Fred Greenhalgh of Final Rune Productions doesn’t think that people are going to actually believe that Bangor is experiencing the full brunt of the apocalypse when they hear his all-original radio broadcast that will air Sunday evening on WKIT 100.3. But he wouldn’t mind it if they had a little bit of a scare.
“What’s fun for me is to get to be on a big radio station, doing this when listeners aren’t expecting to hear it,” said Greenhalgh, 27, originally from Old Town and now living in Alfred. “I don’t necessarily think people are actually going to think Bangor is under attack — but it’ll give them kind of a start, sure. Orson Welles kind of ruined it for us, with ‘War of the Worlds.’”
Greenhalgh has spent the past few years writing and producing radio dramas out of his southern Maine studio. They’ve been broadcast on WMPG in Portland and are available for download as podcasts on his website, www.finalrune.com. Greenhalgh is at the forefront of a small but growing radio drama revival, using the Internet to reinvent a century-old medium. His podcasts routinely reach 10,000 downloads a month.
His radio dramas attracted the attention of Bobby Russell, station manager for WKIT 100.3. Russell liked what he heard so much he asked Greenhalgh to write and produce a radio drama to be broadcast on the station on Halloween. “The Cleansed,” as the final product is titled, will air at 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31.
“We’ve done some radio plays for Halloween before, but nothing original like this,” said Russell. “Bill Dufris, who works with Fred, told us about him, and we liked what we heard.”
“The Cleansed” is actually the first part of a long-form radio drama Greenhalgh has been working on for some time. He was inspired in part by Stephen King, owner of WKIT 100.3. King gave his blessing to Greenhalgh’s project — and the well-known horror writer even allowed him to use his likeness in the broadcast.
“This is actually a pilot for a serial I’ve been writing,” said Greenhalgh. “It’s a big story arc that first started as a novel that essentially tells the story of a homegrown apocalypse. Terrorists shut down the electric grid. Soldiers of fortune wander the streets. Everyone has a gun. The law comes apart. It’s really fun. And it all starts in Bangor.”
Greenhalgh and his cast of voice actors recorded the show back in September, and to add an aura of authenticity, Russell came down to the Final Rune studios in southern Maine to record a part for it. Most of “The Cleansed” was recorded at the Biddeford Airport.
“We were running around the tarmac with boom mikes, recording footsteps and everything,” said Russell. “It was like shooting a movie, just without cameras. It really was a lot of fun.”
After the world premiere of “The Cleansed” on Sunday, Greenhalgh hopes to eventually begin releasing a once-weekly, five-minute segment of the full story. In the meantime, those interested in radio drama can log onto www.finalrune.com and listen to one of the 15 radio plays Greenhalgh has written over the years. Over the summer, Greenhalgh released two new dramas: “The Troll of Stony Brook” and “The War on Poverty,” the former a scary-but-funny tale about an actual troll living under a bridge, the latter a play that’s part political commentary, part horror story.