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Radio Is Theater of the Mind

Global One partners with Nev. high school to bring "The War of the Worlds" on air

The author is president of Tom Ray Broadcast Consulting, LLC, in New Windsor, New York. Global One’s stations in Elko are one of his consulting clients. Submit news about your event to radioworld@futurenet.com.

October 30, 1938: The country was in mass panic as Martians landed in Grovers Mill, New Jersey during the broadcast of the radio play “The War of the Worlds.” Presented by the CBS Radio Network, The War of the Worlds was a Halloween episode of the radio series “The Mercury Theatre on the Air,” directed and narrated by Orson Welles.

October 30, 2022: Martians will again be landing — this time in Elko, Nev. — as Global One Media and the Elko High School Theater Department partner to bring The War Of The Worlds to life in modern-day times.

Sandy Beeler, morning personality of KHIX(FM) in Carlin, Nev., thought up the idea as a way to get the stations involved with the school and show that radio is still relevant. Beeler is also VP of Ghost Light Productions, a nonprofit theater company in Elko, Nev. 

“I love getting to work with kids in theatre,” said Beeler. “They are eager and enthusiastic and honestly just the best and most fun to work with. The War of the Worlds is a classic and I thought it would be a great start to get Global One Media and the Elko High School Theatre Department together for the community.”

Beeler hand picked the students for the production through auditions. Together, it took about 2.5 hours to record the program. Beeler said once editing is complete, the program will be approx. an hour long. 

For an authentic experience, with the exception of a few commercially recorded sound effects, the kids also made their own sound effects for the program. To further keep the script authentic, the Martians will land, once again, in Grovers Mill, New Jersey.

“When we began rehearsals, I explained to them that [radio] is theatre of the mind,” said Beeler. “There are no cues on stage. We tell the story through nothing but the way we speak it. They were quick to understand and some came to the next rehearsal with different character voices already. They picked up everything so quickly.”

Beeler went on to say that there will be more productions in the future. “We hope to continue the relationship with Elko High School and give these talented and driven students a chance to shine and show what they do so well, on the radio platform that we have at Global One Media.”

Sandy Beeler (second from the right) and Elko High School students participating in The War of the Worlds radio special.

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The high school is equally enthusiastic. Jeanine Hoskins, Elko High School theatre teacher and thespians advisor, said, “This has been an amazing and unique experience for my students. They have risen to the challenge of having to rely simply on their voices to convey emotion and expression. This opportunity proved to not only be a learning experience but a fantastic social experience for the students.  They really bonded and enjoyed their time in the recording studio.”  

Emma Kathryn Brown, a sophomore at Elko High School, said, “I learned the joys of working with a group of people in a recording studio and how much fun it is to cooperate with others and put something together with just our voices.”

Richard Hudson, president of Global One Media, said, “We want to be hyper local. When Sandy brought us this idea, I told her to take the ball and run with it. I can’t wait to hear it on air. What a great connection to the community.”

Rumor has it that the theater group is already working on a Christmas radio presentation. But Sandy wouldn’t tell me what it is, as Santa told her she’d get coal in her stocking if she leaked the information.

The Elko High School Theater Department’s production of The War of the Worlds will be at 6 p.m.(PST) Oct. 30 on Mix 96.7.  It can be live streamed from the station’s website or through Live 365 – search for Mix 96.7.

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