November 2013: John Lovering, who had been hosting an Audio Theatre program since 2004 at WSCA-LP Portsmouth Community Radio, made a proposal to the Programming Committee that on the last Tuesday of each month Audio Theatre would be used for a new program entitled “True Tales Radio” It would be a local storytelling program that did not include any type of competition, scoring or judging. The show would be open to anyone in the community who had a first-person true story to share that was based on a monthly theme. The concept fit well as the mission statement of WSCA also contained the phrase “Open to the Community.”
On January 28, 2014 True Tales Radio aired its first live storytelling program based on the theme “Beginnings”. Our first guests were Sharon Rhodes, Pat Spalding, Lynne Nickerson, Lucas Perry, Dee Hebert, Nelson Linscott and Cathy Wolff. John Lovering hosted the show with Jean Gagne as our set manager and Steve Kowal as our archive photographer. Peter “Rocky” Smith was our audio engineer and Richard Jenisch handled the
mixing board in the Control Room.
After the first show it was clear we needed more help. Amy Antonucci offered to be the Announcer and Pat Spalding, who was a guest on the first show, asked if she could help out… and became the Emcee. Jean Proulx, the Volunteer Coordinator at WSCA, helped out with promotion of the show. Eventually John Lovering settled in as the producer and audio engineer.
On July 29, 2014, David Phreaner made his first appearance on True Tales Radio with his story “How I Became A Sailor.” He appeared for a second time on December 29, 2015 with “How I (Almost) Crashed Christmas.’ Shortly after this show, David signed on as part of our crew helping out with greeting people at the door, handing out programs and as time went on got involved with Pat and Amy doing storytelling workshops on the first Tuesday of each month.
The Storytelling Workshops began in January of 2015 and grew increasingly popular, helping us to draw more people into the station to tell their “True Tales.” In 2016 True Tales Radio was voted the Best Storytelling Program in New Hampshire by New Hampshire Magazine. Our audience was growing and we were seeing more and more storytellers. The idea that began in November of 2013 took off, especially after WSCA constructed a small stage performance area.
In February of 2016 Portsmouth Public Media Television with Bill Humphreys and Chad Cordner indicated an interest in taping the show at the radio station and airing it on PPMTV. It was then that we began thinking of the visual characteristics of storytelling in addition to the auditory aspects. When people tell stories their gestures and facial expressions often add to the effectiveness of the story and the entertainment for the audience.
It was also in February of 2016 that Jon Nash, who been working as a co-host on Audio Theatre with John Lovering, began a new feature of True Tales Radio, that of interviewing storytellers from the 6 to 6:30 pm time slot, just prior to the start of the live show.
On August 30, 2016 we did our final True Tales Radio broadcast at WSCA and began making plans to bring our storytelling to Portsmouth Public Media Television, but as True Tales Live.
On November 29, 2016 we began taping our monthly broadcasts on PPMTV with our present crew of Pat Spalding, Amy Antonucci, David Phreaner (now our Production Assistant and Interviewer), Steve Kowal, and John Lovering.
Of course we could not do the television program without the talents and work of many different people at PPMTV, but in particular Bill Humphreys and Chad Cordner, a group of camera operators, and Control Room techs.
We currently do the show 9 months a year, bypassing July, August, and December. Our shows are all taped before a live audience and then edited by John Lovering and inserted into PPMTV’s Channel 98 programming schedule and being available on the PPMTV YouTube Channel as On-Demand videos. We also do a Podcast at www.soundcloud.com where we have audio files of every show and interview we have done since 2014.
The Storytelling Workshops continue at PPMTV on the first Tuesday of the 9 months in which we have shows. They run from 7:30-9 pm and are held in Studio Two (upstairs) at 280 Marcy St. Pat, Amy, and David continue to welcome more and more storytellers to the fun of storytelling and the open arms of True Tales Live.
In addition since 2015 we have been fortunate to work with the Artists’ Collaborative Theatre of New England (ACT ONE) and Stephanie Van Nugent, the Executive Director. As a result, True Tales Live has performed for 4 seasons during ACT ONE’s Fall Festival Series. At these performances we bring some of our favorite storytellers for an afternoon of live storytelling to enthusiastic audiences. In fact, most every show has been sold out!
In summary, as of this writing on January 27, 2019, we have done 28 radio shows and 21 PPMTV shows. We have performed at ACT ONE at the West End Theatre for 4 years. We also had the pleasure of doing a special show at the Rye Public Library. In total we have done 54 True Tales shows involving about 185 different storytellers and approaching 1000 in-studio and theater-going audience members.
It is clear that the idea that began in November of 2013 was indeed a good idea. True Tales Live is here and we are loving what we are doing! Thank you so much for your support. And as Pat often says, “Hey, What’s Your Story?”