The Message
October 26, 2015 8:37 AM   Subscribe

Robin: And just to clarify, Nicky, your recording equipment is live right now, yeah?
Nicky: Yes.
Robin: So if, Perry, you really meant what you said about this being declassified, you won't mind saying it right now.
Col. Eubanks: Can we sit down first, or...?
Robin: Right after you repeat the thing. On the record.
Col. Eubanks: The NSA would like to hire Cypher to decode a message we have reason to believe was transmitted by an extraterrestrial. Now can we sit down?

The Message Podcast, Episode One

The Message is co-produced by Slate's Panoply network and G.E., in the latter's return to sponsoring radio(ish) drama some 62 years after General Electric Radio Theater (eight episodes of which are available in the Internet Archive).

Four of a planned eight episodes of The Message have been released so far. You are not wrong to point out that it is fiction.
posted by davidjmcgee (26 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
 
This looks like fun! Thanks for posting it.
posted by zarq at 9:08 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm on Ep. 3 and hooked. And I can't really explain why.
posted by playeren at 9:14 AM on October 26, 2015


Great rec! My commute and I are thrilled with all the new fictionalized "reporting-on-the-weird" podcasts cropping up lately. Things like The Black Tapes, Tanis, Limetown, and now The Message hit in exactly the right place between "creepy" and "realistic" for me. Fiction, yes -- but the documentary style of reporting makes it easier to suspend my disbelief and get into the creepy mood, somehow. More, please!

Serial started me down this road -- and I would imagine most of these podcasts are borrowing from its format. I actually thought Serial was fiction for about the first three-to-four episodes; I think I clicked "subscribe" in the drive-thru at Dunkin Donuts and never did any further reading on it until later.

Other radio-drama-type podcasts I thought I'd like -- like We're Alive and Welcome to Nightvale -- are so clearly situated in the realm of pure fiction that the creepiness doesn't have the same kind of impact. Likewise Knifepoint Horror, which is VERY creepy, but has such a relentlessly monotone delivery that it hypnotizes me if I listen while driving.
posted by kythuen at 9:14 AM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


davidjmcgee: "The Message is co-produced by Slate's Panoply network and G.E., in the latter's return to sponsoring radio(ish) drama some 62 years after General Electric Radio Theater"

I'm sure GE has committed all manner of misdeeds, and this isn't meant as a endorsement of the corporation in general, but I think this is a pretty cool thing they are doing. Figuring out a way to pay for podcasts that does not involve snacks and underwear is important.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:36 AM on October 26, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'd advise against listening to episodes 2 and 3 too much - once is fine but more is probably pushing it.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:50 AM on October 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


The Message used CLIFFHANGER!
It's super effective!
:(

After consuming the four episodes, I can somewhat explain what reeled me in. Most importantly, I believed in the format. The podcast with a spunky Doc.Litt was believable to me, as were the other characters and most of the dialogue. So I was drawn in with pre-Blair Witch Project naivete, and gasped and guffawed as the story progressed. Fiction rarely has that effect on me. Thank you for this!

NOW, WHERE ARE MY LAST FOUR EPISODES!!!
posted by playeren at 10:04 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


What is the non-iTunes way of getting this?
posted by Obscure Reference at 10:06 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Guess I know what I'll be listening to tonight while doing dishes. I'm really enjoying Limetown right now and was hoping more like it will come out.
posted by noneuclidean at 10:12 AM on October 26, 2015


> What is the non-iTunes way of getting this?

I was able to find it using my preferred podcast app on my phone, which is not iTunes. I assume most podcast apps will be able to pick it up.
posted by noneuclidean at 10:18 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


What is the non-iTunes way of getting this?

Do you mean to your phone, or just in general? Because if you go to the Episodes page, you can go to each individual episode and listen through the streaming Soundcloud widgets. There's also the option to subscribe by RSS up at the top left corner.
posted by yasaman at 10:18 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Figuring out a way to pay for podcasts that does not involve snacks and underwear is important.

