scratchy, cartoonish thing of the past, as if people thought that cinema ended with silent movies, unaware of all the great films made since that time. In reality, audio and radio drama is the great frontier of modern theater - with subtle, intimate performances and powerful, gripping stories.

My aim is to promote a discussion of the art, sociology, theory, and future of this remarkable artistic form. The current state of audio drama is precarious, but through careful consideration of how content is presented, distributed, and interacted with, I believe that the radio and audio drama community can grow and prosper and reach an even wider audience.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Podcasts, and other news

Coming soon -

Interviews with Nigel Deacon and Roger Bickerton.


Also, an interesting development - the BBC is now interacting with itunes, and their Play of the Week is the #1 itunes podcast. Which is wonderful. I like how people can leave comments and ratings for it, but notice in the specific entry how:
  1. It's still on Apple's home turf, and the BBC is not in control of the context within which the podcast entry exists. That is to say, the web stuff surrounding the description and comments, etc. itunes is neither easy to use nor egalitarian in terms of accessibility. Try running the program on an old PC, and watch your RAM wither away.
  2. The entry lacks fundamental context indicators - such as cast list, director, and some indication of the type of story being told. This information should be available on the entry itself, because it helps people to classify and understand what the thing in fact is. And therefore, makes it more memorable and accessible for future interactions with the play, such as discussions among friends. The entry should also have a non-literal but specific graphic accompanying the play.
  3. The social interaction you see with the comments and ratings do not contribute to building an overall community or knowledge about the medium, because these ratings and comments, while useful in deciding whether or not to download this podcast, do not place their opinions in relation to other radio drama. Just other podcasts.
  4. The audience for audio drama content is vast indeed. Check out the number one for the US - it's This American Life, a nonfiction series. And yet, it is also probably the best source of narrative on US radio today, along with #5, The Moth. Listeners in the States are clearly hungry for narrative content, and I suspect they wouldn't mind if it was fiction instead of non-fiction.

2 comments:

  1. >The audience for audio drama content is vast indeed. Check out the number one for the US - it's This American Life, a nonfiction series. And yet, it is also probably the best source of narrative on US radio today

    That had some great driving dramatic narrative in it. Americans always seem to appreciate that in their factual reporting.

    The Chinese seem to like it to. A lot of their reporting has a natural story-line flair to it. Take this for example:

    http://www.zonaeuropa.com/201008a.brief.htm#001

    (PS I'm trying to work this up into a drama at the moment)

    johnf

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  2. I think people in the States also have a craving for storytelling in general...there are lots of TV and film stories, but many of them (especially the comic book movies) lack a dramatic structure that satisfies the craving.

    A good promotional campaign could generate a significant audience for radio plays in the U.S. We just need to overcome the idea that radio drama sounds like The Lone Ranger or some other series from the 1930's.

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