"Don't. Direct me"
―Niles to Frasier
"Ham Radio" is the 18th episode of Season 4 on NBC series Frasier.


DRAMATIC ENDINGS – Frasier volunteers to direct a live, old-fashioned radio drama in honour of the station's 50th anniversary. When everyone involved gathers in the studio to take part, the show begins to generate a life of its own.


Frasier is set to direct an old live radio drama to mark KACL's 50th anniversary. The play is called "Nightmare Inn" and is a murder mystery story that takes place in the middle of a storm and, as Martin puts it, "everyone's wondering who's gonna be the next one murdered". Niles expresses disbelief that Frasier will be able to pull it off, as he has a history of taking his authority as director too far. Niles remarks on how Frasier directed Richard III in prep school and that ended when the Richard attacked him with his hump on opening night.

Frasier recruits cast members at work. He casts Gil Chesterton as "Nigel Fairservice", a former RAF pilot who was discharged under "mysterious circumstances" (Roz remarks that if Gil plays the part, they may not be as mysterious). Gil accepts the role as it has a dramatic monologue. Roz is cast as "Miss Carlotta Thorndyke", the innkeeper, Bulldog as the sinister silk merchant, "Mr. Wang" (the name is later changed to Wing as Bulldog thinks the old one was too funny) and his girlfriend, Maxine, as a maid who only has one line. He also gets Mel White, a professional actor married to a KACL employee, to play a number of small parts: "Hans", the German butler, "O'Toole", the Irish gardener, "Bull Craigan", the "brutish gamekeeper", the two Scottish "McAllister" sisters and "Peppo the Dwarf", a retired circus performer ("the little man with a big secret"). Noel is set to provide sound effects. Frasier casts himself as the lead part, a Scotland Yard inspector, even when a man who would be perfect for the role wants to sign up.

On rehearsal night at Frasier's, things quickly spin out of control because of Frasier's constant criticism of Mel's voices, such as saying his Hans sounds more Austrian than German, his dwarf is too tall and his O'Toole sounds more Protestant than Catholic. Mel angrily leaves, forcing Frasier to enlist a last-minute replacement: Niles. The play starts out nicely, but deteriorates when Bulldog gets stage fright and can't speak, Roz has trouble talking because of a long-lasting Novacaine dose after a dentist visit and Maxine, due to her dyslexia, reads her line "Look out, he's got a gun!" as "Look out, he's got a nug!". Finally, Frasier cuts out Gil's monologue, causing him to lash out and keep trying to read it, even after his character is killed, bringing in "Nigel's" brother, "Cedric", and an ice cream man (who "appeared" when Noel accidentally played the wrong sound tape). The play then takes a strange turn when "Hans" is revealed to be the son of "Miss Thorndyke" (presumably as a result of Frasier's spontaneous rewriting of the script). Tired of Frasier's constant directing, Niles has "Hans" kill all the other characters and then himself. Frasier wraps up the play nine minutes earlier than scheduled and attempts to prompt a post-play discussion, but fails.


Noel, cleaning up, begins reading aloud from, and acting out, a script page. Roz sneaks up behind him with a balloon and pops it, startling him.

Guest starring

Richard Easton as Mel White
Hope Allen as Maxine
Jack Betts as Audition hopeful


  • Mel White was named after the real-life voice actor Mel Blanc.
  • "Ham radio" was an early term for amateur (private, non-commercial) radio use, although here there is an unquestionable degree of ham acting also on display, Frasier alone being an entire side, at the very least.
  • This is the highest rated episode of the series.