Three Questions: an interview with … Anne Cammon, Arts Programmer, WKCR FM New York November 13, 2006Posted by William Spear in >> Radio Drama, >> Three Questions: an interview with ....
Lit Between the Ears presents Anne Cammon in its “Three Questions: an interview with … ” column. Anne is a poet and fiction writer who was educated at Barnard College. She is an Arts Programmer and curates a literary radio show for WKCR FM New York, featuring contemporary works of poetry, fiction, new music and radio drama. Her work recently appeared in Rumble and the Bloom’s Day edition of Riverbabble and she shares a few minutes with us here.
LIT: Anne, how is radio drama similar to, and different from, stage, film or television?
ANNE: The most obvious way in which radio drama differs from stage, film and television is the absence of a visual component. But the implication of this difference is pretty far-reaching. By bringing the picture-or lack thereof-into the listeners’ imagination, the audience, as Steve (Steven H. Wilson of Prometheus Radio Theatre; Three Questions interview posted September 8, 2006) noted, is helping in some way to create the story. Thus, there is not just one story, but as many individual stories as there are listeners to a particular drama.
Radio Drama also creates an incredible feeling of intimacy, as the story happens in one’s ears, mind, and heart. I think this is why people get such a warm, fuzzy feeling when they think about radio drama-it reminds them of a very intimate yet shared space. They think of families huddled together around the radio, even if they never had that experience personally. Or, having listened to a radio drama, they think of how the story happened inside themselves. There is a sense of ownership over the story that does not exist in the visual mediums. For this reason I think radio drama leaves a more lasting sensory impression, stimulating creative thought in a profoundly different way from stage, film, and television.
Regarding their similarities, I will have to agree with Jonithan (Jonithan Patrick Russell of Dream Realm Enterprises; Three Questions interview posted November 2, 2006) that they are all forms of drama and storytelling. The same dramatic rules apply to all four mediums. Also, all four rely not just on the excellence of the writing, but of the acting and production.
LIT: What should radio dramatists and production companies do to reach new listeners?
ANNE: Radio dramatists and production companies should make it easier for interested people to find, listen to, and air their work. As a radio programmer, I find it difficult to get my hands on recordings of radio dramas. Everybody wants you to produce their script, but nobody wants to give out the recordings once they’re done. This equation leaves out a major section of the population; those who want to air the radio dramas, but do not necessarily have the time, means or interest in producing them.
I think radio dramatists and production companies need to focus on defining, in financial terms, what is wanted and needed in exchange for airing a radio play. My sincere belief is that radio plays are not being aired currently for lack of interest, but for scarce and sketchily defined availability.
Radio Production Companies should follow the model of record labels in terms of distribution. They need to find a streamlined way to collect royalties from aired works, possibly using companies such as BMI and ASCAP. Once established, they should send out their recordings to radio stations. The recordings need to be made available, and those who play them need to be made accountable for paying the royalties.
I also agree completely with Steve that radio dramas could gain an incredible level of distribution as MP3 downloads for iPOD’s, etc-again, with whatever price tag one deems reasonable.
And with any financial venture, there is risk involved. So risk! Risk that your work might be heard!
LIT: What is your favorite piece of radio drama and why?
ANNE: The Lone Ranger and Tanto series is especially close to my heart because of all that it evoked about the American landscape-equating a physical with a psychological space, it carried the flawed dreams, aspirations, and even humor, of a nation, excitedly with it.
Lit: Anne, thanks for sharing your insights on why radio drama is not dead. We look forward to hearing more of you on WKCR 89.9 FM in New York and reading more from you in the forthcoming Subtle Tea and Wild Child Magazine.
Anne may also be reached by email at email@example.com .
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