Radio Drama: The Golden Years to the Forgotten Years.
"None of the people one might expect to be sufficiently enthusiastic about the subject to research it and write about it. have shown much interest in it." This quote, of course, refers to Radio Drama as an art form and dramatic medium and despite the fact that it has been around longer than television and used to be the primary source of family entertainment, "For some extraordinary reason, radio drama has been almost entirely overlooked by many theatre critics and teachers." This essay will, in part, rectify this and endeavour to present the history, development, strengths and weaknesses of Radio Drama as a unique dramatic art form presented through a very common place form of mass media: the radio. It's rise to popularity and it's subsequent decline along with what the future holds for Radio Drama will also be examined. However, study of Radio Drama could not be complete without first tracing the origins of the radio itself. .
The development of the radio broadcasting medium began on both sides of the globe spanning several decades as each new theory spurred on a new advancement in the technology, in most cases simply by inspiring a new idea in the mind of somebody half a world away. In 1864: Englishman, James Clerk Maxwell, theorised the existence of electro-magnetic waves. In the 1880s: famed American inventor and father of the light bulb, Thomas Edison, showed that these waves could be caught and reflected, in other words transmitted. In 188: Englishman, Sir Oliver Lodge, sent a morse code message using these, as they had now been dubbed, "wireless" waves. Three years later, in 1887: Lodge continued his work when he successfully demonstrated how a receiver could be tuned into a transmitting station. However, it wasn't until 1901 that these technologies were brought together by Italian Guglielmo Marconi, who broadcast the first transmission across the Atlantic.