Radio drama  

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"Thanks in large part to the National Endowment for the Arts, public radio continued to air a smattering of audio drama until the mid-1980s. From 1986 to 2002, NPR's most consistent producer of radio drama was the idiosyncratic Joe Frank, working out of KCRW in Santa Monica."--Sholem Stein

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Radio drama is a form of audio storytelling broadcast on radio. With no visual component, radio drama depends on dialogue, music and sound effects to help the listener imagine the story.

Radio drama achieved widespread popularity within a decade of its initial development in the 1920s. By the 1940s, it was a leading international popular entertainment. With the advent of television in the 1950s, however, radio drama lost some of its popularity, and in some countries, has never regained large audiences. However, recordings of OTR (old-time radio) survive today in the audio archives of collectors and museums.

The single best-known episode of radio drama is probably the Orson Welles-directed adaptation of The War of the Worlds (1938), which some listeners believed to be real news broadcast about an invasion from Mars.

As of 2006, radio drama has a minimal presence in the United States. Much of American radio drama is restricted to rebroadcasts or podcasts of programs from previous decades. However, other nations still have thriving traditions of radio drama. The BBC produces and broadcasts hundreds of new radio dramas per year on Radio 4, BBC 7 and Radio 3, - On Radio 4 as afternoon plays, Friday evenings, woman's hour daily short dramas, Saturday plays, Sunday classic serials and on Radio 3 Sunday evening drama on 3 and the once-monthly experimental wire slot. BBC7 output tends to be comedy, sci-fi, 7th dimension - and predominantly archive programmes podcasting has also offered a means to create new radio dramas in addition to the distribution of vintage programs.

The terms "audio drama" or "audio theatre" are sometimes used synonymously with "radio drama" with one notable distinction -- audio drama or audio theatre is not intended specifically for broadcast on radio. Audio drama --whether newly produced or OTR classics -- can be found on CDs, cassette tapes, podcasts, webcasts and conventional broadcast radio.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Radio drama" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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