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Old 03-17-2018, 02:29 PM
escaped escaped is offline
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Could the radio drama make a coemback?

Twilight Zone has been made into a radio drama. could they do this with 007 and star trek?
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Old 03-17-2018, 02:38 PM
Darren Garrison Darren Garrison is offline
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In the US? I'd say almost no chance. People would choose podcasts. Other places? The BBC still does radio dramas, and apparently people like them.
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Old 03-17-2018, 06:25 PM
bonzer bonzer is offline
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The BBC still does radio dramas, and apparently people like them.
But even this is surely a pretty niche affair here in the UK. Yes, BBC radio does do a couple of hours of it a day, but I suspect that's more tradition and part of fulfilling its mandate than anything else at this point.
They do make a fuss about some of their productions now and then - like the version of War and Peace with John Hurt back in 2015 - but I'm not sure many people actually listen.

The last BBC radio play that really broke out of the niche was probably Spoonface Steinberg and that was a good two decades ago.

(There a sharp distinction in BBC radio between drama and comedy, with the latter having much greater cultural impact. Far more people are surely tuning in to the Hitchhiker's revival than any Radio 4 Afternoon Play.)
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Old 03-17-2018, 07:13 PM
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My areas NPR has a radio drama on the schedule. However it’s never new material, just stuff from way back when.

Must be popular enough to occupy that slot, but not really my thing.
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Old 03-17-2018, 07:17 PM
Mahaloth Mahaloth is offline
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No, but I recommend Graphic Audio to people all the time. They do audiobooks, but in addition to the narrator reading the book, actors read all the lines and sound effects and music area added.

They advertise as being "a movie in your mind". It kind of is.

And it's kind of close to a radio drama.
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Old 03-17-2018, 07:26 PM
kunilou kunilou is offline
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No one in the U.S. will sit through a long-form, story-telling radio program anymore.

What might work, for a niche audience, would be shorter, serialized podcasts. Maybe 15 minutes max, where you could download chapters at your own speed. Something, in fact, like the original radio soap operas.
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Old 03-17-2018, 08:01 PM
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor is offline
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There have, in the recent past, been radio plays on some Public Radio stations.
I know they existed--nothing beyond that.
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Old 03-17-2018, 09:32 PM
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God would not be so kind. I used to have tapes of the old Shadow radio shows, wonderful for late nights at the cottage ...

Actually, if they are around 9 - 10 o'clock on a Saturday night, with podcasts available, it could work. But podcasts have to be at least have an hour, or they don't last through the evening dog walk.
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Old 03-17-2018, 09:49 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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Tangentially to this thread, I used to listen to CBS Radio Mystery Theater all the time when I was a child/teen.



.

Last edited by Johnny L.A.; 03-17-2018 at 09:49 PM.
  #10  
Old 03-17-2018, 10:33 PM
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I used to have tapes of the old Shadow radio shows, wonderful for late nights at the cottage ...
I grew up listening to The Shadow as a kid, on my grandma's huge wooden radio with glowing tubes. I date my love of Mystery and Sci-Fi to those late nights at her cottage.

My iPhone is full of old radio dramas and comedies, from iTunes and the BBC... BBC4 was, of course, the home of Cabin Pressure and John Finnemore's other radio comedies.

The second that someone comes along to produce good quality radio dramas/mysteries/comedies (or release them as podcasts) I'm on board!

Last edited by digs; 03-17-2018 at 10:36 PM.
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Old 03-18-2018, 12:05 AM
PatrickLondon PatrickLondon is offline
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The second that someone comes along to produce good quality radio dramas/mysteries/comedies (or release them as podcasts) I'm on board!
You can always keep an eye (or ear) out for

https://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/categories/drama
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Old 03-18-2018, 12:46 AM
GuanoLad GuanoLad is online now
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Big Finish does a lot of genre audio dramas, mostly for Doctor Who but they have branched out into other properties too. They seem popular with a particular crowd, though I've never listened to one.
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Old 03-18-2018, 05:18 AM
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But even this is surely a pretty niche affair here in the UK. Yes, BBC radio does do a couple of hours of it a day, but I suspect that's more tradition and part of fulfilling its mandate than anything else at this point.
Radio 4ís Afternoon Play seems to reliably get 800,000 or more listeners a day, which I think most TV shows would be happy with in that time slot. Iím not as familiar with RAJAR figures as I am with BARB, but my impression is that, in radio terms, thatís very good indeed.

