Originally posted Monday, November 4, 2019 by RODNEY HOfirstname.lastname@example.org on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Atlanta’s Payne Lindsey has become known for his investigative podcasts in search of justice and answers. His “Up and Vanished” and “Atlanta Monster” podcasts became some of the most popular in the entire country.
But he wanted to branch out. With his new podcast “Radio Rental,” he tells real-life scary stories through the mouths of the people who experienced them. He sees it in the vein of “Black Mirror” and “The Twilight Zone.”
“I wanted to shake things up,” Lindsey said in a recent interview at the first OTT Fest at AmericasMart last month where he held a panel with his business partner Donald Albright. “I wanted to do something different, surprise people and what people expect from us.”
He also was seeking a “more cinematic experience while not losing its realness.”
The podcast also leavens the proceedings with a host, a fictional 1980s-era video-rental store employee named Terry Carnation, voiced by Rainn Wilson of “The Office” fame. Terry is a humorous oddball, a bit like Rainn’s Dwight Schrute character on that NBC show now living on Netflix.
“I wanted to make something more lovable,” Lindsey said. At the same time, “I want you scratching your head while maintaining an investigative feeling.”
The very first story, for instance, starts with a man who tells a story of being on a plane when a commotion happens in front of him. He smells smoke. He sees a stray shoe. He hears a woman scream. What is going on?
Lindsey said he spent almost a year tracking down different people and finding usable stories. “It was a very difficult, grueling process,” he said. “We searched the depths of the Internet. Reddit. Subreddit. We reached out to people and maybe 20 percent got back to us.”
Once he found a story they liked, he flew out to meet the person face to face and interview them. “We went to New York, Arizona, New Orleans, a small town on the outskirts of Indianapolis,” Lindsey said. “Half of them knew who we were. Some didn’t even know what a podcast was.”
Getting Wilson on board wasn’t as difficult as you might think. The actor Tweeted out last year that he loved “Atlanta Monster.” That got Lindsey thinking about the video-rental character, which melded well with a character Wilson himself was conceiving. So it became a meeting of the creative minds of sorts.
For season one, Lindsey crafted six episodes, with multiple stories in each one.
“They’re not violent,” he said. “I don’t get off on violence. I’m interested in suspense and mystery, justice and investigation.”
The first two episodes became available on Halloween.
This promo was shot in part at Atlanta’s Videodrone, one of the last video rental places in town.
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