Beware the Untruths: Podcast Audio Horror in Post-Truth America

Richard Hand, Danielle Hancock

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Whilst witnessing the dawn of a new political era, America had already entered a new media epoch. Alongside the ascendancy of Donald Trump, there has been a revival of grassroots media and the rise of the podcast as a mass media form. Perhaps no media exemplifies the Post-Truth era as clearly as the podcast in its diffracted and unregulated proliferation. In particular, the popular genre of podcast horror offers a uniquely apt means by which to express and explore the anxieties and tensions of the world of Trump. This chapter surveys how horror podcasts have exploited audio’s curious liminality as both deeply intimate and uncertain. This includes case studies of two successful American podcasts: the extrapolated horrors and alternative histories in the anthology series The Truth; and the neo-Gothic Americana of serialized ‘community radio-show’ Welcome to Night Vale. In analyzing how these shows portray America, the podcast form is argued to hold unique creative insight and communicative means within Trump’s unfolding America. Indeed, in a world of visual iconography and spectacle, the illicit world of podcast audio may be the most thoroughly malleable and, ironically, the most truthful.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMake America Hate Again
Subtitle of host publicationTrump-Era Horror & the Politics of Fear
EditorsVictoria McCollum
ISBN (Electronic)9781351016513
ISBN (Print)9781138498280
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019


  • horror
  • audio drama
  • radio drama
  • Donald Trump

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