Atlanta Radio Theatre Company partners with Starr’s Mill students to create podcast series


Courtesy of David Benedict

On Oct. 7, 2017, the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company will begin releasing a new series of fictional podcasts. Various creative writing students assisted in the creation of the podcast “Mercury: A Broadcast of Hope.”

Kyle Soto, Staff Writer

In August of 2016, David Benedict came to Starr’s Mill High School to discuss an opportunity with students in Jillian Bowen’s and Justin Spencer’s creative writing classes. He envisioned a different type of podcast, and on Oct. 7 his dream will finally become a reality.

Benedict, executive producer at the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company, oversees live and studio productions at the theatre. Benedict is the creator of “Mercury: A Broadcast of Hope,” a podcast series set in a fictional, post-apocalyptic, zombie-infested world.

The podcast is centered around a small group of people that live in or around a college radio station who broadcast during a zombie apocalypse. The transmitter runs off gas and they can only broadcast five to seven minutes everyday because of limited amounts of gas.

“This is much more about people reexamining things they took for granted and getting by without the greater comforts we’ve gotten used to,” Benedict said. “It can also offer advice and fun.”

Benedict voices Max O’Brien, one of the three main characters in the podcast. Max is the station manager at the station, a middle-aged man who brings his life experiences to the table. Other characters include Dr. Rosalind Clark,  voiced by Diana Lancaster, and Agnes Drew, voiced by Lyssa Hoganson.

“He wanted it to be different,” creative writing teacher Jillian Bowen said.

The Starr’s Mill students had to follow certain rules for their podcasts to be usable. Each podcast is five to seven minutes long and they needed to follow the “Writer’s Bible” that Benedict created for the universe. These rules contain the characters’ backstories, the setting, and the rules for the series’ world.

There is no set end date for the series and Benedict hopes to release a new episode everyday for as long as possible. New material is being written every day, but there is already enough material to last until the new year. Anyone is able to write for the series as long as they follow the rules of the “Writer’s Bible” and contact Benedict. The podcasts can be found on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher.