Almost as far back as I can remember, I’ve been a big fan of radio. One of my earliest radio memories is of me in bed with a small transistor radio, covers pulled over my head, listening to Top 40 hits on a Glasgow, Mont., AM station.
Fast-forward in time to my early junior high school years (we didn’t call it middle school back then) and I’m living an hour north of New York City. I could pick up WABC, one of the most influential radio stations in the country. My very favorite radio features were question-and-answer-narratives dreamed up by the NYC Deejays. They worked like this: A DJ would ask a question and then answer it with a short clip from a song, and thread numerous Q&A’s together until he/she had worked up a three-minute humorous mini-tale of sorts. I found these incredibly funny.
In light of my love for radio in general and mini-stories more specifically, I have a feeling that if Adventures in Odyssey (AIO) had been around when I was growing up, I’d have been under the covers listening, too. I think I might’ve had the same love of radio-based stories that my mother did, who was raised in the golden age of radio drama. She describes her experience as:
The radio was the best part of our day. We did homework first and then the radio went on. We physically sat as close to the radio as we could get and listened to shows like The Shadow and The Lone Ranger. As kids we loved the Saturday programs, but of course our chores came first. You can imagine how quickly we cleaned our rooms!!
My mom will be the first to tell you that snuggling up to the radio happened because there was no such thing as television. Once her family bought a small black & white, the time spent around the family’s radio went precipitously downhill (and I assume the beds went unmade more often).
That’s why I find it interesting that despite (or maybe because of) the fact that we have 500-plus cable offerings, people are again engaging in radio dramas like Adventures in Odyssey in huge numbers, dropping by Whit’s End and letting their imagination take them on an, er odyssey. Perhaps, you’ve never hung out with Eugene, Connie, Whit and the gang. Perhaps, you haven’t in a long, long time because you (frankly) think you’re a bit old for AIO. “Isn’t that a drama for kids?” you ask. Well, yes and no. But consider this email:
My name is Lindsey and I am a college student from Kentucky majoring in theatre. I am writing to say thank you. I started listening to [Adventures in] Odyssey when I was about seven years old. I still listen to it every day. I know it may sound strange that a college kid would do that but its true! I always ask my parents for a volume every Christmas (even when I moved out), I search for the ones I don’t have, I have Odyssey on my iPod, and I’m saving all my CDs for my kids one day. The show is hilarious, for one thing. I may just be easily amused but I’ve heard some episodes probably fifty plus times and still laugh.
If you’ve found yourself channel surfing through hundreds of stations, finding nothing to watch (and haven’t we all!), I want to shamelessly pitch AIO as a great alternative—and in so many ways, an antidote to imagination-less entertainment (as well as the problematic content that’s so rampant in today’s media).
To make it even easier, check out this free (yes, free) full AIO episode, “Wonderworld“. You might be surprised just how Lindsey-like you are after listening (or re-listening).
The good news is that if you enjoy what you hear, there are 57 albums (738 episodes … and counting) of AIO material where that came from—easily downloaded via Christian Book Distributors, Amazon and iTunes! Once downloaded, pull the covers up over your head, and whoosh off to Whit’s End. I promise you it’ll be a much better trip than one to True Blood, Blacklist or Amish Mafia.
Editor’s Note: Check out this recent video of an Odyssey fan named Cara Strickland, and read her AIO-centric blog post.