These days it seems many Christian kids are seriously into their audio dramas.   I even heard of one parent who punished her child by not letting him listen to his favorite show…. about missionaries!   When she took away his CD for the night he wailed like he’d lost his arm!

A few years ago I had an interesting exchange with one of our daughters.

Me:  “So…. what’s your favorite movie?”
Michaela:  “Jane Eyre……”
“How many times have you watched it?”
“Probably twenty times”
“And what’s your favorite audio drama?”
“The Secret Garden”  (Focus on the Family Radio Theatre)
“How many times have you listened to that?” (She hedged with an embarrassed little smile)
“I don’t know…..”
Just give me a rough estimate…”
“At least….. two hundred times….”

Two Hundred????   And Michaela is a visual learner.  If I had asked her sister Ashley, our auditory kid, I bet audio drama would have scored even higher.   So what gives?  Why twenty views versus two hundred listens?   It’s an interesting question.  As a forty-something year old dad who has been observing his kids consume audio drama for the better part of their lives, I have an idea.  While not exhaustive, here’s my list:

First, they are just flat out fun to listen to.   Some may require a little concentration to get into, but once hooked, you’ll stay on the line until the closing credits.  Next, a good audio drama is like a favorite song – it never grows old.   You can listen over and over.  It also doesn’t become dated by tacky clothes and bad hair.  In fact, sometimes it even gets better with time.   Another big plus is radio drama offers more versatility than video.  One can listen to an episode while driving, working, lying in bed with the lights off or while gathered around the radio with the family.  Finally, audio dramas make us think.  They force us to use and develop our imagination.  We actually become co-producers and co-creators along with the writer, and there is something very attractive about that.  These and other reasons contribute to audio theaters’ current resurgence in popularity.

Here’s an interesting fact:  My daughter’s favorite movie had a budget of $28 million.  Her favorite audio drama had a budget a fraction of that. This is wonderful news!  It means we can create great material at a reasonable cost.  And in fact, more producers are coming to this realization.   I believe we in the midst of an audio drama renaissance of sorts, especially in Christian circles.  Adventures in Odyssey, Jonathan Park, Heirloom Audio Productions, Lamp Lighter Theater and our show Brinkman Adventures are all proof positive.  And with the advent of podcasts, secular producers are also beginning to jump on the bandwagon.  I’m expecting the choice to consumers will only grow in the coming years.

Audio dramas pack a serious teaching punch while remaining hugely entertaining.   As a parent and home educator, if you are not already doing so, take advantage of this form of story telling that stimulates the theater of the mind!  And if your family has yet to discover this wonderful audio world, trust me – your ears, minds and hearts are in for a real treat!  And you also may just discover a creative new tool for discipline!

Ian Bultman
Producer of Brinkman Adventures