Another reason the BBC continues to support radio drama is that itís an inexpensive and effective way of developing new talent. A lot of writers, actors, directors and producers have started in radio drama and comedy.
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Old 03-18-2018, 07:41 AM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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I also doubt they'll make a comeback, at least not the way things are at the moment. However, if you have XM radio, there's a channel dedicated to them. XM 148, Radio Classics.
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Old 03-18-2018, 02:44 PM
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You can always keep an eye (or ear) out for

https://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/categories/drama
Thanks to everyone for suggestions -- I also searched "BBC4" and found quite a few "videos that are just audio" on Youtube.
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Old 03-18-2018, 03:08 PM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is offline
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No one in the U.S. will sit through a long-form, story-telling radio program anymore.
I think this a big part of it. ISTM that radio dramas require a fairly high level of concentration to follow, maybe because it's only one sense. Even while watching TV today, many people are simultaneously doing things on their phones or computers, and I suspect that it's easier to "partially pay attention" to a TV drama than it is with a radio drama.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor View Post
There have, in the recent past, been radio plays on some Public Radio stations.
I know they existed--nothing beyond that.
There may well have been others, but NPR famously did radio dramatizations of the original Star Wars trilogy (ANH in 1981, ESB in 1983, and RotJ in 1996) -- though, I don't know if those qualify as "the recent past."
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Old 03-18-2018, 03:59 PM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is offline
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ISTM that radio dramas require a fairly high level of concentration to follow, maybe because it's only one sense.
Are they any different in this respect than standard audiobooks? Plenty of people listen to audiobooks while driving, walking, or exercising. You'd think there would be a fair amount of overlap between the audience for audiobooks and for audio dramas. (And, Audible.com offers a fair number of audio dramas.)
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Old 03-18-2018, 04:19 PM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is offline
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Are they any different in this respect than standard audiobooks? Plenty of people listen to audiobooks while driving, walking, or exercising. You'd think there would be a fair amount of overlap between the audience for audiobooks and for audio dramas. (And, Audible.com offers a fair number of audio dramas.)
You're likely right (and I listen to Audible audiobooks).

My suspicion is that the cost of producing a radio drama is somewhat higher than for making an audiobook (or a podcast) -- multiple voice actors, developing a script, SFX, etc.

I think that'd it'd certainly be *possible* for someone to try to revive the "audio drama" format, but I'm not sure that it'd be viable on radio anymore. Radio listenership is declining rapidly, particularly among younger listeners (who look to online and digital services instead). I think it could be possible for audio dramas to succeed in a podcast or streaming format, however.

Last edited by kenobi 65; 03-18-2018 at 04:21 PM.
  #19  
Old 03-18-2018, 04:47 PM
Darren Garrison Darren Garrison is offline
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The last BBC radio play that really broke out of the niche was probably Spoonface Steinberg and that was a good two decades ago.
Just looked at that link. Narrated by "a 7 year old autistic girl who is dying from cancer?" Wow.
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Old 03-18-2018, 07:59 PM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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Tangentially to this thread, I used to listen to CBS Radio Mystery Theater all the time when I was a child/teen.



.
I came in to mention this,. They ran new radio dramas back in the 1980s. So radio certainly had at least one comeback.

I also recall that one of the Boston radio stations used to run old radio shows back in the late 1980s. And it wasn't a Public Radio station, either. I got a hoot out of the old pre-TV "Dragnet" episodes.

And here in the Boston area we have the Post Meridian Radio Players that put on new editions of old radio dramas, sex-reversed Star Trek episodes, and new works and adaptations.
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Old 03-18-2018, 09:15 PM
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I did like the way GK put it. TV fits on that little screen. You can get a bigger TV, but it still ends at the edges of the screen. Radio drama, or whatever, does not have those physical limitations. It extends outward to the limits of your imagination. Or something to that effect.

Now, if we can just train people to exercise their imaginations, rather than being spoon-fed images.
  #22  
Old 03-18-2018, 09:47 PM
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I came in to mention this,. They ran new radio dramas back in the 1980s. So radio certainly had at least one comeback.
Eventually they stopped the original productions, and then, KNX, at least--the station that aired them in L.A.--changed to just playing really old productions of various radio shows.

This would support kanobi 65's point that, while there is an audience, it's not enough to support the cost of new productions. KNX dropped that drama hour about 15 years ago, but it might have continued had they had something more current. While they had a few good programs (like The Third Man), in the end they mostly were playing just about anything, and a lot of it was--in my opinion--just not very good, regardless of the age.

There is a certain audience who will listen to just about any old-timey radio--the nostalgia audience. It doesn't matter how bad it is: they just listen to it because it's old time radio. Some non-commercial stations have special broadcast for them, but that audience couldn't sustain new productions, I believe.
  #23  
Old 03-18-2018, 10:20 PM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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I think this a big part of it. ISTM that radio dramas require a fairly high level of concentration to follow, maybe because it's only one sense. Even while watching TV today, many people are simultaneously doing things on their phones or computers, and I suspect that it's easier to "partially pay attention" to a TV drama than it is with a radio drama.
Similar to a book on tape, it's probably easier to listen to them in the car/bus/train.
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Old 03-18-2018, 10:20 PM
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We have a "Readers' Theater", where the cast will set up five or six microphones at an old folks' home to record their versions of old radio dramas. And the residents get to relive their salad days.

