How ‘The Office’ star Rainn Wilson helped a true-crime powerhouse develop a new type of podcast with ‘Radio Rental’

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How ‘The Office’ star Rainn Wilson helped a true-crime powerhouse develop a new type of podcast with ‘Radio Rental’

Category : entrepreneur

  • Tenderfoot TV, a popular podcast network known for its true-crime shows, has teamed up with actor Rainn Wilson to create its first semi-scripted podcast.
  • The show, “Radio Rental,” is hosted by podcast creator Payne Lindsey and landed on Apple Podcasts’ top 10 list shortly after it launched on Halloween. 
  • Lindsey spoke with Business Insider about his first venture into scripted audio, working with Wilson, and what’s next for the podcasting powerhouse. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Popular true-crime podcast creator and host Payne Lindsey has teamed up with actor Rainn Wilson for a new podcast that’s part horror, part comedy. 

The show, “Radio Rental,” is produced by Tenderfoot TV in partnership with Cadence13, and marks the podcasting studio’s first venture into semi-scripted audio. Tenderfoot TV is known for true-crime shows like “Culpable,” “To Live and Die in LA,” “Atlanta Monster,” and “Up and Vanished.”

Although Tenderfoot is new to scripted shows, “Radio Rental” shot onto Apple Podcasts’ top 10 list just a few days after launching on Halloween, and has maintained its position fairly consistently ever since, with new episodes available every Tuesday. 

That’s partly thanks to Wilson’s voice work on his character Terry Carnation, the owner of a video shop with a collection of true-horror stories on tape. 

Carnation, who is the brainchild of Wilson, is eccentric to say the least — he had a very public mental breakdown and is working his way back to hosting his late-night, call-in radio show “Dark Air” — but his commentary offers listeners a comedic break from the typically terrifying content on the show.

“I thought [Wilson] would be the perfect kind of voice and character to play this guy,” Lindsey told Business Insider.

Wilson had already been developing the character by the time he signed on to “Radio Rental,” so Lindsey was left to focus on the meat of the show and the content he knows best: inexplicably true stories. 

When Carnation isn’t rambling about the state of the video rental industry, listeners have access to his “tapes,” which contain real-life mystery stories narrated by the people who lived them. 

Lindsey said he took to sites like Reddit to crowdsource the stories based on existing posts, from close encounters with serial killers to events that seems to suggest cross-dimensional interactions. 

“The whole concept starts there, and that’s where I put a lot of my focus initially,” Lindsey said.

Semi-scripted podcasts open doors for content creators 

The Tenderfoot writers teamed up with Wilson’s team to write the script for Carnation, although Lindsey said Wilson improvised many of his lines. 

This semi-scripted format — with Wilson playing a character and Lindsey speaking off-script with the narrators —  is meant to appeal to fiction and comedy enthusiasts, as well as the crime buffs Tenderfoot podcasts typically attract. 

“This show is arguably the most different from anything we’ve released so far,” Lindsey said. “But it’s the packaging that’s different. At its core, it’s not very far off from what you’ve been hearing from us.”

The two leads balance each other out, Lindsey said, with Wilson’s humor and Lindsey’s experience with serious interviews allowing the show to take risks that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible. 

For instance, while Lindsey takes the lead on host-read ads on the show, Wilson’s character also makes up spoof ads for fake products, a risky move considering the majority of a podcast’s revenue comes from actual advertising. 

“We wanted to give a nod to people who don’t like ads in the shows,” Lindsey said.

While Carnation takes a backseat to the actual narrators on “Radio Rental,” Lindsey said, Wilson has plans for Carnation to pop up in other projects down the road. As for Lindsey, he said this won’t be his last venture into scripted audio.

“I wanted to kind of shift people’s expectations as to what I’m going to do next,” Lindsey said. “It can be anything. Chances are you’re going to like it, though.”


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Sammy Singh

Global VC, Founder, and entrepreneur extraordinaire as featured in Inc. Magazine, Bloomberg, and Forbes. Sammy Singh is a graduate of UCLA and Wharton School of Business as well as a former student of Loyola University of Chicago. Sammy is best known as a renowned financial technology global entrepreneur and has founded over 26 different firms across industry and all over the world. He is a venture capitalist,a TV/ Film actor, tax specialist, and marketing solutions strategist. Connect with Sammy Singh on social media below!

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