When it comes to making a (prerecorded) podcast, you may think that the only real issue that creators find themselves facing is derived from the effort of building the planned dialog. However, this is not the case; and if it was, I wouldn’t need to write an article about it. While choosing the dialog can be difficult, it often pales in comparison to the challenges that appear during the planning of both audio clips, pieces of music, and other contextual information that truly makes a podcast, a podcast.
A podcast by Radiolab titled War of the Worlds, posted on October 30th, 2018, provides some evidence to how tricky a podcast can be. This really shines through in the War of Worlds podcast as it judiciously uses clips from the original broadcast of War of Worlds, by Orson Welles, in a special radio play form and some clips from other radio events following the same story around the world. While the original story of War of Worlds, as contained in Orson Welles’ book, is fascinating on its own, the original War of Worlds broadcast (to be clear: the original radio play) caused wide panic. As such, the ground work for a great story was created for the War of Worlds podcast (the one from Radiolab) to analyze.
The Radiolab podcast of War of Worlds went forward to churn their way through almost the entire original War of the Worlds radio play. Here the two characters for Radiolab’s podcast discuss and banter alternated by clips from the original War of the Worlds radio play and similar productions. Through this the main narrator of the Radiolab podcast reveals some interesting historical background ranging from reasons why people may have reacted as they did to the original War of the Worlds radio play to what the effects of the original radio play were.
The crew of the Radiolab podcast later reveal how people felt post War of the Worlds radio play. This segment of the War of the Worlds podcast reveals the extent of the original radio play and allows the podcast to shift to new topics furthering the podcast’s scope. Here discussion blooms and really adds the meat to Radiolab’s podcasts.
In the end, Radiolab’s War of the Worlds took something that is often thought to be well understood, the original War of the Worlds radio play, and shows the gritty details behind it. Here they reveal ideas that both prove and contest the alleged details of that radio play as it existed 80 years ago. A key lesson in what is truly important behind a good podcast is revealed: finding a topic that is believed to be well known, and then providing new, often little known, information to the listener.