Aliens invade! WTJU broadcasts “War of the Worlds”

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UVA public radio station WTJU is broadcasting an updated version of Orson Welles' infamous 1938 War of the Worlds radio drama Wednesday night. Image courtesy of WTJU. UVA public radio station WTJU is broadcasting an updated version of Orson Welles' infamous 1938 War of the Worlds radio drama Wednesday night. Image courtesy of WTJU.
Don’t be surprised if you hear about crop circles and UFOs landing on farms in Crozet tonight. Halloween has arrived, and WTJU 91.1FM is broadcasting a re-imagining of “The War of the Worlds,” the infamous Orson Welles alien invasion radio drama that terrified the country 74 years ago tonight.
The UVA public radio station will air the show tonight at 7pm, and features eight UVA drama students and 12 members of WTJU.
“There has been an amazing rediscovery of radio-drama and audio storytelling at community and public radio stations around the country,” said Nathan Moore, WTJU’s general manager, in a press release about the broadcast. “I’m so glad that we can be part of this movement. It not only provides an outlet for creative expression, it’s also fun for both WTJU listeners and WTJU volunteers.”
The 1938 CBS production was based on H.G. Wells’ science fiction novel about an alien invasion, and was adapted to name locations listeners would recognize. CBS used a realistic news-bulletin format, causing panic among some listeners. Moore said WTJU doesn’t want to recreate the mass fear, but thinks an updated version will make for great Halloween night radio.
Two volunteers at the station—UVA senior and WTJU’s director of public affairs Lewis Reining and producer and host of WTJU’s “Soundboard” news program, and UVA graduate Rebecca Barlas—co-directed and produced WTJU’s “The War of the Worlds” after Barlas got the idea from listening to an old radio broadcast in Washington, D.C. The original broadcast was about 60 minutes, but WTJU’s will only last a half hour, and will be available online tonight at wtju.net and for two weeks in the archives.
So grab your radios—or laptops—gather close to the fire, and bundle up while you stay informed about tonight’s imminent alien invasion.
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