Radio Eldorado

May 23, 2021

Take a deep dive into the 1969 fire at the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant with author Tyrone Jaeger and his novel Radio Eldorado, published by Braddock Avenue Books

In the novel, Alvin Wund, a recent widower and security guard at the plant, is called in to help fight the fire. Amongst the flames, alarms and contamination, he sees the blue ghost of his wife, Esther.

A blue light flashed...

Time stopped. There she was--Esther the blue of a pale sky, untouched by clouds and descended from heaven, where she had made a deal with God to punish Alvin. He felt Blue Esther's embrace, and he thought, this isn't so bad, this dying.

Why does Blue Esther appear? What messages does she have for Alvin and their two adult daughters, Vivi and Ursula? Set in the late 1960's Colorado, Radio Eldorado is a story exploring boundaries: the boundaries of counter-culture and the establishment, industry and the environment, fathers and daughters, and the inescapable lines between life and death.

Tyrone Jaeger is the author of the novel Radio Eldorado published by Braddock Avenue Books, the story collection So Many True Believers and the cross-genre novella The Runaway Note.

Author Tyrone Jaeger.

His writing has appeared in the Oxford American, Southern Humanities Review, The Literary Review, and elsewhere. He is the recipient of the Porter Fund Literary Prize, and he has been a member of the faculty at Hendrix College since 2008.

Born and raised in the Catskill Mountains, Tyrone lives on Beaverfork Lake, Arkansas, with his wife and daughter.

Thank you to the Carnegie Library for Local History, Boulder, for the non-commericial use of the oral histories of the Rocky Flats fire. 

Thank you to composer, musician and singer Thom Asewicz, with help from musicians Jeff Killingsworth, Jonathan Jacobs, Lee Petray, and Chelsea Allen and for the creation of the song "Smoke City."

Thank you to composer, musician and singer Michael Shackelford for sharing his music for this episode. 

Thank you to Mary Ellen Kubit for voicing Blue Esther.

Thank you to Stickyz Rock 'N' Roll Chicken Shack for keeping music alive and well in Arkansas, and thank you to the law firm of Gill Ragon Owen, PA, Little Rock, for their support of Arts & Letters Radio development.

Generous funding for this episode was provided by the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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Executive Producer & Host: J. Bradley Minnick

Producer & Story Editor: Mary Ellen Kubit


Sound Mastering: Simon Sound Studio