The Sonic Society

Showcasing the very best in new Audio Drama

Welcome To The Sonic Society!

Each week Jack Ward and David Ault are pleased to showcase the very best Modern Audio Theatre (Radio Drama) from around the world. From the days of Old Time Radio in the early 20th century until the modern age of broadcasts, podcasts, and streaming simulcasts, audio plays are movies for the mind!

October 2021
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SPERDVAC Special!

Posted By on October 11, 2021

If you’ve been around the Audio Drama/Radio Drama community for any length of time you should really join SPERDVAC!

As Martin Gram’s Blog explains, “The Society to Preserve and Encourage Radio Drama, Variet and Comedy traces its beginnings back to May of 1974.” This fantastic group makes a point of scanning and collecting radio plays that they offer their members to read and explore for a very small fee.

This Saturday, October 16th, at 4 PM Eastern Standard Time, our Jack Ward will be the guest at this month’s SPERDVAC’s live conference. Join Jack as he talks about the Modern Audio Drama movement and how this offspring of the Golden Age of Radio Drama has started to really bring back interest in the medium!

Entrance is free! Just click on the following link on the time stated! See you there!

The Ages of Radio/Audio Drama

Posted By on October 11, 2021

The Ages of Radio/Audio Drama

There have been three waves of Radio Drama and now three waves of Audio Drama as well.

As technology and time advance new ideas and audio stories have taken the forefront.

What are the Ages of Radio Drama?

  1. Golden Age of Radio

The Golden Age of Radio lasted from the 1920’s to the 1950’s:

  • Was the first mass-market entertainment as people listened on their radios at their homes
  • Had no real competition until television arose in the 50’s
  • Began with many Hollywood stars, actors, producers, writers, who moved through movies, radio and sometimes into television
  • Identified that audio drama could be adapted from stage plays, movies, literary fiction, or original story concepts
  • Was the first time many comedians made their way into the homes of the nation
  • Created new opportunities for story and formats including sponsorships, and commercial breaks
  1. Silver Age of Radio

Often thought as roughly running between as early as the 1960’s to the mid-90’s but most examples are in the seventies and eighties:

  • Mostly broadcast through public radio.
  • The most popular were The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (BBC) and The Star Wars Radio Drama Saga (NPR)
  • Other examples were CBS Mystery Theatre (CBS), Nightfall and Vanishing Point (CBC), The Zero Hour (Rod Serling, Mutual Broadcasting System)
  • Full-Range sound effects, music, and “movie-like” quality
  1. Modern Age of Audio Drama

The Modern Age of Audio Drama arrived as early as the Internet but was slow in taking shape from late 1990’s to the present day.

  • Beginning with the ability to download from a website, user groups, or stream from an online radio, to Youtube, and most popular podcast streams as the main means of distribution
  • Shows are edited digitally as opposed to previous with reel-to-reel tape which makes for faster production times
  • Groups of fans of old time radio and who grew up inspired by the best of the Silver Age began producing mostly fan audio fiction (Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who etc…) and then created original audio drama and their own fan base
  • Remote or Satellite actors would send in lines and an audio drama could be truly a global enterprise between like-minded writers, actors, and producers (Audio Drama Talk, Audio Drama/Radio Drama Lovers groups)
  • Websites began creating sharing original music and sound effects to aid in production (The Free Sound Project)
  1. The Three Ages of Modern Audio Drama

As radio drama has had three ages, the rapid pace of change in technology has seen three very distinct ages of the modern audio drama movement:

  • The Golden Age of Audio Drama- Beginning in the early 2000’s. A small group of fans dedicated to the audio drama medium produced and shared from a variety of user groups and websites. Word of mouth provided the most distribution and groups blossomed and grew creating fan-fiction audio and some original works with sound quality of voices varying as digital editing technology was in its infancy
  • The Silver Age of Audio Drama- Began around 2008 and continued to around 2013. This era represented a group of fans who also appreciated old time radio but were mostly inspired by the Golden Age of Modern Audio Dramatists and created works that reflected extensions to the kind of shows that they had experienced.
  • The Bronze (Current) Age of Audio Drama- Beginning in 2011-2012 with shows like The No Sleep Podcast, Welcome to Night Vale, or 2014’s Serial, the creators of these audio dramas by and large are unaware of the old time radio of the past or even the Gold and Silver audio dramas of the Modern Age. Instead they gain their inspiration from three different sources including Youtube confessionals, NPR style radio shows, and the rapid popularity of podcasts. Bronze Age audio dramas have also been given the misnomer “audio fiction” by some creators. Due to the most popular format that includes a “host” who talks through a story of some sort and engages “guests” either in studio or at some location. The host acts as a central narrator in these Bronze Age features. The Bronze Age does not usually draw inspiration from theatrical framing such as movies, television, radio drama, or the stage.

