Why Are Audio Drama Podcasts Blowing Up?

Reddit’s sub r/audiodrama exponentially grew over the last quarter of 2022.

Classics like Welcome to Night Vale, Wolf 359 and this author’s all-time favorite Levar Burton Reads are getting new subscribers even though they are no longer releasing episodes. Still, listeners are binging entire series.

#AudioDrama hashtag has been trending on social media in first quarter of 2023.

Podcast production companies like Rusty Quill are investing in the development of new shows.

Democracy Jones is one of the fastest-growing audio drama podcasts, and is written and produced by yours truly.

What is going on in serial & series fiction audio drama podcasts of late? Are people moving en masse away from traditional books, audiobooks and radio toward audio drama podcasts? What gives?

First of all, for those new to audio dramas, let’s define the term.

Audio Drama – Works written explicitly for podcasting, but also traditional radio. They may be novels or short stories released in chapter form, or plays, and are scripted to be released in episodic or serial form. Created by a single author or a production team with voice actors. Most include music and/or sound effects to heighten listener experience.

Human B-Gon is another fast-growing science fiction & humor audio drama

Sure, podcasts that specialize in editorial, commentary and interviews are still king, but audio dramas are making a run at them.

Demographics – First of all, let’s be clear about one thing. Most of the new subscribers are pre-teen to 20-somethings who go so far as to dedicate their Tumblr, Twitter and TikTok pages entirely to fan theories and discussion of shows like The Magnus Archives and Silt Verses.

Though there are exceptions. As so many people worldwide have found that the company they work for has sold off their commercial real estate and are now working remotely, people in their 30s-50s now have more time to invest in long-form stories.

LaVar Burton should forever be considered the audio drama OG, even if Reading Rainbow was a made for TV (rhyme intended!)

Hilarity – Science Fiction & Horror are still the mainstays for audio drama podcasts, though newer shows have spent more time adding humor to the genres. Dark humor, dead pan and satire are the name of the game now, and wow can they ever keep you laughing with scripted jokes performed by talented voice actors.

It’s a great time to dive into an audio drama podcast.

Published by Eamon

Eamon Loingsigh is a shortlisted author of historical novels, YA, poetry, speculative fiction and the Science Fiction-Horror podcast DEMOCRACY JONES: 7/13. He earned a degree in Journalism and has written for the Associated Press, The Guardian, Tampa Bay Times and many other publications.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: