Thursday, March 26, 2009 Zombie Radio

Of late I've been following A.Z., a bi-weekly radio drama produced by KCMD 970 AM in Portland, Oregon. A.Z. stands for "After Zombies", and the series follows the exploits of a group of survivors of an undead apocalypse. Despite being broadcast by a professional radio station, this is strictly an amateur affair.

The scripts and acting have improved a bit over time, but the writers really need to do a better job of getting action across. As it stands, it's often hard to tell just what's going on, especially when all the cast is screaming in horror. More ambient sound effects, a crucial element to this medium, would be a big help. In episode 3, for example, it's hard to tell if the characters were supposed to be walking through the snow or just standing around. I also think the desire to broadcast the episodes live are hindering things. Yeah, that's how they used to do it back in the day, but they really didn't have much choice at the start, and the use of transcription discs eventually became the standard for all but the biggest shows.

All that said, I'm enjoying the series. I'm a big sucker for the genre, of course, and I have to give mad props to anyone actually trying to bring back radio drama to the American airwaves. A.Z. is an obvious labor of love from folks who share a lot of my interests. The poor bastards.

I'm following the show via KCMD's podcast page. All six episodes of A.Z. are available for free download, as are the other efforts of the "CBS Radio Theater" team.