Audio Drama and Theater of the Mind
By Gary Ferrington

Once upon a time radio was the principle medium for home entertainment. Radio drama, as it was known, provided hours of enjoyment for millions of listeners. It even sometimes frightened listeners as did Orson Wells' Halloween radio production of War of The Worlds in 1938.

Radio has, for the most part, abandon the art form that it had nurutred for years through the sound artistry of producers such as Orson Wells and Norman Corwin.

When radio became an all-news, all talk, or all music medium, audio artists turned to tape, disc, and now the Internet for distributing their creative work.

Audio theater is very much alive with writers and producers generating all new dramatic presentations across the country. It is a medium that combines voice acting, sound effects and music to present a dramatic audio performance.

Audio art in Europe has grown over the years. In Germany and elsewhere it is known as "horspiel" which is pronounced as "her-speel," that can be best translated as "ear-play". Horspiel has evolved into a sound art that explores the expressive forms language can take.

This week’s Random Links section features both Audio Theater and Audio Documentary sites where one can often hear new works, learn about the sound artists involved, and discover this alternative acoustic entertainment medium.

American Project. An archive of documentary programs covering a wide range of subjects.

American Radio Works. The national documentary unit of Minnesota Public Radio.

Audio Hyperspace. The Online Magazine of SWR2 RadioART: Horspiel by Sabine Breitsameter. The Internet offers to the media as well as to the media artist a new electroacoustic space, abundant with audible live streams, audio on-demand, sound files and increasingly complex interactive audio art. These new possibilities may open up surprisingly new audio "visions" and provoke new strategies of perception. Audio on the Internet has made the boundaries between art, communication and play flexible. This offers a perspective on radio concepts and on radio art designs. AudioHyperspace guides you through the jungle of sound data and explores the development of sonic web art: every month it selects the most interesting audio websites and presents an annotated collection of links to audio and audio art on the web.

Audio Theater. Com. Find out who's doing it,  how they do it and what it sounds like. Here you will find script contest, production contest, and lots more.

LodesTone Audio Theater.This is a catalog source for contemporary audio theater and specializes in works by people who are currently producing new work.

National Audio Theater Festival. NATF is a new organization that includes a group of experienced Audio Theatre, Radio drama and Radio Theatre producers and participants. NATF is about promoting, supporting, producing and educating in the field of audio theatre.

Radio Drama Teaching and Learning Site. An excellent resource developed by Alan Beck. Includes information and resources related to all aspects of production.

Radio Drama Resources.Tony Palermo is a writer, composer, prop-maker, and audio producer living in Los Angeles, California.His web site on producing for radio has a wealth of material that is of value not only to the audio artist but multimedia designer interested in creating effective production sound tracks.

Radio Diaries. These are radio documentaries - not dramas - but well worth adding to this list of sites."Radio Diaries, Inc. is committed to producing a new kind of oral history. Our mission is to find extraordinary stories in ordinary places. We work with people to document their own lives for public radio: teenagers, seniors, prison inmates and others whose voices are rarely heard. We help people share their stories—and their lives—in their own words, creating documentaries that are powerful, surprising, intimate and timeless."

Radio Theater on the Web. Excellent guide to web resources for classic and contemporary audio plays.

Sound Mind Theater. "Mind Movies" for a digital world -- original motion pictures you watch in your head.

Sound Print. This site includes award winning documentary productions. Soundprint seeks documentaries of substance and considers its work the aural equivalent of photojournalism. It offers stories which engage the listener's mind, imagination and heart. This center encourages the creative and inventive use of sound to develop a contemporary art of story telling.

Virtually American. Provides audio drama including science fiction, horror, detective, suspense, social satire, comedy, musicals, classic radio to mention a few.