How are my Levels?

Auphonic is an online company that has made normalizing and equalizing your audio file as easy as a few clicks, a short wait, and then downloading your perfect sounding audio file.

Advertisements

Podcasting 101: How Are My Levels?

By Alex C. Telander

 

One of the most inviting aspects to making your own podcast is that there’s not really a rule book to follow. There’s no publishing house vetting what type of podcast you want to make, whether you’re doing it right or wrong, and the audio drama community is welcoming and incredibly inclusive and supportive.

So you’ve got your well written script, a variety of impressive sound effects, some great original music, and your talented cast of voice actors spread around the world all with their own microphones. The first episode you’ve just finished putting together sounds great and you feel you’re ready to hit the upload button and make your podcast a reality . . . except you just did a final listen and you noticed not everything is at the same volume.

You’re using three actors in this episode and in the dialog scenes one person sounds louder than the other; the music is too quiet, and the sound effects are too loud. You just want everything to be at the same level. You’re not really sure how to do this, and definitely not without it taking a long time . . . and you’re exhausted. You’ve been working your butt off the whole last week and you’ve got to be in to work early tomorrow. So what can you do? Enter Auphonic.

Auphonic Productions is an online company that has made normalizing and equalizing the many parts of your audio file as easy as a few clicks or taps, a short wait, and then downloading your perfect sounding audio file. And the real awesome thing about it is it’s basically free.

Auphonic was started by founder Georg Holzmann when he was at university, working on audio processing, signal processing, and audio engineering. He had been listening to a lot of podcast creators telling him the most difficult part is always the audio post-production. Holzmann started working with a podcast creator, looking to ‘automate his work flow’ and make the post-production easier. He worked on creating elaborate algorithms, especially with [the] adaptive leveler, which matches the loudness of different parts of a podcast, as well as developing other tools involving encoding, tagging, and the distribution of the podcast.

Holzmann decided to make a product out of it and applied for a grant in Austria, where he’s based, and formed a team. The first version of Auphonic was released in 2012 and was originally completely free, but once the grant expired, it was necessary to introduce a pricing model.

The beauty of Auphonic is you can create an account for free, and by doing so you automatically get two hours of free audio processing time per month. There’s a lot you can do with the many settings of this free account, but I’m going to concentrate on a quick and easy overview for now.

Auphonic’s Goal

The goal of Auphonic is to automate all the audio post-production once you have your music and dialog recorded, as well as making the steps after the audio recording is complete easy and efficient. The adaptive leveling algorithm classifies different segments for different speakers, as Holzmann explains, creating a balance between the speech and music parts, and when the two are playing together, “otherwise one would destroy the inner dynamic of the music.”

Auphonic is looking to make it so none of the post-production audio work needs to be done manually. It has also expanded its capabilities to include working with audio not just in podcasting, but also with radio stations, conference recordings, lecture recordings, and even television and film. Pretty much wherever dialog is mixed with music, Auphonic can be used.

Ever since its release, Auphonic has become a popular audio editing program to use, whether it’s with the online version, or the desktop app version. Users range into the hundreds of thousands.

Auphonic Quick and Easy

So you’ve got your free account all set up, you’re ready to make the most of your two hours of processing time, and you just want to make that first episode sound balanced and even. Where do you start?

You go into the New Production menu. Choose what file you wish to upload. Make sure ‘Leveler’ and ‘Loudnorm’ boxes are checked, choose your Loudness Target – there’s a setting for Podcasts and Mobile – and hit Start Production. And that’s pretty much it. You’ve done the hard work. The next screen shows an upload bar, as it uploads your audio file, and depending on its length this can take a couple minutes at most.

Then you wait a little longer. You can close the screen if you want and you’ll get an email when you’re audio file is all ready to download. A few minutes later you’re following the link to the page with a clear download link for your audio file. And below that is a cool looking graph showing where the volume was raised and lowered in your audio file. You can even click on an option to see the original version superimposed over the new one to show what was changed.

That’s it. Download your file and you’re ready to go. You can relax, knowing you’re audio now sounds leveled and great.

Auphonic’s Advanced Parameters

There’s a lot more you can do with Auphonic depending on your experience level and comfort with audio processing. The beauty of the program lies in the interface: you have the option of a very simple and clean layout that’s quick and easy to use, or a much more in depth display where you can customize exactly how you want your audio processed.

Firstly, your file can be either audio or video (here is a list of all the supported audio and video file types for Auphonic).

When uploading your file, you can choose to upload your audio via your computer or device, or via a website. You can choose a specific intro/ outro to add to the beginning/ end of your audio file through the same upload methods.

The next category is Basic Metadata, where you can choose the title for your audio file and select a file image to upload that will be attached to it permanently, along with details such as Artist, Album, and Track. Extended Metadata lets you create a subtitle, choose a genre and year, and create a Summary. After that you can add details about the publisher, URL, license, license URL, and Tags. You even have the option to create your own license.

Next section is Chapter Marks, where you can either import specific chapter marks that you already have in your audio file, or add your own. Once this has been done you can choose what format you want the final version of your audio file to be, along with choosing the Bitrate, adding a Filename Suffix if needed, as well as a few more tweaks.

