WGAE Radio Drama ThinkTank #4

The WGAE RADIO DRAMA THINK TANK met on Friday, May 11, at WGAE headquarters. The group focused on what is practical and doable to further the cause of returning radio drama to mainstream radio for mainstream listeners.

The following three projects are now under consideration:

  1. WGAE COLLEGE/SCHOOL RADIO DRAMA FESTIVAL … COAST TO COAST… WITH 100+ COLLEGES/SCHOOLS… ON THE GENERAL THEME: "PRIVATE EYE ON AMERICA." (Each college/school produces 30 minutes of radio drama — combination of 5, 15, or 30 minutes).
    1. In the fall, request that the WGAE Council — as an incentive — offer a year's WGAE Associate membership free to studentwriters who participate in the festival and to faculty advisors. Determine if the WGAW also has an Associate category and if they would duplicate the WGAE offer.
    2. Request that the WGAE, WGAW, DGA, AFTRA, SAG, Actor's Equity, Intercollegiate Broadcasting System, National Audio Theatre Festival, Teachers & Writers Collaborative, others, send out an e-mail blast to its members (many have contacts with colleges/schools) to get educational institutions to join the festival.
    3. WGAE will post sample scripts on its Web site, and instructions for writing a radio drama. In addition, NATF has offered to provide two splendid books on scriptwriting, and radio drama production, at reduced rates to festival institutions.
    4. WNYE-FM will be asked to air the festival on its EVERYTHING GOES? series as it did with the previous WGAE BIG APPLE SHORT RADIO DRAMA FESTIVAL. The festival will be available on the WGAE Web site, and other Web sites, for college/school radio stations to download and broadcast. Also, the general listener anywhere in the country would be able to hear the festival by logging on to the WGAE Web site. The festival will also be offered to public radio, satellite networks, others.
    5. After the intial WGAE COLLEGE/SCHOOL RADIO DRAMA FESTIVAL is produced and disseminated, invite WGA affiliates worldwide to participate.
  2. PUBLIC DEMONSTRATION OF NOIR RADIO DRAMA.
    1. Request permission from WGAE members (e.g., Lawrence Block, Donald Westlake) to adapt their noir short stories published by Akashic Press into noir radio dramas. Do the same for a noir short story recently received from a soldier stationed in Baghdad. WGAE members/associates/others will be asked to volunteer to adapt the stories.
    2. Radio dramas produced by Hassberry Theatre Company (if available) or other production unit. Request WGAE Council to provide us with at least one name actor for the demonstration.
    3. In December, hold public demonstrations at the Museum of TV/Radio and/or Barnes & Noble/Borders, public libraries, etc. Press invited to attend the performance(s).
    4. Request that WNYE-FM and/or CUNY RADIO provide its sound facilities to produce a CD of the noir radio drama demonstration.
  3. DEVELOP STRATEGIES TO PERSUADE PUBLIC RADIO, NETWORK RADIO, SATELLITE RADIO TO PRODUCE CONTEMPORARY RADIO DRAMA FOR TODAY'S LISTENER.
    1. Create an attractive proposal to pitch to the broadcast powers-that-be to produce the radio dramas — all under union contracts.
    2. THE WGAE RADIO DRAMA COMMITTEE meets the powers-that-be in person to make the case for radio drama (quality entertainment, easily produced, profitable).

Your comments are most welcome. Stay tuned for the rebirth of that great American art form — radio drama — on the mainstream dial.

Irwin Gonshak

Chair, WGAE Radio Drama Think Tank