Cart Wrangler Up For Audie

The Old Cart Wrangler Audie Nomination

February 4 brought us the news that The Old Cart Wrangler’s Saga is a finalist for the 2019 Audie Awards
Old Cart Wrangler's Saga
from the Audio Publishers Association, in the Original Works Category. Well, it certainly fits in that slot: It’s about as original as they come. Written for audio from the beginning, and the performance by David Ossman was the World Premier of the piece. Great Northern Audio and Otherworld Media were pleased to present it back in June at The Brick, in Kansas City, MO, with eclectic jazz behind the Old Cart Wrangler himself. You know that guy. He’s the one who’s always out there chasing down the stray carts, the ones that are out on the edge of the parking lot looking longingly at the bigger world beyond.

Tom Lopez, at ZBS, says —

Takes a lot to impress me, but you did it. I can’t think of anyone better than David Ossman to perform this piece. … It is really really good. Like perfect. And in front of a live audience. Oh yeah, and Dwight’s backing was so nice to hear, very fine indeed. … I have to admit, it’s rare I listen to a piece all the way to the end, but you nailed me in the first minute … maybe seconds.

The sublime jazz backing band was Rev. Dwight Frizzell on woodwinds, Julia Thro on guitar, and Patrick Conway on percussion. Subtle sound effects were from Tony Brewer.

(The announcement gala was in early March, and we didn’t win.)


This photo of the performance was taken by Phil Proctor, also of the Firesign Theatre. The disc or download is available from Blackstone Audio’s Downpour site. It includes a half-hour conversation between author Brian Price and David Ossman, talking about the work, the performance, and the Cart Wrangler character.

What We Did On Our Summer Vacation

I mean, besides going to The Brick while in Kansas City, we attended the
HEAR Now Festival of Audio Fiction. There we had the delight to present the annual Mark Time Awards, and as the opening to that we staged one of our own audio plays, Dialogue With Martian Trombone. The all-star cast included David Ossman, Phil Proctor, Melinda Peterson, Orson Ossman, Richard Fish, and Donna Postel. You can hear that here.

Convergence 20

In July I went to the 20th Anniversary Convergence science fiction convention in Minneapolis. There I was able to help out with the
Big Fun Radio Funtime performance by Fearless Comedy Productions. They were kind enough to invite me to do sound effects for the show, which I was happy to do. They also let us write a sketch for them, so we offered up The Awk Awk Incident, about the dangers of telling the Bird Watchers you’ve seen something rare around your own place. Our thanks to Tim Wick, artistic director at Fearless Comedy, for the opportunity.

Loose Wheels and Narrow Necks

New Great Northern release at Blackstone Audio

Loose Wheels & Narrow Necks
Over the years while writing, directing, and acting at radio theater workshops and in the Mark Time Radio show performances at Minneapolis' CONvergence science fiction conventions, Brian Price and David Ossman found that they shared a love for classic Beat poetry, Lord Buckley, and prose poems, so they started doing some of their own. This is a collection of their unique hybrid of humor, music, character, and performance.

“Great short stories by one of my favorite writers!” – David Ossman.

Written by Brian Price, except for the one that was written by Brian Price and Jerry Stearns. Performed by David Ossman, except for the one performed by Richard Fish and the one performed by Eleanor Price, and the ones performed by the whole cast.

Available at the
Blackstone Audio Downpour website. Some are posted here on our Mark Time Radio History page.

Track List (performed by David Ossman unless otherwise noted):

Closed Mouths and Narrow Necks''
The Yellow House - West Plains, MO, May 29, 2002
At the NATF Audio Theater Workshop
Bass: Thom Hoglen, Sax: Eric Elder

Cart 437'' (or ''The Long Way Around'')
CONvergence 2006 - July 7, 2006

The Collapse of the 20th Century Was So Gradual''
Minicon 32 - March 28, 1997
Piano: David Emerson

Clones Day Parade''
CONvergence 2001 - July 6, 2001
Piano: Mike Wheaton

Unrelated Cliffhanger Theater''
CONvergence 2006 - July 7, 2006
With Windy Bowlsby, Tim Wick, Charlie Meitzner, Preston Ossman, Eleanor Price, and David Ossman

Your Mileage May Vary''
CONvergence 2002 - July 5, 2002
With Richard Fish
Music by Eleanor Price

A Cure for Science''
CONvergence 2004 - July 2, 2004
Trombone: Jim ten Bensel

The Tiniest Souls''
CONvergence 2007 - July 6, 2007

Under the Broken Tree Bridge''
CONvergence 2008 - July 3, 2008
With Eleanor Price
Piano: Keith Spears

Cart 437: Part Two''
Hear Now Festival - Kansas City, MO, June 9, 2016

You Can't Handle the Truth''
CONvergence 2007 - July 6, 2007
With Wally Wingert, Windy Bowlsby, Tim Wick, Preston Ossman, Eleanor Price, and David Ossman
And since you’ve read this far, it turns out there IS a conclusion to the
Cart 437 Trilogy. Coming soon to a website near you.

