Podcast Does What Radio Can Never Do: Broadcast Porn

When Jamie Morton found out that his father was planning on self-publishing a poorly written pornographic novel, he did what any regular guy would do. He grabbed his two best friends, sat them down in his kitchen with a few microphones, and made a podcast. Little did he know that this podcast would later “amass over 80 million downloads worldwide (mydadwroteaporno.com).”

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Alice Levine, Jamie Morton, and James Cooper

My Dad Wrote a Porno began in September 2015 and continues to this day. So far there are 79 episodes including Best Of episodes and Footnotes. Footnotes episodes exist outside the main narrative of the podcast and are a way for the three friends to discuss the phenomenon of the podcast and its popularity. Notable guests on these episodes are Elijah Wood, George Ezra, and Mara Wilson, all huge fans of the show. Alongside the podcast, the team also has a best-selling book, lots of merchandise, and does sold-out live readings all around the world. The podcast itself has been nominated for both the Webby and the British Radio Academy Awards. It is hosted by Acast which secures the advertising that funds it – these ads are read throughout the podcast.

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Actual cover art for Belinda Blinked

The premise is simple – each episode is one chapter of Rocky Flintstone’s (Morton’s father’s pen name) erotic novel. The full title of the first book (there are six in case you were curious) is Belinda Blinked; 1 A modern story of sex, erotica and passion. How the sexiest sales girl in business earns her huge bonus by being the best at removing her high heels. Needless to say, the content of this podcast is explicit and absolutely hilarious. It follows Belinda Blumenthal as she climbs to the top of the corporate ladder at Steele’s Pots & Pans through cringe-worthy sex and painfully awkward dialogue. It is not a well-written book at all – there are constant grammar mistakes, characters are randomly renamed, and Rocky seems to have little understanding of human anatomy. But that’s the charm of it. While Morton reads his own father’s confused porno, his friends, Alice Levine and James Cooper, listen and provide humorous commentary. This is all while sitting in the kitchen of one of the friend’s houses. Morton typically reads the chapter in advance while the two others go in blind.

Clearly, this kind of content couldn’t be broadcast on the radio. As ridiculous and unrealistic as the sex scenes are, Morton is still reading porn out loud. It is at times quite graphic and definitely not something you would want to listen to with other people around. But this is what sets podcasts apart from radio. We are no longer gathering by the radio to all listen to something that will never be heard again. Instead, we are putting in our headphones, sitting on public transit, and listening to content of our choice. And in the case of My Dad Wrote a Porno, also constantly worrying that the person next to you might accidentally hear you listening to what is essentially funny porn. Podcasts allow My Dad Wrote a Porno to be unabashedly itself – no censorship or requirements for episode length. If one chapter was short and didn’t have enough sex, why not continue reading, doubling the episode’s length and its raunchiness. Without podcasts, My Dad Wrote a Porno simply wouldn’t exist.

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Live version of My Dad Wrote a Porno

Like radio, fans of My Dad Wrote a Porno tune in on days when the podcast is posted. While they may not all be physically near each other, they form a large group eagerly anticipating the podcast’s posting. Every time a new episode is released, the hashtag #PornoDay trends on Twitter. This is a way for fans of the podcast to show their support and mark themselves as a distinct fan group. It is also very episodic, as radio shows typically are, and counts on listeners to pay attention during each episode and listen to them in order. However, unlike traditional radio, the podcast personally connects with fans using social media and email. They reply to tweets, re-gram fan posts on Instagram, and answers questions sent through email. They have the ability to dedicate as much time as they want, either during the podcast or outside of it, to their fans.

Back when radio was first invented, it was probably super difficult to imagine what the future of sound work held. And it was probably assumed that any porn, let alone a terribly written porno created by a 60-something Irishman, would be listened to worldwide by millions of dedicated fans. The aspects that make podcasting different from radio are what allowed exactly that to flourish. It’s a big step for podcasts and porno everywhere.

Please listen to My Dad Wrote a Porno and check them out on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. It will definitely be worth your time!

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