One of the most critical pieces of audio storytelling is allowing the listener to imagine the story being told. Themes can be conveyed through sound effects and background music. The audio story Moon Graffiti is a good example of this. The story is an alternate scenario in which Apollo 11’s crew is stranded on the moon to die. The feeling of inevitable death is heard by a low droning in the background during serious dialogue, letting the listener understand the hopelessness and seriousness of the situation. The isolated sound effects such as dust moving or beeps have reverb to them, to convey the emptiness of the moon.
This American Life did an episode on Doppelgangers, a collection of stories involving objects or people with similarities. The first story, about pork rectum being disguised as calamari, has comedic undertones with purposely overdramatic music being used for when someone is about to eat the fake calamari. Sounds of a restaurant can be heard in the background during this scene as well. I couldn’t see any of these scenes in reality, but I could picture them perfectly. This is why adding sounding effects is so important.