Kailee Kokes / The Daily Gamecock

Opinion: Audio dramas benefit college students

Though radio dramas are often associated with a quaint nuclear family sitting in the living room in the mid-20th century, today audio dramas are flourishing on podcast platforms, which is a real benefit to students.

Even though radio was overtaken by TV as the primary method of entertainment many years ago, radio dramas have found a new platform to share stories with their audiences. Podcasting allows creators to make deeply personal stories at a fraction of the upfront cost and with more opportunity for independence and creative freedom. 

The creative freedom podcast radio dramas offer is why these shows are perfect for college students. The artists who create these stories are very diverse and especially include LGBTQ+ artists. Through audio dramas, audiences have access to a vast amount of perspectives and stories.

Podcasting as a platform is less regulated than many of the other media platforms we are familiar with. Whereas there is a full manual of regulations for radio and TV, with podcasts, you are dealing with the more lenient policy of the podcast platform you are posting on. Also, podcasting has a relatively low startup cost, which allows for more creators to get their content out into the world without breaking the bank. More availability for artists to get into the game of producing audio dramas means more stories can be shared. 

Because of the diversity of audio drama creators, there is also diversity in the stories and characters described in podcasts. Each story displays different characters and points of view that help audiences see the world differently. Audio dramas cover topics from time travel to mysterious interviews, to far away star systems and more. The best of these have deep, thought-out and relatable characters doing their best in the circumstances they have been placed in.  

Audio dramas can have the richness of story you would find in a good book and the engaging episodic nature of a TV show without having to work to read it or commit to watching it. 

The thing that makes podcasting and radio interesting as a method of communication is the lack of visuals, which can prove to be a major boon for audio drama listeners. Because there are no visuals, listeners get to form their own ideas of how the settings and characters look based on how they sound and act. This allows the listener to have a more engaging experience with the show and removes some of the financial burden from the podcast producer to provide costly visual effects.

The lack of visuals also presents a challenge for creators, though: Letting the audience visualize the setting when they can't see it. This allows creators to use their creativity to help audiences understand the setting and the actions of each character without visuals, using soundscapes and sound effects.

Podcasts are perfect for college students because they are so easy to multitask with. Whatever your thoughts on multitasking are, it is easier to put on a podcast when you are jogging, folding laundry or washing dishes than trying to prop your phone up to watch a TV show or doing the task in silence. With podcasts you don’t have to worry about missing the visuals because there are none, and you can do other things on your phone while the podcast is in the background.

Another big reason why audio dramas, and podcasts in general, are good for students is that they are generally free to listen to. The two main ways monetized podcasts are earning money is sponsorships and crowdfunding. 

With sponsorships, content creators are getting paid when you listen to their show or when you act on the advertising information provided in their show, which means there doesn’t have to be a paywall. The other way podcasts are monetized is crowdfunding, whether it be through donations, memberships or merch sales. This type of monetization allows the show to stay free for casual listeners while allowing fans to contribute in return for bonus content. These techniques allow creators to profit from their creations without requiring all listeners to pay directly to listen.

Audio drama is a great medium for stories because it is accessible to many different creators and is cost-effective and engaging for audiences. Next time you are looking for some good entertainment, take some time to look for a good audio drama and enjoy the adventure. 

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