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Getting Our Children Off The Grid – Episode 179

mastermindsOn this week’s show host Bill Heid talks to a group of experts in radio theater, who bemoan the fact that as more and more Americans get off the grid, their children are hopelessly plugged into the grid.

The youngest of American children spend an average of 14 hours a week watching television, while older ones are in front of it double that amount – a whopping 28 hours. And that’s not even including video games. (Source: Kaiser Family Foundation.)

What happened to a child using his or her imagination, to creativity and exploration? As we plant heirloom seeds, what kind of seeds are we planting in our kids?

View Text Transcription

The experts say audio productions such as Adventures in Odyssey allow children to use their minds in ways that TV does not and cannot. The three men are part of the crew behind a new two-hour audio theater CD, G.A. Henty’s Under Drake’s Flag, and they give a mini-seminar on audio theater production. The crew are a who’s who of audio theater, with ties to not only Adventures in Odyssey but also to Chronicles of Narnia and Lamplighter Theatre.

The men discuss:

  • How a story such as Under Drake’s Flag helps parents sow the seeds of self-reliance in children.
  • How audio theater challenges children to use their imagination – unlike video, which “spoon feeds” children.
  • How Sir Francis Drake, an off the gridder driven by his Christian faith, helped change world history.
  • How the crew tackled the challenging goal on Under Drake’s Flag of recording a shark attack and making it sound believable.
  • How Under Drake’s Flag helps teach children courage, commitment and virtue – characteristics so often missing from today’s media.

Henty-Under-Drakes-FlagAlthough Henty’s children’s adventures have in the past been recorded for “books on CD” – with a single person reading the text – this is the first time that a Henty novel has been recorded for audio theater. It was recorded in London.

Under Drake’s Flag is based on Henty’s popular historical novel and tells the exploits of 16th-century teen Ned, who accompanies Englishman Sir Francis Drake on the high seas and ends up witnessing the Drake-led English fleet defeat the supposedly invincible Spanish Armada. Drake also is known for being the first Englishman to circle the globe. Henty (1832-1902) wrote more than 100 books.

Joining the podcast are Under Drake’s Flag crew members:

  • Writer John Fornoff, who has written for Adventures in Odyssey and has been involved in 114 audio theater episodes.
  • Sound engineer Mark Drury, a Peabody award winner who has worked on Narnia, Adventures in Odyssey and Lamplighter Theatre projects.
  • Composer John Campbell, who recorded the score for the original Chronicles of Narnia audio theater production.
  • Executive producer Bill Heid, who purchased the Henty books for his children when they were young and had a dream to turn a Henty novel into audio theater.

Learn more about the Under Drake’s Flag CD at

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