28 Oct

Halloween Blog-A-Thon Day 28: WKBW, a night of Halloween radio

Posted by Bryan White | Wednesday October 28, 2009 | Whimsy

wkbw halloweenI looked back on these Blog-A-Thon posts today and realized that I’ve been pretty old-timey in terms of subject matter. There has been a lot about radio broadcasts and whatnot and I think there’s a reason for that. Modern times leave us with no mystery. If we see something cool for the first time, an hour later we’re an expert on the subject thanks to the internet and an endless set of resources with which to educate ourselves. Halloween, at least when I was a kid, had a ton of mystery to it. The origins of the holiday were shrouded in mystery, all the spooky local legends came out in full force on that night and I love a good mystery. So Halloween always takes me back to being a kid when parts of the Halloween experience still scared me. Be they finding myself drawn into the Frank Langella Dracula (a memory that has stuck out in my mind since I was 12, for some reason), stalking through the cemetery across the street from our house as a shortcut to a nearby neighborhood we hadn’t hit yet or tuning into the local college radio station, WUNH, on that night that the broadcast was nothing but a spooky ambient soundtrack set to the Stephen King book-on-tape of The Mist. I think back and there seemed to be a time when local TV and radio went to the wall to turn out the best scary programming they could. In spite of Christmas being the ad-buy powerhouse that the season tends to be, these stations put far more energy into their Halloween night broadcasts and had a lot more fun. While searching through archive.org the other night for Halloween themed audio (where I found those seance and War of the Worlds recordings), I also found this one, an entire night of Halloween AM radio programming, which includes a really great update of The War of the Worlds.

This is WKBW, an AM station in Buffalo, New York from Halloween night in1973. Along with The War of the Worlds, you also get some spooky storytelling and radio plays. It’s a shame that no one does this anymore. So get comfortable. This is a long one.

1 Comment 

  1. October 29, 2009 3:53 am

    Mike Schneider

    Well, Bryan, we’re officially beginning production on ‘Unseen Horror’ this Sunday. ‘Unseen Horror’ as I may have mentioned is an extension of the questions I posed in ‘Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated’ turned to some of these great radio plays. Hopefully, that works to fill the void.

    The biggest mystery to me is that this is a new concept… and yet even then when you look back and you hear William N. Robson talking about the good old days of short stories and theater performances. I think what it boils down to is we’re always going to be nostalgic for the fading memories and we grew up in the age where radio was already moving into it’s twilight years.

    It makes you wonder if the first man to walk upright secretly wished he too was hunched over. Perhaps that’s why a strut/ swagger has such a timeless charm… it’s at the same time accepts that we’ve evolved while it incorporates the elegance of a by-gone era.

    Here’s to an age of rediscovery.


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