It’s probably one of the most vivid and dynamic theatres around, but rarely considered when discussing such venues. The playhouse in question is the theatre of the mind.

Likely, this master of imagery gets ignored because there are too many mediums working against it.

Television and film provide the images we see, and even the written word is often overly descriptive. Jim Carr, professor at York University and Seneca College, says there is, however, one medium that truly caters to this unique theatre since its invention: The radio.

“Radio directly plays to the theatre of the mind,” says the program co-ordinator of the joint broadcast radio program. “In 20 seconds of sound I can put you in a park in Paris and your image will be different from everyone else’s.”

He says radio lets people drum up images from their past and utilize them to understand what they’re hearing in their own personal way.

“A good radio producer has done their job if they can do that for you,” he told Metro.

Producers are responsible for bringing the life, ideas and imagery to radio programs each and every day.

Along with the on-air personalities, they orchestrate the soundtrack for millions of listeners.

Ryan Fabro, of Toronto’s sports radio station The Fan 590, says a radio producer is the “middleman that makes the whole show work.”

Fabro, the producer of Fan shows The Director’s Chair and The Game Plan, says it’s his job to make sure the research is done, the guests are lined up and the right callers are selected. He also says it’s fun to work on-the-fly. If a good idea or funny line pops into his head, he can feed it to the host(s) to take the show in an interesting new direction.

“Altogether, it’s a really fun, satisfying way to work.”

The on-the-fly aspect is appealing to Fabro because it gives him the opportunity to think on his feet and be ready for any situation, at any time.

Live radio, specifically live sports radio, requires the right preparation to handle any newsworthy developments that occur.

If a player is traded, it’s the producers’ job to get on the phone and get a comment from the player or organization. If it’s happening in real-time, it needs to be reflected on the air, says Fabro. That means he needs to know who to call, and when.

“You’re always trying to get your Rolodex bigger,” he says. “If you’re not up-to-date, you’re useless at your job.”

“As the day moves on, everything changes,” says Carr. “A day is 24 hours and live radio must be consistently evolving and adapting to bring people what they need to hear. It’s truly a job that lives and breathes.”

You can catch The Director’s Chair on the Fan 590 Monday to Friday from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., and The Game Plan from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the same days.

Fabro also co-hosts The Fantasy Show, airing Sundays at 6 p.m.

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