A polluted beach, a horrifying creature and a group of kids who didn’t listen to a warning. Those creepy ingredients all come together in an episode from WGBH’s newest podcast The Creeping Hour, a horror anthology. The first of five episodes launches October 3, with the grand finale released on Halloween. The five-episode pilot is designed with teens and tweens in mind who love horror series. Think Goosebumps, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and Are You Afraid of the Dark, and you’ll have a hint of what The Creeping Hour holds in store.
We talked with Hillary Wells, executive producer and director of youth media at WGBH, to learn more.
Q: Who created the podcast?
WGBH collaborated with co-producer Elie Lichtschein, a New York writer. With The Creeping Hour, he brings three monsters to life: Axe, Toro and Weta. We also have a strong partnership with PRX, the Boston-based audio technology leader that distributes our podcasts.
Q: Why a podcast for tweens?
The Creeping Hour appeals to middle grades kids. It’s an under-served population in the podcasting space. Many of them grew up on public media television programming, and we want to continue offering them entertaining and enriching shows. We have a keen interest in better understanding and serving the needs of this generation.
Q: Who is the ideal listener?
Imaginative 8-to 12-year-olds who escape through reading and see themselves as storytellers. They love fantasy, horror or drama. They listen alone in their room, with friends on the way to school, with adults in the car or with teachers in class.
Q: How long are the episodes?
Fifteen to twenty minutes, prefect for the average commute to or from school or for a marathon binge with friends on the weekend.
Q: What’s next in youth media podcasting at WGBH?
We are already teeing up our next project and are excited to be exploring ways to reach tweens and teens on the wide range of platforms they engage with, and in this case, to be thinking creatively and innovatively about impact and reach with audio storytelling.
WGBH recently has launched several podcasts, including Molly of Denali, a prequel to the new children’s show; All Rev’d Up, which features two Boston reverends who discuss faith, society and culture; Mining Poldark and The FRONTLINE Dispatch.
Wells’s WGBH portfolio includes: Crossing the Divide, a multimedia reporting road trip featuring young journalists focusing on what unites and divides the US; the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids’ “State Dinner,” a national competition and campaign for kids ages 8-12; High School Quiz Show, a regional televised academic competition for high school students; Project Dropout, and Eye on Education.