The Power and Pleasure of Podcasting 2: The Return of Radio Fiction

Friday, March 19 at 10:00am to 12:30pm

This is a past event.
Virtual Event

Admission is free.


Thursday, March 18
5 to 6 p.m.: Live performances featuring the casts of Video Palace and The Bright Sessions
6:15 to 7 p.m.: Conversations with the cast and producers, including audience Q&A

Friday, March 19
10 to 11 a.m.: The Historical Roots and Current State of Audio Fiction

Featuring Radio Drama Revival host Elena Fernández Collins, Jack Benny and the Golden Age of Radio Comedy author Kathy Fuller-Seeley (University of Texas at Austin), and Theater of the Mind: Imagination, Aesthetics, and Radio Drama author Neil Verma (Northwestern). Moderated by Henry Jenkins.
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: World-Building and Genre Fiction in the Contemporary Podcast Industry
Featuring Mike Monello (Video Palace), Lauren Shippen (The Bright Sessions), and Heather Einhorn (Daughters of DC). Moderated by Colin Maclay.

For decades, the lifeblood of American radio—fictional programming—was rendered archaic by the emergence of television. Now podcasting has injected new vitality into the genre with powerful writing and performances, creating a testing ground for new programming concepts, as demonstrated by the small screen success of Homecoming, Lore, and Limetown. The Unexpected Disappearance of Mars Patel won a Peabody Award; award-winning actors such as Lawrence Fishburne (Bronzeville) and Rami Malek (Blackout) have produced podcasts as passion projects; and Radio Drama Revival provides a regular showcase for innovative storytellers who are experimenting with audio fiction.

Building on our 2019 program that explored the rising interest in both listening to and producing podcasts, this two-day event will showcase the rapid revival of the radio drama as a site for original programming and as a new pipeline into the entertainment industry. 

On Thursday, we will present live performances from the casts and producers of two popular podcasts: the horror series Video Palace and the superhero/psychology program The Bright Sessions. On Friday, two panel discussions will consider the renewed appeal of the medium: the first providing a historical context for thinking about audio fiction in classical radio and podcasting; the second discussing transmedia world-building and genre fiction’s place within today’s podcast industry.

Presented by USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative. Organized by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Event Type

Lecture / Talk / Workshop


Students, Alumni, Faculty/Staff


Other Location


Cinematic Arts, Dramatic Arts, literary arts


Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative


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