Friday, March 2, 2018


Students MUST post reactions ( minimum 250 words) to the READING/LISTENING linked below. Students are encouraged (but not required) to additionally respond to other student reactions.

1) The Story So Far: Fiction Podcasts take their next step by Amanda Hess: "On one long August day, Eli Horowitz camped out in a cramped studio in Gowanus, Brooklyn, with Oscar Isaac, Catherine Keener, a microphone and a solitary Betta fish named Young Hollywood swimming laps around its little bowl.

Mr. Horowitz was there to direct Ms. Keener and Mr. Isaac as they acted out the story of a strange and intimate relationship between a therapist and an army veteran who come together as part of a secretive — maybe even sinister — government program. Mr. Isaac played the vet, Ms. Keener the therapist.

Young Hollywood served as scenery. The catch: They had to convey all of this exclusively through sound — including the fish. Also, Mr. Horowitz had never directed an actor in his life." Click heading to read the rest of the article. 

2) 11 Fiction Podcasts Worth a Listen by Amanda Hess: "The fiction podcast is having a moment. But modern audio dramatists have been turning out intriguing scripted podcasts for several years, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down. Take a guided tour through the past, present and future of audio drama with these fictional standouts." Click heading to review recommended list, then pick one and listen to an episode. Don't pick one you have to subscribe to (the majority are free).

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


Students MUST post reactions ( minimum 250 words) to the reading/listening linked below. Students are encouraged (but not required) to additionally respond to other student reactions.

A Brief History of NPR’s Star Wars: In 1981, NPR affiliate station KUSC, based at George Lucas’ alma mater, the University of Southern California, hatched a bold plan to adapt Lucas’ Star Wars for radio.

Easily the most visual film of the past decade, Star Wars as a listening experience seemed like an unlikely idea, but Lucas sold NPR and KUSC the rights to adapt the hit movie for one dollar, and opened the Lucasfilm vaults to the show’s producers: the Star Wars sound effects would be available to them in their raw form, along with every note of John Williams’ music, including selections that had yet to appear on an album.The somewhat unenviable task of translating a visual-effects-heavy blockbuster to the spoken word was given to writer Brian Daley.

Click heading to read the rest of the article.

Click HERE to listen to the first 30 minute episode (featuring the ice planet Hoth and the Wampa attack) or HERE for the final 30 minute episode (featuring the final saber battle between Skywalker & Vader) of The Empire Strikes Back from KUSC's STAR WARS: The Original Radio Drama. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018


Children's books are full of  sounds. The "terrible" roars in Where the Wild Things Are, the Super-Axe-Hacker thwacking the Truffalu Trees in The Lorax, the mud, the river, the snowstorm in We're Going On a Bear Hunt. Adapt a children's book into a 2 - 3 pg podcast SCRIPT.

Don't worry about correct format.

Include the text (imagine it being read aloud), and the sounds indicated by the text, but also do your best to convey the mood/content of the illustrations with ambient (ex: rain) and musical beds (a loop or track of sound that plays underneath voices during spoken elements) and discrete, discontinous sound effects (ex: a dog bark or a gun shot).

Search the illustrations for sounds NOT announced by the text. Be as specific as possible i.e. don't just say "opening music," name a particular song, and if a "monster" is roaring, as in Sendak's Wild Things, precisely indicate what sound you'd use to evoke it (don't just say "roar.") Be creative. For instance King Kong was famously a mix of a tiger growl played backwards and a lion roar played forward; the Rancor in Empire Strikes Back was a slowed-down chiwawa, and the velociraptors in Jurassic Park were, at various points, a horse breathing, a goose hissing, and a tortoise having sex.

Post below as a comment (if it fits) or as google doc link. Or e-mail it to me at

Wednesday, January 31, 2018


Students MUST post reactions ( minimum 250 words) to the listening linked below. Students are encouraged (but not required) to additionally respond to other student reactions.

The old-time radio era, sometimes referred to as the Golden Age of Radio, refers to a period of radio programming in the United States lasting from the proliferation of radio broadcasting in the early 1920s until the 1950s, when television superseded radio as the medium of choice for scripted programming and radio shifted to news, sports and playing popular music. During this period, when radio was dominant and filled with a variety of formats and genres, people regularly tuned into their favorite radio programs. According to a 1947 C. E. Hooper survey, 82 out of 100 Americans were found to be radio listeners. (Wikipedia)

Click HERE and scroll down to browse the Old Time Radio archive; then select/listen to two eps from two different serials (eps are roughly 20 min). One of my favorites is Inner Sanctum.