Twin Cities Geek Reviews In The Embers

Twin Cities Geek website

The Twin Cities Geek website posted a review of In The Embers, written by Kelly Starsmore. You can read the whole review at She says, “In the Embers is one for the ages and something that I will come back to time and time again. We’re glad she liked it, and we hope you will get yourself a copy and give it a listen, too. You can see more here at Great Northern Audio. It’s available for download from and at Blackstone Audio’s Downpour site. In the Twin Cities you can get compact discs of the show at Uncle Hugo’s SF Bookstore, and at Dreamhaven Books.

In the Embers, feature-length audio drama

Oh, and there’s a 60-minute documentary on The Making of In The Embers that includes interviews with the producers, the actors, and the musician, and a few comments from our mentor, Tom Lopez of ZBS. It’s entertaining as well as having something to say about the making of modern audio theater. There’s a link to the documentary on the ZBS home page, and it’s free.

And since we’re speaking of
ZBS, they also have links to some new podcasts all about ZBS’s use of binaural sound recording. There are already several episodes up there, so lots to listen to, including complete ZBS stories, and some examples of ambient binaural recording that is full of fun and wonder. Narrated by Meatball Fulton. To get the full effect of binaural be sure to listen using headphones.

Sound Affects: A Radio Playground, on community radio KFAI in Minneapolis, is broadcasting another ZBS project, The Fourth Tower of Inverness, the very first Jack Flanders adventure. There are a few episodes each Sunday evening at 9:30 PM through June, on 90.3 FM and 106.7 FM in the Twin Cities, and streaming live at Archives of the show are kept for two weeks, so don’t hesitate to listen now.

Mark Time Awards finalists posted

Mark Time Awards
Annnnd, since we are on the subject of modern audio theater, there is a list of the latest finalists in this year’s Mark Time Awards competition posted. Take a look at them at Some good new works in the genre’s of science fiction, fantasy, and detectives. The winners will be announced on June 9th in Kansas City, MO, at the HearNow Festival of Audio Fiction, and presented by David Ossman. The Mark Time Awards are a legacy project of the Firesign Theatre celebrating the best in modern audio drama.

In The Embers Available Online

Available now from ZBS

Great Northern’s newest feature-length audio production,
In The Embers, is available now from the ZBS Catalog. Downloads include the 80-minute production in 320 kbps resolution, and a PDF CD cover image suitable for printing.

In The Embers coming from Blackstone Audio

A new review in
AudioFile Magazine announces that In The Embers will be released by Blackstone Audio on their Downpour website on December 8th. We are very pleased to be published by Blackstone, one of the leading audio publishers with an ear for audio theater.
In The Embers

This new release includes three original songs integral to the story and a 70-minute In The Embers - The Making Of documentary created especially for Blackstone in cooperation with Waterlogg Productions. The documentary consists of commentary from the writers and producers, and interviews with the actors, musical composer, and producer Tom Lopez of ZBS.

Great Northern Audio Collection Boxed Set

Blackstone also carries the entire Great Northern Audio Collection in a Boxed Set of 18 stories, including many from the celebrated Mark Time Radio Shows. You can get them individually or all together as downloads or on CD or MP3 CD. You can even rent them if you just want to see what this silliness is all about.

These are whimsical and original tales of science fiction and fantasy, featuring the voices of Firesign Theatre members David Ossman and Phil Proctor, and well known Hollywood actors Chuck McCann and Wally Wingert along with the superbly comic regular cast. The tales include Tell Them NAPA Sent You, about wizards, dwarfs and auto parts; Dialogue With Martian Trombone, the real story behind the Ramone Raquello Orchestra featured on Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds broadcast; The Jewels of the 11th Generation, a tale of a 300-year-old starship, kids, space pirates, and squeaky toys; and much more audio fun.

