Old time radio (OTR) is not dead. In fact, it’s alive and well on the Internet. The Internet has actually helped to revive old time radio. After the days of old time radio were ended, the only way to get any of these shows was to find them on old reel to reel tape and listen to them in this format. Some kind folks converted these shows to phonograph records and later to cassette tapes.
There were small group of OTR fans that used to do this and trade the shows among themselves. Very few people that would have enjoyed these shows knew about these small clubs and therefore couldn’t get the shows.
When computers became available to more and more people, smart PC users learned how to convert these old shows to digital format. 70 minutes of shows could be put on one CD. With the appearance of the mp3 compressed audio format, distribution was now possible via the Internet.
So many people can now enjoy the fun and adventure of old time radio due to the efforts of everyone who converted the shows and posted them on the Internet. With the high speed Internet connections we enjoy today, we can download as many shows as we want in a very short amount of time.
OK, so now that we know that these great old radio shows are available again, how do we go about locating them? There are several ways to acquire these shows.
The most expensive way is to buy the shows at a book store in audio format. Sure, these audio CD’s will play in any CD player, including the one in your car, but you can only fit 70 minutes of shows on each CD. Plus, these are rather expensive.
You can search the Internet and buy old time radio disk sets in mp3 format. These are compressed and many hours of shows can fit on one CD or DVD. They don’t play in most standard CD players, but you can listen to them on your mp3 player or on your computer.
Or, you could join an OTR download club and pay a monthly fee to be able to download any of the shows they have on their website. This is much cheaper and a good option for those with a home computer.
The very best way to get old time radio shows on mp3 is to find a website that offers them for free. These sites are few and far between, due to the fact that there are expenses involved in starting and maintaining a website. There is the cost of registering the domain name, paying a monthly fee for web hosting and paying for the old time radio disk sets. Because of this, many of these sites can only offer a few hundred shows in limited genres.
The best old time radio websites are those that are run as a hobby club. This is where the visitors donate ten or twenty dollars one time, to help pay for the website and to buy more shows.
From then on, everyone who made a donation gets full access to all the old radio shows on the website, plus all the new shows as they are added. A good club will also have an OTR discussion forum so the webmaster and the club members can talk about old time radio, ask and answer questions from other club members and request and share shows with each other. Also, a good news blog is helpful. The person who runs the club can post news to the site to let the members know when new shows are added.
Why is a hobby club better than a download site? Some people, not all, who ask for a monthly fee are more of a business than an old time radio lover. A hobby club is usually run by someone who loves old time radio and just wants to share it with as many people as possible. This is the reason for the small donation fee instead of asking ten or more dollars per month as some sites charge. By combining their resources, all of the club members can listen to many more shows then they could afford on their own.
An old time radio club can be lot’s of fun. It’s a way to enjoy and share this wonderful hobby with others and it also helps to keep old time radio alive for future generations to enjoy.