A Look at “Alice Isn’t Dead”— Successful Audio in a Visual World


In a world where visual streaming content seems to reign supreme, it may be a shock to you that there is another rising medium that proves to be equally as captivating: podcasting. What is podcasting? Podcasts are audio works made available through streaming on the internet, usually coming in installments. Podcasts can be more “talky ”like a talk show, or they can be part of the emerging podcast storytelling genre. One particular podcast named “Alice Isn’t Dead” from the genre displays that although residing in a visual world, the podcast still managed to garner nationwide (if not global) interest, every other week. Let’s examine this success story.

As Joseph Fink, the creator of  ‘Alice Isn’t Dead,’ said, ‘The whole fiction podcast thing blew up in the past year.'”

The series was created by Joseph Fink in 2016. Being inspired by his personal long trips in his van around the U.S, he created a story about a young female truck driver who is in search for a woman named Alice, who apparently isn’t dead. The publication ran from March 8, 2016-August 28, 2018, having three seasons filled with 10 episodes each, plus bonus episodes. Each episode was about 20 minutes long, saturated with intense mystery, gnawing supernatural horror, and just overall drama. It’s sponsors were Audible Inc., Squarespace, Casper Sleep, and Blue Apron, and it was a professionally made franchise, with its producer, Nightvale Productions, selling merchandise such as posters, t-shirts, hats and so on. The series was so successful that a novel version was created, and soon the TV adaption will make its debut, as it is still in its production stage.

Image result for alice isn't dead merchandise

selling merchandise such as posters, t-shirts, hats and so on.

The success of this storytelling podcast reveals the general reasons as to why podcasts have been an attractive medium. First, podcasts provide a “ deeply personal and highly privatized (and intimate) space in which content is consumed”  More often than not, listeners hear podcasts through the privacy of their headphones, which makes the listeners of “Alice Isn’t Dead” feel that the story is being told to them, and only them. It becomes an individualistic and subjective experience. The second reason, is for the perceived relationship with the storyteller that the listeners attain by tuning into the podcast story. “Podcast listeners seem to want a relationship with a presenter/host/story-teller rather than to immerse themselves in a sea of story/sound/visceral experience.” The podcast affords listeners with an intimate opportunity to connect with the person speaking, (especially if the podcast is from the “talk show” genre), much like how you would connect with a character of a novel, but in a fresher way than before. The third reason is that a wide array of niche podcasts can be deliberately picked by the consumer. No matter what you are looking for, there seems to be a podcast for it. Hence, because podcasts are highly tailored, consumers feel a satisfaction and closeness with the podcast itself, as it fulfills their tastes.

With 79 million podcast listeners in 2018, the soundwork medium doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Will the audio world somehow outpace the visual market? In a seemingly “stationary” medium, will soundwork be able to innovate in the coming years? Only time will tell.


Capewell, Jillian. “Your New Podcast Addiction Is A Fictional Thriller Starring A Truck Driver.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 9 Mar. 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/alice-isnt-dead-fictional-podcast_us_56df9873e4b0860f99d7285e.

Richard, Berry. “Podcasting: considering the evolution of the medium and its association with the word ‘radio.'” 2016. PDF file.

“Bay and Creek Shipping Company Shirt” https://topatoco.com/collections/alice-isnt-dead/products/aid-bayandcreek-shirt

Statista. “Podcasting in the US.” PDF File.



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