In The Embers

Independent Feature-length Audio release

In The Embers

Great Northern Audio is pleased to announce In The Embers, our new feature-length audio play which premiered at the HEAR Now Audio Fiction Festival in Kansas City last week. Stay tuned as we prepare several avenues for distribution of this exciting audio experience.

Urban archaeologist Digger Morgan has this new technique using a laser to read what’s embedded in the charcoal of a burned wooden post. He doesn’t expect to find voices. It’s two girls who were in the barn when the post was burned, and now he wants to know who they are. He also doesn’t expect it when one of those voices starts talking to him from his computer. Kit Jeffers was an up-and-coming jazz singer in the 1920s, and now she’s asking him just as many questions as he’s asking her. She’s smart, she’s sassy and saavy, and she wants to go home. Good science fiction, engaging characters, original music and terrific sound design make this well worth listening to.

A brand new audio play from Great Northern Audio, starring Robin Miles as Kit Jeffers, and Edwin Strout as Digger. With original songs by Brian Price and Mike Wheaton. Mixed at the ZBS studios in upstate New York, with Tom Lopez. CDs are available online currently through
Uncle Hugo’s SF Bookstore and Dreamhaven Books.

“The story is excellent, the music is excellent, the audio quality is excellent, and so are the actors. This is a drama that goes in the permanent collection.” See this recent review of In The Embers by Scott Danielson of
– – –

New Mark Time Awards

HNF_AudienceFavorites, 2nd Place_2015

And while we were there at the HEAR Now Festival, we shared a Second Place Audience Favorite Award for the presentation of the new Mark Time Awards. Brian Price and Jerry Stearns played excerpts of this year’s winners in the mornng, and Judith Walcutt produced the Mark Time Awards presentation ceremony on Friday evening, with David Ossman doing the honors. See the Mark Time Awards website for a complete list. It was probably the kids from the Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts, who wrote and performed their own work that won the audience over, though. So they really should have this award.

It was the first year for the new
Nick Danger Prize for best detective/suspense audio theater, and we are sad to pass on that the real Nick Danger, Phil Austin of the Firesign Theatre, passed away on Thursday, June 18, just the day before the prize with his likeness on it was given out. Here’s the LA Times obituary.

Great Northern is On the Air!

Great Northern audio productions
being broadcast and podcast

Villains On Parade

Friday, March 27, four Mark Time Radio Shows will be broadcast on the Midnight Audio Theatre, which comes out of WCBE in Columbus, OH. The show is on at Midnight, so it’s actually Saturday mornings, but there we are. They will be playing four of our works over the next four weeks. You can go to the source and listen to the stream at, or you can pick it up on their podcast anytime at We thank them for supporting the audio medium, and for playing our stuff for you.
Here’s the schedule of what’s playing when:

03/27 - Villains on Parade, featuring Wally Wingert and Chuck McCann
04/03 - Thwack that Dirigible, featuring Wally Wingert and Gordon Smuder
04/10 - The Learning Curve, featuring David Ossman and Wally Wingert
04/17 - Space Girl, featuring David Ossman, Phil Proctor, and Melinda Peterson as SpaceGirl.

CyberBob_and the Digital Nymph
AND our recent production, Cyber Bob and the Digital Nymph, is the current offering on the great Radio Drama Revival podcast, Episode 408. This is the Last Mark Time Radio Show, with David Ossman returning to the raucous stage for the farewell performance of this long-running series. (See the history of the series.) Thanks to Fred Greenhalgh for throwing one of ours up against the wall of sound.

And thanks for David Farquhar for making several more of our works available for listening at the
Moonlight Audio Theatre podcast as well. Some of them are free to hear, and some others are in their Premium Episodes list. Either way it’s another way to listen to the Great Northern Audio Theatre brand of new and different audio. Our Three Wizard Tales collection is one of their Top 25 Free Shows. So, have at it.


Jerry was interviewed recently by Stuart Flynn for his science fiction blog: SCY-FY: THE BLOG OF S. C. FLYNN. Take a look at See what he has to say about podcasting and his radio show, Sound Affects, and about the work that Great Northern Audio has been doing for 20 years.

HEAR Now Festival

We at Great Northern Audio are planning to be at the National Audio Theatre Festivals
HEAR Now Festival the weekend of June 11-14. If you’re interested in audio theater, audiobooks or other kinds of audio storytelling, this is the place to come. There will be lots to listen to, lots of interesting people to talk with about audio fiction, and presentation of the new Mark Time Awards for audio drama. Find out more at

Coming from Great Northern Audio

In the Embers

In the Embers, from Great Northern Audio Theatre
Yes, we’re working on a new piece called In the Embers. It concerns audio archaeology, a 1920s jazz singer, and quantum tunneling. I know, that’s a bit obscure, but we don’t want to give it all away. Let’s say it has some terrific characters, some very interesting science fiction ideas, and lots of great sound.

