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Call this number now. You’ll hear the next episode of a new series.

Call this number now. You’ll hear the next episode of a new series.
Phone Stories are designed to be listened to at a specific moment during the day, though there is not yet an episode for ironing nor one for drinking coffee and looking out the window. (Photo illustration by Shutterstock)

Call this number right now: 415-529-6057.

You’ll need a few minutes to listen, but the time is worth it. I promise it’s not a scam, nor will anyone answer or call you back.

Instead, you’ll hear a recording of a person telling you a short, brief, true story. Phone Stories is “a new storytelling experiment” by Pop-Up Magazine, and releases a new episode every other Sunday. With its MailChimp ad, it’s like a podcast by phone.

The project is brand-new, with only three episodes released so far, and it feels like it’s finding its way. They’re stories that say they are designed for “a specific moment of your life,” like when you’re looking into a mirror, but don’t really need that context at all.

The first was by prolific science writer Mary Roach, whose Phone Stories episode isn’t really a story but rather information about snipers. The second, by comedian Aparna Nancherla, is much more of a brief personal narrative. (You can hear the first two on Phone Stories’ web site.) The current story is told by Watani Stiner, who tells the story of his escape from prison—a life sentence at San Quentin for murder.

I learned about from ReadThisThing, which I recommend even more highly: it’s one e-mail per day with a link to a wonderful story of some kind.

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About the author

  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.

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