Podcasters are People: The Intimacy of Medium vs. Parasocial Relationships

A masterfully written piece by Wil that every podcaster who’s growing a fanbase needs to see.

Wil Williams Reviews

There’s an issue in podcasting that’s bothered me about fandom culture for as long as I can remember. It’s the uneasy feeling I get when I see fanfiction written about real people. It’s the pang of pain I feel for celebrities whose personal lives get speculated on by complete strangers. And it’s something I’m seeing more and more of in podcasting.

The phenomenon is what happens when parasocial relationships allow strangers to feel educated about, or entitled to, a creator or performer’s life.

If you want a primer on the topic, we covered parasocial relationships in podcasting on an episode of Tuned In, Dialed Up, the podcast I make in partnership with fellow podcast critic Gavin Gaddis:

What is a parasocial relationship?

Coined in the 1956 piece “Mass Communication and Para-Social Interaction: Observations on Intimacy at a Distance” by Donald Horton and Richard Wohl, the term “parasocial…

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The Grinch (2018): The marketing sucks, I still cried.

Universal Studios has set this movie up for failure among critics by launching a marketing campaign that feels like they had a bunch of slogans for a second wave of Grumpy Cat ads that never came to be and just slapped the Grinch’s face on it. Yesterday I enjoyed a stack of green pancakes while sitting in the shade of an Ihop window vinyl with the words “I’m not impressed” next to that smarmy looking green fuck.

The next day I was crying over  a nice thing that smarmy green fuck did in his movie, so there’s that.  Continue reading

Three Awesome Episodes: A Newsletter Excerpt

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For the two of you who haven’t seen me running around hat in hand on Twitter, I’ve started a monthly newsletter! All the other cool kids are putting out newsletters, it felt like just the kind of thing to motivate me to get some writing done on a regular basis. What follows is a fun section from last month’s publication!  Continue reading

Review | A Scottish Podcast: Season One

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A Scottish Podcast is a comedy-horror (note the order) audio drama that tells the story of a disgraced radio presenter who starts a paranormal podcast with intentions of capitalizing on an inherently gullible audience, only to accidentally stumble across legitimate paranormal phenomenon.

After crapping his pants on a nationally broadcast live chat show years prior, washed-up radio DJ Lee powers is looking to regain some popularity and make money along the way. In a particularly meta plot point, real-world podcast The Black Tapes inspires him to start a “real” horror documentary podcast: The Terror Files (a title that gets extra points when said with a Scottish accent). With reluctant, snarky production assistant Doug, Lee lucks upon a spooky situation that launches the podcast to instant stardom.

Continue reading