We’ve been working on it for a year and a half, and now we are assembling the voices and sound effects, and some original music. We’ll be turning to the top-of-the-field engineers at ZBS for the final mix next month. We expect a release date in June.

We are working very hard not to sound like what you have heard before. It’s not old time radio. It’s not the latest comic book loud-in-your-face style soundscape. It’s more an Independent Film style, with good acting, real music, and thoughtful sound design to bring the story to your ears.


Jerry was interviewed recently by Stuart Flynn for his science fiction blog: SCY-FY: THE BLOG OF S. C. FLYNN. Take a look at See what he has to say about podcasting and his radio show, Sound Affects, and about the work that Great Northern Audio has been doing for 20 years.

HEAR Now Festival

We at Great Northern Audio are planning to be at the National Audio Theatre Festivals
HEAR Now Festival the weekend of June 11-14. If you’re interested in audio theater, audiobooks or other kinds of audio storytelling, this is the place to come. There will be lots to listen to, lots of interesting people to talk with about audio fiction, and presentation of the new Mark Time Awards for audio drama. Find out more at

Big Fun Radio Funtime!

Live Radio in Minneapolis

Big Fun Radio_writers

January 18, 2013, was the performance of Big Fun Radio Funtime!, a live radio comedy production at the Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis, MN. Produced by Tim Wick for Fearless Comedy Productions, with local writers and actors.

The show included four sketches, with music and patter in between. The photo on the right is of the writers: Matt Allex and Emily Cook, Jerry Stearns (writing with Brian Price), Tim Wick and David Walbridge.
Big Fun Radio logo

Sketches in the show were:
The Sword in the Couch (Price and Stearns)
Bro By Numbers (Allex and Cook)
Captain Handsome of the Federated Space Rangers (Walbridge)
Rick Dickerson, Cliché Detective (Wick)

The entire show is available for listening or download online at BandCamp.

This is the first of a series by Fearless Comedy. The next Big Fun Radio Funtime! show is March 8, 2013 at the Bryant Lake Bowl on Lake Street in Minneapolis.

War of the Worlds 75th Anniversary Contest

From the Programming Department at Convergence comes this invitation to Audio Producers.

2013 will be the year for the 75th Anniversary of the Most Famous radio broadcast of all time - Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds. (October 30, 1938) To commemorate that event, a contest has been created for original audio drama productions related to this work. Here are the basics:

• Original audio dramas ("original" means that you, the submitter own the rights).
• The works don't have to be new, but they shouldn't already have won any other award.
• Maximum length is 15 minutes.
• The production must include all of the following elements:
  • Arrival inside a meteorite.
  • Tripods are used for locomotion.
  • Massive destruction.
  • Natural biological solution.

The location, time (past, present, future), protagonists (maybe it's Earth invading Mars for a change) and all other elements are up for grabs.

Submissions are due by May 1, 2013.

There are even real prizes provided by iZotope ( Thank you! Prizes are:

• First prize, a copy of RX 2 Standard ($349 MSRP)
• Second prize, a copy of Iris+2 ($299 MSRP)
• Third prize, a copy of Ozone 5 Standard ($249 MSRP)

Submissions are welcome from any audio producers around the world.
Contact Craig Finseth, ( with any questions.
See for further details.

Mark Time Awards 2011

The Mark Time Awards - 2011

The Mark Time Awards are given each year for the Best Science Fiction Audio Theater production, and the Ogle Awards are given for the Best Fantasy or Horror Audio Theater production. These are the 15th Annual Awards, for the 2011 Production Year.

