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Home  >  Reading and Writing  >  Reading Out Loud
Following in My Footsteps
By John Straley Page 1 of 2   Next ยป

Public Radio has long been an important part of my life here in Sitka. I've hosted different shows over the years including music programs, and literature showcases. My favorite show was called "Hello Central" which was a call-in program in the early '80s. "Hello Central" aired on Saturday nights where I would set up some silly context and encourage my callers to play along. Each week was different, sometimes we would play board games or we would rehearse experimental theater works that we would all improvise on the spot. It was a fun time.

The show after "Hello Central" was called "The X-men" which was a wild program of radio theater and music produced by a group of teenage boys. These kids would prepare some skits and chose records to play. They were very imaginative and funny young guys and they impressed me with their skill at making others laugh while having a good time for themselves. I thought it was a great way for a group of kids to party on a Saturday night, and turn their partying into something of value for themselves and their audience out there listening.

Some fifteen years later, I wanted my son to follow in the footsteps of "The X-men", so that he and his buddies could have a place to create their own distinctive world: an appointment they would have to keep with their audience each week where they could engage in imaginative play with a by-product of laughter for their listeners.

My plan was to train Finn in the joys of radio comedy and then turn it over to him but of course, I love it as much as anyone. Maybe I'm just like any of the fathers who yell from the bleachers at little league games. These fathers want to be in there playing themselves, and the lucky thing about community radio is that I do get a chance to play. Each Sunday night Finn and I play this creative game we call Genuine Mouse Radio, we have a group of die-hard listeners and I think we all love it equally, so that it turns out the show is not something I'm doing just for him, (as I originally thought) but "Genuine Mouse Radio" is something we all do for each other.

None of it would be possible without community radio, which supplies a steady stream of important cultural programming to Alaska. Our program director at KCAW in Sitka is Ken Fate. He is a smart and funny guy and he really makes "Genuine Mouse Radio" possible, so that any mention of the show has to acknowledge him. He makes Alaskan life richer both for the humans and the mice.

I've Always Wanted My Own Radio Show

By Finn Straley

When I was younger I had always wanted my own radio show, and eventually, when I was 8 years old I got one, called Genuine Mouse Radio. Now I am 11, and still doing GMR. It consists of two characters named Eeek and Squeak, a old mouse and a younger mouse. At first, we would do skits, games and call-ins, but now we only have half an hour, so we don't have enough time to do all of that. I am having a lot of fun being on GMR, helping to figure out what to do for our next show, and feeling the... well, I'm not sure what you'd call it, but whatever it is, it feels great. Working with my Dad has been great, because he has helped me understand to speak slowly and clearly, and has always been right there with a punch line. I also like doing the show because it makes me unique, different from most other boys. Also, there are almost endless possibilities for what you could do. We could do a call-in one day, and play music the next, I can imagine doing Genuine Mouse radio with my Dad for a long, long time.

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About the Author: Biographical Note: John Straley lives in Sitka, Alaska, with his young son and wife, a marine biologist who studies whales. He is the Shamus Award-winning author of The Woman Who Married a Bear, The Curious Eat Themselves, The Music of What Happens, and Death and the Language of Happiness.
Next page:   Poems by Finn and John Straley Pages:  1 2 

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