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NEW RADIO PLAY (article first published : 2002-12-11)

On August 8 this year, Vintage Radio was born on the independent South African community radio station, Radio Today, reviving fond memories for many listeners of old Springbok Radio programmes. With sponsorship from Toshiba and tremendous support in the form of letters, it seems that the public is ready for the return of radio drama to the airwaves in SA.

So believes Frans Erasmus, the prime mover and co-ordinator of Vintage Radio on the Radio Today station. When the popular Springbok Radio closed in 1985, he started doing research on the station that had become a household name. Discovering that very little material had been preserved or archived, he began collecting recordings of programmes in any available form.

“In 1999 an idea started forming in my head to start up the official Springbok Radio website on the internet,” he said. “It was almost completed when I approached the SABC and asked for their approval.”

However, the SABC took almost five months to respond and in the meantime he linked up with MaryAnne (The Pumamouse) a friend in the US who had created a website in which she wanted to share her writings, hobbies etc. “Between us, we decided to dedicate a whole section to SA old time radio and on January 1, 2002 the Pumamouse website was born at www.pumamouse.com,” adds Frans.

After an unsuccessful response from the SABC to host a new Vintage Radio programme, Frans then approached Radio Today who immediately accepted the idea. The SABC, however, did agree to allow the broadcasting of old Springbok Radio programmes over which they still held copyright.

This December, Frans commissioned a new play specially for Christmas from Durban production house director Henry Diffenthal, well-known for his innumerable Springbok Radio productions such as High Adventure, serials, series and plays.

He in turn commissioned a script from prominent Durban theatre personality and radio actress Caroline Smart who co-write a play called A Corporate Star with actor and director Thomie Holtzhausen. They also appear in the production with well-known actors Peter Gardner and Mbongiseni Buthelezi.

“This is hopefully the beginning of many more drama productions,” says Frans. “We have proven that indeed radio drama can be done independently and broadcast on independent radio. It was fascinating to hear a South African 21st century radio drama. We have gotten so used to the rebroadcast Springbok Radio material that this play will blow some new air into the Vintage Radio programme.”

A Corporate Star will be broadcast on the programme Vintage Radio on Radio Today 1485AM (medium wave band) on December 19 at 19h00.




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