There is also a handy section on Speech Recognition, which offers affordable speech recognition in 80 languages. You can register a speech recognition service and get it added easily; more can be found out about that here. Publishing/External Services such as Dropbox, YouTube, SoundCloud, and Libsyn (to name a few) can also be registered and added.

The final section, and perhaps most important, is the Audio Algorithms section. There are six options to play with in this category; the first four can be checked or unchecked, while the last two can be adjusted with a drop-down menu.

Adaptive Level: Corrects level differences within one file between speakers, music and speech, etc. to achieve a balanced overall loudness.

Filtering: Classifies the lowest wanted signal (male/female speech, base in music, etc.) and adaptively filters unnecessary/disturbing low frequencies in each audio segment.

Loudness Normalization: Adjusts the global, overall loudness to the specified Loudness Target (using a True Peak Limiter), so that all processed files have a similar average loudness.

Noise and Hum Reduction: Classifies regions with different backgrounds and automatically removes noise and hum in each region.

Loudness Target: Set a loudness target in LUFS for Loudness Normalization, with higher values resulting in louder audio outputs.

Reduction Amount: Maximum noise and hum reduction amount (in dB), with higher values removing more noise. In Auto mode, a classifier decides if and how much noise reduction is necessary (to avoid artifacts).

When I’m using Auphonic for adjusting audio files for Ostium I have all four options checked, with Loudness Target set to -16 LUFS (Podcasts and Mobile) and the Reduction Amount set to ‘Auto.’ And when I download the edited audio file, it sounds just perfect.

Auphonic Range

If you find that the two free hours per month for your audio work is not enough, there are two main options you can choose to add more time: you can pay a monthly, recurring fee of $11 for 9 hours, or $23 for 21 hours, or even higher totals of hours depending on what works best for you. Alternatively, you can get one-time credits of 5 hours for $12, 10 hours for $22, and a number of higher options. And if you’re looking for some Auphonic software to acquire and download, such as desktop apps, there are options for that too, which can be found here.

Auphonic Future

For the future, the team behind Auphonic is looking to build new leveling algorithms, with more detailed parameter settings, as well as building new desktop applications. They’re looking to develop the levelers to be more universal and not limited to just podcasts or speech audio. They are really looking to push the audio envelope: to work on improving and creating new things with audio.

Whether you’re a professional sound engineer or a complete novice when it comes to things that make noises, I definitely think you can’t go wrong with choosing Auphonic to magically make your work sound great.

PodernTimes and Alex C. Telander are not sponsored by Auphonics in any way.

PatreCon 2018

Chad Ellis went along to PatreCon 2018 to learn more about monetizing and gaining financial independence through your art.

PatreCon 2018

By Chad Ellis

So two weeks ago I was at PatreCon 2018 in Los Angeles, and as the name suggests this is a conference hosted by Patreon. It first kicked off back in 2016, with the aim of bringing creators together in a collaborative and educational way, to help everyone grow and build creative and financial independence for their projects.

The 3-day, invite-only conference was a relaxed mixture of lectures and workshops that ran from the 1st to the 3rd of November. Aimed at giving you the skills, tools, and mindset to take your creative business to the next level. To build alternative monetization streams, hiring and support for your workforce, and much more, all through the lens of industry experts and peers who have walked the walk.

With almost fifty speakers, a mix of Patreon staff and creative peers such as Amanda McLoughlin, Broke-Ass Stuart, Bryanda Law, Jackson Bird, Steven Ray Morris, Lauren Shippen, and Zach Valenti to mention just a few, you can imagine not only did we get some great insight into raising up our products, but had great fun at the same time.

PatreCon was as inspiring as it was unexpected for me. I first heard of it from some guests at my Halloween party, and after an entire articles worth of serendipity, dive bars and roof top haunts I had an invitation from Julia Schifini of the Multitude collective. I arrived with the intention of capping off a wild week by hanging out with some podcast friends, and I walked away with a fundamentally changed viewpoint of the relationship between creator and fan.

How do you get paid as a creator?

It’s a difficult concept for a lot of us to wrap our head around. There’s impostor syndrome (why would somebody want to pay for something I made?), there’s over politeness (I can’t ask people for money), there’s self limitation (I’m already making $100 a month, it can’t go higher than that!) It’s difficult to value our work when we’ve grown up in a culture that only values art that’s already successful. One minute we’re tripping over ourselves to get a picture with a celebrity, the next we’re asking the person who says they’re trying to make it as an actor what their day job is, as if they are defined by the thing that pays the bills.

Let me set the scene. You enter one of the most Blade Runner looking buildings in Los Angeles holding a box of donuts. The donuts are important. You pass couples pushing strollers and rocking baby bjorns, turns out there’s a New Parent convention going on in the upper levels. You’re directed down a staircase to the basement. What could easily be a sterile, windowless environment is lit up in gentle reds and blues.

