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Amazon and Campfire Transport You to 1962 Through “Resistance Radio”

Posted March 10, 2017

Amazon and digital marketing consultancy Campfire at SapientRazorfish have launched “Resistance Radio” – an audio storytelling experience across online, mobile and experiential platforms intended to immerse listeners in the show’s alternate, post-WWII reality.

The purpose is to not only keep viewers engaged between seasons of its original series, Man in the High Castle, but also to tap in to the available on-demand streaming world where people can access more of the stories they love.

(Click on the radio to see how it works.)

DIVERGE talked to Mike Monello, Founder and Chief Creative Officer at Campfire to find out more:

How will “resistance radio” help keep viewers engaged?
Resistance Radio is designed to appeal to fans of The Man in the High Castle, as well as people new to the show. If you are a fan, our pirate radio DJs Miss Evangeline, Bob Montez, and Jake Rumiel will reveal aspects of the world you haven’t yet discovered. And if you’re new, it’s the perfect primer for this incredibly realized world.

Our three distinct radio programs include eighteen beautifully reimagined standards, recorded specifically for Resistance Radio. These tracks are conceived and produced by Danger Mouse and Sam Cohen, and include performers such as Beck, Norah Jones, The Shins, Grandaddy, Angel Olsen, Kelis, Sharon Van Etten, and others. It’s an intoxicating collection of music and, combined with the DJs personal stories, makes for an extraordinary narrative experience.

Where did the idea for this come from?
Resistance Radio was developed by Campfire in response to a brief from Amazon. It was embraced by the show’s creative team, who wrote the pirate radio network into season 2 (which premiered in December on Amazon Prime Video), making Resistance Radio part of the official The Man in the High Castle canon. The idea of audio storytelling was a response to several unique challenges around The Man In The High Castle.

First, it takes place in 1962, so an immersive experience that is authentic to the story but can scale online required a creative solution — it had to function with modern technology and the internet while remaining totally true to the time period. Audio storytelling also let us sidestep the issues around some of the visual iconography of the world, which reads to most people as a WWII setting rather than a series that takes place 17 years after the war is over. And finally, the music became an important part of the storytelling. This is a world where rock n’ roll and youth culture did not happen, and the “illegal” music our DJs play is both familiar yet changed just enough to feel like it comes from an alternate history.

How/when will it be introduced at SXSW?
Amazon is creating The Man in the High Castle Resistance Radio Headquarters, running March 11-14 at Austin’s Market & Tap Room. There are awesome surprises planned, including secret entrances, musical performances, specialty cocktails and more. On March 14th at the Belmont there will be an official SXSW Music showcase, “The Man in the High Castle & 30th Century Records Present: Resistance Radio.” Attendees will hear live performances from many of the artists on the soundtrack.

How long did this take to make/design?
It’s an extraordinary amount of scripted entertainment, and it’s a very complex world to write, as everything has to align with the alternate history timeline. We pitched the concept at the end of last summer and went into major production in December, which seems reasonable, but given the amount of content it was quite a marathon to get it completed in time.

How was it included in the second season of the show?
The show creators wrote pirate radio DJs into episode five of the second season. There is a great scene where the main character, Juliana Crain, is introduced to the pirate broadcasters by a member of the resistance. The pirate radio network makes another crucial appearance later in the season, but I won’t spoil the fun.

Additional thoughts?
Resistance Radio is an example of how networks and entertainment franchises are adapting from a linear broadcast model to an always available on-demand streaming world where people want more of the stories they love. Marketing and advertising in the linear model focuses on driving viewership to a season premiere, but the streaming model requires franchises to refresh throughout the year to remain top of mind. Extending stories into other forms of media creates opportunities to bring in new viewers while engaging fans in-between seasons.

Additionally, this can open up new revenue streams. Did I mention that Resistance Radio: The Man in the High Castle Album will be released April 7 on vinyl, CD, and digital? In the meantime, you can hear Resistance Radio at http://resistanceradio.com or on IHeartRadio or an Alexa-powered devices like Amazon Echo.