What We’re Listening To

There’s a lot more than time and dedication that goes into getting a podcast off the ground. Nobody tells you about the other stuff. Heck, there’s a lot more than nagging your friends to download/listen/review. For one thing, there’s the money. Advertising is a bigger deal than I would’ve thought. Gone are the days when you could get by with a plucky attitude and a whole lot of heart. These days, you’ve got to shell out to get your name out there.

A part of deciding where we wanted to advertise (never mind whether or not we could afford to do so) was listening to new podcasts.  Most of us had our go-to’s, like WTNV, nosleep, Drabble, etc. But we really wanted to get to know more about the weird fiction podcasting scene, make some connections, get more involved. This meant listening to new stuff. And man, did we find some great new stuff.

I almost feel silly discussing THE BLACK TAPES when it’s blown up so big, but it really served as an inspiration for us with its radio play format. Love of horror and mystery kind of goes hand-in-hand, and TBT meets those loves pretty thoroughly. After LIMETOWN, I was eager for a new spooky, investigative series to listen to. TBT filled in the gap extremely well. It’s the kind of story you burn through, then turn right back around to listen to it all again. Which is what I’m currently in the process of doing. Both seasons are suspenseful, dark thrillers that leave you on the edge of your seat. It sounds cliche, maybe, but it’s true. There’s no telling where the adventures of Alex and Dr. Strand will take us next,  but it’s bound to be somewhere fascinating.

LORE was the next series I came across, suggested by Twitter thanks to whatever algorithm it uses. Produced and performed by Aaron Mahnke with music by Musician, it recounts strange and sordid true tales from history. Touching on urban legends and true crime alike, Mahnke highlights the ugly side of human history. Lore’s episodic nature makes it easy to pick up – there are no seasons, no storyline to keep track of. Just pure weird history. This makes it great for easy listening, something to fill the time on a jaunt to the grocery store or while taking a long walk.

THE BRIGHT SESSIONS was recommended by the inimitable Aaron Rehdactedd. I couldn’t say  how he stumbled across it, but I was glad that he did. Each episode features the recordings of the enigmatic therapist Dr. Bright, whose practice specializes in a peculiar kind of patient. Despite her patients’ superhuman abilities, their problems are all too normal – they struggle to connect with those around them, wrestle with their own emotions and shortcomings. It’s easy to lose yourself in Dr. Bright’s professional voice, encouraging but also calculating. What does Dr. Bright want from her patients? Just what makes them assets to her?

SPINES is an ominous, eerie blend between Alias and Re-Animator. It’s a masterfully produced lovechild between mystery and the grotesque. Narrated by Wren, a young woman missing memories after waking from a bizarre cult ritual, the story features a cast of curious young men and women with even curiouser abilities. She’s clever and resourceful, more so than even she knows. All the while, Wren searches for the mystery man she believes holds the answers to her search – who she is, what brought her to this point, and what becomes of them next.

If you haven’t checked these series out, I highly recommend them! There are so many good podcasts out these days, it’s hard to keep up – I still have a few on deck I haven’t even gotten around to sampling yet. But if you’re looking for a place to start, look no further than this post, mystery lovers – I’ve got you covered.



The Corpus Christi Writers & Bloggers group is posting a word a day for those bloggers out there to gain some inspiration from. And wouldn’t you know it, this one really got me going.

“What’s your podcast about?”

I’ve never been good at describing my work. In fact, I prefer not to. I’ll waffle, hem and haw, before giving a not-quite-right answer with the hope that the person I’m talking ┬áto will go away. The ones who question further earn my undying enmity. The podcast situation is much the same, because my initial not-answer is always met pretty predictably.

“Do you listen to WTNV/Limetown/The Black Tapes?”

The answer to this question is, of course, yes. If anything, I’d have to say that Limetown is what really got me thinking about this podcasting business. It was so different from anything I’d ever encountered before, so intense, so incredible. It was horror in a format I’d never considered. How did they do it, I wondered? I’ll never forget listening to Episode 4 while driving (DON’T DO IT) through Houston en route to Baton Rouge. I was so frightened that I had my first ever “Jesus, Take the Wheel!” moment. It left a hell of an impression.

“So your podcast is like those?”

God, I wish. And while no one wants to be accused of being a copycat, I’d be lying if I said the media I consumed didn’t have a significant impact on my work. WTNV inspired the radio element, though my love of college radio played as much a role in that decision, and of course there’s the whole “weird, spooky little town” thing, colored by the whole team’s experiences in academia and university communities. Limetown made me want to write something scary. The literary aspect of The Alexandria Archives tends to invite questions about Drabble or nosleep, though without having listened to those, I’d compare it more to knifepoint horror. My point is, sometimes I wonder if what we’re doing can be called original when…well, it’s not. Other people did it first. Other people did it better.

“Haha so you want to be a famous podcaster, huh?”

Well…no. That would be a bit silly. I’m not about to quit my day job – which, incidentally, I rather like. When it comes down to it, what we wanted to do was make something. For one of the guys, the idea was to remake something rather important to him. The Alexandria Archives has got a lot in common with bigger, better things, but it’s got a lot of us in it, too. And that makes it original. No one’s done exactly what we’ve done, because no one’s experienced exactly what we’ve experienced. And at the end of the day, even if we do hope people are liking what we’re doing, damn, we’re having fun! That’s the part that matters.