Ralph Doty: When radio was goldenToday, we begin a column in the Duluth Budgeteer News about the Golden Age of Radio, a hobby I’ve nurtured for some 40 years.
By: Ralph Doty, Budgeteer News
Today, we begin a column in the Duluth Budgeteer News about the Golden Age of Radio, a hobby I’ve nurtured for some 40 years.
From the early 1920s to the mid-1960s, folks used their imagination as they listened to such great shows as “The Jack Benny Program,” “Challenge of the Yukon,” “The Lone Ranger,” “Burns and Allen,” “Fibber McGee and Molly,” “Edgar Bergan and Charlie McCarthy,” “Gunsmoke” and the soap opera “Ma Perkins,” to name just a few of the thousands of radio shows heard during that era.
I began to collect old-time radio shows in 1970 when they were played on reel-to-reel tape recorders. When that technology went the way of the Ford Model T, I purchased thousands of shows on cassettes.
Then we went to compact discs, most of which contained only two old-time programs. The newest technology popular among collectors is the MP3 disc, capable of holding up to 100 shows per CD.
When Diane and I moved from Ohio back to our hometown of Duluth,
I donated several thousand taped shows to an Ohio public radio station, and to a teenager who was fascinated with the old-time radio artform.
Several months ago, I donated more than 2,000 shows to the public radio station KUWS-FM 91.3, which currently airs my hour-long “Radio Memories” show at 8 p.m. every Friday. (The show was first broadcast in 1985, with a few interruptions, on KDAL-AM.)
I currently retain about 2,100 programs in my collection.
For folks 50 years old or older, these musings will be a nostalgic trip; for those younger than 50, it will be background on a major media before TV came to the Twin Ports in 1952 on WFTV Channel 38. (WFTV are the call letters currently used by a television station in Orlando.)
Some future topics:
• The only show to transition from TV to radio (and not the other way around) was “Have Gun, Will Travel.”
• A poll taken of OTR collectors revealed that their favorite show was “The Jack Benny Program.”
• Radio newscasts weren’t heard on a widespread basis until Edward R. Murrow of CBS broadcast news stories by shortwave radio from London in 1940 while the Nazis were bombing London.
And if you have suggestions or questions about old-time radio that you’d like me to feature in future columns, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.