BBC Must Not Become BCE

7360Some folks are quite concerned with the latest budget considerations for the famous British Broadcasting Corporation. Public radio has a long history of audio drama in England, and if the mother country wants to avoid the terrible state that conservatism has placed the CBC in Canada, they might do well to listen to the words of Sir David Attenborough from this Guardian article:

“There is plenty that viewers can do. Politicians don’t wish to be the people who are branded as getting rid of the BBC. They know that the BBC holds a very precious place in a large proportion of voters’ minds and they can’t play fast and loose with it as they would wish.

“When I saw what the [funding] deal was I thought, that’s terrible, that’s a distortion. What the BBC will say, and I daresay they are right, is the alternative was something worse.”

He added: “The basic principle of public service broadcasting is profoundly important. If we lose that we really lose a very valuable thing, you are throwing away one of the most precious things that we have.”

Let’s hope that cooler heads prevail and the people speak up before the BBC gets gutted.

Syrian Soap

_89261757_singer_think976While Radio Alwan operates on a shoe-string budget, its dreams and creativity are surely gifts of avarice. This article from BBC News explains the power of this Syrian soap opera on the radio:

A sorrowful woman’s voice begins to sing – and even if you don’t speak a word of Arabic you can guess that the radio soap opera Sad Northern Nights is going to dig much deeper than the usual kitchen-sink drama.

“She’s lamenting her lost homeland,” Sami, Radio Alwan’s special projects director smiles ruefully. “She’s singing, “we want to come back to you, we want to be reunited, we won’t wait until tomorrow until all your wounds are healed.”

 

 

Fringe Frequencies

_89261757_singer_think976Art and Adventure in partnership with Renaissance FM has taken the winning formula of a Fringe Festival and applied the ideas to a series of Fringe Radio Dramas.

The Stage Article has more details:

 A radio production company is launching the “audio drama equivalent of the fringe”, in a bid to widen the market beyond the BBC’s output.

Art and Adventure, working with London radio station Resonance FM, is looking for writers and performers with stage productions for a single voice – known as a monodrama – which can be adapted for radio. The company is keen to hear from new writers, writing on themes that reflect “the way we live today”.

Each adaptation will be broadcast on the station later this year, which Art and Adventure creative director Roger James Elsgood said would challenge the idea that the BBC is the only platform for audio drama.

“The idea is posited on the notion that broadcast audio drama had become, more or less, the sole province of the BBC and there is no audio drama equivalent of the fringe. It is becoming increasingly difficult for new writers to have work produced and broadcast,” he said.

He added that Resonance has a “large global online audience” which would give the writers exposure. Each writer will be given an adapter for the project, a producer, as well as facilities to produce the programme.

 

Love Letters Lost and Found

imageI’m always amazed at the flexibility and breadth of radio drama. The longer I live in this medium, the more I’m excited by the variety of stories that can be told. For example, The Irish Times look at a multi-part series based on the love letters of a British soldier and his Irish sweetheart:

Love letters between a British soldier and his Irish sweetheart have been turned into a radio drama which will run for the next five months. *

The letters were between an English soldier Eric Appleby from Liverpool who was a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery.

He was sent for training to Athlone and it was here that he met local girl Phyllis Kelly at a dance in March 1915. Eric was later moved to the Western Front but they kept in touch in a series of extraordinary letters.

Before he was posted to the front they wrote about “love days” but they were only together four times after he completed his training. He was posted to the Western Front and was eventually killed at the Battle of the Somme in October 1916.

Love Letters From The Front began on Sunday at 12.30pm on BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Radio Foyle and carries on for 137 consecutive days.

The letters will be read out in self-contained short episodes which will be broadcast from Thursday April 21st at 11.55am and again at 11.50pm up until the end of October of this year. Each episode lasts five minutes.

Top 5 Hardest Working Producer/Writers in Audio Drama Today

otrmikeAudio Drama is replete with people who put their nose to the grindstone. Many producers work extremely hard to produce incredible productions. But who are the hardest working producer/writers in the modern audio drama movement? To tunnel down the list, it’s important to keep in mind that many producers like Dirk Maggs (Perfectly Normal Productions) and John Ballentine (Campfire Radio Theater) take longer to produce very high level productions. To make our list of hardest working producers/writers we have to look at consistent releases, and a hand involved in all parts of the process from writing, directing, acting, and audio editing.

Here’s our list.

5. Bill Hollweg (Broken Seas Audio)

While Broken Seas has slowed down its production releases from their heyday several years ago. One producer remains tireless in his production grind. Working daily to produce everything from original shows such as Jake Sampson- Monster Hunter, The Saga of the Grog & Gryphon, to 2109 AD, to his beloved recreations and adaptations to Planet of the Apes, Battlestar Galactica, a certain unmentionable dark haired barbarian, and most recently Amity- Dark Waters, Bill continues to tirelessly provide entertainment to the BSA fan crowd. His dedication to all things audio drama extends to his love song to the old time radio days with Swagcast where he painstakingly works to get rid of the buzz from the poor recordings to provide clearer production sounds. Bill works several jobs, and natural insomnia has him up editing and writing late at night and early in the morning before his classic work day begins.

4. Pete Lutz (Narada Radio Company)

Deep into season three, Peter Lutz is following in the footsteps of his hero Orson Welles in creating the anthology series Pulp-Pourri Theatre. In three years, Pete has produced over thirty shows pulled from public domain pulp stories, classic theatre tales, and original scripts. Rumour has it, Mr. Lutz is working steadily on a long series of western stories to be produced by NRC. Award winning, Pete Lutz keeps rolling out more and more hour long and multiple hour long productions that he puts in archive.org for your listening pleasure!