You almost collide with a familiar face. Parasocially familiar. It’s the star of that one YouTube series your best friend is a fan of. They comment on the donuts. You walk by a wall covered in the stages of the creative journey. You see a list of events. They say things like “Building Community” and “Navigating Financial Independence”. You take in the event space, the perfect amount of room for just over 300 people. Their badges all read the same thing. “Creator”.

This is PatreCon. A place for established creators to speak honestly and intimately about every aspect of existing as a Capitol P Person on the internet, and getting paid while doing it.

I found my people in the corner, other figures in the Audio Drama world. Creators, writers and actors of shows like Ars Paradoxica, The Far Meridian, Tides, Bright Sessions and Wolf 359. I exchanged hugs and set down the donuts. They had so much to tell me. There was a guy who made a suit that plays music based on your movement. There was a woman who’s making a podcast reviewing all of English apocalyptic fiction in chronological order. Zach Valenti is typing notes on this wild retro-future keyboard.

The donuts start to work their magic. A stranger eyes them. You gesture to the open box. They come over and introduce themselves, followed by the go to question of the weekend. “What do you create?” This happens again and again. Ice broken. You’re ready to dig in to the Con.

Between panels, workshops, and talking with other creators there was a lot to take in over the weekend, so I’d like to share my biggest takeaways with you, and after that, there’s a link at the bottom to Patreon’s YouTube channel that has over seven hours of video content from the conference.

“Your 1,000 most hardcore fans”.

A popular topic of conversation from a panel the day before. The idea is that in a world of several billion people there are 1,000 fans who would pay you $100 a year to create what you wanted to create; you just need to find them.

For people who don’t want to do the math, that will net you $100,000 a year, a seemingly unattainable amount of money… until you start breaking it down.

On an individual level $100 a year is just over $8 a month. And most creators don’t need $100,000 a year. Could you find 500 of your biggest fans? 250? I’ve always assumed I’d need to reach a small countries worth of people to make any kind of creative living. Now I’m focusing on reaching that one fan at a time and providing them with attractive Patreon perks to stick around.

“Let people give you money. Don’t limit yourselves.”

Hanging out with other creators doing completely different work and reaching completely different fan bases definitely stretched my idea of support potential. It’s not up to you to decide what other people spend their money on. And if they want to give some of that money to you? You should let them. Patrons were giving one guy I met $5,000 to write a daily fiction story online. A YouTuber I met makes 2-3 no frills videos a month and has thousands of Patrons. I’m not saying that you’ll make a solid living off of Patreon. I am saying that there are no rules, and there might be a lot more people out there who will happily throw you a few bucks a month if they like what your doing. Let them.

“Be true to yourself. Niche is good.”

Sounds a bit cliche but it’s the best thing you can do to build a dedicated fan base. I follow my favorite creators works no matter what they’re making. A book? I’ll read it. A video? I’ll watch it. A podcast? I’m already listening. You’re not going to get that kind of following if you’re constantly chasing what you think will be successful instead of making the thing that you really want to make. The creators I met at PatreCon were passionate about the often very niche thing they were making. Your values come through in all of your work, your fans will identify with those values and the hardcore fans will follow your lead.

“Pay attention to the cost/benefit of what you’re offering”

Creating a thing is a lot of work. Adding more to that thing could lead to burn out, and it might not even be helping you that much. Are your Patreon rewards sustainable? Do they get in the way of making your main thing? Are they attracting new Patrons?

What about merchandise? I really want to make enamel pins for my show, but the minimum order costs hundreds of dollars. Am I reliably going to sell all of those pins and make my money back? I have a great idea for a shirt but that art for it will cost me $90. Am I confident that I will be able to sell enough shirts to cover the costs of making them?

Some people like paying for signal boosts on platforms like Instagram or Facebook. How many people are you reaching with that boost? How many of those people are likely to turn in to fans? Is there a better way you can spend that money?

One size does not fit all, an effective strategy for you will likely differ from your peers. It’s good to check in every few months to make sure you and your Patrons are getting the most out of your relationship.

“You have value. Your work has value.”

My musician friends are often baffled by the kind of support people can pull independently via something like Patreon. In the words of my roommate, you grow up thinking that you don’t have any value until a Label picks you up and decides you’re worth investing in. It took attending PatreCon to shake him out of this mindset. And it’s a difficult thing to shake. Later on in the Con he commiserate with Jack Conte, a musician and the founder of Patreon. Jack shook his head and said “Yeah. I hate that”.

A screenwriter doesn’t need to wait for a show to pick them up. An actor doesn’t need to wait for a Director to cast them. And a musician doesn’t need to wait for a label. We’re living in a time where you can build a direct relationship with your audience and where that audience can support you. It’s not easy, but the power is yours. You just need to figure out how to reach them.

The convention ended with a great big party, the perfect way to spend time with the people we had met over the weekend. The question of “what do you create?” persisted at the open bar and between sessions at the photo booth, but now the conversation went beyond that: how are we going to apply what we’ve learned? So while creators piled into the Karaoke room to belt Bohemian Rhapsody, I walked away with a lot of changes in mind for my own Patreon.

