When I was 16 years old, I went to work as a broadcast engineer at WSOY Radio in my hometown of Decatur, Illinois. I was just completing my freshman year of college, and had gotten my Third Class Endorsed Radiotelephone license from the FCC through a Winter Term course in conjunction with the campus station at Millikin, WJMU. I’d been captivated by radio and by audio technology from a young age, and was elated to be working at “The Sound of Decatur” and to meet the people whose voices I had heard in my home for so many years growing up.
One of the very cool things about WSOY in those days was that the station was a CBS affiliate, so we carried newscasts and other programming from the CBS Radio Network. When I worked evening shifts, I had the pleasure of listening to the CBS Radio Mystery Theater at 9 o’clock each night. I grew to love these spooky radio dramas, and the way they created such vivid images in my head through a well crafted collection of sounds.
I worked at the station all through college before deciding that a career in radio was not for me, though I would continue to work there occasionally on a part-time basis even after moving on to another profession. To this day recording and broadcasting still holds a great deal of fascination for me.
In early 2005, I learned that people were beginning to create and distribute audio content via RSS (the technology behind blogging). I soon joined the ranks of independent media producers all over the world who gave birth to the “podcasting” craze. One of the exceptionally talented visionaries who came to my attention in those early days was named Mark Yoshimoto Nemcoff. Eventually he and I would both come to work for a company that was attempting to monetize the nascent medium. Although I wasn’t directly involved with his groundbreaking production Shadow Falls, I was able to watch his creative process from a fairly near vantage point, occasionally receiving clips of episodes prior to their release to the general public. The series hearkened back to the CRMT that I so loved. The program was especially compelling, knowing the care that Mark took with the production, often recording the foley effects himself, for instance.
For several years, I had been searching the Internet for archives of the show to no avail. A few days ago Mark popped up by chance in my Twitter stream with a post about the follow up production Badlands, and I reached out to see if the original series was available. To my delight, he replied that he had recently posted all six episodes to his weblog.
My daughter is a creative who writes fan fiction and is perpetually obsessed with one or another series of books or teen television programs. It’s fun sharing Shadow Falls with her, and I have to say that the production still holds up well all these years later. Take a listen yourself and see what you think.