I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: we are living in the epoch of the podcast, and it shows no signs of slowing down. 2017 was another massive year for audio dramas which culminated perfectly in the first official podcast convention, Podcon, in Seattle in December. It was a huge success and will hopefully be the first of many conventions to come. Last year also saw the big publisher Tor Books turn to podcasts, creating a new imprint, Tor Labs, and the release of its first podcast, the successful (and fantastic) Steal the Stars by Mac Rogers. 2017 also saw the release of the hugely popular Lore podcast as an Amazon TV series, as well as a number of podcasts like Tanis, Bright Sessions, and Welcome to Night Vale receiving their own TV deals.
Basically, the podcast train is just getting up to full speed: it’s got lots of stations to stop and visit along the way, and there’s no end of the line in sight, and what’s even more awesome, is that there are more and more passengers getting on all the time. If I’ve learned anything as a podcast writer, it is: podcast creators love listening to other podcasts as much as they love making their own.
With so many podcasts out there right now to listen to, especially in the “audio drama” category, when “best podcasts of the year” lists start coming out, it tends to be a lot of the same ones repeated over and over, often ones that have a big following, or have had a lot of media attention, or have just been going for a number of seasons. Meanwhile, the smaller, self-supported, super-indie podcasts that may well just be one person with a mic attached to their laptop and the use of the free audio software Audacity who wants to tell a story, are kind of getting pushed by the wayside because they don’t have a million downloads, or aren’t getting featured on the start pages of Podbean or other podcast sites, or aren’t in the iTunes Top 200 podcasts.
So as a fellow podcast creator (Ostium) and proud podcast addict, here are my ten best podcasts you probably haven’t heard of and should be listening to. These are podcasts I’ve come across over the last year through recommendations from other podcasts and podcasters; or by a few devoted podcast fans out there who are the heralds of the podcast world and spend their days spreading the word about podcasts, like @audiotainmentnews and @ShoMarq; or by searching through the awesome hashtag #AudioDramaSunday. Every Sunday, us podcasters like to spread the word about podcasts we like and want everyone else to be listening to, all under this handy hashtag.
Okay, enough chatting, here are the ten podcasts, and I’m using the description listed with the podcast to best explain the premise. Also I’ll be mentioning one of these podcasts at the end of each episode of Ostium throughout Season 2. Enjoy!
Gone: There’s no way to plan for being alone. There’s no way to plan for what comes next. This is a story about what happens when the world goes dark, and everyone else is gone.
Marsfall: Marsfall is a new science-fiction series that follows the first colonists settling on the planet Mars. Led by their fearless commander Jacki O’Rania, and assisted by the colonial artificial intelligence unit ANDI, our colonists strive to make a home on the Red Planet while exploring its deeper mysteries.
The White Vault: Explore the far reaches of the world’s horrors in the audio drama podcast The White Vault. Follow the collected records of a repair team sent to Outpost Fristed in the vast white wastes of the Arctic Circle and unravel what lies waiting in the ice below.
Victoriocity: A detective comedy drama || Even Greater London, 1887. In this vast metropolis, Inspector Archibald Fleet and journalist Clara Entwhistle investigate a murder, only to find themselves at the centre of a conspiracy of impossible proportions.
Rose Drive: 7 friends are interviewed after a 10 year high school reunion tragedy occurs. Welcome to Southampton. Are You Listening? This is Markus Hill. if you’re here, you’ve agreed to help me find Forrest Sutherland. I can’t do this alone.
Duggan Hill: On a back country road outside the hamlet of Duggan Hill, Saskatchewan, a woman named Sasha Ismond goes missing without a trace. She had been travelling from Vancouver for the past day, and was mere minutes away from her father’s home. The last person she spoke to was her former partner, Zoe, a journalism student at the University of British Columbia. This is a collection of recovered audio recordings from the subsequent investigation into her disappearance, recorded during the summer of 2015.
The Earth Collective: The Earth Collective is a story of Mankind’s survival on Oasus, a distant planet, far from earth. They live in rolling cities to stay bathed in constant sunlight, running from The Dark, a malicious entity that resides in the dark-side of the planet.
The Box: When Addison Gilmore found the old lockbox of journals filled with entries about bizarre and terrifying events, she thought she’d stumbled upon a unique mass participation fiction project. But as she shares those stories and digs into their contents, it becomes increasingly clear that these journals are more than they seem… and she’s in over her head.
The Bridge: Welcome to the Transcontinental Bridge!It’s an alternate 2016, and Watchtower 10 sits in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, keeping lonely watch over the Transcontinental Bridge. Unbeknownst to the general public (but totally knownst to each watchtower’s crew), these stations also hold a secret that could potentially destroy the world…or save it.
LUCYD: LUCYD is a supernatural drama, following a young woman dealing with unusual and frightening events surrounding her mysterious nightmares, and what follows her into the waking world. Set in Cork, Ireland, and told through the lens of ‘found-footage’-style audio recordings, both knowingly made by the characters and recorded without their knowledge, LUCYD explores elements of occult horror and psychological drama, as well as humor, romance, and dreams.