Children's Radio Theatre, which has been enchanting young listeners on WPFW-FM (89.3) since 1977, has now made available on cassette almost two dozen tapes drawn from its archives of original radio plays. Running weekly on Saturday mornings after four years of monthly broadcasts, CRT has chosen "our best," according to producer Doris Indyke. "We can't produce the programs fast enough, we don't have the money. This is a revenue-making source for an organization whose primary function is the production of radio programs."
Indyke adds that "radio programming for young children is not exactly a hot item on the market place, but we get a lot of requests and we never had a formal thing about it. Our primary market hasn't been individuals, it has been libraries and schools. We've got a lot of response from them because there's very little high quality 'media' material available for kids; in books there are, but not in tapes."
Children's Radio Theatre, which has won a number of broadcasting awards, was distributed by National Pubic Radio for the first time in 1982, as well as by the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. "We're on 100 noncommercial stations nationwide," Indyke says, " and one top-40 commercial station in San Francisco."
The cassette sales will help pay some of CRT's continuing costs. "Our program has become increasingly expensive to produce; it's not like producing documentaries or news and public affairs programs. This is fully produced drama with lots of original music and sound effects. We have no paying arrangement with WPFW; we rely solely on fund-raising," Indyke says. "It hasn't been difficult yet--knock on wood--because we get consistent support from the National Endowment and the D.C. Commision on the Arts. We're so lean that the economically hard times really haven't hit us yet. We know how to live on very little."
The tapes, including favorites like "The Emerald Prince," "The Witch's Tale," "Tales of Br'er Rabbit" and 10 collections of kid-written originals, are geared to elementary school-aged children, mostly produced in stereo and a half-hour long. They cost $5 to $7. For a catalogue, write to Children's Radio Theatre, Inc. 1609 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 302, Washington, D.C., 20009.