Sonic Society #701- Concealed Sound

Posted By on October 10, 2021

From Arkansas Radio Theatre this week we have Concealed Carrie: Diamond State Crime Fighter!
Concealed Carrie is a new kind of superhero, whose power is disguise, whose skill is a facility with make-up, and whose secret weapon is a purse full of cosmetics. She lives in Hanging Basket, Arkansas, where she battles such villains as the Litterbug, the Jaywalker, and the Businessman. By day, she presents herself as Cathy Lee Linker, a mild-mannered beauty professional who is raising a teenaged niece and dating a good-for-nothing man and Jack and David are pleased to feature her!

Project Audion Episode 23: The Whistler

Posted By on October 10, 2021

Larry Groebe and Project Audion returns with The Whistler. The Whistler is one of those great shows like “Suspense” with murderous intent in the hearts of men and women.

Mutual Presents: MADCON 2021- Friday 5: Teamwork

Posted By on September 19, 2021

We’re back with Mutual Presents, I’m Jack Ward for the Mutual Audio Network. It’s our continued look back at past summer’s event MAD-CON 2021. This week, our Audio Amigo, Jeff Billard leads the fifth panel with the topic of “Teamwork” and includes panellists, Lothar Tuppan, JV Torres. Ele Matelan, and Keith Morrison! You can find all full videos on the Mutual Audio Network Channel!

Sonic Society #698- Heel to Show

Posted By on September 19, 2021

This week, we have the first of a three-part audio drama from Edward Einhorn and Untitled Theatre Company No. 61 adapted from the 1908 dystopian novel by Jack London called “The Iron Heel” and that can only mean it is… AUDIO DRAMA TIME!

Mutual Presents: MADCON 2021- Friday 4: Lines and Layers

Posted By on September 12, 2021

We’re back with Mutual Presents, I’m Jack Ward for the Mutual Audio Network. We continue our series with audio replays of this past summer’s MAD-CON 2021 Events. This week on our fourth panel Jeff Adams of Ice Box Theatre hosts a session entitled “Lines and Layers” with panellists, Lothar Tuppan, Pete Lutz, and Tanja Milojevic! You can find all full videos on the Mutual Audio Network Channel!

Project Audion Episode 20: Bob and Rae

Posted By on September 12, 2021

It’s another visit with our favourite recreation regulars- Larry Groebe and Project Audion with “”Bob and Rae”! Not too many stars from the OTR era have also hosted Saturday Night Live and a Broadway show, but comic geniuses Bob & Ray did it – and so Project Audion salutes them with a recreation of the offbeat, deadpan humor that aired on radio networks across the country for years starting in the early 1950s. John Bell in Alabama, and Pete Lutz in Texas take on the many characters created by Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding in an assemblage of sketches – both familiar and obscure – designed to replicate the kind of free flowing absurdity they did so well. You’ll recognize a couple of Mutual’s finest from our United Artists of Audio doing their amazing work!

Sonic Society #697- Midsummer Sonic

Posted By on September 12, 2021

This week, Fairies wreak havoc on the lives of their favorite human podcasters during 2020 lockdown. This modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, set during 2020 NYC with bickering fae, flirtatious mortals, and a podcast within a podcast, must be the work of none other than The Faustian Nonsense Network. This phenomenal group has a beautiful collection of audio drama, fiction, and live play shows and much, much more. But we begin with their first outing with “A Midsummer Quarantine, episode 1- An Honest Puck“! It’s Audio Drama time!

Mutual Presents: MADCON 2021- Friday 3: Story Structure

Posted By on September 5, 2021

We return to Mutual Presents with Season 2’s audio replay of MAD-CON 2021 Events. We continue with our third session “Story Structure” with host Jack Ward and panellists Steve Schneider, Tony Sarrecchia, Neil Jones, Robert Arnold! All full videos can be found on the Mutual Audio Network Channel!