News publisher's son directing Disney Radio show
Los Angeles — The Walt Disney Co. helped make the musical thrive again with its “High School Musical” film series. Now it’s trying to bring back an even older format with a radio serial.
Next week Radio Disney is launching a 20-episode series that follows a 14-year-old girl as she tries to pursue a dream of becoming a singer and songwriter.
During the course of “My Dream,” the Kayla character composes an original song and tries to overcome stage fright. Her parents, older brother, best friend and music teacher also are featured in the little plays.
A new episode debuts each weekday at 9:25 a.m. on Radio Disney. Listeners who miss them can hear the 90-second episodes later on the station’s website or via mobile phone.
The idea recalls serials that were popular in the early days of radio, a format that was essentially destroyed when television arrived. Radio Disney says it will wait to see how the first serial fares before committing to others, said Ray De La Garza, the network’s vice president of programming.
“We thought, ‘let’s create something that can keep the kids entertained and wanting to come back day after day,’” De La Garza said.
Televised musicals were considered risky business when Disney launched the “High School Musical” series. They became big hits, reviving a genre that includes Fox’s “Glee,” a breakout series particularly popular with youngsters.
Radio Disney is the top radio network devoted to kids and young teenagers, with the Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber popular on the playlist.
Daphne Blunt, who has acted on the television soap opera “The Young and the Restless,” stars as Kayla in the series.
The “My Dream” series was produced and directed by Courtney W. Sanford, a former Roxbury resident and son and stepson of Catskill Mountain News owners Dick and Laurie Sanford. Courtney, and his wife Jill Stewart Sanford, both work for The Walt Disney Co. and live in Los Angeles.