Welcome to the next installment of the “For Your Listening Pleasure” series—a series in which we highlight and showcase podcasts and radio dramas that we enjoy. In this installment, I (Modoc) will introduce you to two radio dramas and one investigative podcast I have been listening to lately. I invite you to get comfortable, stay awhile, and hopefully find something new for your listening pleasure.
The three podcasts presented in this installment are Undertow, The Piper, and The Pirate History Podcast. Each is written, directed, independently produced, and available on all major podcast streaming services. The Piper is also available on the BBC Sounds app and website.
As always, we encourage you to comment below with your favorite podcast; don’t forget to tell us what you love about it.
Undertow – Reporter Tony Baxter and Photojournalist Sonia Proud return to Tony’s childhood home of Simpson Falls, Maine, where Tony has an ax to grind. Haunted by a childhood accident, Tony has one last chance to get in the good graces of his editor, and this emerging story in his hometown might be the ticket he needs. The Malleus Corporation has invested millions in this remote, out-of-the-way town, and the reporters’ digging unearths more than they bargained for. Tony must confront the tragedy that shaped him—but if they aren’t careful, malevolent forces in Simpson Falls won’t let them escape.
The Piper – A chaotic and dynamic English family is thrust into turmoil when Poppy, a young girl, vanishes from the family home. This sets into motion a series of odd events that affect the local community, including weird and seeming random power outages, the possible disappearance of other children, and the even stranger appearance of a young boy who is oddly out of place in this time and space. The story leans heavily into the dynamics of this semi-dysfunctional family. However, it is up to Poppy’s mum, Ali, who herself is a police officer, and her older sister and cousin to team up to solve the disappearance. Can they do it in time? Is the price they have to pay worth it?
The Pirate History Podcast
The Pirate History Podcast – The Pirate History Podcast is unlike anything I have come across to date. If like me, you are interested in the Age of Sail or, more specifically, the Age of Piracy, The Pirate History Podcast is something you need to check out. Matt Albers began the series in March 2016, and it continues to present with a current running total of 266 episodes as of this article. Matt diligently tells the stories of the men and women of the Golden Age of Piracy. However, he doesn’t start there. He goes back to its foundational years in the 16th and 15th centuries as European explorers and colonizers began planting their nations’ flags on foreign soils, laying the groundwork for what would become the Age of Piracy centuries later.
Matt is admittedly not a historian, but of the 50 episodes I have listened to thus far, he has done an excellent job researching and presenting his information in a clear, concise, and easy-to-comprehend way. Most episodes are singularly focused on one topic, though they can occasionally span multiple episodes.
Hands down, an amazing pirate podcast dripping with historical knowledge!
If you enjoy dark-themed radio dramas, you will likely find Undertow and The Piper to your liking. Both stories are compelling, drawing you in, with The Piper being slightly better, in my opinion. If you are passionate about pirate history or applying that history to gaming, you will love The Pirate History Podcast. The radio dramas are excellently directed and produced. While the episodes of The Pirate History Podcast are finely produced as well, to my ear, there is a subtle underlying sound like that of a squeaky rubber belt from time to time.
The two audio dramas would both make great stories for modern-day urban horror roleplaying games. The Pirate History Podcast is an excellent source of information for games like Between the Devil and the Deep, Run out the Guns, and 50 Fathoms.
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