19 November 2010

radio drama and audio theatre

As you might expect, I owned and operated a tape recorder in my youth. It was a console-style cassette deck, with a large mechanical dial for setting the mode of operation. My parents gave it to me, along with a simple microphone. Naturally, I realized that this was most of what I needed to establish the production side of a radio station. As for transmitting and finding an audience, well, that only existed in my imagination.

I had a nook just inside my bedroom door which accommodated a small desk. The walls in this location were soon filled with old newspapers, mainly Sunday comics and peculiar or rearranged headlines. I took a wire hanger from my closet and bent it into a microphone boom to enable hands-free recording. That ten-year-old had an enviable setup.

At the time, I was aware of radio personalities like Dr. Ruth and Casey Kasem. But instead of acting like them, introducing songs like a DJ or taking calls, I told sci-fi stories.

After I moved to California, I had a roommate who frequently listened to KCRW on Sundays, particularly to Joe Frank and Harry Shearer. I was very enthusiastic about hearing opinionated, satirical, and surreal commentary from a radio station (albeit via a RealAudio stream). Talk radio wasn't something I much explored prior to that. My roommate also introduced me to Ruby the Galactic Gumshoe in compact disc form.

Joe Frank parted ways with KCRW in 2002, and my interests in KCRW shifted towards their music programming for the next few years. I don't regularly listen to KCRW anymore. But I wanted to acquire some of Joe Frank's work. There has been the option of purchasing CDs, but that just didn't appeal to me. A few weeks back, I researched Joe Frank again and found that he has radio shows available for purchase in MP3 format. I jumped at the chance and purchased one of the shows.

Radio drama is an area in which I am completely inexperienced. What else is out there that's worth exploring? Where should someone look to find something new? If you have comments on Joe Frank, radio drama, podcasts, or other forms of alternative media distribution, I'm all ears.

Except for my legs, which are normal human legs. But the rest of me is all ears.


Doug said...

I love Joe Frank to death, but the amount they charge for most of his shoes on his website is a little ridiculous. I'd probably buy a bunch but at 8 dollars a pop, it's hard to justify. If anything it's just enticed me to track down more "questionable" sources for his work.

Anyway, you might want to check out Benjamen Walker if you haven't heard him. He's on WFMU now with a show called "Too Much Information." It's not quite as much like Joe Frank as some of this earlier work ("Your Radio Nightlight" in particular is worth tracking down) but it's pretty good stuff regardless.

Patricia said...

Dear radio listener in distress.
I recommend Sound Stages Radio for 24/7 free broadcast of contemporary audio theatre productions. Listener beware. Some hokily amateur, some very professional.My favorite is the Byron Chronicles..see their schedule at their site.
For old time radio 24/7 its WNAR in Lansdale, PA to get their free schedule.
This should keep you busy for a bit looking them up on the web.
Happy listening, Patfln