Last August, Wired declared that “Fiction Podcasts Are Finally A Thing!” It was inevitable as well. As the genre grew, someone would realize the potential of telling fictional stories, via this audio medium. However, it’s been done before. It was called radio and it came before TV.
While fictional radio shows were booming in the 1940s and 1950s, they started to hit it big in the 1930s. Many of the techniques and formats of modern TV shows started here, as the art of story-telling went from an audio-only format to a visual and audio one. But I’m not here to criticize people for not knowing the history of fiction in pop-culture.
I think it’s great fiction is starting to grow in the podcast realm, it gives writers and performers another opportunity. I think the growing popularity of these is what draws people to reading. They create the images in their mind. It makes it personal, it makes a larger impact on the person consuming it.
It’s similar to the backlash of readers when their favorite books are turned into movies or TV shows. A lot of the time aspects of the story need to be altered to accommodate for a different medium. At times characters are altered, or even outright omitted, which can cause some backlash.
The other reason I am encouraged by this is people are wanting to use their imagination again. We are bombarded by videos, gifs, memes, and all sorts of visual stimulation throughout each day. With the rise of Amazon, Netflix, and other, long-form TV shows, people are given what people look like, and don’t have to think of it themselves.
However, you could have 100 people listen to a story be told, and even if a character, setting, or event is described in great detail, the outcome with be 100 different versions. Our imaginations are what make us unique. As much as you may have in common with someone, imaginations are unique.