Fiction and Radio Podcasts – Nostalgia and Experimentation

Multi-part fiction is now thriving as a podcast, and not just in the United States. They often operate in a similar way to series: a comprehensive story in several parts, with many storylines and timelines, and complex character horoscopes and formations.

This is perhaps one of the reasons why radio plays and fiction are among the most popular types of podcasts. Moreover, some American radio broadcasts like “Homecoming” became the basis for a successful video series. In addition to public service radio plays, which are also broadcast by Deutschlandradio stations, the German market for radio plays began to grow and experiment.

Funny “True Crime” salute

Criminal cases are rarely funny. But with the first season of CastBox’s “This Sounds Serious,” listeners can’t help themselves. The fictional story plays with all the cliches that have spawned the true crime genre and especially true crime podcasts over the years. There’s, for example, aspiring podcast host Gwen Radfort, who was fascinated by the 911 phone call and, of course, desperate to solve the murder.

The satirical implementation of “This Sounds Serious” is supported not only by comedic dialogues and exaggerations, but also by the method of production, which is rather complicated for a podcast: if a person is sitting in the car in the fairy tale, then the speaking part was also in a car registered. Deshalb gehört dieser Podcast zu den Lieblingen von “Über Podcast”-Moderatorin Anna Bühler, auch wenn sie zugeben muss: “Man muss ein bisschen zwischen den Zeilen lesen oder vielleicht auch True Crime haben biesriehshensürt da In the end.”

Three Radio Classics

Media and music scholar Gulu Vollmer is not only a fan of radio plays, but knows them well as well. In this episode “Über Podcast” he thus brings up three very classic radio plays from his archive:

  • War of the Worlds by later Hollywood director Orson Welles is based on the novel of the same name by H.G. Wells and tells the story of aliens who have landed on Earth. The radio play, broadcast on radio in 1938, was so plausible to some listeners that New Yorkers and New Jerseyers are said to have panicked at times.
  • The radio play “Outside the Door” from 1947 is an adaptation of a drama by Wolfgang Borchert. It tells of the futile attempt of a war returnee to find his place in post-war society.
  • “March Movie” from 1983 is the name of the radio play by Michael Colmier and Peter Klein. It’s about level-crossing escort Oscar Zampanini, who is on a quest to find a missing brass band.

For Golo Föllmer, the three radio plays are good examples of what the genre can achieve and where the allure of fictional podcasts can lie.

Podcasts and audiobooks meet in ‘The Abyss’

A group of old school friends take a trip to an island. But instead of tumultuous times, many secrets and intrigues await them there. This is how the plot of the German radio broadcast “Der Abgrund” can be summed up.

A classic trail story penned by Melanie Rabe, implemented by audiobook publisher Serials. With this podcast, he really delivered a high-gloss production that is reminiscent of classic radio shows in terms of quality – only without the classic narrator.

But despite all the praise, “The Abyss” has a weakness: the recordings were made in an audibly sterile studio atmosphere, and there is a lack of realistic recordings and atmosphere. This is where the power of many fictional podcasts lies. But radio play expert Jolo Vollmer can ignore this: “If the story is good enough, you might forget about it.”

The endless narrative universe of “Night Vale”

Night Vale is a fantasy desert town where the strangest things happen. Radio host Cecil reports on it every two weeks on a fictional English language podcast “Welcome to Night Vale”.

The production of the popular podcast plays with tons of black humor, works with recurring characters and even allows for real-world references. “The concept of a serialized fantasy narrative really works because you are always moving in a world that is expanding little by little,” Über Podcast Forum moderator Beiko Behr enthuses.

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