 

I hope that this overview has given you some food for thought for your project, and if you need some more convincing, or just want to watch some really insightful and motivating video, then check out their video contributions of the conference on YouTube!

The History of Audio Drama

This series takes a look at the history and people that shaped the face of audio drama. In this, the first article we look at the Theatrophone, the first ever stereo broadcast.

The History of Audio Drama

By Dōhai

My flux capacitor finally arrived last week, and now that I have finished calibrating and fitting it to the DeLorean, that can only mean one thing. It’s about time we took a trip into the past to look at the History of Audio Drama.

640px-TeamTimeCar.com-BTTF_DeLorean_Time_Machine-OtoGodfrey.com-JMortonPhoto.com-04​​

By JMortonPhoto.com & OtoGodfrey.com, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44599380

 

Before we zoom off into the annals of time, let me give you a little bit of an outline, so that you know what to expect from this series.

There is more than enough material for us to wade through regarding its rich history; one could not only write a book but probably a whole shelf full of tomes, should time and inclination not be heavily weighing factors in any writers life. Who knows, maybe in the future? But for now I plan on keeping it light and entertaining, factual and to the point.

Consider it a fun little road trip down this historical highway.

The plan is to give you a general idea of the evolution of audio drama, and bring you links to some of the landmark shows of the past, for your listening pleasure. So strap yourself in, because eventually the DeLorean WILL reach the required 88 mph, even if I have to Thelma and Louise this bad boy off a cliff!

 

Le Théâtrophone, an 1896 lithograph from the Lès Maître de L’Affiches series by Jules ChéretLe Théâtrophone, an 1896 lithograph from the Lès Maître de L’Affiches series by Jules Chéret. Credit: Wikipedia.

 

So where did it all begin?

It all began with Clément Ader (1841 – 1925) a French inventor and engineer, known mainly for his pioneering achievements in aviation. Before dedicating his life to flying however he studied electrical engineering where he improved Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone just two years after its invention, and then went on to set up a telephone network in Paris 1880.

A year later he presented his recent invention, what would later be dubbed the Théâtrophone, at the Paris World Expo of 1881. He had arranged 80 transmitters across the front of the stage at the Palais Garnier, and broadcast the opera, via telephone wires, to listeners at the expo some 2 km away. What was different than just listening to the opera via the telephone was the fact that listeners received a separate channel for each ear, thus this was the first ever binaural stereo transmission.

Within three years of this initial demonstration, experimental systems had been commissioned in Portugal and Belgium. Within a decade this system had been commercialized in France, there dubbed ‘Lé Théâtrophone’ (The Theatre Phone), and systems were beginning to pop up the length and breadth of Europe.

Word of this amazing technology had reached America, and in 1890 it’s first demonstration had been set up. Some 800 people in the Grand Union Hotel, Saratoga, listened to The Charge of the Light Brigade, conducted nearly 200 miles away at Madison Square Garden.

By the turn of the century, coin-op telephone receivers charging 50 centimes for five minutes listening could be found in hotels, clubs, and cafés all across France. Even home subscribers could enjoy listening to live plays and opera for a small patronage.

Zuhörer des Theatrophons an Münzapparaten, 1892​​Zuhörer des Theatrophons an Münzapparaten, 1892. Credit: Wikipedia

Riding the high life of entertainment, it all came crashing down for the Théâtrophone after 42 years, due to the rising popularity of wireless radio broadcasting and the phonograph. The Compagnie Du Théâtrophone stopped broadcasting in 1932. This was by no means the end of audio drama, oh no, this was merely the beginning.

 

 

In the next post we take a look at how The Great War put Marconi’s wireless telephone on the fast track into almost every home in the world.

Halloween Countdown: PodCake’s Horror Gallery

It’s Halloween and we have a bowl full of horror treats for you to sink your teeth into!

HALLOWEEN COUNTDOWN: PODCAKE’S HORROR GALLERY

By PodCake

Halloween continues to creep closer, approaching faster than you can fill up your bowl of candy “for the trick-or-treaters.” In a few short hours all sorts of ghosts and ghouls will be banging down your door, so there’s no better time to get caught up on the plethora of excellent horror podcasts available all around the audio drama community.

Here is a short but sweet list of horror audio dramas that never fail to get me in the mood for the most terrifying time of year. If you’re just wanting to bring some unlife back into your podcast library, or simply in need of a quick fix before we trade out our jack-o-lanterns for pumpkin pie, these might just be perfect for you to sink your teeth into.

Source: Freeimages


Archive 81

A popular entry into the “found-footage” category of podcasts, Archive 81 wraps its listener in a tight, gripping horror story filled with all the disturbing bits and pieces you might be lacking in your horror podcast binge. Learn alongside our hero as they desperately attempt to track down their missing friend, uncovering new and more terrifying details along the way.

If you’re a fan of The Black Tapes series, Archive 81 is sure to deliver the same chills, thrills, and suspense, with some added murky layers of mystery for flavor.

