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!

February 2019
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Episode 586- What Message are Possessions?

Posted By on January 15, 2019

Tonight David and Jack return with more 11th Hour productions with New Message and Possessions and end with the wacky comedy of Doctor What- Episode 7: Roost of the Cyberhens from Protectorate Productions.

Episode 585- Late Presents

Posted By on January 8, 2019

Tonight in a late Christmas present Sassquach Radio with Ashley Quach and Paula Deming bring us episode one of season three of their acclaimed “Deck the Halls” And following an Electric Vicuña Productions Darker Musings adaptation from the John Collier short story “The Chaser” written by Jack J. Ward and produced by Scott Mosher.

Episode 584- New in the Wind

Posted By on January 1, 2019

Tonight Jack and David bring you the conclusion of Voices in the Wind‘s “Finding his Voice” from David Farquhar. Another seasonal favourite production company, Misfits Audio, brings us two short episodes from Alexa Chipman entitled “The Father Christmas Chronicles”!


10 Years Later: Short Comings

Posted By on December 30, 2018

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Kevin Cummings. But we remember quite fondly his contributions to early storytelling and audio drama with his series Short Comings!

Here’s a link to his favourite Short Comings in which podcasters pick their favourites. Look for our Jack in the list!


CBC Rediscovers Audio Drama

Posted By on December 30, 2018

Rebranding Audio Drama as “Fiction Podcasts” seems to be all the rage. Some time ago we called these “podficts” for short. Regardless, it’s nice to see the CBC taking the medium seriously again.

Check out Fiction podcasts are giving new form to the old art of the radio drama and maybe give them a nudge that the Sonic Society has been in their backyard for 15 years 🙂

Long before our multi-screen, multi-platform world existed, people used to huddle around a radio to listen to the latest episode of a drama series. Today, this old art form has been given new life in the form of podcasts.

Fiction genres — like drama or horror — are a booming area in the podcast universe, which so far has been dominated by reality-based offerings featuring true crime, news or interviews.

That they’re mobile and often free has also helped bring them to a larger audience than ever before.

New York-based podcast company Gimlet Media says fiction has untapped potential for audience growth in the podcast arena.

“Fiction really is our big bet for, like, groundbreaking new content that doesn’t sound like anything else,” says Nazanin Rafsanjani, Gimlet’s vice-president for new show development.Nazanin Rafsanjani, Gimlet Media’s vice-president of new show development, says fiction genres are ‘groundbreaking new content’ for podcasts. (Alice Hopton/CBC)
The bet has already paid off: Gimlet’s first scripted series,Homecoming, proved so popular that Amazon turned it into a Golden Globe-nominated TV series starring Julia Roberts and Canadian actor Stephan James.

“What’s exciting about fiction is that you can tell any kind of story … if you have the right talent writing it and creating it.”

Gimlet also produces the macabre tale The Horror of Dolores Roach and a comedy, Sandra, starring Kristen Wiig.

“The way you’d want to sit down and watch a movie or get super engrossed in a television show, that is how our fiction team really thinks about the projects that we take on,” says Rafsanjani.​

Homegrown theatre
A Toronto team has taken Canadian plays and turned them into serials on the PlayME podcast, bringing homegrown talent to listeners around the world.

“We want playwrights to become a household name,” says Laura Mullin, co-creator of PlayME and co-artistic director of Toronto’s Expect Theatre.

Trends, surprises and must-hears: 13 podcast experts weigh in on 2018
Step aside, Shakespeare: PlayME adapts modern plays for the podcast crowd
After 20 years in the Canadian theatre industry, Mullin and business partner Chris Tolley set out to put a bigger spotlight on Canadian writers and talent.

“We just wanted to have an opportunity to take the great work that we were seeing and let a larger audience [hear] it,” she says.

Since its launch in 2016, PlayME has received more than one million downloads in more than 90 countries, and has ranked as high as #2 in the Arts category on the iTunes chart.

A recording session for What a Young Wife Ought to Know, for the CBC Podcast PlayME. Chris Tolley, left, with playwright Hannah Moscovitch, centre, and Laura Mullin. (CBC/Evan Mitsui)
“We’ve heard everything from people telling us that they’re listening to learn English [to] people that are going out to [see] shows because they had heard a play,” says Mullin.

