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Old-Time Radio Dramas Adopt Modern Podcasting Style at WOUB

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Karen M. Chan, an actor, director and producer is merging old-time radio dramatic techniques with modern podcasting to bring a new, fresh approach to storytelling for public media.

Chan, a veteran of theater, television and film, has lately been concentrating her efforts on dramatizing works of literature for digital distribution by WOUB Public Media.

She uses unabridged works of literature and brings them to life using actors from Ohio University and the surrounding communities.  She marries their dramatic dialogue with original music produced and played by regional musicians and original artwork to accompany the audio stories.

Her youngest actor has been 8 years old and the oldest in her mid-eighties. Over 150 different actors have been used to produce eight different works, to date.

Partnerships also have been established within Ohio University such as an ongoing alliance with the School of Media Arts and Studies in the Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University.

The stories are not only being shared publically but they have been used in classrooms and as vehicles for people to learn English as a second language.  Chan recently was contacted by a Brazilian man who asked her to produce more stories so he can learn to speak English better.

Chan has had a lifelong love affair with radio dramas and the art of telling stories with one’s voice.  She says her passion started as a young child as she would listen to radio dramas with her mother.

So far, Chan and WOUB Public Media have digitally produced: The Sleeping Beauty, Through the Looking Glass, Peter and Wendy, Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery, and O Henry’s The Ransom of Red Chief.

The Holiday favorites A Christmas Carol, The Gift of the Magi, and Twas the Night Before Christmas have also been created and are available to wide audiences.

New works are in progress including an original work about the Underground Railroad featuring an African-American cast.  Additional stories are in various stages of development and production.

The existing stories can be heard at