Icebox Radio Theater

News, events and doings surrounding the Icebox Radio Theater of International Falls, Minnesota.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Hey all. As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in a Delta jet somewhere over the Oregon, Idaho border, beginning what must be the longest approach in commercial aviation. I’ve flown back from Minnesota to the land of my birth, Oregon, several times, and this long, long descent always gets to me. And when you produce audio theater, ear popping is a very difficult thing. Well, the stewardess is telling us to turn off our electronic devices. So I’ll pick this up later.


Fully 20 hours later now, and I am safely encased in the home of my youth; or at least that part of my youth that happened after my folks moved to this particular house when I was 15. From 2000 miles away from the Icebox of the Nation, I find my thoughts still drift to the coming podcast season, the live show on July 29th, and all the other things that go into making the IBRT continue to grow.

First and foremost, I want to mention a very bold step the theater is taking (or hopefully taking) later this year. As we looked at all the different ways we could grow in the coming months, it became clear that looking outside International Falls was going to become key. The Icebox is our home, and the birthplace of the theater. But we can hardly fulfill our dream of bringing the Northland’s stories to the World without shining our light out into that world. So, while we continue to do live performances in the Northland (at least one is planned for the coming months) we will focus on our podcast for at the six months from October to March. And here’s the kicker:

We’re going to pay our people to do it.

On the day before my family left for vacation, I finished writing a grant proposal for a local foundation set up to help groups like ours. Now the foundation is new, and though I’d like to think our small attempt at professionalism will be to there liking, I really can’t say for sure. It is our hope that this foundation, along with the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council (from whom we’ve received grants before) will be able to fully fund twenty episodes of our podcast. This means the writers, directors, and actors will all get small stipends for doing what they love to do. I should take a moment and stress the word ‘small’ in that former sentence. No one is going to get rich and no one is going to be able to buy that lake home. But I feel this will be a very important step toward broadening our audience around the globe. After all, who doesn’t work a little harder knowing there’s a paycheck at the end of the day. And for me personally, it will be very satisfying to reward some of the people that have so generously given of their time and talents over the past five years with at least a small token.

That’s the blog for this week. I’ll write more later. Thanks again for all the time, efforts and downloads, and Keep Listening!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Well, since summer is coming to the Falls one day at a time this year, I wanted to take a moment in the middle of a truly wonderful day (80 degrees, light wind, puffy-puffy clouds in the sky) it sit back and pen a post about my plans for the warm season.

If you are a podcast listener, you probably already know we are taking our usual summer hiatus from new productions to feature different (read: non-IBRT) content on the podcast. Last summer it was ‘Stuff Jeff did Before’ This summer it’s: ‘Old Time Radio’. I can only hope I come up with something before next summer because right now, I have no idea.

There are plenty of OTR (GeekSpeak for Old Time Radio) podcasts out there, but this one is different. I’m endeavoring to come on at some point in each ‘cast and give a few comments about the show we’re running that week, and how it had an influence. My hope is I won’t yammer too much, and ya’ll will find it at least partially interesting. Week one was, ‘The Haunted Mansion’ a Disney recording I’ve owned since I was eight and have loved all the time. In fact, that episode’s feature recording is a digital copy of my actual record album, scratches and all!

Week Two was the first of two episodes featuring Mike McDonough’s Peabody Award winning series, Bradbury-13. I discovered this series on cassette at the public library in Monmouth, Oregon about nine years ago, and it had a lot to do with my decision to concentrate on audio theater. The stories are classic pulp SF, all from the master Ray Bradbury. Last episode was ‘Night Call, Collect’ simply because that was the first B13 I’d ever heard. The NEXT episode I’m really excited about. It’s called ‘The Ravine’ and it’s taken from Bradbury’s classic story collection ‘Dandelion Wine’. This show is what did it for me. This show is what showed me you could engage people with audio as fully as you could with film or print. Podcast date is June 22, so be sure to be listening.

It’s been a wonderful day to be out and about today. I took the long walk to church and back, iPod whispering The Sonic Society in my ears the whole way. They interviewed their #1 Matt Leon (sic?) of the Double Dorkmeter podcast, who mentioned yours truly as an influence in his own productions. I love those little boosts you get in the audio world. I’m starting to feel like an elder statesman.

Looking ahead, I can’t wait for CONvergence at the beginning of July. My whole family will be there again along with the Erwin family of Fort Frances, all of whom (spare mother Marilyn) have appeared in our shows. Just before that, it’s a jet trip to the great Pacific Northwest and my parent’s Golden Wedding Anniversary. All is great at this end, and summer (for today, at least) is finally here. This is Jeff saying thanks for the read, and Keep Listening!

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hey Audi-ites,

Icebox Radio, in it's ongoing quest to grow up to be a real live radio station featuring the best in New Audio Theater (or NAT as we almost never call it) now has a new, more colorful, more specific schedule available. It actually kind of looks a little bit like a real broadcast schedule.

And of course, now that I've gone to the trouble of actually making the thing, it will be easier to make more fluid changes in response to listener requests. So send in those listener requests!

Visit our website for more info:

Or here be a direct link to the PDF. Print it out and put it next to the computer so never again will you have to ask, 'What's on?'


Thanks for the download, and Keep Listening!

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Lordy, I’m such a broadcast geek! I’m actually buzzing with excitement right now because I figured out how to do remote broadcasts with from laptop.


The setup is this: Icebox Radio has a computer in my office that’s running 24/7, pumping audio drama out into the web-o-sphere via a program called Zararadio, a wonderful little shareware that automates our schedule, meaning I don’t have to watch it constantly. The broadcast is actually accomplished through a Winamp plugin called Shoutcast, which is how our audio is sent to our server which then sends it out to the world.

I’ve always wanted to do live remotes, meaning I wanted to sit somewhere with my laptop, connect with the station and do news, weather, live theater, whatever. Up until now, I’d been trying to do it using a shoutcast-like broadcast program on my laptop, but to use it, I had to shut down the Shoutcast in the office first. And that usually meant everyone who was listening online would be bumped off. Not good. Add to the fact that my means of controlling the office computer remotely were buggy at best (Windows Remote Desktop which was free, but copyright 2001) and I was left without a real remote solution.

Until today.

First, I realized that Skype had pretty good sound quality, and I could load it on the office computer to receive only calls from me on my laptop. Second, I discovered a website called with has a free feature allowing me to connect to the computer via the web, and it works far, far better than Remote Desktop.

So, this morning, I did it. I logged on via LogMeIn, started Skype on the office computer, set the Zararadio to stop at a particular time, opened a Skype call from my laptop and did live news and weather for the globe (Seoul, I-Falls, New York and London). I even recorded the file on the office computer for future use. And then I set everything back to normal with no apparent problems. The station is chugging right along as normal.

OMG, do you know what this means? I’m basically walking around with a radio station in my computer bag!

As I say. Geeking out. : >

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Monday, June 01, 2009

Yes, it’s been too long.

A lot of water over the ice dam since the last Icebox Radio blog post. We recorded a few shows, Harley Droba made his directorial debut with a live show in April, and now, our blog is going through a complete re-skin with a new focus on online communities like Facebook and MySpace.

So much going on, I’m not sure there is a good place to start. So let’s start with the website, and we’ll make this a brief entry.

Check it out today. And I’ll write more soon.