‘Good Humor Radio Hour’ Gets Spooky

By Abigail Cloutier

“Good Humor Radio Hour” pulled out all the stops for its 2019 Halloween special-edition radio performance, featuring over a dozen voice actors using vintage-style radio equipment. 

The show was performed in front of a live studio audience, with students from various academic departments at Youngstown State University being the main voices of the show. 

“Good Humor Radio Hour” is directed by Randall Brammer, adjunct theatre faculty at YSU, and he said although the cast may be smaller, the show still has a unique quality.

“It’s a smaller cast [than in past years] but has big production value,” Brammer said. 

“The Ghost Who Came to Dinner,” “The Dark” and “Ghost Hunt,” the three featured stories in the show, were once broadcast on popular radio dramas. 

“Ghost Hunt” was featured on Suspense, a CBS Radio show, that began in 1940 and aired for over 20 years.

Good Humor Radio Hour performed its Halloween-themed radio show in front of a live audience Oct. 29 and 30. Photo by Shawn Williams/The Jambar

The concept for “Good Humor Radio Hour” was created by Fred Owens, a communications professor, along with Brammer.

Gary Rhamy, owner of Peppermint Productions, was the master of ceremonies, and the performances were recorded for broadcast on WYSU, YSU’s public radio station.

The last story of the night was a sound effect drama with different voice actors pulled from the stories, along with a pianist and foley artists. 

Brammer said he enjoys how directing a radio drama allows him to focus on different creative aspects of directing.

“There’s a lot of aspects that are removed that give me the time and energy to focus on the things that I really like,” Brammer said. “So I’m not worried about costumes or lighting, so that gives me time and energy to really listen to the acting, the music, the sound effects.”

According to Brammer, there’s a slightly different directing style that often involves less control.

“I look at us as a band,” Brammer said. “There are certain moments where there are certain things I want, but I trust [the cast and musicians]. You figure out how to communicate, and once you figure out the best language, it makes things easier.”

Jay Lilley, sophomore telecommunication studies major, said he became interested in the production aspect and wanted the show to be visually interesting as well as entertaining for radio.

“As an actor, you want to perform for the [live] audience, as well as the radio audience,” Lilley said. “They’ll see our reactions to things, so it’s a little of a live performance and a radio performance.”

Katie Gennaro, junior telecommunication studies major, said she participated in theater during her high school years, and “Good Humor” lets her continue a time-consuming hobby.

Good Humor Radio Hour performed its Halloween-themed radio show in front of a live audience Oct. 29 and 30. Photo by Shawn Williams/The Jambar

“If you’re someone who enjoys theater and voice acting, but you don’t have the time or commitment for it, you can definitely audition,” Gennaro said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Other opportunities are available for students participating in the “Good Humor Radio Hour,” such as advertising, sound effects and music.

There will be an additional radio show in the spring semester.