One podcast category that has exponentially grown over the years is audio dramas. There’s a fictional show about community radio stations in weird desert towns, another about a time-traveling physicist, one about a couple trying to repair their marriage, and so many more.
One such show is The Message (2015), which follows a linguistics graduate student named Nicky Tomalin. Tomalin starts interning at a cryptography company right as they start decoding a message from outer space received in 1945. But it’s quickly revealed that the same message comes with a curse: over the 70 years of attempted code breaking, multiple people have fallen ill and died because of a sonically transmitted virus linked to it.
The show is, in fact, fictional and a co-production between Panoply and GE Podcast Theater. GE’s own interest in podcasts increased after the popularity of Serial in 2014 and. There were parts of the plot that felt chunky but the story still felt creepy. Similarly, the ending was rather interesting but felt a bit rushed; it would have been really great to have longer episodes to really dig in deeper to the characters and stories.
There are a total of eight episodes in the show and each episode ranged from 10 to 22 minutes long (averaging at around 14 minutes). While the entire story was essentially an entertaining and indirect plug for the work GE is doing with sound technology, The Message was still a rather compelling work of fiction.
Listen wherever you find podcasts. However, there is another show, called Life/After in the same feed. These two shows are both from Panoply and GE Podcast Theater but are separate shows with two very different stories.