The Sonic Society

Showcasing the very best in new Audio Drama

Audio Drama Rating System

AD-GeneralSuitable for all ages
Language:Occasional use of words such as darn, damn, hell.
Violence:Restrained portrayals of limited violence that may result in extremely limited bloodletting.
Sexual Activity:Limited embracing, kissing in a loving context.
Horror:Brief moments of mild horror in comedic, historic, or fantasy settings (for example, dragons, giants, wicked witches).
Psychological Impact:Sensitive to treatments of scenes or situations related to a child’s sense of security and well-being.
AD-Parental GuidanceParental guidance advised
Language:Limited use of stronger expletives and/or slurs and/or mild sexual references.
Violence:Restrained portrayals of non-graphic violence, integral to the plot. The portrayals are not prolonged; there are no close-ups; bloodletting and/or tissue damage is limited.
Sexual Activity:Embracing, kissing in a loving context; mild sexual innuendo.
Horror:Exciting horror scenes and some grotesque images may be allowed in a fantasy or comedic context, but there will be no detailed and/or prolonged focus on gory images or suffering.
Psychological Impact:Sensitive to treatments of scenes and situations that may cause adverse psychological impact on children. May include frightening or emotionally upsetting situations involving threats, injury, illness, family problems, or death to young people, family members and animals (particularly pets).
AD-Parental Guidance 13Persons Younger than 13 Should be Accompanied by an Adult
Language:Coarse language and/or slurs directed to specific segments of society; sexual references. Infrequent strong, aggressive language.
Violence:Portrayals of violence resulting in some bloodletting and/or tissue damage, which may or may not be fatal. Violence should be within the context of the film.
Sexual Activity:Kissing, petting, fondling, implied sexual activity; sexual innuendo.
Horror:Occasional gory moments and some grotesque images, but these will not be detailed.
Psychological Impact:Occasional upsetting scenes that will tend to be more frightening, intense, disturbing – particularly to younger viewers. More mature themes can be portrayed. Threats with some abusive dialogue may be considered.
AD-RestrictedRestricted to Persons 17 years of age or older
Language:Very intense and aggressive coarse language and/or slurs or sexual references, usually accompanied by violence directed toward the person(s). Frequent sexual references.
Violence:Frequent and/or prolonged portrayals of violence resulting in bloodletting and/or tissue damage. Limited instances of brief, visually explicit portrayals of violence.
Sexual Activity:Limited instances of brief simulated sexual activity.
Horror:Gory or grotesque imagery may be more frequent or detailed, but will generally avoid prolonged focus.
Psychological Impact:Frequent upsetting, disturbing or frightening scenes that may cause adverse psychological impact on some mature viewers.
AD-No One Under 17Restricted to Persons 17 years of age or older
Language:No restriction.
Violence:Visually explicit portrayals of violence, which may be characterized by extreme brutality, extreme bloodletting and extreme tissue damage. May include torture, horror, sexual violence.
Sexual Activity:Simulated sexual activity; limited instances of brief, non-violent explicit sexual activity.
Horror:Horrific themes, incidents and images will have a more prolonged or graphic focus and greater frequency.
Psychological Impact:Scenes and situations may cause extreme adverse psychological impact. Could involve intense and compelling terror, acts of degradation, threats of violence, and continuous acts of non-extreme violence. Such situations could be accompanied by coarse, abusive, and degrading dialogue.

Additional Considerations:

Traditionally there are additional considerations involved with the rating of movies, and should be considered as well with Audio Drama. Such as:

  1. Historical productions usually are allowed more violent depictions than other stories for educational purposes.
  2. Smoking and drug use in shows automatically represent an AD-PG-13 rating or higher.
  3. Males that have gone shirtless have still represented an AD-G-rating.
  4. Male frontal nudity has represented traditionally less offensive than female frontal nudity and less restrictive in ratings.
  5. Bloodless violence has maintained usually an AD-PG-rating.
  6. Audio drama nudity is only really referenced through dialogue of the actors and context will vary the rating.

Why Audio Drama Ratings?

Audio Drama on the Internet has become a renewed golden age of entertainment. So many new companies and individuals have created plays and stories and are distributing them through Internet Radio, Direct Downloads, Streaming and of course Podcasts. But as we become a larger and more robust community, it becomes more and more difficult to sort out which show is most appropriate for which audience. As an educator and a father, I know I would love to be able to point more families, teachers and students to a number of different audio play productions.

In the old days of radio, we had specific requirements banning certain language and adult situations. Today we have virtually no limitations in the breadth and scope of our tales! So, to help sort appropriate audiences, I have, with the consultation of several folks, developed a basic ratings system. It is my hope that many organizations and audio drama producers will sign on and agree to rate their shows so that many more people can listen and enjoy!

-Jack Ward, Sonic Society

Why will this be important to you? Having your show rated means people know what to expect, and will be more willing to try you out!

What Does it Mean to Be a Signatory to the Audio Drama Rating System

While it sounds very official, it just comes down to this. If your company or production team signs up to be a signatory group you agree to do the following:

  1. Self rate your own audio drama productions according to the standards we’ve set up.
  2. Place a small audio warning clip at the beginning of your shows declaring what your production is rated at.

That’s it. There’s nothing more to it. Just sign up, and go ahead. We’ve included some Audio Drama Rating system clips here voiced by Shannon Hilchie that are both professional and fun for each rating. Feel free to use them, or make your own. Our hope is to make it easier for others to find you!

Logos for use: (Pending)

The Seal of Approval

Because you’re going to take the time to rate your shows, it is only fair that we provide for you a seal of approval for your site! Here are the categories we’ve identified:

Bronze Seal- Shows that you will be rating at least one of your shows on your site for the public.

Silver Seal- Proclaims that you will be rating ALL of your shows from the moment you’ve signed on as a Signatory and continue in the future.

Gold Seal- Proclaims that you will have ALL your shows rated from your backlog as well as all future episodes.

Remember, you can always begin with the Bronze and work your way up to the Gold. We’re just happy you’ve chosen to belong!

Does this mean I have to rate all my previous shows? This is of course, up to you. We recommend you give yourself a month to have all your previous works reassigned a rating. Perhaps all of your works are a single rating, and that would make it very easy for people to identify. You can of course, simply identify all your previous shows before signing up as “Unrated” as well. We’ll be open to suggestions. This will require enough of a commitment from you without making it onerous. But we’d like to make sure that all shows you make from the time after you sign up with us as a signatory company will be rated. This way, traffic that is directed to your website from ours will know exactly what they can expect.

Thanks Everyone

I would like to thank the following people who have helped to make the Audio Drama Rating System successful:

  • Tanja Milojevic from Lightning Bolt Theatre of the Mind who helped voice the rating system.
  • John Bell who worked on helping me with better wording and ideas and also voiced the rating system.
  • Jeffrey Adams who’s original and subsequent discussions on this whole project burned in my brain until I had to finish it.
  • Jeremy Yenser who’s magnificent site was a perfect fit for this concept, and who was magnanimous enough to put it into place. (But has now gone defunct, unfortunately).
  • Matt Leong for his amazing talents with artistry in creating the cool logos for the rating system.
  • Bill Hollweg and the folks at Broken Sea who jumped on board right away.
  • And to all of you, who feel as I do, that this, in perhaps a small way, really matters.

Thanks, Everyone,

Jack J. Ward, Sonic Society

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