The Immortal Orson Welles: Theaters Adapting to the Radio Drama


PodMov Daily: Wednesday, June 10

Episode 223: Your Midweek Update

The Immortal Orson Welles: Theaters Adapting to the Radio Drama

Once again, the visionary voice of Orson Welles is inspiring new approaches to audio storytelling. NPR’s Jeff Lunden explores how theaters across the world are reaching the public: “Some have made archival video of productions available, some have created Zoom plays and some have returned to an old art form — radio drama — but with a digital twist.”

Welles' 1938 broadcast of The War of the Worlds shocked the public with its realism. 2020 theater hopes to tap into that energy. Acclaimed British playwright Sir Alan Ayckbourn, who is 81, used his sound design skills to transform an unproduced play. “The theatres are trying to reinvent themselves, really, and are attempting to raise their voices and say, ‘We are still here, we are still here,’” Ayckbourn said. “We can give you something.’”

Adam Greenfield, the artistic director for New York's Playwrights Horizons, has commissioned a series of audio plays for a podcast, Soundstage. The creativity of the 1930s truly set a standard: “Orson Welles began his career as a theater actor and director,” Greenfield said. “And I think he's able to really utilize the full potential of what audio can do.”

PM's Weekly Community Recap: Pinterest for Podcasters

This week’s community update offers advice on using Pinterest to promote podcasts and attract new listeners. PM community member Kelsey Henry shares her tips on how to get the most out of the image-based social media platform, including using its algorithm to your advantage and scheduling out posts with Tailwind. 

With various collaborative features, Pinterest can be a surprisingly effective resource to increase audience engagement. Kim Sutton of Positive Productivity shared some podcast-specific guidance earlier this year in a virtual session at the Mass Media Summit. Check out the video for Sutton’s promotional workflow and main takeaways.

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I appreciate failure. Failure means that an attempt was made, and a lesson can be learned. As long as we’re alive after the effort, there is a chance for success the next time around.

Here's what else is going on:

  • Legalize it: Podnews covers the launch of SyncFloor's service for finding and licensing music. The company takes a crack at a longstanding problem with “a new site specific to podcast producers, allowing them to find and license tracks for use in their podcasts.”
  • Sign here: In Hot Pod, Nicholas Quah makes excellent points about podcasting in this “all-consuming moment.” The Equality in Audio Pact from Broccoli Content founder Renay Richardson is one explicit step toward a more transparent, balanced industry.
  • United front: This evening from 5 – 11:00 EST, the gaming collective 368 will host “We The Creators,” a charity stream benefiting the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Speakers include podcasters Danny Peña (Gamertag Radio) and Akilah Hughes (What a Day).
  • Gong Show: Inside Radio cites a new survey suggesting that “a majority of podcast listeners give a new podcast 15 minutes or less to become hooked.” 6% of respondents, who all report listening at least once a month, said they’d give a show “up to a minute.”

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