What is a Radio Drama?
What is a Radio Drama?A drama is not a documentaryDocumentary: a film or television or radio programme that provides a factual report on a particular subjectDrama: an exciting, emotional, or unexpected event or circumstanceA true story can be dramatized
What is a radio drama? Well first of all, one thing needs to be made clear. A drama is not a documentary. They are two very different things. A documentary is complete fact. Drama is not. Whilst a true story can be dramatized, it will not be a documentary as some of the facts will sacrificed changing it into a drama.
2What Does a Radio Drama Use?Radio dramas use: actors, sound effects, music and silenceHowever, there is no visual at allThis means sound effects are essential to a radio drama
One of the main things that made a drama is the usage of ACTORS. Actors are used to play the characters in any radio drama, much like any TV drama. Radio dramas also include: speech, sound effects (sfx), music, actors and silence. However, in a radio drama there is no visual at all. Therefore, features such as sfx, music and silence are used more heavily in a radio drama than a TV drama. 3Why Do Radio Dramas Use This?These features are used to set a sceneBy using certain sound effects, the audience can visualize where the characters areSound effects, music and silence are used to draw scenes to a closeSound effects are usually added in the edit, but some are played liveOveruse sound effects, and the audience will get boredUnderuse them, and the audience may become confused
This helps set a scene. Whilst the audience cant see where the characters are, by using certain sound effects they can visualize where they are. For example, if you were to hear birds tweeting, you would visualize the actors outside. If you were to hear seagulls and water crashing against a wall, you would imagine them by the sea. If you were to hear a TV and draws closing, you would visualize them in a house. Sfx, music and silence are also essential to draw a scene to a close. As listeners cannot see the scene changing, they need to hear it. Many of the sfx are added during the edit. Some of them do have to played live during the recording stage to act as cues for the actors. However, they must be very careful when using all these audio effects. Overuse them, and the audience will get bored quickly. Under use them, and the audience may become confused on what is occurring in the drama. Radio dramas are all about the usage of sounds.
4Jobs in Radio DramasMany jobs are involved in making radio dramasObviously, sound effects and voice actors are neededSome of the technical staff involved includes: script writers, editors, directors, technical operators, studio managers, producers and production assistantsThats not even all of the technical jobs
This falls to the fact that a lot of props, quality actors, actor availability, technical staff, and many other aspects are required to make the show broadcast-able. As well as all of that, actors are also required for recording, as well as broadcasters to actually ensure the show airs. Some of the technical staff required for every radio drama involve: script writers, editors, directors, technical operators, studio managers, producers and production assistants. Thats not even all of the technical staff. The list continues for quite a while. This is what makes radio dramas very expensive to produce5What Stations Broadcast Dramas?Radio dramas are very expensive to produceThis means only non-commercial stations or chat shows broadcast radio dramasSome of these stations include BBC Radio 4, BBC Asian Network and BBC Radio 3This shows how only big stations can broadcast dramas due to the financial cost.
Dramas are very expensive to make. Including all the staff required to produce these dramas, this racks up how expensive the drama will be. Therefore, this means that only certain radio stations broadcast dramas due to the cost. Most of these stations are either non-commercial or chat show based. BBC Radio 4, BBC Asian Network and BBC Radio 3 are a few of the radio stations that broadcast dramas. This shows how only big stations can broadcast dramas due to the financial cost.
6Radio Drama Genres and StylesLike any other show, radio dramas have genresThey can be any genre including: comedy, soap opera, thriller, horror or any other genreIt is not limited because its on radioThey are either a single episode, a series or a serialThey even have their own audiences like any other drama
Like any other production ever, be it TV shows, dramas, films or music, radio dramas have genres. Radio dramas can be any genre, including but not limited too: comedy, soap opera, thriller, horror, absurdist or any other genre ever created. Just because its on the radio doesnt limit what genre it can be. Radio dramas can also be either a single episode, a series or a serials, like any other on air TV drama. Radio dramas have to be aimed at audience like any show. 7Techniques in Radio DramasRadio dramas focus heavily on soundRadio is theatre of the mindA genre will effect the sound used to set the sceneSounds will be used to set the scene in the listeners mind, and what is happening in that sceneGenre will even effect the accent of a character
These genres effect how the drama will be presented to the audience. The genre will effect the sfx used, characters, how those characters present themselves to the audience, the content of each scene and much more. It can even effect the accent of the characters involved.