SAYER

Step into an immersive sci-fi setting as the sonorous voice of the A.I. guides you through your new life in Ærolith Dynamics. In the future, your life among the stars couldn’t be better. You are independent, self-sufficient, monitored, killed, tortured, and sometimes sucked into space.

But no need to worry, SAYER will wipe away your Earth-stained existence with one day of work after the next. Travel tower to tower, shift to shift, and cross your fingers to make it out alive before your lunch break.

The Infinite

One man alone in space, searching… Here we have The Infinite, a short but impressive sci-fi show consisting of only five episodes to date. Sometimes less and more and The Infinite provides an eerie and emotional ride for curious drifters.

It’s a pleasant combination of the Wolf 359 framework with a SAYER psychological horror edge for flavour. The Infinite is simple yet sinister, and easy to breeze through with its tense but entertaining storytelling. I assure you, you’ll feel right at home.

Return Home

Make your return to good old quirky horror shows with Return Home. In this mysterious little podcast, we are lulled into the rain-drenched tale of a man’s struggles when he comes face to face with the strange happenings of his hometown.

A weird and wonderful audio drama where horror meets hysterical laughter, Return Home is an equal parts creative and creepy show with a wide variety of supernatural, super creepy, and super weird things to keep you coming back.

The NoSleep Podcast

It’s dark out, it’s far past midnight, and you just can’t convince yourself to sleep. No need to worry, The NoSleep Podcast will ensure that when you do finally convince yourself to shut your eyes and drift into slumber, your dreams will be nightmares.

David Cummings and the rest of the equally talented cast speak smoothly, telling us stories found deep in the horror Reddit archives. Be welcome, but be wary of the tales to tell.

LORE

Something wicked this way comes, and it might just be coming from your closet. Horror has never hit so close to home with this beautifully crafted and thoroughly researched podcast. Join Aaron Mahnke as he guides curious listeners through the darkest recesses of the history books in an ever-so scary educational session.

LORE is an excellent choice for people may not be seeking out traditional horror audio drama, but still, want their fill of spooky trivia. LORE is its own special brand of scary with a reliance on crisp audio editing and episodes detailing a wide assortment of facts about the most popular urban legends and monsters.

The best thing about the audio drama community is that horror podcasts are a year-round activity. There’s always something new coming up in feeds, and the malformed brainchild of an audio drama creator is something to look forward to whether it’s October or not. But keep your eyes peeled, your palates open, and you might find something new to keep you terrified.


My name is Makaila Johnson, better known as PodCake. I specialize in handling reviews and literary criticism articles. Though I take my writing seriously, I do subscribe to an aesthetic of fluffy, dreamland inspired cuteness with an emphasis on pinks, pastels, and deserts.

Discover more about PodCake and the rest of the team over on our About Us page.

Horror Countdown: Mabel

If like us, you’re hungry for all things Halloween, the check out our spooktacular countdown and the wonderful Mabel.

Halloween Countdown: Mabel

By Chad Ellis

Sure gore filled, jump scare driven haunted mazes are fun, but when I think of Halloween I think of tradition, rituals. Societies meeting in the woods. Friends and strangers telling stories by firelight. The subtle things that resonate with all humans who have spent a night outdoors.

If you prefer bargains to dismemberment, poetry to screams of agony, and a love that hurts so deeply it shakes the bones of the earth, Mabel is your show this Halloween Season.

Not to say that Mabel lacks dismemberment or blood curdling screams, but their presence is there to add beauty, not shock value.

Mabel opens with a fairly simple premise: a caretaker of a dying woman in Ireland is attempting to reach that woman’s Granddaughter, Mabel, by phone. This elegant format carries us through the first Season of this predominantly single narrator show.

But what happens when you add an old, strange house that doesn’t behave quite the way we expect houses to behave? Or a mushroom ring in the garden? Or a spell initially misunderstood?

Every episode weaves new threads into this tapestry. Like a frog in slowly boiling water, we are steadily taken, from the grounded world of a house in a storm, to the ephemeral world of nightmares and missing dates, and kings under hills.

The moment you hit play you will be met with a stormy night, a ringing phone to a beating heart, an ominous drone, an answering machine. This audio anointment sets you on a path to minimalist sound design, inspired background music and a bond with the narrators both deep and strange.

The first batch of episodes brings you through all of the familiar feelings of haunted houses and dreams. The next batch takes you beyond our familiar veil, to a place of questions and trust. And once you make it to Episode 15: Killing the Moon? Raw, primal poetry in action and a love story unlike any you’ve heard in the past.

I love this show and it is my top recommendation for Halloween. Check out the series right here, and subscribe to stay up to date.

And if you’ve missed the previous entries in our Halloween Countdown, they start right here.


Chad Ellis is a Los Angeles based writer responsible for the Isolation Horror, Station Blue.

 

Check out the rest of the Podern Times team on our About Us page.

 

 

Halloween Countdown: Diary of a Madman

Continuing our Halloween countdown of all things scary, we look at the new season of Diary of a Madman.

Diary of a Madman

By Dōhai

Continuing our Halloween countdown it would be remiss of me to not mention Diary of a Madman. (Warning: Contains gratuitous self promotion.)

