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“War of the Worlds” KRUI News Edition: Zombie Outbreak

KRUI News staffers produced the station’s own version of George Orwell’s “War of the Worlds” 1938 broadcast. Zombies, caused by an accident in Palo’s nuclear plant, take over the state…all in the matter of 45 minutes! Listen in to hear some real newscasts, some fake ones, and get all the brains, blood and guts coverage you want!


The Zombie Apocalypse

By Dylan Vaughan

Its Halloween here at the University of Iowa. In celebration KRUI News put on a very special show. The October 29th Roundtable show was based on the October 30th 1938 infamous radio broadcast of War of the Worlds.

This American radio drama was an adaption of H.G. Wells novel The War of the Worlds. The novel was about aliens from mars landing on earth and mounting a massive invasion on our world. They almost succeed in destroying humanity but are stopped by earthly germs. Orson Wells took this novel and adapted it to radio. He set in up to be 60 minute Halloween special. The first two thirds of the show were presented as a series of news bulletins, which suggested that real Martians were currently invading the United States and there was nothing we could do to stop them. Also the show contained no commercial breaks, which only added to the realism of it.  It was so realistic that many people actually thought aliens really were attacking, despite the fact that the audience is told the broadcast is a fake several times. There are reports of mass panic in the streets caused by the show.

In the spirit of Orson Wells infamous War of the Worlds broadcast, KRUI New director Emily Woodbury and reporter Kuper Bergman with the help of Betsey Penisten, Richard Ren, and Dylan Vaughan created what we hope will be an equally infamous fictional radio broadcast loosely based on the original. We stuck with the same “news bulletin” format used by Orson Wells to create the sense that it was happening as we speak. But instead of a Martian invasion we made the popular zombie apocalypse become a reality. Our apocalypse started in the Palo nuclear power plant with KRUI reporter Kuper Bergman interviewing a physicist concerning nuclear safety in Iowa. They are observing a supposedly “safe” reactor that is under construction when the physicist falls in. He survives and is immediately taken to the medical ward.  It soon becomes apparent that he is turning into a zombie and the power plant is quarantined with reporter Kuper Bergman inside, sadly Kuper Bergman was turned into a zombie. The infection spreads rapidly and soon zombies are knocking down the doors of KRUI’s main studio. No one survived. Repeat no one survived. I am writing to you as a zombie. It would appear that despite the stereotype zombies are very good typists.

There are numerous differences between Orson Wells production and our own. The setting was different. Our story was set in Iowa City area. Orson set his story in New York. Obviously, aliens versus zombies is a huge difference. Also there was a difference in the time of each show as well. Orson Wells had an hour-long show where as we managed to pack just as much punch in a little over half an hour. Our show turned out to be much more morbid than Orson Wells show. Orson Wells ends his broadcast with the dead bodies of the Martians getting picked at by crows. .Humanity survives. Our show ended with a large percentage of KRUI news staff getting eaten by zombies. It does not look like humanity is going to survive. The last big difference between the two shows is their effect on the listeners. War of the Worlds caused mass hysteria. So far I am glad to see our show did not cause mass hysteria, despite the fact that we never announced the broadcast was a fake. Perhaps the public has gotten smarter in the 73 years since Orson Wells made history. Happy Halloween from KRUI News everyone!

Writing by: Emily Woodbury and Kuper Bergman

Production and Editing by: Betsy Penisten and Emily Woodbury

Voice Recording by: Kuper Bergman and Jesse Marks

Real Newscasts by: Richard Ren, Dylan Vaughn and Emily Woodbury