Early Science Fiction On The Airwaves

Science Fiction in Radio

Some would argue that Science Fiction is as old as civilization itself as humans gazed up to the stars and wondered, “what if…”
Juvenile Serials of the 1930s
The first science fiction old time radio shows were primary adventure serial shows intended for juveniles co-opted with a scientific theme, most notably Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. These shows for children tended to glamorize scientific progress and featuring larger than life heroes. When Science Fiction expanded into adult fiction, the wonder of science fiction didn’t leave the juvenile market.  Radio shows like Planet Man, Space Patrol, Captain Starr, and Tom Corbett continues to delight young audiences. 
Early Science Fiction on the Airwaves
Within the horror and drama genres there were some breakout science fiction radio plays.  The most memorable science fiction old time radio from the 1930s was Orson Welles War of the Worlds on Mercury Theater aired on Halloween.  This broadcast had a phenomenal impact on the nation because Welles blurred the lines between fiction and fact, essentially convincing America that the Martians were invading.
Earliest Attempts at Science Fiction Drama
Radio was slow to produce a series dedicated to serious adult science fiction drama with the first show dedicated to Science Fiction airing in 1950.  There were some attempts at science fiction on Escape, Suspense, Lights Out and others. 

2000 PlusThe shows were written in house from original material rather than from science fiction authors or classic stories.  Dimension X hit the airwaves one month later with the blessing of the majority of the science fiction community–featured writings of the leading science fiction writers of the time including Isaac Asimov, Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury, Robert A. Heinlein, Clifford D. Simak, and even Kurt Vonnegut. 
The Height of Science Fiction Old Time Radio
Many enthusiasts consider 1950-1960 to be the Golden Era of Science Fiction.  This is the decade when the best Science Fiction old time radio was created.  Acclaimed editor of “Astounding Magazine,” John Campbell, produced and hosted Exploring Tomorrow with the aid of some of his best contributing writers.  X-Minus One was truly the greatest of not only science fiction radio shows but of all radio dramas. 
End of Science Fiction on Radio
When Russian scientists launched Sputnik in 1957, science fiction became more of a science actuality.  Inventions thought to only be in science fiction like rockets, televisions, and computers were becoming a reality.  The future of entertainment was on televisions that were more ubiquitous in American households and the golden age of science fiction left the airwaves.  Luckily many of these recordings were preserved for enjoyment today. Many science fiction old time radio shows survived in completion including Dimension X and X-Minus One.

“A good science fiction story should be able to predict not the automobile but the traffic jam.”