The Museum of Television & Radio's
by Tony Palermo
Re-creating Radio is a two-hour family workshop at
the Museum of Television & Radio
where kids, age 9-to-14 and their parents (or grandparents) produce a radio
drama using scripts, sound effects, and music. The Los Angeles MT&R's workshop
is structured as a real, old time radio production with casting, microphone
and sound effects training, a cue rehearsal, and “live” broadcast. The program
is recorded and an audio cassette is mailed to each participant. It is
tremendous fun and special workshops have been held for senior citizens and
other groups. Funding has been graciously provided by the Ahmanson Foundation.
Please note the MT&R will no
longer offer this workshop after June 2008. They've recently changed
their name to the Paley Center For Media, and have shifted their focus
away from educational workshops.
Here's a link to an
April 11, 2002 Los Angeles Times story on the workshop.
And here's a
June 2, 2000 Los Angeles Times article.
(NOTE: There's a $2.00 fee to retrieve this last article from their archive.)
official Re-creating Radio page features photographs from the New York and
Los Angeles workshops as well as their current schedules.
The “MT&R Radio Network” produces a variety of radio dramas in the style
of The Lone Ranger, Superman, and The Shadow--we
actually produced those very shows for years, but trademark issues forced us
to create new characters for our original scripts. Our current lineup for Fall
2002 includes Hawk of the West, a slam-bam Western shoot'em up;
Life’s Little Ups & Downs, a wacky 1950s soap-opera; Radio Ranger,
a modern day super-hero ; Our annual Christmas holiday workshop
produces Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.
Re-creating Radio is not just for kids, but they are our target
audience--we are funded by grants and currently they are for family
workshops. Our programs are neither risqué, nor are they "dumbed-down" for
children. We produce exciting re-creations of classic radio genres suitable
for adults and children. An especially good combination for our
workshops is to have grandparents and children participate. The only
requirement is the ability to read. We would love to offer a Thursday evening
workshop to MT&R members of any age, but funding must be found first.
Enrollment is limited to twenty participants per workshop and tickets must
be purchased in advance of the workshop date (you can pay by credit
card, mailing in checks, or dropping by the Museum.) Many workshops are
sold out weeks in advance, so don't delay. Tickets are available at the
Museum; prices are $10 for children and $10 for adults. The MT&R also offers special Sunday
workshops (for birthday parties, scout troops, etc.) . For
reservations, call (310) 786-1014, Wednesday through Friday, 12 noon to 5:00
NOTE: The MT&R in New York City features several of the
programs from the Los Angeles museum. The New York schedule is not available
here. Call (212) 621-6600 Wednesday through Friday, 12 noon to 5:00 p.m. for
reservations in New York.
Re-creating Radio Workshops at the MT&R in Los Angeles
Saturdays, 10:00 a.m. to Noon. (Come a little early, too.) Park
under the museum for free.
The Museum of
Television & Radio
465 North Beverly Drive (at "little" Santa Monica Blvd.)
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Park under the museum for free.
Call (310) 786-1014 for workshop reservations.
The Re-creating Radio workshops fill up weeks in advance--don't delay
NOTE: For an extra fee, you can book a special Sunday morning workshop for
groups, such as birthday parties, scout troops or even adult radio fans.
For program descriptions, see our repertoire
MT&R Re-creating Radio Workshop Overview
The purpose of the Museum of Television & Radio's Re-creating Radio
workshop is to teach participants what radio drama is and how it is done. We
take people with no prior experience and, in two hours, produce a radio drama.
The workshop is targeted at children ages 9 to 14, but we have done many with
adults and had great success with senior citizens. The program is fun and very
popular. We have set a minimum age of 9 because reading is essential for both
actors and sound effects artists.
While our programs and methods are modeled on Old Time Radio, the process
isn't just a nostalgia trip. The skills developed here are in much demand
today, not only for audio drama or books on tape, but as the first step in
producing animated TV shows, films, and multi-media projects. We are telling
stories with sound and that is a timeless skill that will never go out of
date. Future writers, directors, actors, and technicians can get hands-on
training in the very media that surrounds them.
The experience of producing a radio program is our basic goal, however like
art workshops, there is a product that the participants get to keep; a
cassette of the show, which is mailed to each participant in a few weeks. This
tape is something that will be “shown off” to family and friends in a way that
other art work would not. We have chosen a variety of genres to demonstrate
radio’s dramatic spectrum and employ credible sound effects and effective
music to produce authentic, and not “dumbed-down” radio drama. Total
authenticity is mitigated by the workshop requirements of large casts and
sound effects crews, so we can’t just grab any old radio script and produce
it. The scripts we use are specifically written to demonstrate radio drama
conventions and techniques and fit within the 20-25 minute program time limit
that we can rehearse, perform and listen to in the space of a two hour
In keeping with the theme of Re-creating Radio, the workshop is
structured like a real golden age radio production. There is an audition,
rehearsal, and a “live” performance, in addition to an overview of radio drama
and instruction on radio skills and sound effects.
To maximize the use of time, we begin the workshop without a formal
introduction. Since participants generally arrive early for the 10 a.m.
workshops, we immediately hand them an audition script. The audition is used
to cast the most able performers and insure the best quality acting for our
production. Additionally, the casting monologues serve to introduce all
participants to the characters in our drama, providing background information
After the performers have auditioned, there is a hands-on demonstration of
the various sound effects devices used in our programs. Many of these are
authentic sound effects donated from the old NBC and CBS radio sound
After all auditions have been completed, the workshop is formally
introduced and we view a marvelous film clip showing how a 1939 western radio
program was produced. Then the director explains today's script and announces
the cast for the actors' roles. The workshop breaks up into two groups--actors
receive training on dialogue, character, and motivation, while sound effects
artists learn how to produce the specific sounds for this production.
A half-hour “cue” rehearsal is held to learn the story and coordinate the
dialogue, music, and sound effects. During the rehearsal, participants can
take pictures or videos. Then we start from the beginning for our
“broadcast" (live to tape). As in real radio, we do not stop if a mistake is
made. When the performance is finished, we play back the tape to cast and
crew. Participants are usually amazed at the quality of their productions. The
cassette of the program will be duplicated and sent to the workshop
participants in a few weeks. After the workshop, attendees are welcome to
proceed through the Museum to see exhibitions or use the TV and radio library.
Our workshop is very popular and many participants come back to do other
shows, so much so, that we are developing new shows and episodes of current
shows to better meet the demand.
NOTE: To arrange to make use of my scripts and
scores for your own workshops, see my
Audio Theatre Workshop Repertoire page.