It’s A Wonderful Life: Classic 96 Airs FACT Radio Play on Christmas

From Left: Andrew Edlin, Tena Edlin, Dee Ann Lantz, Tim Lantz, and Fred Hucke get ready for this years recorded radio reading of It’s A Wonderful Life.

On Christmas Eve and again on Christmas Day, Fairfield Area Community Theater’s whiz-bang recording of It’s A Wonderful Life, a radio play by Joe Landry, will be airing on 1570 KMCD/Classic 96 out of Fairfield.

It’s become an annual tradition for FACT’s volunteer board members—and their theatrically inclined spouses—to gather on a wintry evening to read a holiday-themed radio play for broadcast, but this particular story (widely known as the beloved Frank Capra film starring Jimmy Stuart) has a special place in their hearts—as it probably does in yours.

“We always think of It’s A Wonderful Life as a Christmas story,” says longtime FACT member Tena Edlin. “It’s set at Christmas, and it’s always shown at Christmas, but it’s a story that needs to stick with us every day, long past the holidays. It’s about remembering that our real value isn’t measured in money but in the lives we touch. It’s about integrity and doing the right thing, even when it means sacrificing personal desires and ambitions. It’s about community and love and taking care of one another. I can’t think of a better story for us all right now, and not just because it’s the Christmas season.”

Tena, who will be reading as the radio play Announcer, is also known as “Mrs. Edlin” to her GOAL and language arts students at Fairfield Middle School.

How many men does it take to turn an office conference room into a recording studio? At least four, it turns out. And yes, that’s Lou Bolster in the Santa cap.

“I don’t get to see this film every year,” says FACT member and FHS English and Speech teacher, Fred Hucke, “but I often catch the end of it and it always moves me. I also have a recording of the radio version, which is also Jimmy Stewart.”

“The idea that one life affects so many others, and that we may not even realize the ripples we have set into motion, is a concept that resonates with the life of a teacher. When I feel George Bailey’s despair, I just want to hug my family and show more thanks for all that I have.”

Hucke stars in the upcoming radio reading as the lovably idealistic George Bailey, who must learn the value of his own life—the hard way.

Tune in to hear your FACT favorites and friends, including Dee Ann Lantz as the playful and charming Mary Hatch, John Grunwald as the ever-innocent Clarence (Angel, Second Class), and Tim Lantz as the twisted old miser, Mr. Potter.

The story is fleshed out by the voices of Diana Flynn (FACT Board President), Lou Bolster, Mary Phipps, Joe Phipps, Tommy Brower, Meredith Siemsen, Andrew Edlin, Lacy Vance, and Karen Pate.

Dream | Think | Lead | (F)ACT! … The radio play cast was grateful for the use of the Administration, Curriculum, and Technology (ACT) Offices conference space, where they recorded It’s A Wonderful Life in one flawless take. Just kidding.

FACT would especially like to thank Steve Smith of KMCD/Classic 96 for helping make this broadcast happen—and for bringing beautiful ol Bedford Falls to life with audio effects: phones ringing, music playing, and stones crashing through the windows of the old Sycamore house.

The broadcast times for It’s A Wonderful Life have been tentatively set for 11 a.m. on December 24, and 12 p.m. noon on December 25 on 1570 KMCD/Classic 96. The recording can also be streamed at

Stay tuned for the FACT production of the hilarious farce by Katherine DiSavino, Nana’s Naughty Knickers, playing at the Walton Club (dinner theater) February 13–15 and 21–23 in Fairfield.

And if you’re interested in joining FACT for their June musical shebang of Mamma Mia, taking place this year at the Sondheim Theater, look for an audition announcement early this spring on FACT’s Facebook page!

Meredith Siemsen

Meredith, an Iowa native, was baffled when she earned her high school's writing award in 1993. It wasn't until twenty years later that she discovered she actually enjoyed wordcraft. (Too bad she's still a two-fingered typist.) Thanks for reading, friends!