Return with us now to those golden days of radio, before the airwaves were jammed with loud-mouthed talk show hosts spewing political diatribe. Return with us to the imagination-sparking radio dramas like “Boston Blackie” and “Johnny Dollar.”
Patrick Keating doesn’t have to return. The 1989 graduate is living old-time radio today, writing radio-style mystery plays—complete with actors, narrators, sound effects and musicians—that are produced on stage and broadcast on radio. With a tip of the fedora to the 1940s classic “Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar,” for instance, Keating wrote With Best Regards, Ronnie Silver about a female insurance investigator who helps an old chum, Kelley Damiani, and winds up involved in the Damiani Diamond Mystery.
Keating, a writer and photographer for the Michigan Chronicle newspaper in Detroit, traces his interest in old-time radio back 30 years to a family vacation when he was 11 years old. “I bought a cassette of ‘The Green Hornet’ because I wanted to hear what radio sounded like around the time when my dad was born,” he says. “I was hooked.”
So, will old-style radio ever make a comeback? “Well, it never completely went away in England,” he says. “I think there will always be an interest in it, but I don’t know if it will ever return to where it was in its hey-day.”
As for today’s talk-talk-talk radio, Keating wants nothing to do with it. “I do not listen to talk radio. I have no interest in it,” he says. “I listen to music or tapes of old-style radio.”