HOUSTON, Oct. 18, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Audio drama is still thrilling fans, eighty years after Orson Welles' infamous broadcast of "The War of the Worlds" caused panic in 1938.
Orson Welles never intended to create fake news of a Martian invasion, says historian A. Brad Schwartz, author of "Broadcast Hysteria: Orson Welles' 'War of the Worlds' and the Art of Fake News." In an interview on AudioDramaDay.com, Schwartz explained, "The only difference between then and now is that we can spread misinformation so much more quickly and easily...It's likely that the people who panicked most severely either never heard the broadcast themselves or only heard a fragment of it, having been told about it by someone they trusted."
Today, audio drama fans enjoy independent podcasts, such as "Girl in Space," "The Bright Sessions" and "The White Vault." The 11th Hour Production podcasts are an annual contest in October to create original thrillers for World Audio Drama Day, October 30th.
But Welles' Martian war is still fondly remembered, including in Buffalo, New York, where WKBW Radio's 1968 broadcast of "War of the Worlds," using local landmarks and newscasters, caused another minor panic. A new documentary commemorates the radio play and is slated for release on October 30th in Buffalo's North Park Theatre.
Sibby Wieland initiated World Audio Drama Day (http://www.audiodramaday.com) in 2013 to commemorate the Welles broadcast, traditional radio drama and new podcasts. Today she is producing a studio recording of "War of the Worlds: 1968" (http://www.houston68.com), originally a live stage performance set in the heyday of Houston's space program.
She explains that the story was inspired not only by WKBW, but by Alison Steele, the pioneering "Nightbird" of early FM radio, and more recent broadcasters who calmed a panicked public. "When I evacuated from Hurricane Rita, I listened to the United Broadcasters of New Orleans, created after Hurricane Katrina. Competing stations pooled their resources to connect evacuees throughout Louisiana and eastern Texas. Regional, local media is a valuable resource we can't take for granted - especially in the face of disaster, or fake news."
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SOURCE World Audio Drama Day