Press Release: Radio Drama Creator Tom Lopez Launches New Audio Drama Streaming Website

Influential radio dramatist Tom Lopez has launched a new website for lovers of audio drama.  The website allows subscribers to stream a total of 238 hours of radio drama for a small monthly or annual fee.  

Lopez has been producing radio/audio stories for 46 years – comic and cosmic adventures, science fiction, mystical mysteries, some with spiritual wisdoms, and some that are just down right fun, family entertainment.  His intention has always been to raise consciousness by using the media, radio and audio.

The dramas include performances by a stable of talented actors from the worlds of Broadway, television and avant-garde theater; original music by composer Tim Clark; and real-world ambient sound Lopez has recorded around the globe.

Lopez’s non-profit foundation ZBS produced original stories for Public Radio, Internet Radio, CDs, and MP3 downloads. When radio drama peaked in the 1980’s many of his series aired on the BBC, CBC Canada, ABC Australia, National Public Radio & Armed Forces Radio, including over 500 stations in the US.  As radio drama began to disappear from the airwaves, Lopez sought out alternative avenues of distribution that were consistent with his adventurous nature including podcasting.

Over the years Lopez has kept ZBS alive with government grants and commissions for audio books. Fans have played a critical role by donating money and buying his finished radio dramas online.

“People actually give us money to continue to produce,” Lopez says. “These are all public radio listeners. They understand that you have to support not-for-profit arts organizations.”

Fans of radio drama can check out Lopez’s catalogue and find out more information at www.zbsmedia.com.

 

Jazz Beitler

HUNT the TRUTH: Season One

Halo is a universe near and dear to many people, including my own. Some will blindly like anything with the “Halo” name attached to it, others will hate it out of principle. HUNT the TRUTH takes the popularity of NPR’s Serial form and uses the fictionalized world of the Halo video games to increase sales of the next game in the series–Halo 5: Guardians.

It seems the writers were so focused on creating a bridge from Halo 4 to Halo 5 that the result feels more like solely a marketing department decision. The only thing unique about this story is that it explains why the Master Chief is being hunted by Spartan Locke and his team. Everything else, even the slightest fan will know to be canon. The whole atrocities of the Spartan II program are nothing new. Yes, in-world, only a select few characters know the truth about the second phase of the Spartan program, but to compose a whole story based on that concept alone is foolish. Add in the fact they undermine themselves near the end with a cheap thrill ride by practically retconning the story they’ve told so far. The ending is basically a lie you’re expected to swallow. While it goes down nice and easy, there’s a strange after taste which makes you question the decisions of the writers.

It’s a shame that the second attempt at a Halo audio drama falls short of its precursor. The Halo 3: ODST story told via collectible audio logs was the first and a true audio drama. NPR’s Serial is a good show, but as many have said it isn’t audio drama. It’s the equivalent of creative non-fiction. HUNT the TRUTH takes some of the same notes as Serial, but ultimately fails as both a marketing ploy and an audible drama in general.

3.5/5 Stars

The Mystery of the Creepy Hack Writer

The first of ten episodes from The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes from Joe Bevilacqua is everything you’ve come to expect from the now public domain literary character. In an addition to having the audible tone of a Holmes radio narrative, the story itself is new. Having only read the first three to four stories found in most Sherlock Holmes collections, this one feels fresh. It’s not another retelling of a story, such as “A Study in Scarlett” which seems to get a nice adaptation polish every year or so via some artistic medium.

The plot of this episode is straight forward. Holmes and Watson–who have only just met–are visited by a mysterious gentlemen. As the story progresses, you find out who this person is. it’s a fun little WTF moment that acts as both a coolness factor and fan service. The simplicity of it is mind boggling. You think you’re getting another standard mystery, but what you’re given isn’t that, it’s so much better.

4.5/5 Stars

You can get this, along with the entire collection over at Audible.com, iTunes, Downpour.com, and Amazon.com (CD Set). Note that some retailers price it higher than others.

Star Wars Episode IV

Star Wars Radio Drama. Need I say more? Perhaps one of the greatest science fiction movies of the twentieth century, Star Wars has captured the hearts of millions and lost a few of them along the way as the series went back in time. Of course I’m talking about the prequels, but that’s not the purpose of this review.

This adaptation of Star Wars IV: A New Hope was released on NPR back in 1981. Many others, have been fortunate to get it on audible.com, years after its original broadcast. Those expecting the movie but in audio form, will be presently surprised.

The runtime of the audio drama is 5+ hours and the the movie is less than 3. That means there’s at least 2 hours of extra story that adds more dimensions to the characters. We spend more time on Tatooine in the beginning, getting to know Luke as more than just a whiny farm boy. Or, at least, he has a bigger motivation for wanting to leave the planet than originally portrayed in the movie.

The acting done by Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and Anthony Daniels is top quality. However, most of the cast from the first film do not make an appearance. That being said, the only actor who felt out of place was the person playing Darth Vader. Even so, near the end I came to accept the voice.

If there was one flaw early on that drove me up the wall it would be the unnatural timing of Darth Vader’s respirator. It went on and off constantly without any rhyme or reason. Thankfully it became background noise after a while, but when first introduced to one of the greatest villains in history, it came off as a grown man with breathing issues.

Fans of Star Wars and audio drama will be sure to get their money’s worth