BROADCAST: A MAN AND HIS DREAM

RR-BROAD-CASTBROADCAST: A MAN AND HIS DREAM
DIRECTED BY JORDAN NANCE.
(Produced by Beth Crookham for Dreamer Productions, $15, www.broadcastthedream.com.)

This hour-long video documentary on the career of Ralph Epperson, founder and director of WPAQ radio in Mt. Airy, N.C., is not only a loving tribute by director Jordan Nance to Epperson and WPAQ, but it’s also a professionally produced work that captures how important radio was to rural communities in the 1940s and ’50s and how talented those communities were.

Combining interviews, vintage photos, and original recordings from the station, the film is a fascinating look at how radio was a reflection of—and a positive force in—these communities. The interviews with people who worked at and listened to WPAQ include stories of gospel quartets, old-time banjo music, early bluegrass bands, African-American gospel, farm reports, local news, and much-loved broadcasters such as Uncle Joe. Paul Brown, musician and former NPR broadcaster, worked at WPAQ early in his career and here provides context for the importance of the station to the community and to the old-time and bluegrass music world.

The story behind the making of the film is just as interesting. Director Jordan Nance and producer Beth Crookham began work on this film in 2006 after Nance, who has cerebral palsy, received a grant from the Sunshine Foundation. Nance conducted over 35 interviews, including the final interview with Ralph Epperson just weeks before Epperson passed away in 2006. The documentary premiered on UNC-TV in 2015 and is now available on DVD from the website listed above. Highly recommended.CVS

Share this Article