The 7 Best Post Apocalyptic Podcasts
In 1938, actor and director Orson Welles sat down to narrate the classic H. G. Wells' tale War of the Worlds.
Armed with little more than a microphone, Welles went on to convince thousands that a giant Martian war machine had engulfed New York City in clouds of poisonous smog. The streets were littered with the dead and dying, and the conflict was already spilling over into neighbouring states. According to the broadcast, this was the beginning of the end for mankind.
The tale of Welles' haunting radio narration is nothing short of legendary, and serves as a fitting testament to the power of radio. Today, radio - and its modern descendant, the humble podcast - is still capable of captivating the mind, and conjuring up worlds and stories too vivid for cinema. From towns overrun with the flesh-eating undead, to dark, dystopian cults, the podcast is the perfect medium for exploring the end of the world.
With that in mind, I set out to collect together the best post apocalyptic podcasts ever made. From the classic We're Alive, to our very own Ash Tales podcast, these seven podcasts will provide you with the fuel you need to wander the wastelands for thousands of hours.
1. We're Alive
The gold standard of post apocalyptic podcasts, We're Alive started way back in 2009, and it was still pumping out new episodes as recently as 2016.
Created as a ongoing audio drama in the vein of classic radio serials, We're Alive follows the story of army reserve solider Michael Cross, as he finds himself in the dead centre (pun entirely intended) of a zombie outbreak.
Featuring a cast of bona fide voice acting pros - including nothing less than a special guest appearance by the legendary Danny Trejo - and a whole host of high calibre sound effects and music, We're Alive is as slick and polished as podcasts come.Better yet, with the story to-date spanning 47 chapters and 50million episode downloads, We're Alive is completely and utterly binge-worthy - and the perfect escape for anyone looking to truly immerse themselves in a violent romp through the zombie apocalypse.
2. Ash Tales
At the other end of post apocalyptic spectrum lies our very own podcast - Ash Tales: Stories of the Apocalypse.
While We're Alive is designed as a single story arc spanning hundreds of episodes, Ash Tales explores dozens of different end of the world scenarios.With each episode clocking in at 20 minutes, every story is designed as a satisfying self-contained adventure. The podcast explores classic post apocalyptic fare - zombie outbreaks and the aftermath of nuclear war - alongside contemporary takes on the end of the world genre, including stunning climate fiction stories and tales set hundreds of years after the downfall of civilisation.
Each of the stories featured in Ash Tales are completely original submissions from the genre's hottest new authors - and each story is available to read, right here on the Ash Tales blog.
While many of the post apocalyptic podcasts featured on this list have entered into permanent hiatus, Ash Tales is ramping up, with new episodes available every two weeks.
3. The Cleansed
At the helm of The Cleansed is a man with impeccable post apocalyptic credentials: Frederick Greenhalgh has lived as an off-grid resident of Maine's rugged wilderness for over a decade.
Like We're Alive, The Cleansed is a continuous story, set over three distinct seasons - and in many ways, it's a spiritual successor to acclaimed post apocalyptic stalwarts like Mad Max and The Stand.
The story follows a ragtag band of survivors as they struggle to carve out a life for themselves in a world where environmental catastrophes and oil scarcity have transformed civilisation into warring, tribal factions.
Featuring top-notch voice talent and stellar audio production - with many soundscapes created from recordings in real-world locations - The Cleansed is a mesmerising listen.
4. Z.E.D.D. Radio
Looking for a fix of post apocalyptic pop culture? Z.E.D.D. Radio - so named for its role in catering to those with Zombie Enthusiast Deficiency Disorder - is a talk show style podcast catering exclusively to wasteland wanderers that can't cram enough apocalypse into their day-to-day lives.
The frantic, fast-paced show covers a ton of topics, ranging from The Walking Dead TV show to the Left 4 Dead game franchise. And though Z.E.D.D. Radio shut up shop back in 2016, there are still 91 episodes - many running to well over two hours in length - for post apocalyptic pop culture aficionados to sink their teeth into.
5. From the Wastes
From the Wastes is a brand new post apocalyptic podcast from our very own wasteland wanderer, Evan - a.k.a The Last Librarian. As Twitter's head curator of the world's post apocalyptic and dystopian fiction, Evan is undeniably qualified to offer a unique perspective on the minds behind the latest generation of end-of-the-world books, short stories, podcasts and films. The podcast to-date has hosted conversations with Joshua Gayou - author of the post apocalyptic book series, Commune - and Ron Welch, known to many as James Gray, The Last Bushman.
Whether you're a fellow creative, or just interested in the stories of those building the latest generation of post apocalyptic fiction, From the Wastes is well worth checking out.
6. Post Apocalyptic Media
Post Apocalyptic Media is another new entrant into the burgeoning niche of end-of-the-world podcasting, and it comes direct to your ears from, you guessed it, Post Apocalyptic Media - one of the few website's catering exclusively to up-and-coming post apocalyptic TV shows and film.The podcast - much like the website - has a heavy leaning towards series du jour The 100. If you're a long-time follower of the show, you'll get a kick from the pocast's conversational style, expert analysis and passionate speculation.
We're rounding off our round-up with another sadly missed post apocalyptic podcast, Aftermath. Set in post apocalyptic Scotland, the show explores a UK that's been annexed from its former allies - left isolated and alone in the wake of an attack that wipes out the nation's electricity and communications (reminiscent of classic post apocalyptic novel One Second After). Things turn from bad to worse as fires, looting, and an eventual missile strike decimate the country's populace.
From 2012 to 2015 the Aftermath team released two seasons of content, pairing slick, polished audio production with immersive world building and gripping drama. Though the show - like humanity itself - is effectively extinct, you can still sate your appetite for destruction with the show's eleven finished episodes.