As you are probably aware from my last post in the countdown you can throw all manner of ghosts, ghouls, and even a few killer clowns at me all day long and I wouldn’t bat an eyelid, but add a real world psychological twist to it and now you’ve got me.

Diary of a Madman follows the audio journal of a murderer. A unique insight into the rationale of a killer and his reasons for doing what seems abhorrent to us all. But is it? Abhorrent to us I mean. After all, we see it everywhere and yet we don’t seem to be up in arms about it. We shrug our collective shoulders and carry on with our daily grind until that is, it affects us or our immediate family.

Created by Paul Sating, the pen behind many other podcasts such as ‘Subject: Found’ and ‘Who Killed Julie?’, season one comes in the format of 24 short diary entries that average around 5-6 minutes, and is definitely one that sent chills down my spine.

It both chilled and inspired me to begin writing fiction, and when Paul asked me if I would like to write season two, I almost ripped off his arm and beat him to death with it I was that excited. (Luckily there’s a small body of water between us.)

If you haven’t had the pleasure of being chilled to the bone by the first season, then I suggest you go binge it now, because season two launches on Halloween!


 

Have you been enjoying our countdown to Halloween? Come and join us in celebrating all that is horror by sharing your favorites in the comments below!

Just caught this series? Why not start from the beginning and work your way through, otherwise there’s a new post tomorrow!


dohai profile pic

Since falling in love with podcasts back in 2015 Dōhai decided to begin writing on the subject. He soon found himself trying his hand at acting, (Black Bart in The Drift and Ramble Podcast), and more recently writing, with (Diary of a Madman season 2) Set for launch Oct 31st, 2018.

 

Check out the rest of the Podern Times team on our About Us page.

Halloween Countdown: The White Vault

Welcome to Outpost Fristed, a cold and chilling place where we continue our Halloween Countdown with The White Vault

Halloween Countdown: The White Vault

By Alex C. Telander

Out in the freezing wastes at the top of the world, on the island of Svalbard, is a place you’d never want to be… Welcome to Outpost Fristed, a cold and chilling place where we continue our Halloween Countdown with The White Vault.

The White Vault is a found footage-style horror show that is both brilliantly produced and genuinely entertaining.

Photo Credit: Press Kit

An intrepid team of strangers is brought together by the enigmatic Sidja Group, tasked with taking care of an “equipment malfunction.”

Four of the characters are not native English speakers, and begin their reports and recordings in their native language, before switching over to speaking English. This really helps to create a tremendous sense of realism and immersion in the show.

There is a large variety of different types of recordings, from dictaphone, to camera audio, to journals and scribbled notes, all collected together and presented by the Documentarian.

There’s also a great variety of constant sound effects, doing a fantastic job of immersing the listener in this icy environment. Coupled with strange unknown sounds, and the characters audibly becoming more and more scared as the show progresses, it all helps to draw in the listener further.

The team consists of Walter Heath, a technician who’s pretty handy with recording equipment; Graham Casner, a confident guy who knows his way around the wild; Dr. Rosa De La Torre; a medical doctor; Dr. Karina Schumacher-Weiß, a talented geologist; and finally Jónas Þórirsson, the person seemingly in charge, and who seems to knows the most about the Sidja Group.

The White Vault is a professional, very well produced audio drama, with a variety of evocative sound effects and talented voice actors, and is skillfully edited together. Each episode immediately sucks the listener in, as they’re waiting to find out what happens next. Some episodes end on a bit of a cliffhanger, some don’t, but either way the listener is left really wanting more from this show.

Photo Credit: Press Kit

Season one started October 2017, and all ten episodes are now available. The first episode of season two dropped October 2, 2018, making now the perfect time to check it out, which you can do right here.

Also check out our previous entries in our Halloween Countdown right here and here.


 

alex telander aviAlex C. Telander is the creator and writer of the Ostium Podcast.

 

Discover more about Alex and the rest of the team on our About Us page.

Halloween Countdown: Palimpsest

We continue our Halloween Countdown today with Palimpsest, “a bi-weekly audio drama about memory, identity, and the things that haunt us”

Halloween Countdown: Palimpsest

By Alex C. Telander

We continue our Halloween Countdown today with Palimpsest, “a bi-weekly audio drama about memory, identity, and the things that haunt us”.

“Every story is a ghost.”

“Embrace what haunts you.”

If ever there was a show that really lived up to its name, this is it. A genuinely layered show, the creators have filled every scene, every moment, with extremely well-produced audio. There’s a complexity in both writing and sound design that keeps the reader completely hooked in, wondering where the story is going next, and what scary or horrifying things are about to unfold.

Season One tells the story of Anneliese, and her struggles with the death of her sister Claire when she was younger.

Told through a series of audio recordings that Anneliese makes at the recommendation of her former therapist, each recording gives her more confidence to reveal her secrets. Secrets like how she can still see Claire sometimes.

Just standing next to her.

