A collection of short audio fiction, mixed together with somewhat upbeat songs found on indie and alternative radio stations, the aptly named “Sad Stories and Happy Songs” is diametrically opposed with itself. Yet Continue reading
Western society has had a big hand on radio dramas success on 20th and 21st century culture. From the invention of the radio to podcasts, the theater of the mind has attracted fans new, far and even across continents. According to the Kathmandu Post, radio dramas have not only been alive in regions other than the North America and Europe, but also in parts of Asia and South America.
In an article written by Deepesh Paudel, published on May 29 of this year, radio drama has become the norm for many in Nepal. For more than six years, the affordability and reliability of the radio has proven a great influence, with 80 percent of people in Nepal saying its their preferred media outlet. “Radio dramas have been playing an integral role in the promotion of behavioural transformation, propagation of moral standards and intervention in various social practices,” says Paudel. The popularity of broadcasts such as Sathi Sanga Mann Kaa Kura, Katha Mitho Sarangiko and Gaun Gaun Ma Singha Durbar have had a long-lasting effect on the citizens of Nepal, and a new style of storytelling has changed the game even further.
Coined by Mexican Screenwriter Miguel Sabido, the sabido style is the use of techniques found in both serialized dramas and soap operas to bring about social change. In this style of storytelling, the message or moral is more important than the characters or story.
As many in the audio drama field have noted, the singular use of sound to paint an image inside a listener’s head takes a different kind of skills than prose or film can offer. Audio dramas are the blending of screenwriting (dialogue) and the imagination of the individual paint its own image of the setting. Novels, short stories and everything in between use the written word to get this across. All audio dramas have are sound effects and dialogue.
Adding in the Sabido style to an already complex and unique process, makes this method of storytelling difficult. Yet, in Nepal, radio dramas such as “Mai Sari Sunaakhari” have proven that overt theme and stories aren’t mutually exclusive and that it is possible to have both and do it well.
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King Falls AM is a podcast audio drama masquerading as a radio station for a made up town where nothing is as it seems. What makes this show interesting isn’t so much the story, but its format. The first couple episodes don’t seem to link together in any meaningful way, but when episode three roles around things started getting twice as good. The witty banter between the two co-hosts and their guests is one of many examples of what makes King Falls AM a great listen.
The show is very much the audio drama equivalent of cinematic formalism where form is king and content is second. That’s not to say the story isn’t good, but it plays more of a secondary role to the production as a whole.
You don’t really get a sense of the setting and scope of the project until episode five, when a plot thread is tied up from two episodes prior. Rather than answering the question with another question, the creators use horror in a comedic way to essentially tell the audience: “yeah, we know it doesn’t make sense, but it sure as hell’s entertaining.” Some people might have issues with that, others not so much.
Needless to say I’ll be continue to listen to this series with increasing interest as each episode slowly peels back the layers of complexity that creators have set up. Whether or not there’s an endgame remains to be seen, but I’d be lying if I said this isn’t an entertaining ride.