Mark Time Awards

Brad Lansky and the 4D-Verse
Written by J. D. Venne
Producer, Dieter Zimmermann

My Other Self
Stagestruck Audio Theatre
Written & Produced by Bret Jones
Our Fair City, Season 2
HartLife NFP
Written by Clayton Faits & others

The Martian Chronicles
Colonial Radio Theatre on the Air
Story by Ray Bradbury
Dramatized by Jerry Robbins
Producer, Seth Adam Sher
Logan’s Run – Last Day
Colonial Radio Theatre on the Air
Written by Jason Brock, William F. Nolan & Paul Salamoff
Producer, Seth Adam Sher

Ogle Awards

Intensive Care
Final Rune & AuralStage Productions
Written by James Comtois
Producers, Fred Greenhalgh, Matthew Boudreau, Samantha Mason
Ghost of a Chance
19 Nocturne Boulevard
Written & produced by Julie Hoverson

The Strange Case of Springheel’d Jack
Wireless Theatre Company
Written by Gareth Parker, Robert Valentine
Producers, Robert Valentine, Gareth Parker, Mariele Runacre-Temple
15th Mark Time Awards will be presented July 5, 2012 at CONvergence, in Bloomington, MN. Representatives from four of the seven production organizations will be present to accept their awards, as will several past winners and four of the five judges.

Mark Time is a character created in 1970 by the
Firesign Theatre. Phil Proctor and David Ossman of Firesign will also be attending CONvergence to help celebrate the occasion, along with their wives, Melinda Peterson and Judith Walcutt. Judith is a convention Guest of Honor, too. And they'll all be participating in events throughout the convention, including the Mark Time Radio Show, just before the Opening Ceremonies.

We encourage you to look up the winners and give them a listen. You'll find some excellent storytelling.

Our thanks to the Geek Partnership Society for their sponsorship, and to Convergence for their support.

For more information about CONvergence:
For more about the Mark Time Awards:

Jerry Stearns
Coordinator, Mark Time Awards

Flood in the Backwater

Flood In the Backwater or Going to the Big City
by Brian Price. March 3, 2012
As an independent audio theater producer I sometimes think back on what first attracted me to radio drama.  I’d like to say I was immediately drawn to the little things one could do with nuanced sound and language, the subtleties, the poetry.  That’s what I’d like to say, but of course, what got me first about radio theater was the BIG stuff—the closet falls, the cherries dropping into Lake Michigan, the space ships exploding—BOOM, BLAM, SPLATT.
Then, of course, what totally sucked me into radio theater as a “lifer” was that one could happily produce a lot this wonderful noise oneself.  With the wonders of 4-track cassette recorders, pot and pans, and scratchy sound-effects records we could blow up planets, stage barroom brawls, and hold bowling tournaments in the jungle. 
At first it bothered me that not everybody in the world, especially the United States, wanted to hear my first wacky productions.  That included the neighbors, my parents and most of the radio stations in North America.  It used to bother me that not everybody was interested in 25-voice, full-bore, multi-tracked, throw-everything-into-the-mix audio theater.  I wanted my worlds to be saturated with sound.  I figured the nay-listeners would come around.
A group that really never came around was book-on-tape publishers.   They liked one voice, one book, one tone.  But something has happened in the last couple of years. 
Here’s the good news:  More than ever before many more audiobooks are being produced by big publishers that include multiple readers, staged scenes, sound effects and music.
Here’s the bad news:  Some of this material really sounds amateurish:  Weird audio levels, dull acting that’s not in the moment, sounds drawn from 40 year old LP record collections.
What’s going on?  Well, the audiobook publishers have finally found that audiences sometimes like theatrical performances of books, and are hitting a mean learning curve on multi-voice productions.  Good audio theater ain’t as easy as it looks (or sounds).  And over the years audiobook publishers haven’t been paying attention, listening to or practicing audio theater (except maybe for children’s books).
So far, audiobook publishers have been going to their usual sources to produce audio theater:  Commercial voice-over studios, Industrial/educational studios or the publishers themselves.  Frankly, the results are really mixed.  These people aren’t audio theater people.  They haven’t been listening and producing audio theater for years.
My prediction is that at some point pretty soon the audiobook publishers are going to get feedback from their listeners that there’s a whole ‘nother world of audio theater out there.  It’s on community radio.  It’s podcast.  It’s handed back and forth on the Internet.  It’s sounding better and better all the time. 
The publishers are going to realize that they want, they need that sound—the sound of well produced modern audio theater.  They’re going to send people back in the swamps of community radio and the Internet looking for it, looking for our kind.  They’re going to be wearing suits.  They’re going to have weird accents.  They’re going to scare the kids and the dog.
They’ll be looking for the one thing audio theater producers do well—tell stories in sound.  They’ll be looking to deal.  They’ll smile a lot.  Be prepared.  They’ll be asking Audio Theater to do something it hasn’t done in a long time.  Go to the big city.     
Look for Brian’s column, The Sound of One Hand Clapping, Notes on Audio Publishing and Production, on AudiobookDJ.