Arts & Events

Overlooking The Sound: “UT Radio”

This Week: Ubiquitous They Radio with Jeff, Robin and Friends Sunday at 5 p.m.
Head honchos Jeff and Robin bring you a show unlike any other on KUPS. Shows like theirs (although there really are none like theirs) make the station proud to be diverse.
Ubiquitous They Radio is a talk show, a comedic improvisation show, and an old-fashioned radio drama. UT started in the 1980s as a radio show. The current show is a tribute to the past and a plea for the future of UT to also involve the radio media.
The regular hosts, Jeff and Robin, bring actors together from the campus improv group of the same name. They write several skits for each show and read them on air. With sly jabs at the administration for not publicizing politicians, at razor scooter riders, bros, organic food advocates and at each other, the UT group manages to diversify their humor.
They start with the week in review, which is the cleverest part of the show, reminiscent of “The Combat Zone” section of The Trail. This is where incredibly pertinent and appropriate matters are brought up. PrintGreen came with a lengthy disclaimer this week about how the following incredibly pessimistic views of the program were not consistent with the views of those in UT or KUPS.
Another weekly section that listeners have to look forward to is “Advice from Stacy,” who impresses upon the listener her own insecurities and personal interest in getting a medical marijuana card.
To finish up the show is an ongoing saga called “Adventures with Jeff” which, for all I know, has something to do with friendly unicorns.
One way to describe the show would be “random chaos.” Behind the scenes, papers were flying, scripts were being written and character roles quickly delegated. It was incredible that the constant movement did not often interfere with audio quality on-air. Those three-minute musical interludes of on-air silence were effectively used.
The emphasis on this show is on the words said, not the music played. There are many challenges to this group, inherent in the sort of show they create. First of all, radio acting is another genre of theater without staging or a visible audience. It is incredible that without any immediate audience reaction they can be confident that what they say is funny.
The risk they take is one of going too far with a joke that simply is not humorous. Their ‘freestyle’ radio rambling sometimes went there. When the hosts ended up making fun of each other, and talked about whose parents would win in a fight the show started sounding exclusive. Hosts: if you begin to feel like you are struggling for what to say, the audience definitely feels like you are rambling too. Keep it as crisp as the rest of the show.
The occasional sound effects used during the radio sketches really brought the drama to life. The show needs a sound effects man/woman who can do for UT Radio what Fred Newman does for A Prairie Home Companion.
Between the babble and the thoughtfully chosen songs lies the comedy, at least 80 percent of the show. The witty, relevant, pun-laden and sarcastic sketches that the group painstakingly writes each week make UT Radio what it is. That is what the Puget Sound community has to look forward to each Sunday.