Not many people spend their evenings scouring the internet, reading theories for their radio show. Sophomore Ben Reitz, a film and media arts major, joyfully does just that.
Reitz has a show on Taylor University’s radio station, WTUR. He has hosted his own radio show since Fall 2022 under the name “Conspiracy Cabin.” The focus of Reitz’ show was a comedic look at conspiracy theories, where Reitz role-played as a scripted over-the-top conspiracy theorist.
However, this year is different. Reitz has taken a new direction this semester, renaming his show to “Tales from the Theory-Plex” and instead trying to tackle the web of mysteries surrounding a popular indie horror video game franchise: Five Nights at Freddy’s (FNaF).
“It’s (FNaF) really well known for having a mysteriously-told story,” Reitz said. “So I’ve been going in order of every release and explaining it to my friends.”
FNaF is an indie horror game released in August 2014 by indie game developer Scott Cawthon. The game pits the player as a night guard at a haunted pizzeria infested with possessed animatronics. The player must observe their locations on cameras at all hours of the night and must last until 6 a.m. lest they get caught by the band of animatronic anthropomorphic animals.
The game has since had nine main game sequels, six spin-offs, a book series with graphic novel adaptations and a movie adaption that was released in October. More novels and games are planned to be released in 2024.
“I got super into it through just researching it for my radio show,” Reitz said. “It made sense that I had to make the next radio show about it.”
For Reitz, WTUR is a great way to earn media participation hours, which film students need 75 of to graduate. He also said that he enjoys talking about theories, citing that he’s glad he’s found a way to get a degree from talking about FNaF.
Bringing guests on the show and answering listeners’ phone calls are some of Reitz’ favorite things about having a radio show. He also enjoys making scripted audio endings to the show that mimic the jumpscares found within the game.
“I just really like ending the show on a funny note,” Reitz said.
On his laptop, Reitz has in-depth folders detailing screenshots of each of the games, transcripts of audio, comments from the game’s developer and even sections of the games own source code. He even carries one of the franchise’s books with him throughout the day to study on the go. He spends hours studying each to develop a framework for his radio shows that take place every Saturday at 1 p.m.
Reitz said that he has plans to make his own theory videos on YouTube, while also keeping Tales from the Theory-Plex alive through next semester. Reitz said he has plenty more lore to tackle, which he is saving for next spring.
“We haven’t even finished all the releases which was supposed to be the first part of the show,” Reitz said.
Senior Hannah Johnson, a film and media arts major and WTUR assistant station manager, sees Reitz’ show as a fun way to interact with people on campus that isn’t necessarily conventional. Johnson said that being able to interact with fellow students is a big part of WTUR.
WTUR is a great way to find your voice, and to talk about what you enjoy the most, Johnson said. For Reitz, the joy comes from sharing what he enjoys with his friends in a new and interactive way.
“I think it’s just a really cool way to interact with our fellow students and get connected,” Johnson said.