By Christian McCarville
Rider University’s signature radio station, 107.7 The Bronc, has recently done a lot to expand its presence on campus. In the summer, The Bronc moved to a new location on campus to the Fine Arts Center. In this new location, it was able to make more adjustments and improvements.
With this expansion, the station also announced 107.7 The Bronc Retro WRRC2. WRRC2 is a new online-only station that plays primarily oldies music and classic hits. The new station can be accessed on the 107.7 The Bronc webpage (1077TheBronc.com) and through the station’s mobile app.
A significant addition to the WRRC2 station is the School of Fine and Performing Arts’ first-ever radio play titled “The Ungodly Hour.” This show is adapted and directed by Josh A. Campbell and features a cast of four Rider students.
Senior elementary education major Elaina Stark expressed excitement about the show’s premiere.
“I think it is such a great idea for 107.7 The Bronc to broadcast a radio play,” said Stark. “The show offers an interesting new element to the station’s traditional shows.”
The Ungodly Hour was live-streamed on WRRC2 on Oct. 31 at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m., followed by another airing on Nov. 1 at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. The show fits right in with the station’s Halloween events, as it contains themes of horror and apocalypse.
During the show, the cast discussed topics including pop culture, news at Rider and national media. The show also features interviews with various Rider students and staff members.
Josh Campbell is credited as writer and director of The Ungodly Hour. He explained the process of developing this idea into a reality.
“Creating the show was a very unique experience,” said Campbell. “Because I had a source text, there were several weeks in which I had to analyze the original broadcast entitled ‘The Peoria Plague,’ which has no known author and only aired once. Personally, the original broadcast was good but as a 21st century black queer millennial, I had a hard time connecting to the source.”
Campbell then went on to take the original broadcast and turn it into something modern with a new focus on Black and Indigenous People of Color.
“I spent weeks transcribing the original, making notes about what is period (1970s) and what can be adapted, and how to center the story on Black and brown bodies,” said Campell. “Naturally I work in the poetic form so I wanted to incorporate my style of developing poetic text next to scenes to amplify the inner dialogues of the radio hosts — who in horror movies don’t typically get to share their feelings due to being supporting characters and instruments to advance the plot due to their death.”
The show also included a segment called “Netflix & Quarantine” where recent events in pop culture were recapped and discussed. Student radio mixes were also played periodically throughout the show, providing for a very engaging listening experience.
The Ungodly Hour has not only added to the variety of entertainment presented on 107.7 The Bronc Retro WRRC2 but also provided an excellent opportunity for those in the Fine and Performing Arts program to showcase their talents over the radio. As most in-person performances are deemed unsafe due to COVID-19 guidelines, radio performances are a safe way to demonstrate acting and performing abilities to a wide audience.
Campbell explained the main differences between writing for in-person performances and writing a radio play.
“It is quite the challenge because most of the work is about how we audibly tell a story for the audience,” said Campbell. “Typically in the theater, you can follow the story with lights, sounds, projection, and costumes. In this case, the challenge was picking the right sound, working the actors on creating distinctive voices and finding unique ways to engage the audience and keep them tuning in.”
Intentionally going into the audition process blindly, Campbell did not have any visual representations to accompany the submitted voice recordings. He did this so that he could focus entirely on their voice.
“As a listener (and musician), I am drawn to unique voices and I cast actors whose voices were unique and blended; who could play multiple characters and who wasn’t afraid to speak their minds about the current events,” said Campbell. “Their audition voice recordings left me wanting to learn more about who they were and what they had to say.”
Those who have not yet tuned in to The Ungodly Hour should be on the lookout for more live airings and future performances. To keep up to date with future airings of The Ungodly Hour, follow 107.7 The Bronc on social media.
Published in the 11/04/20 issue of The Rider News