There are also strange happenings in her new apartment, odd people that live there. Or, people that maybe don’t live

The series is written by Jamieson Ridenhour, and performed by Hayley Heninger. Hayley does a simply masterful job of imbuing the character with life, and performing the lines with such emotion that the listener experiences them right alongside the character – be it sadness, anger, or fear.

The entire audio landscape is simple but effective, and the music helps to add to the spooky and unknown nature of the show.

Season Two launched September 4th and will run bi-weekly for ten episodes, so now is the perfect time to get on board this unique gem.

It’s set in the nineteenth century and it tells the story of Ellen, a new maid in service to a diminutive, unique, and beautiful looking woman who could best be described as… a fairy? Find it right here

And if you haven’t yet check out previous entries in our Halloween Countdown right here.


 

alex telander aviAlex C. Telander is the creator and writer of the Ostium Podcast.

 

Discover more about Alex and the rest of the team on our About Us page.

Halloween Countdown

So it’s almost all hallows ‘eve and no doubt you’ve been celebrating all things spooky since October began. Here’s a few of our favorites to get you in the mood.

Halloween Countdown

By Dõhai.

There are nine days to go until all hallows ‘eve and no doubt you’ve been celebrating all things spooky since October began. We here at Podern Times are no different. Well okay, maybe a little, as the picture below states “Horror is for life, not just for Halloween” and this is pretty much our mantra.

As we’re a brand new publication we thought what better way to introduce the team here at Podern Times than by sharing some of our favorite spine-chilling podcasts with you all.

Tribulation

Take a coven of witches, add a vampire or two, and a sprinkling of werewolf, and then add a huge dollop of zombies to the pot and simmer for twenty minutes.

This is usually enough to get most folk either running for the hills, or their pitchforks and flaming torches. Not me. I’m reaching for the popcorn, because quite frankly it ain’t scary.

No. What scares me is a huge bag of realism and psychological horror. Take ‘Silence of the Lambs’, ‘Se7en’, ‘Saw’, or ‘The Shining,’ these are the stories that get the blood flowing so to speak. And for me, cults are a biggie!

Imagine if M. Night Shyamalan had written ‘The Village’ more Manson family than the Waltons, and added a little ‘Inception’ to the pot, then you will have some idea of what ‘Tribulation’ is like.

Stacy Carlson employs the help of a conspiracy theorist to find her missing husband Greg as the authorities don’t believe her account of how he disappeared on their trip home from a visit to her parents.

Find Tribulation here in all its glory for apple users, or here on Stitcher.

Did you enjoy Tribulation as much as I did? Are you looking forward to a season two? What are your favorite spooktacular podcasts? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Check back in two days for another showcase from another member of the team!

 


dohai profile pic

Since falling in love with podcasts back in 2015 Dōhai decided to begin writing on the subject. He soon found himself trying his hand at acting, (Black Bart in The Drift and Ramble Podcast), and more recently writing, with (Diary of a Madman season 2) Set for launch Oct 31st, 2018.

 

Check out the rest of the Podern Times team on our About Us page.

Creepy: 31 days of Horror

It’s October, and we all know what that means: the whole internet has gone pumpkins, and the things that go bump in the night have come out.

Creepy Presents the 31 days of Horror

By Lex Scott

It’s October, and we all know what that means: the whole internet has gone pumpkins, and the things that go bump in the night have come out.

That’s right, it’s Halloween season and Creepy – one of the best, most reliable regular purveyors of horror on the internet – is again giving us a spooky 31 Days of Horror Halloween countdown.

Days 1 – 3 Tales from the Gas Station

We start the month off with a seven part series following Jack, our plucky protagonist and the only full time employee of a weird gas station on the outskirts of a quiet town. Strange things go down in this place where, mysteriously, no phone or internet signals seem to reach.

From toilet cowboys to hand plants, doomsday cultists to dark gods, and even mysterious politicians who just won’t stay dead, this place has everything you need. They might even pump your gas if you need it.

The narration is simple and hypnotic, as of a man who’s so far gone with insomnia he just rolls with everything weird in his life. It perfectly captures the dull monotony of working the graveyard shift in the service industry; isolated from everyone normal and even normalcy itself, the bizarre becomes your new mundane and allows you to become very zen with your situation.

Day 4 Kisaragi Station

Our journey through the Gas Station situation is interrupted by this creepy pasta originating from 2chan, the Japanese message board. Presented as a simple dramatic reading of the original posts, we go on a journey with an unfortunate girl to an abandoned isolated train station.

With spooky strangers, ominous name translations, and improbably mobile reception, we’re taken on a late train journey you probably don’t want to go on.

Days 5 – 8 Tales from the Gas Station (cont.)

Back at the gas station we learn that Jack has deleted his original day 4 post and urges everyone not to seek it out. As far as we’re concerned “nothing happened” wink wink.

On a personal note I’ve always loved this kind of meta-narrative, where real world realities of publishing and timetables directly inform the stories presented. It brings the audience in in a special way, making us directly part of the story and co-conspirators with the author/ narrator.

Tales from the Gas Station continues and concludes uninterrupted on day 8 with a simple, somewhat expected climax and resolution.

