Our stories are the fictional counterpart of the non-fiction documentary, essays, and features you’ll hear on National Public Radio. Just like in the publishing world you’ll find memoir and biographies as distinct categories from novels and short story writing, audio fiction uses similar conventions but very different subject matter for its exploration of humanity and its issues. The basic litmus test: stories told through the medium of sound.
Why not radio drama? (Especially considering we have links to “radio drama” articles, and use the phrase elsewhere in the site?) Now here’s where things good tricky. Radio drama is a historic term with a rich history which we like to represent, but is not entirely emblematic of the modern art form — after all, 99% of you will hear this over the internet, and not on the radio.
The other alternative phrase, audio theater, is pretty good, but tends to only be used by audio insiders. Furthermore, it continues to perpetuate the perception that the stories are like plays, when they’re really more like short stories, novellas, and novels (well, we’re working on the latter two). While the stories are dramatized, they aren’t really “theater.”
While “audio fiction” still might have some weaknesses, the point is our work is more like what you’ll read in a literary rag than what you’ll hear on the radio. It’s the stories that get us out of bed in the morning, not the transmitters.