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Return with us now,
to those thrilling days of yesteryear...

Discover the Future of Radio in Her Past

American Radio Theater proposes the return of radio comedy and drama, presented before a live theater audience, with an initial 44-week season.

*  Carefully researched.

*  Meticulously scripted.

*  Intelligently produced.

*  Professionally performed.

*  Thoroughly entertaining.

Return with us now, to those thrilling days of yesteryear…

Executive Summary

American Radio Theater proposes the return of original radio drama and comedy programs, presented live in front of a theater audience. The programming will start with five nights a week, and will eventually encompass seven nights of two hours of original live drama and comedy radio shows each week.

American Radio Theater will be presented live in front of a theater audience utilizing actors dressed in 1930’s and 1940’s costumes. The presentation will feature a sound effects team creating original and live sound effects the way they were performed in the 1930s and 1940s. Digital sound effects will be avoided where possible.

American Radio Theater will also feature a live orchestra, including live program openings and closings, and commercial spot bumpers. Live on-stage announcers will introduce each program.

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American Radio Theater will be presented twice nightly: from 7:00PM to 9:00PM Central Time (8:00PM to 10:00PM Eastern Time), for a live satellite feed to the East Coast; and again from 8:00PM to 10:00PM Pacific Time, for a delayed satellite feed to the rest of the country.

American Radio Theater will include re-creations of the best of yesteryear, as well as new and original creations. A suggested show schedule is included on the accompanying pages. Many of these programs must be vetted for rights. Royalty payments for comic book characters may be required.

American Radio Theater is expected to be produced under AFTRA and WGA employment guidelines. The programs will be audio- and video-taped for later off-season broadcasts.

American Radio Theater will utilize Internet streaming, as well as a satellite-fed audio feed, with a subscription-based pre-show download for members. Members will also receive discounts for tickets to the live nightly shows.

American Radio Theater is expected to be produced before a live studio audience.

Theater Venue and Premier Date

American Radio Theater will be performed on stage in front of a live theater audience. We are retaining a Los Angeles architect to design and oversee the construction of a new state-of-the-art theater in the Burbank or Toluca Lake area of Southern California, to be completed in late 2016 or early 2017, for the future home of the American Radio Theater. The video portion of our production will be taped in HDTV format for future release on cable or satellite, and will include a live, stereo feed to radio stations and a delayed feed to our our Internet web theater.


American Radio Theater is managed by experienced producers and line staff who follow a hierarchal command structure that guarantees the timely development and production of all shows.

American Radio Theater consists of not less than five nights of original radio programming presented live before a theater audience. There is zero room for mistakes.

Beginning on Monday night at 7:00PM Central Time (8:00PM-10:00PM Eastern Time), four original 30-minute programs follow one another in rapid succession in a two-hour time block, interrupted only by commercial spots, many of which will also be performed live by an announcer at a special “sponsor’s mike” podium.

On Tuesday night, a completely new set of four original 30-minute programs follow one another in a two-hour time block, just like Monday night.

And so throughout the week, our 2-hour program blocks are performed live from 7:00PM-9:00PM Central Time (8:00PM-10:00PM Eastern Time), and are then repeated again via tape delay for our Western states. Each night, it’s a different set of four 30-minute shows. See our tentative Program Roster for details.

Production Management

Production is managed by a Senior Producer, a Script and Story Producer and a Staging Producer. Two other executives, the Sound Director and a Casting Director get their assignments through the Executive Story Consultant and, working with the Night Runners under the two Senior Producers, prepare the production elements that are their responsibilities. All of these positions get their scripts from the Executive Story Consultant—the “Head Writer,” if you will—who works directly with the Senior Producers. The Senior Producer reports directly to the Executive Producer.

Our Line Producers

The Script and Story Producer is indirectly responsible for seeing that five nights of programs are properly scripted and readied for production. The Script and Story Producer supervises five of the seven Night Runners, who handle the particular details of the shows for Monday through Friday.

The Staging Producer is responsible for seeing that the house (i.e., the theater) is ready for production, including all stage management and lighting effects. The Staging Producer is also responsible for two nights of programs (Saturday and Sunday) and supervises two of the seven Night Runners, who handle the particular details of the shows for Saturday and Sunday.

The Sound Producer is responsible for all sound effects. In addition, the American Radio Theater Orchestra Director reports to the Sound Producer so that all live orchestrated music, including bumper music, scene transition, “stings” and other musical elements are ready for live insertion into the program. The Sound Producer is also responsible for seeing that the audio portion of the program is delivered to the house headphones (for our live theater audience) and to the satellite network feed.

The Casting Director is responsible for finding that particular voice to make the scripted characters, including our guest villains, guest victims, and other name stars, come to life on stage and in the ears of our listeners. This will be a full-time job.

Each of these four individuals has a salaried assistant to share the work load, which is expected to be heavy.

Our Night Runners

The Night Runners report directly to the two Senior Producers. Each Night Runner handles the details of the programs for the night that he or she is responsible for. Each Night Runner has seven calendar days to prepare the four programs for his/her night.[1]

Each of the other six Night Runners have similar charts and responsibilities with his or her show night.