But what if I don't have time to go to the post office, or would like a free audiobook of my choice?
posted by davidjmcgee at 10:28 AM on October 26, 2015 [7 favorites]


What is the non-iTunes way of getting this?

Go to the page for an individual episode and click the little arrow to download an mp3 to whatever device you want to use.
posted by straight at 10:32 AM on October 26, 2015


RSS feed.
posted by Poldo at 10:46 AM on October 26, 2015


But what if I don't have time to go to the post office, or would like a free audiobook of my choice?

Maybe you should create your own simple website to tell people how you feel?
posted by Rock Steady at 11:44 AM on October 26, 2015 [6 favorites]


What the fuck with snipping on non-binary "they" pronouns, starting around 5 minutes into Episode 2? A little too "lol weirdo hackers and their genders" that feels pretty out of place.
posted by odinsdream at 11:52 AM on October 26, 2015


Whenever I hear stamps.com mentioned (in The Black Tapes) I always remember that one-time promotional offer on Night Vale Community Radio. So this looks relevant to my interests, thanks for the post!
posted by sourcejedi at 12:42 PM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


Looks like there's some ARG business happening through the website for the fictional Cypher Group, but I'm too lazy to get all internet detective with it.
posted by yasaman at 3:04 PM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think I clicked "subscribe" in the drive-thru at Dunkin Donuts and never did any further reading on it until later.

Wait -- you can get podcasts at Dunkin Donuts now?
posted by webmutant at 5:12 PM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah I'm guessing that there is actually a real message in the message that they're hoping people will decode.
posted by dilaudid at 8:28 PM on October 26, 2015


Just binge-listened while walking the dog. Combination of spooky/sciency subject matter, good production values, and the well-cultivated "Veronica Mars" vibe are really working for me. Thanks for sharing this, davidjmcgee!
posted by novelgazer at 9:17 PM on October 26, 2015


Hooked right away. I don't even mind the shameless cliffhanger at the end of ep 4
posted by Foaf at 1:32 AM on October 27, 2015


I'm hooked as well, but fear this is either going to be a very short story (we're halfway through already and the episodes are only 10-15 minutes long), or it's really just one part of an ARG that itself is really just a big ad for GE. I'm guessing tha latter, since I really don't think it's possible to resolve the story in such a short period of time.
posted by noneuclidean at 4:07 AM on October 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, there is definitely an ARGy component to this. I wonder if the podcast is just the trailhead for the ARG, or if the ARG is a companion piece to the podcast? I also don't see the story wrapping up in the next 60 minutes of audio time. Maybe there will be a sequel podcast once the ARG has been completed/solved?

I really hate it when people dismiss ARGs as "just big ads" - was Mad Men just a big ad for Hilton Hotels and Heineken?
posted by Rock Steady at 9:22 AM on October 27, 2015


or it's really just one part of an ARG that itself is really just a big ad for GE.

-... . / ... ..- .-. . / - --- / -.. .-. .. -. -.- / -.-- --- ..- .-. / --- ...- .- .-.. - .. -. . .-.-.-
posted by Etrigan at 7:55 AM on October 30, 2015


This is done by the guy who also did The Honeycomb Trilogy (sci-fi play TRILOGY!), which I desperately wish I could see. Loved this article.

I do concur that the Maude/Maud/Mod (however it's spelled) character was kinda getting on my nerves for various reasons, though.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:36 AM on November 4, 2015


So the final episode has been posted. I wonder what everyone thought about how they concluded it. For me, the whole show felt rushed but I have to admit I didn't see the twist coming. I think GE and Panoply did a good job producing it in a way that it didn't end up feeling like blatant marketing. Interesting too that The Message came up on the most recent episode of Startup as an example of sponsored content done well.
posted by noneuclidean at 3:45 PM on November 22, 2015


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