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Local fans of old-time music can get their fix a couple of times a year in Charleston, either through a Kanawha Valley Friends of Old Time Music and Dance show or one of the warmer month music festivals like the Vandalia Gathering.

Fans of old-time radio sometimes have to wait a little more, until the Sunday following Thanksgiving, when radio producer and director Danny Webb begins his annual series of Sunday morning broadcasts that continue until the weekend before New Year’s Eve.

This Sunday in Charleston, beginning at 11 a.m., Webb will present three full hours of locally produced and performed radio dramas on two Charleston stations and a station in Beckley.

Two of the shows, “I’ll Be Seeing You,” a World War II story about a troubled soldier who falls in love with a woman on leave from prison, and “The Nick Shurn Matter,” a Christmas noir mystery, will be performed live at Admix Broadcast Studios in North Charleston.

The 70-year-old laughed about the live shows. They’re his favorite.

“They add a little bit of tension,” he said. “It’s like anything could happen. You could mess up.”

So far, nobody has or if they did, nobody noticed.

In between the two live shows airing on WKAZ (680 AM/95.3 FM), 580WCHS will air two half-hour Christmas-themed shows back-to-back, “The Bishop’s Wife,” based on a 1928 book that was then made into a film in 1947 and then remade as “The Preacher’s Wife” in 1996.

It was also adapted as a radio play in 1949, 1953 and 1955.

The second show is called “The Greatest Gift,” which was a Philip Van Doren Stern short story which became the basis for the film, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Webb, a retired Kanawha County school administrator, began producing radio shows in 2014, following the long illness and death of his brother, Bill, who’d suffered from Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia.

“Before that, I’d directed a church play for years,” he said. “That all kind of came to an end when I began taking care of my brother. I lost my brother and then I lost my play.”

Webb found old radio scripts, many of which were on the internet, and he had others transcribed from 70-year-old programs. He didn’t hold auditions for his cast, he just found people over the years who were interested in the genre, including television journalist and actor Kennie Bass, who began working on some of the radio shows two years ago.

“I’m involved in theater and have been for a very long time, but this is a form you don’t get to do very much,” Bass said. “It’s always fascinated me.”

The television news reporter and anchor said when he’s in his car for a lengthy period of time, it’s not unusual for him to listen to old broadcasts of “The Shadow” or “The Green Hornet” on his XM radio.

“This kind of stuff really is the theater of the imagination,” he said.

Webb said he adds new people to his casual company every now and again. He just discovers them as he goes.

“It’s a lot of word of mouth,” he said.

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The budget isn’t big, just whatever Webb can scrape together to pay for his costs. His actors are amateurs.

“I save up,” he said.

Sunday morning at 11 isn’t exactly prime time for radio, but Webb doesn’t mind. He’s glad to be able to get the time at all and his audience isn’t necessarily the kids tuning into the pop stations for the weekly top 40.

“I hope everyone, anyone who listens, will enjoy it,” he said. “But I’m really trying to reach senior citizens.”

Particularly, Webb said, those seniors who live in assisted living.

As the shows are broadcast, Webb said he sends copies of his shows out to nursing homes, free of charge.

Bass said, “This has become a mission for Danny.”

Webb said that he and his cast typically begin recording the shows in February. He sends scripts out a little earlier, then they get everyone together over a Sunday afternoon and record.

The ensemble will work on a new show every six to eight weeks.

Local broadcasting icon Charlie Cooper mixes and masters the recordings. Webb said Cooper added “his magic.”

“By October, we usually have everything done,” Webb said.

Bass said he was glad to be a part of the shows.

“It’s a real feel good kind of thing,” he said. “It’s a benefit for others, but selfishly, I also do it because it’s a lot of fun.”

Broadcast schedule for Sunday’s programs:

“I’ll Be Seeing You” 11 a.m. WKAZ (680 AM/95.3 FM) Live

“The Bishops Wife” and “The Greatest Gift” Noon WCHS (580 AM) Pre-corded

“The Nick Shurm Matter” WKAZ (680 AM/95.3 FM) and WWNR (620 AM/101.1FM and wwnrradio.com) Live

Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-5195 or follow @lostHwys on Twitter. He’s also on Instagram at instagram.com/billiscap/ and read his blog at blogs.wvgazettemail.com/onemonth.

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