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Disney Reviving the Radio Serial

Every year at Christmas the cable channel TBS plays the same movie for 24 hours straight, starting around midday on Christmas Eve and ending on Christmas afternoon. Though a large portion of the film relies on an increasingly outdated nostalgia, it’s still a Christmas classic; one that, thanks to its devoted following, has created a new nostalgia specifically for the world of the movie itself, thus cementing its place as part of the annual Christmas experience.

One of young Ralphie’s many misadventures in “A Christmas Story” centers on his devotion to the “Little Orphan Annie” radio show. Ralphie never misses its transmission, glued to the living room carpet next to his family’s large stand radio with an unerring reverence to which current young viewers can relate with their own love of a favorite television or even Internet broadcast, even if they don’t comprehend the concept of a radio show.

Disney might be about to change that. Not the annual airing of “A Christmas Story,” but whether or not modern children can fully relate to Ralphie’s nightly dedication to a radio show. Today Radio Disney debuts “My Dream,” a radio serial for today’s kids.

The AP wire has the details behind “My Dream,” a 20-episode series that will air each morning at 9:25 a.m. on Radio Disney. It follows 14-year-old Kayla as she tries to achieve her dream of becoming a singer/songwriter. Within the course of the series Kayla will compose her own song and grapple with stage fright, supported by her parents, music teacher, and older brother.

Of course, Disney isn’t trying to bring back the radio serial exactly as it was before the days of television. Those who miss the broadcast can catch reruns on radiodisney.com or download it onto their cell phone. Radio Disney itself, though available on the airwaves, also broadcasts on its web site and through satellite radio.

“My Dream” also represents the short attention spans bred by our current culture’s tech-savvy ways; the program is only 90 seconds long. At first I thought: only 20 episodes each a minute and a half long? This show will end almost as soon as it begins, and any of its real fans will likely go crazy having to wait a full day just to hear another tiny installment.

But I see Disney’s strategy; trying to bring back the radio serial, a concept certainly foreign to most t(w)eens, is a risky endeavor. “My Dream” is the toe Disney’s dipping in the water, and if it takes off, Disney will then submerge.

Of course the House of Mouse hasn’t announced their future plans if “My Dream” succeeds, but I find it unlikely that they wouldn’t try expanding the format if they’re able to make money off of it. Given that the show will end in a couple weeks, I’m sure we’ll soon discover the fate of Disney’s attempted radio serial revival.

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About Angela Shambeda

Angela lives in southern Maryland with her husband and three rescue pets. She often talks her poor husband's ear off about various topics, including Disney, so she's excited to share her thoughts and passions with you.