Tuesday, February 16, 2016

My old-time radio project

Commercial radio broadcasts were a feature of mass entertainment in the 1920s, so I'm going to assign my students a project to help them learn about that new cultural medium.

The workflow is easy.  These two websites have curated collections of old-time radio shows.
  1. Gunsmoke (a western) 
  2. Old Radio World: A huge collection of comedies, dramas, mysteries, science fiction, etc.)
Gunsmoke sound-effects artist Ray Kemper and star William Conrad ("Matt Dillon")
I'll assign student teams of two to select one show and listen to it.  While listening, they will take notes on music, sound effects, different roles (announcer, actors), pacing (how long each scene lasts), and whether there is an audience.

Then, the student teams will produce a radio show of their own.  That will involve writing it, arranging for any music and sound effects, recruiting classmates to perform roles, and getting other classmates to laugh, cheer, or boo (as appropriate) as audience members.  They will then perform and record their radio show using their devices, mail the audio file of their show to me, and I will share those files with the class.

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