Great idea, though I wonder how hard it is to edit out Ol' Man Jablonski's snoring.
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Old 03-18-2018, 10:54 PM
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In the US? I'd say almost no chance. People would choose podcasts. Other places? The BBC still does radio dramas, and apparently people like them.
Right. Never say never, given that community radio exists and some OTR fan could take a notion to perform some new scripts in the booth at a college radio station in the back end of nowhere, but anything people listen to will be like Welcome To Night Vale or Wolf 359 or The Truth or any of the others from this list or this list or this list or this list or any other lists you might find. Seriously: The death of a medium (radio) does not mean the death of a genre or a form.
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Old 03-18-2018, 10:57 PM
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When I was a lad, CBS Radio Mystery Theater ran at 11pm. Because it had a theme that fit the late-evening broadcast. Which was good, because I was in bed by then. Works pretty well to be lying in bed in the dark, listening to stories designed to give you bad dreams. The one that sticks in my mind was the executive who had a heart condition, so the doctor prescribed a cat (to teach him how to relax).
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Old 03-19-2018, 01:37 AM
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As a kid, I fondly remember traveling with the family at night. And listening to radio dramas in the Pontiac Chieftan. But this before color TV.

As and adult I enjoyed Tres Patinas a pre-Castro Cuban theater. It is a hoot!

But, like others have said, there are so many sources today that can provide entertainment. But, if you had a good script and an exclusive it could work.
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Old 03-19-2018, 07:16 AM
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Thanks to everyone for suggestions -- I also searched "BBC4" and found quite a few "videos that are just audio" on Youtube.
BBC4 is a digital TV channel. Radio 4 is the BBC's speech/news radio channel (and AFAIK they don't mind overseas audiences accessing it on the internet, unlike their TV channels).

PS: maybe not entirely relevant here, but radio drama has been considered a serious and significant art form in Germany for quite a while:
https://www.goethe.de/en/kul/med/20746648.html

Last edited by PatrickLondon; 03-19-2018 at 07:18 AM.
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Old 03-19-2018, 01:07 PM
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There's also Radio 4 Extra (Radio 7 as was), which broadcasts nothing but old radio dramas/comedies.
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Old 03-19-2018, 01:22 PM
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In the US? I'd say almost no chance. People would choose podcasts. Other places? The BBC still does radio dramas, and apparently people like them.
What significant distinction are we making between "radio drama" and "podcast?"
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Old 03-19-2018, 01:52 PM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is offline
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What significant distinction are we making between "radio drama" and "podcast?"
It's not clear to me whether the OP was asking about specifically drama that was broadcast on the radio, or whether (s)he was asking about audio drama no matter how it was made available.
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Old 03-19-2018, 02:46 PM
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In the US? I'd say almost no chance.
^That

You might find some old timers that would get into it, but the rest of America is hooked into ultra high definition visual effects. I can't imagine them listening to a story and creating the images in their minds, I really can't.
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  #33  
Old 03-19-2018, 03:05 PM
I Love Me, Vol. I I Love Me, Vol. I is offline
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Tangentially to this thread, I used to listen to CBS Radio Mystery Theater all the time when I was a child/teen.
Spent many a night in our cabin in the northern Minnesota woods listening to CBSRMT. We didn't have electricity there so reading books by lamplight or listening to a battery powered radio were our entertainment. It was fantastic.
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Old 03-19-2018, 03:18 PM
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^That

You might find some old timers that would get into it, but the rest of America is hooked into ultra high definition visual effects. I can't imagine them listening to a story and creating the images in their minds, I really can't.
Which explains why nobody listens to people read books.

Nope.

Nobody.

Absolutely nobody listens to what Audible produces.

(Why do I bother? You aren't going to get my sarcasm.)
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Old 03-19-2018, 03:19 PM
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Obviously there's no market for broadcasting audio dramas over the radio. That's not going to work, because Americans don't listen to the radio anymore except in their cars while driving to work. That market is dead, dead, dead.

But Americans listen to a metric shitload of long-form audio, in the form of audiobooks and podcasts.

So what the OP wants already exists.
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Old 03-19-2018, 03:37 PM
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CBC did it as recently as 2011. Between three hundred and six hundred thousand listeners a week on radio and online.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afghanada
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Old 03-19-2018, 09:10 PM
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It is not just that we are used to high definition visual effects, we are used to on demand entertainment.
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Old 03-19-2018, 10:17 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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The pictures are better on radio.
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Old 03-20-2018, 05:26 AM
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Tangentially to this thread, I used to listen to CBS Radio Mystery Theater all the time when I was a child/teen.
.
I also remember listening to it when I was a teen. I can still remember the opening of every show: "The CBS Radio Mystery Theater presents... (sound of creaking door closing). Hello, I am E.G. Marshall..."
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Old 03-20-2018, 05:47 AM
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Old 03-20-2018, 09:22 AM
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I'm following this thread with great interest. I've become a big fan of XM Radio's Radio Classics (XM148). There are so many great dramas out there. Including, but not limited to:
Gunsmoke, Suspense, The Whistler, The Falcon, Have Gun Will Travel, Tales of the Texas Rangers, Dragnet, Gangbusters. Mr. District Attorney, Fort Laramie. Yours Truly Johnny Dollar.
There's a bunch of Sci Fi shows too (X Minus one, Dimension x).
Comedies too; but I have discovered that comedies don't hold up so well.

So, that being said; I'm interested in any podcast or radio stations that offers audio dramas.
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