The Sonic Society

Showcasing the very best in new Audio Drama

Snobbish Sonic

Someone said to me recently that they felt that audio drama folks weren’t as snobby as podnovel folks.

That was a strange comment to make. Looking back, I do notice that Audio Drama has been seen as the ugly step-child of the podcast community somewhat. Through the years there’s even been some suggestions that audio dramatists could “graduate” to audio novelists if they were good writers. It made me wonder if there were similar ideas between stage playwrights and novelists. Or television writers and movie scriptwriter writers.

Is there a kind of hierarchy of writing and production?

When I think of it I have witnessed some strange behavior through the years. Now, I’m the first one to admit I’m a literary snob of some sort. I enjoy story beyond and above everything else. Good story, for me, is key to any writing in any genre.

I have heard some various forms of audio snobbery though from various quarters:

  • American audio drama is more valued than Canadian
  • British audio drama is more respected than American
  • New audio drama is accepted as better than Old Time Radio
  • Podficts is more edgy than audio drama
  • Heavy narration is worse than no narration
  • Lots of special effects (the “Every Blade of Grass” folks) is seen as modern compared to a limited soundscape
  • Horror and Comedy is more popular than drama
  • Podcast is better than radio, and streaming is better than podcasts
  • Social awareness trumps social commentary

These are the forms that come to mind for me. What snobbery do you see in the art form? Is it justified?

About The Author

Born to Teachers and Amateur Audio Enthusiasts in the small rural community of Belwood, Jack's first love was stories- writing, reading, telling, and singing. He developed his acting skills through High School, University, and through film and community theatre. Jack writes the lion's share of Electric Vicuna's Audio Drama scripts and has his own writing site at He's thrilled to co-host the Sonic Society with his wonderful, talented, friend David Ault!


4 Responses to “Snobbish Sonic”

  1. MadMikeyD says:

    The types of snobbery I tend to see is this:

    The people who are in the “community” (who all take part in each other’s programs remotely) vs those isolated groups who confine themselves to their own productions

    The studio recorders vs the remote producers (now both of those vs the location recorders)

    The minimalist, OTR type productions vs the “more noise the better” style

    The small independent hobby groups vs the “professional” “big name” producers

    Personally, a good story is a good story, and audio drama is my favorite style of story. Lone Ranger, Red Panda, Jake Sampson, Jim Nolan, Joe Friday, Emmett Burns, Randy Stone, John Avery Whittaker – they all have great stories, regardless of the details of the process.

  2. Jack says:

    We couldn’t have summed it up better than you just did Mikey! Well said 🙂

  3. MadMikeyD says:

    As I thought more about it, I think the biggest form of audio drama snobbery comes from the media’s coverage of audio drama. Podcast audio drama has been around since at least 2004’s debut of “Dr. Floyd.” Since then there have been hundreds – maybe thousands – of productions. They vary in style and quality, but there they are – and that doesn’t even take the BBC into account. Yet, every time the media does a story about audio drama it talks about reviving a dead art form. I noticed this with press coverage of Laurence Fishburne’s “Bronzeville” series and David Schwimmer’s “Homecoming” series. Just because a project has a “name” attached to it doesn’t re-invent the medium. The only podcasts that ever get mentioned are “Serial” (not even an AD) and “Nightvale.” If any podcast audio drama can claim to have revived the medium, “We’re Alive” (not even mentioned in “Bronzeville” coverage, even though KC Wayland helped direct and produce) would get my vote, with their 50,000,000 plus downloads. Anyway, as a longtime radio/audio drama listener, that always gets my dander up.

  4. Jack says:

    Ours too! After All Colonial Radio has been going even longer than that!

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