History of Radio Drama

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History of Radio Drama Radio drama is over seventy years old, and, for all serious purposes, has been dead for 50 of those years--used now only occasionally in the classroom as a novelty or curiosity. During the middle to late 1940s, radio drama reached its peak. Then, with the advent and expansion of television, it quickly faded into history. Before the 1920s formal radio programs were unknown. Most broadcasts were one-time events consisting mainly of talk and music. Broadcast hours were irregular, usually four or five hours a day, and the only scheduled programs were weather reports. Once in a while, musical events such as symphonies and operas were broadcast live. Occasionally, stage plays were broadcast direct from the theatre, and sporting events were broadcast with play-by-play announcing. In the mid 20s, larger stations began to develop programs that used announcers or narrators who delivered introductions and conclusions. Radio drama was born in 1927, when networks began adapting short stories, and even writing original scripts, for broadcast. During the last part of the 1920s, one-hour, sponsored network programs became popular. Musical variety and concert music programs were the most beloved during this period. Some of these network variety programs used a different format each week—a musical program one week, a talk or a debate the next, and perhaps a dramatization the third week. At the time, the network schedules included two or three minstrel
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