She hopes programmers and artistic directors are also listening.

The PlayME catalogue, which is now on CBC’s roster, features a diverse range of stories from coast to coast, with 60 per cent of the writers female and 60 per cent people of colour.

‘Intimacy’ of radio drama
Hannah Moscovitch, a Dora Award and Trillium Book Award winner, says podcasts make Canadian theatre much more accessible because audiences don’t have to be local or shell out for pricey tickets.

“This way people can access the work all the time, whenever they want. I want people to be able to hear my work.”

A series of letters she discovered inspired her to write the story about a young wife trying to get legal birth control in Ottawa in the 1920s, which has been turned into What A Young Wife Ought To Know.

“I loved the intimacy of radio drama,” she says. “I’m happy that it’s coming back in this way.”

Episode 583- Christmas Voice

Posted By on December 25, 2018

MERRY CHRISTMAS from David and Jack! Tonight on this hallowed Yule, our hosts bring Part 1 of Finding his Voice from David Farquhar and Voices in the Wind Audio Theatre company! Also some other festive holiday shorts include a recap from Deck the Halls Season 2 and Sassquach Radio, a message from the Amigos and Flavio, and a final reading Is There a Santa Claus? from our Jack. Happy Holidays one and all!



Silent Films and Films that are Dark

Posted By on December 21, 2018

I’m always fascinated with how Audio Drama compares, contrasts and connects with other media. This fantastic piece on how silent movies sing when the original orchestral music is played in concert with the film. Music has a powerful effect on the way we take in stories. It’s fascinating that no matter whether you see your stories primarily, or take them in through the ear. Music can provide the mood that draws in the tension of a scene, or the comedy of a moment. Sharon Bee‘s incredible mood mixtures for The Dead Line Anthology and the Wavefront Anthology series has been instrumental in Electric Vicuna Production‘s tension. What music has added to your experience of audio drama?

Sonic Echo: 304- Box 13

Posted By on December 20, 2018

Brother Lothar brings the Amigos “Shanghaied” from the classic OTR Box 13 starring Alan Ladd. Your Amigos are Lothar Tuppan, Jeffrey Billard and Jack Ward.


Bully for You

Posted By on December 20, 2018

Social media is a blessing. Social media is a curse.

As a teacher, I’m faced every day with the reality of cyberbullying. The definition of which includes: “Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else.” For decades, these nasty rumour mongerings might have been contained strictly within childhood. That’s no longer the case. Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Youtube, Facebook and many social media platforms have become touchstone opportunities for bullies, and unfortunately, the audio drama community is not immune.

I was sadly a witness to social media bullying recently, the details of which are not important, but the intent was clear. I am saddened and hurt that members of our community could actively try to harm the integrity, brand, and even attempt to impede their ability to create art. Life is hard enough. Our medium is a small tribe, and we need to support, not sabotage each other.

If this seems to be an outlandish stance, please let me be clear. I don’t condone illegal activity of any kind, nor do I approve of bad behaviour.

Here are a couple of ideas to maturely handle your dislike of another human being in our community:

  • don’t patronize their work
  • present your concerns and work out your issues with directly and privately
  • if you can’t work out your issues- avoid and keep your personal opinions to yourself

Here’s what you don’t do:

  • attack them publicly
  • block them from seeing your concerns

If you’re considering making some public pronouncement of someone else’s character it may behoove you to consider one thing:

Your experience with another human being doesn’t equal the best or only experience of that person.

The Sonic Society is about inclusivity. It has always been. I’ve been proud to be a part of the Audio Drama community because we are a big tent. None of us is perfect. None of us has a lily-white past. And everyone deserves kindness. So don’t block people based on hearsay. Give someone the respect of earning their own good or bad reputation with you directly.

So next time you’re going to post something about someone ask yourself this- is it an argument you’re making, or is it a slur?
If you are aware of a crime please contact your local authorities.
If you witness bullying, speak up and help quelch it.
If you are a victim of bullying (cyber or otherwise) please be aware that you’re not alone and that people can help.

Episode 582- Frequency Guide

Posted By on December 18, 2018

Tonight’s feature series is What’s the Frequency from James Oliva and Alexander Danner and includes a trifecta of shows including “Static”, “Took a Powder” and “Kentucky Universal Meal Gravy”.