Our Directors

Each Director is responsible for the script, the sound, and the over-all performance of his or her show. The Director has seven calendar days to prepare his/her program. This includes identifying all sound effects and, working with the Sound Producer, preparing the sound effects for production. The Director is also responsible for identifying the costume needs and submitting costume requirements to the Costume Designer. Performers appear in costume on stage for the benefit of our theater audience and for the live video taping that is done for each performance.

Video Production

Each 2-hour night is video taped in HDTV format for later use on cable television and to provide additional tax benefits for investors. The actual production is sub-contracted to a separate production company on a work-for-hire basis.

Scripts and Stories

American Radio Theater will require 440 separate 30-minute radio scripts over its 22-week Monday-Friday nightly run (11 weeks of production, followed by two weeks re-runs; 11 more weeks of production, followed by two weeks of reruns). Each script is 22 pages in length.

Our Senior Producer and Executive Story Consultant

Our Senior Producer and “Head Writer” is expected to be Tony Palermo, a radio dramatist and composer living in Los Angeles, California. Besides radio and internet broadcasts, he has written, adapted and scored numerous radio plays for the Museum of Television & Radio in both Los Angeles and New York, the United Nations, the Playwright’s Project, the Thousand Oaks Public Library, international radio festivals, and various educational publishers. He also appears with the Wells Fargo Radio Theater, the Liquid Radio Players, 30 Minutes to Curtain and other radio troupes.

Mr. Palermo has produced dozens of original radio dramas in the classic “old-time radio” style of the 1930s-1960s. He writes the scripts, composes the scores, assembles the sound effects, and directs performances to recreate the lost art of the radio’s “theater of the mind.” His dramas cover the classic radio genres of soap operas, science-fiction, detective shows, westerns, horror stories, historical dramas, and even super-hero spoofs. Mr. Palermo’s radio plays have been performed by groups ranging from children’s workshops to community theater troupes to professional Hollywood actors to international casts for the United Nations.

Mr. Palermo has directed hundreds of radio productions since 1996 and worked with a variety of old-time and new-time radio talents, including Norman Corwin, Art Gilmore, Janet Waldo, Fred Foy, Yuri Rasovsky, Roger Gregg, Sue Zizza, Barbara Watkins, James Napoli, as well as sound effects greats, Bob Mott, Ray Erlenborn, and the late Cliff Thorsness—sound effects artist for Orson Welles and Jack Benny. As a specialty, Mr. Palermo carries on the tradition of radio sound effects as a performer, inventor, and educator.

Mr. Palermo also teaches groups to produce radio plays in a workshop setting. In the space of two hours, he can cast, rehearse, and produce a 30 minute program of near-professional quality—even with children. Mr. Palermo employs his own pre-recorded musical scores and directs the performances in the manner of a orchestra conductor—coordinating the voices, sound effects, and music cues. In these workshops, 15 to 20 participants handle all acting roles as well as provide the many sound effects ranging from footsteps and door knocks to rumbling thunder, ray guns, sword fights and more. 

Mr. Palermo boasts that his audio productions feature the “world’s biggest special effects budget.”  He uses live, manual sound effects and the listening audience’s imagination to crash airplanes in the Amazon, have Crusaders wade through an ocean of bones, sink pirate ships, launch Indian attacks, and even steal Los Angeles’ Getty Center Art Museum. Says Mr. Palermo, “In radio, you can do anything, and that’s my motto—do the impossible! My scripts would cost Steven Spielberg millions, but on radio, I can destroy the world for about five bucks worth of sound effects. We create a whole world before your very ears—and then, tear it down.”

Since 1996, Mr. Palermo has provided the scripts, musical scores, and manual sound effects devices for weekly radio workshops at the Museum of Television & Radio in Beverly Hills, California and New York City. Nearly every weekend throughout the year, one of his radio plays is being produced on both coasts. The MT&R workshops have allowed thousands of students, and even senior citizen groups, to explore the imaginative realm of radio drama. Mr. Palermo also conducts workshops for the Thousand Oaks Public Library, which has an extensive collection of radio programs and related materials, as well as for the United Nations.[3]

Estimated Production Budgets

Our estimated production budgets are available for download from the Executive Producer. The email address to request the spreadsheet is info@ChicagoRadioTheater.com.

Estimated Income and Expenses Projections

Our estimated Income and Expense Projections are available for download from the Executive Producer. The email address to request the spreadsheet is info@ChicagoRadioTheater.com.

Our Nightly Schedule

The following is subject to change. Click on a link for details.

Monday 8:00PM-10:00PM Pulp Fiction Night

Tuesday 8:00PM-10:00PM – Night of Suspense

Wednesday 8:00PM-10:00PM – Western Night

Thursday 8:00PM-10:00PM – Tough Guy Night

Friday 8:00PM-10:00PM – Adventure Night

Send mail to webmaster@americanradiotheater.com with questions or comments about this web site. Copyright © 2007-2013 Welty Brothers Studios. Last modified: 08/04/13. (Chicago skyline photo from WindyCityImages.com)