Thursday, January 7, 2016

"The Black Tapes Podcast"

Another interesting podcast discovery of last year was “The Black Tapes Podcast.” It came across—in the beginning—like another “Serial” but it quickly became clear that this was a fictional experiment. Or is it?

The most interesting aspect of The Black Tapes Podcast is the way it does storytelling. Each episode tackles a different “case” or mystery, but hardly ever draws that case to closure. After all, these are unsolved, paranormal occurrences that can’t (yet) be disproven. However, added to that, we get to see the reporter (Alex Reagan) explore the over-arching mystery of the paranormal investigator himself (Dr. Richard Strand). He has a backstory. But then, as the season goes along, we begin to see that all the mysteries Alex has been looking at might be tied together, and they might be related to Dr. Strand himself.

This is an interesting way to do storytelling. I can only imagine how incredible it would be if the stories were even more polished. As it is, this podcast ties into the joy and entertainment—even humor—of the circus that is overnight radio ala “Coast to Coast.”

One last thought: For a person like myself, a person of faith who sees himself as commissioned to be a witness and storyteller, there is a lot to learn from the people who make these sorts of podcasts. Sometimes we might do well to let our stories draw people in and awaken curiosity. We need people to want to know more, leave them craving our next interaction. All too often we tell our story in such a way as to scare people away or make them yawn.

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