Preferred lengths are not really set in stone, but the short story format seems to work the best. A work that can be read in one or two settings is preferable, (approximately 5k words) however I have read longer pieces in the past. Hard Science Fiction is preferred, however again I have been flexible in the past depending on the the season.
If you have a work you would like read on the Beam Me Up podcast please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a brief description of your story including it's length and I will get back to asap with more information.
BMU is most interested in good speculative fiction. If your story doesn't have a clear science fiction element, or at least strong speculative-fiction it's probably not something that BMU would be interested in.
That being said it goes without saying that the program welcomes both authors from any and all groups, previously published or not.
Stories can be unusual as long as they are readable, contain characters we can care about, and explore settings and cultures that we don't see all the time. I guess the guideline here is if we are bored, so will the listener.
Political issues stories are a possibility as long as they are not heavy handed, preachy or simplistic. Horror, for the most part, is out. If it's there as merely a plot device to evoke feelings of fear, terror, or revulsion, then please do not submit it. I have read stories on BMU in the past that did have horror elements but these were not simplistic one-offs. They integral to the story line. (ie. Prey)
Religious issues - these themes tend to be narrow and alienate listeners. Now I have run stories that religion has been a factor (ie Article of Faith Mike Resnick or 9 Sundays in a Row by Kris Dikeman) that were exceedingly well done. But they were the exception not the rule. I am not inclined to run this theme otherwise.
Many magazines do not want long drawn out scientific or technological plots or explanations. That might be where I differ. If you are truly extrapolating a scientific advancement and you can make the description interesting and truly a part of the story... then go for it.
But time worn plot lines... My first inclination is to say no, but you really have to use your best judgment. If its just a knockoff... or a twist ending... ehhhh
We are all adults, but please try to be tasteful. I have a bit more play on the podcast, but the FCC has made it clear what can and can not be said on air. Profanity, graphic descriptions of an adult nature and or of adult situations etc. can not be aired on WRFR lp/fm. So if it can not be aired on the radio, make my job easier and don't send it.