3. Gregg Taylor (Decoder Ring Theatre)

Moving down from our solid second place spot is Gregg Taylor from Decoder Ring Theatre. Perhaps one of the most prolific writers in the modern age of radio drama, Gregg used to release a brand new show every other week. A release schedule that was only breeched once since they began eleven years ago (the same time as The Sonic Society by the way). Gregg has moved more recently to a monthly release schedule, but that doesn’t mean he’s become less productive. The author of over a dozen novels and comics, based on his iconic brands The Red Panda and Black Jack Justice as well as other stories, Mr. Taylor epitomizes- the now legendary mantra update- of “how to get to Carnegie Hall” for successful podcasts everywhere, “How do you get listeners? Consistency. Consistency. Consistency.”

2. Jeffrey Adams (Icebox Radio)

If there is one true innovator in the world of free modern podcast audio theatre it is Jeffrey Adams. Jeff created Sound Stages which began initially as a precursor to the Sonic Society and then transformed into the 24 hour, seven days a week live audio drama Internet radio station that you can hear today. Jeff’s original works became the award winning foundation of his stories that he set in “the land of the Icebox” near International Falls. Icebox Radio officially became a non-profit organization with memberships, donations and an executive council. Most recently, Icebox Radio has made the transition to Radio Icebox in which Jeffrey has taken his talented pen, directing skills, and production experience to run a continuous serial about a strange northern town cut off from the rest of civilization.

1. Jerry Robbins (Colonial Radio Theatre)

There are several talented audio drama companies, very few are driven predominately by a single writer, director, producer, and actor. For over two decades Jerry has written and produced hundreds of radio plays- first released on cassettes, then CD’s and now through downloads. Colonial Radio Theatre has been given dozens of awards, and has had the opportunity to work with personalities such as Ray Bradbury and Walter Koenig. Jerry has written and produced well over a hundred episodes of his western saga Powder River and their catalogue includes everything from children’s tales, horror, mystery, drama, comedy, action adventure, historical drama, fantasy, and science fiction. CRT has adapted classic novels, famous plays, comic books, and television shows. Jerry has also created such indelible original series such as Jerry and the Pirates, Beacon Hill, Royall House, The Dibble Show, and Ticonderoga. His production from William Luce‘s radio adaptation of the one man play Jerry became known for Barrymore tops this reviewer’s list of must listen audio. There is little doubt as to why CRT remains at the top of Amazon audio book charts month after month because they are always producing, and always releasing.

 

This list is far from complete. There are so many writers and producers out there that work extremely hard on their productions but may have more spread out release dates. Some are fairly new on the scene (only a year or two beginning). Many more take long deserved hiatus from their works, and still others find life interrupts their passion for making radio plays.

This list is not meant to overlook the fantastic community of which I happily belong, nor suggest that one radio drama production is arbitrarily better or worse than others, but rather to give my thanks to those who work and release consistently and unendingly in their pursuit to provide to us- the listeners- their audio dramas.

Thanks to all, and may the list above inspire you to get more productions out there!

The Crimson Shadow Brings the Past to Life

devinDWhat is it about old time radio that inspires so much stage work? I’ve argued for some time now the old time radio takes its beats and passion from live theatre, while modern audio drama has its heart from the cinema.

Gina Gambony’s article from WHQR.org appears to agree:

Devin DiMattia is a local actor and founding member of the performance group, Pineapple Shaped Lamps (PSL).  While he’s been comfortable writing skits and short scripts for stage performance, DiMattia has taken the leap to create a full play, one that reflects his appreciation of 20th century radio drama.  DiMattia’s The Continuing Adventures of the Crimson Shadow opened last weekend at The Red Barn Studio Theatre and runs Thursdays-Sundays through May 1st.

Check out the show times with Thursdays to Saturdays at 7:30 PM, and Sundays at 3 PM. Long fight the Crimson Shadow!

PBS Radio Rocks by Not Rocking

PBSwebsizeElijah Hawkins has some pretty cool things to say about radio drama down under:

In a time when most commercial radio stations play (in this writer’s opinion) either mass-produced crap or ‘80s pop, and when even triple j is waning, community radio plays an incredibly important role in the scene.
PBS 106.7FM is one of these stations flying the flag for community radio, and from May 16-29 they’re calling on listeners to ‘Take the Plunge’ and sign up. As a station that remains independent and non-profit, the supporters and volunteers are what keeps PBS on the air.

Fuelled by people with a passion for music and propelled by the record collections of the volunteer broadcasters, the station offers programs focusing on everything, including country, blues and roots, garage, rock, punk, and even electronica, soul, hip-hop, and free jazz.

Folks who sign up or renew their membership will go into the running for a heap of prizes, including a Maton 70th anniversary series semi-acoustic guitar, a restored Thorens turnable, a classic red Vespa PX 150 scooter and plenty more.

So get out there and support PBS 106.7 FM and let the stories rock out!

Epic- The Podcast

epic81The folks from the Epic podcast provide an audio drama episode.
Check them out at Geekloo.com
The Hosts of Epic are:
Marc Cabot (@MarcCabot)
Joel Richard (@JoelARichard)
Richard Gray(@EpicRich1)
Andy McMullen (@AndyLastName)
Nutty (@Nuchtchas)
Adam Williams (@Dr4Physics)
Shane Poole (@cirenshane)