It’s been a notable month for radio drama, we note it here – the death of Norman Corwin, one of the genre’s champions, inventors, missionaries, and poet-kings. There was a time when radio was the center of America’s cultural universe, and Norman Corwin was one of an inspired few who had grabbed hold of the medium and used it for artistic expression of the highest order. Listen to some of his works here. Read about him. His passion for what radio and the act of listening could be was cutting edge – and still is. Take note. Steve Jobs may have shepherded a panoply of devices into our daily lives, but Norman Corwin used the ubiquitous device of the 20th century (radio) to elevate our humanity.
In this same month (and there could not be a more clear example of the it was announced that the annual Friends of Old-Time Radio Convention was meeting for the last time. After 36 years, this nostalgic gathering will end.
I leave it to you to make of this what you will – but what is surely clear is that the death of a genre has oddly been marked, this October, 2011.
A time for resurrection? I hope not in the “old-time” sense – but just as the iPhone and smartphones can be called the new transistor radio, with its millions of listeners, so do I hope theater, a theater of sound can be reborn for this century.