8The ArchersThe Archers is the longest running soap opera in the entire countryIt is broadcast from Sunday to Friday at 1:20pm and at 7pm on BBC Radio 4The Archers is regarded as the radio version of EastendersThe timing helps The Archers reach their targeted audienceThe Archers is set in the fictional village called AmbridgeLike any other soap opera, the show focuses around the lives of the villages families and their everyday lifeShedtown actors need to be serious, there will be less sound effects, but they will be very specificThe Archers uses silence to end a scene, with the theme song starting and ending the showThe Archers suits its audience perfectly as it is designed for Radio 4s audience, broadcast at the right time and suits the station perfectlyThe Archers is the longest running soap opera in the entire country. The first episode aired over 60 years, on the 1st of January 1951. The show is broadcast from Sunday to Friday at 1:20pm and again at 7pm on BBC Radio 4. Everyday the drama receives 10 million listenersapproximately. The Archers is regarded as the radio version of Eastenders. It is a soap opera aimed at an elderly audience, which is the target audience for BBC Radio 4. The timing also helps The Archers reach their target audience, which is the elderly. It is very likely that the elderly will be sitting in their homes at 1pm or 7pm with nothing to do. So, why not listen to The Archers? Its on, not too long, and appeals to them. Very effective in pulling in the audience. The Archers is set in the countryside of the West Midlands in Birmingham and focuses mainly around the Archer family and other inhabitants of the fictional village called Ambridge. Like any other soap opera, the radio drama focuses around the lives of those families and their everyday life. Recently, the plot of The Archers has been focused around the marriage of two of the main characters, with large amounts of listeners tuning in on the day the wedding ceremony was broadcast. This means the actors must be quite serious. There will also be less usage of sound effects throughout the show, as the actors will be using their voices more in a soap opera. The Archers uses only silence to signify the ending of a scene, with the theme song starting and ending the show. Well, The Archers obviously does really well as it is aimed at BBC Radio 4s target audience. It was designed for them, and continues to be developed for that station. It fits perfectly in the station and suits the audience perfectly. 9ShedtownShedtown is a mini series which just completed its third seasonThe series is aired on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesdays at 11pmShedtown is an absurdist comedic radio drama aimed at a middle aged audienceAt its broadcast time, the BBC Radio 4 audience would most probably be in bed, so it is unlikely that they would be affected by the broadcast of this showThe show was set on a pier in the middle of the ocean where the cast was greeted by two very mysterious people. The plot followed the main characters learning important life lessons about themselves, until they eventually returned home in the series finaleAs a comedy, there was a large usage of a variety of sound effects, which were used to create humour, and set the sceneShedtown uses silence and the theme song to separate scenes, as well as a narratorThe audience for Shedtown is not the audience for Radio 4. Although it is broadcast at a time where its target audience may listen, it is not on the right stationShedtown is a mini series which just completed its third season. The series aired also on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesdays at 11pm. Shedtown is an absurdist comedic radio drama aimed at a middle aged audience. But that isnt what BBC Radio 4 is aimed at Its a completely different target audience! Shedtown is aired at 11pm on Tuesdays. At this time of an evening, the normal target audience for BBC Radio 4 would most probably be in bed. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that they would be affected by the broadcast of this show. Their normal broadcast is left undisturbed, and this show can draw in a new target audience to the station. This also means the BBC can appeal to all target audiences, which is part of the BBCs aims as a PSB. But what is Shedto