Take an NPR reporter with a style similar to Serial and drop them into the world of The X-Files and you have the latest project from Vancouver actor Paul Bae and filmmaker Terry Miles: The Black Tapes Podcast. That’s how the project is being described by many articles and fans as the first season of the podcast wraps up.
The series has been averaging 15 thousand listeners per episode, and has been featured on the front page of iTunes 18 different times. These numbers are high for a small series on the beginning of its journey, and it makes the creators excited for its future. A second season is already in the works.
“(The Black Tapes) is horror. It’s not funny at all and it has actually scared lot of people…people are shocked by it,” said Bae in an interview with The Vancouver Sun. Episodes have included old satanic mythology, the recent urban legend Slenderman, and even the dreaded “Unsound,” a noise feared for its reputation of causing anyone who hears it to die. Unlike another fan favourite podcast, Welcome to Night Vale, this show continues to ramp up the fear in every episode as narrator Alex Reagan searches for the truth behind the case.
Billed as a docudrama, The Black Tapes shrouds itself in the potential of being all too real. Bae and Miles continue to refer to the company Pacific Northwest Stories in all talks of the show. They say time and time again the company hosts all sorts of other documentary podcasts and shows, but only fragments of the elusive company can be found. Narrator Alex Reagan is just as elusive. She has appeared in many of the KickStarter videos for the project but, past that, any information on her is minimal. This has sparked the imagination and fevered attention of many fans, and they have banded together to create many theories about the show. An active reddit section for the show delves into each episode and discusses theory after theory on the connections between all involved with the series. Other podcasts have caught wind of the series, and The Black Tapes has received positive shoutouts from popular shows such as LORE, NoSleep, and Nerdist.
This growth and attention has started to catch the eyes of sponsors, although both Bae and Miles states that the show is only bringing in dimes so far. They’re still encouraged by the support, and have a goal of becoming self-sustaining by the end of season two. Investors are out of the question though, as both men want to remain in total creative control of the podcast. This has been made easier with the fact that both are already established in the career fields of writing and directing.
With hopes that eventually they will create a Canadian version of Gimlet Media (a network that exploded in popularity and now runs multiple shows), Bae and Miles have big plans for the future of The Black Tapes and Pacific Northwest Stories. But, for now, the show is an excellent way for listeners to get into the Halloween feel. Scares abound and mystery grows in the series, and listeners will sure to be tensed with every reveal.