I don’t say this to be critical, I’m simply saying that a modern audience will see this ending coming. The tone and turn are all familiar and expected, and dare I say, classic in their own way.

There’s a comforting familiarity with the conclusion that I am definitely okay with.

Day 9 The Quiet Child.

Here we’re presented with instructions on how to summon a dark god, aspect of stark truths and the primal fear of confronting and knowing the unknowable.

This episode mostly consists of deft atmosphere building, through the lens of painstaking descriptions of the steps necessary to invoke the presence of The Quiet Child.

It has echoes of other classic horror/ thriller child tales, like the twilight zone episode It’s a Good Life, but it feels more reminiscent of Faust or D’jinn: bargains struck by over eager mortals, only to be confronted by the very cost they’d been warned against.

Warnings they had ignored.

Source: Freeimages

Day 10 Voicemail Transcription [BETA]

New narrator, new writer, this genuinely affecting episode presents a horror that is all to real: a stalker.

Now there is a supernatural bent to this tale, but like all fairy tales/ fables it presents a very real and frightening danger it wants to warn us about. In this case, the fear and danger of someone following us.

It perfectly captures that feeling of terrifying vulnerability that comes with knowing someone out there can see us, but we can’t see them. Knowing that, because we can’t perceive them, any time they want to they could harm us.

It takes away everything that makes us feel safe and comfortable in this world, stripping everything away to make us feel alone and isolated. Then they strike.

Like I said, genuinely affecting. A powerful story.

Day 11 The Perfect Child

A new take on the classic tale of greed and the dangers of obsession. You’ll most likely recognize this story, but that makes it no less effective in it’s execution. This is a cautionary tale humans have been telling themselves for millennia, and there’s a good reason for that.

Day 12 Dear Scammer

Have you ever been the victim of your own generosity? What about just losing sight of the important things when an opportunity came along. This is a story that presents you with both sides of each of those situations, while maintaining a single solitary perspective.

It’s graphic and unpleasant, but that’s what you’re here for right?

Day 13 Midnight Dancer

Who likes clowns? No, I mean it I’m genuinely asking. Who are they for? Why do they persist after over a hundred years of entertainment? I seem to remember once reading an article claiming that clowns were never actually designed to be funny and charming, that they’re supposed to be tragic and at least mildly upsetting. But I’ve never been able to find it again and check it’s sources.

I can’t help feel like this tale, or the title at least, was inspired by Pennywise. He is after all, probably the most famous dancing clown. One thing I can say about it is that the ending is perfect.

Day 14 Cupcakes

This is the one episode that Jon Grilz – creator and lead narrator of Creepy – specifically mentioned when I reached out to him.

“On the 14th we have a story that I’m really curious to hear listener feedback about. It’s one that we’ve had requested before, but I was never sure if I should put it as its own weekly episode. It’s dark in the weirdest possible way.” – Jon

It may seem bright and sparkly (can you guess it? I managed to) but be prepared for plenty of body horror.

Source: Freeimages

Day 15 Moonface

This episode brings us back to a primal aspect of childhood I think we all experienced: that profound sense of unbridled joy, coupled with the disconcerting realization that sometimes people just don’t want to spend time with us. It’s a saddening and confusing realization, but anyone with siblings can probably relate.

Hopefully it didn’t go as badly for you as it did for this young boy.

Day 16 What Was In The Store With Me?

Is there anything more mundanely otherworldly than a retail store after hours? Maybe a supermarket, but you probably won’t run into any ghouls there; just the weirdos buying ice cream at 2 am. Not so for this unfortunate night owl employee restocking for the holiday season.

Day 17 Little Red Ranger

Once upon a time, the older traditions of All Hallows Eve said that ghosts walked the earth that night, and if you left your home you would encounter them. People took to dressing up as monsters to avoid being recognized by these ghosts, instead being seen only as fellow spirits.

This story has echoes of that old tradition, with one small boy eager to show off his latest obsession, and another who just doesn’t want to be lonely anymore.

Day 18 Chatroom 98

Who among us hasn’t found and old unmarked CD in their house, put uncaringly into their drives to search for interesting things? It’s the modern day version of looking for buried treasure, and it’s usually harmless.

Hopefully next time you boot up someones discarded old discs you’ll have some solid protection in place. Not much else I can say without spoiling things unfortunately!

Day 19… Subscribe to find out!

So there you have it, all episodes so far of this years 31 Days of Horror as presented by Creepy Podcast. They will be continuing with a new one every day for the entire month of October. I asked Jon Grilz if he had any words or thoughts he could share about how he’s planning to close out the month and he only said this:

“We have a mix of everything from classic creepypastas and listener submissions that I think people will really enjoy. I don’t want to give anything away, but as far as how we will close things out, I guess it will be like last year. The devil’s in the details.” – Jon

Make sure you check out Creepy right here so you don’t miss their 31 Days of Horror series before it ends.


 

Lex is a professional writer from New Zealand. He’s studied copy writing and social media marketing, and is known for his outstanding web series, Reggie’s Case Files.

 

To learn more about Lex and the rest of the team visit our About Us page.