Here is the link for episode 3 of The Dante Experience, the radio comedy series written by me and produced by Mind’s Ear Audio Productions, Inc.
If you would like to catch up on Episode 1 or 2, please visit The Dante 3 page, above. A new episode will be added each Friday.
The YIB Players
So when I was a student at Aquinas College in the 90’s, they started a radio station. It was a pretty small affair, the signal could only reach around the campus (it traveled through the power lines or something like that, I really don’t understand how). Every DJ had free rein to do what they wanted to do, so you would get this weird collection of music being played that didn’t make anyone involved look cutting edge.
Anyway, this station was the excuse I needed to try writing for radio. I convinced four of my friends to help me, and began adapting some of my short stories for radio work. It took two recording sessions. We used a microphone borrowed from my uncle, along with his recording equipment. I set up two CD players near the mic- One CD player had a CD of sound effects, the other had the music (mainly classical) for the background. As you can imagine it was an impressive display.
We had a lot of fun recording the episodes, and I began playing the episodes once a week in my own evening radio show. The trick for me was filling up the time. Surprisingly through all this, I never thought the station was lame. I assumed for some reason that everyone on campus was listening to everything (I was living off campus). But really knowing Aquinas College, only freshmen lived there and they were all probably more concerned with partying, studying and sex (and feeling guilty about it later like only young Catholics can). So, in other words, me and the other DJs were honestly doing it for ourselves.
I had a spot on Monday night around 9 PM. I would open each of my two-hour blocks with an episode, play music, and then end with a different episode.
I have few memories around the show. I had only a handful of calls (most memorably a complaint when I played Nirvana after Cobain’s death because the listener felt “done” with his music; and then the caller asked me if I was going to commit suicide. Nice, eh?). So I began to look into other options for the shows.
I convinced a friend from a part-time job I had to play the episodes on his volunteer radio show he did on a cheap-o FM station. Again, it was a small station with little signal, I couldn’t even pick it up at my home. My dream around creating a following for my own Firesign Theater was falling apart around me.
There is an epilogue to the YIB Players chapter in my life. In a creative writing class/writing table I had my cast back together and we recorded one of the episodes live in front of the audience (I mean, classroom). This was the first time I had really heard a group laugh at my work. And while it was only about 20 to 30 people, it was still a great feeling. It was at least enough to keep the radio dream around for a bit longer…