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Wednesday October 1st 2014

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Radio on the Big Screen

by Jessica Forbes

WUWF 88.1 is partnering with NPR to bring  “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!” live on the big screen the Gulf Coast. Pensacola Carmike Bayou 15 (formerly Pensacola Rave) and AMC Destin Commons 14 (formerly Destin Rave) are two of over 600 theatres airing the cinecast nationwide.

The May 2 cinema event will be the first ever for “Wait, Wait…” which is currently in its 15th season.

The show, dubbed “The Oddly Informative News Quiz,” will broadcast its cinema event live from the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in New York to participating theatres throughout the U.S.

Normally recorded on Thursdays in front of a live audience in Chicago, the home of the show’s parent station WBEZ, the show is broadcast via radio each weekend after being edited for time and content.

The cinecast allows audiences to watch the show live and unedited from their city, rather than travelling to Chicago for the show’s live tapings, or for one of its six to 10 road shows a year outside of Chicago.

“This is the first opportunity WUWF has had to participate in a cinema event,” said Trish Allison, WUWF’s Development/Membership Director.

WUWF, which has carried “Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me” for just over 10 years, does not receive proceeds or funding from the event, but rather provides marketing support, and benefits intrinsically by providing listeners a chance to see a beloved radio show live.

“When we heard about it, we told NPR and the ‘Wait, Wait…’ crew we wanted to participate,” said Allison, and from there, plans were set in motion. NPR contacted theatres to let them know “if you will carry the cinecast, your local station will promote the event because, obviously, it will be mostly our listeners who attend.”

The show is a mix of trivia and humor, with the panelists spoofing current events through impersonations, listener-supplied absurd news stories, and in a variety of segments that the “Wait, Wait…” team have developed over the years.

Panelists Paula Poundstone, Tom Bodett and Mo Rocca will join Host Peter Sagal and Carl Kasell, the show’s Judge and Scorekeeper, on the big screen along with surprise celebrity guests. Steve Martin will also make an appearance during the cinema event, as well as funk/soul band Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, who will provide musical entertainment between the segments.

The cinecast will include several of the show’s regular bits, including “Who’s Carl This Time?” and “Bluff the Listener.” Martin will be the celebrity participant in “Not My Job,” a spot that has recently been filled by the likes of Al Gore, Jeff Bridges, Melinda Gates, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

“We’re incredibly excited to do a live broadcast from New York City with Steve Martin and a live band,” said Sagal in the press announcement, joking, “It’ll be just like 1978, except instead of sitting in my pajamas watching, I’ll be on stage with everybody.”

WUWF’s Allison said the station is excited about having a hand in the event’s publicity and several staff members plan to be in attendance. “We will have representatives at both theatres to meet and greet,” she explained, “and also because we want to see it, too.”

The “Wait, Wait…” event will come to Bayou 15 through Carmike’s partnership with NCM Fathom Events. In addition to NPR events, Carmike partners with NCM Fathom to bring the Metropolitan Opera, EXHIBITION: Great Art on Screen, and StarTrek special events to 9 Carmike theatres equipped to present the digital cinecasts.

Carmike Cinemas Director of Alternative Content Gary Green says the alternative broadcasts and special events are usually a success, and Carmike is “always looking to grow them.”

Though Carmike has held Metropolitan Opera events at the Bayou 15 theatre since purchasing it from RAVE Motion Pictures in November 2012, “Wait, Wait…” is the first NPR event at the theatre since it changed ownership.

If you miss the May 2 cinecast, there will be another opportunity to see all of the shenanigans on Tuesday, May 7, when the show will be replayed at the two local participating theatres. And catch the radio broadcasts of “Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me,” airing on WUWF 88.1 every Saturday at 1 p.m.

WAIT, WAIT… DON’T TELL ME LIVE CINECAST
WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday, May 2 (Rebroadcast at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 7)
WHERE: Pensacola Carmike Bayou 15, 5149 Bayou Blvd.
COST: $15 on May 2, $22 on May 7
DETAILS: wuwf.org/events/wwdtm.shtml