Sunday, June 6, 2010

Old TIMER'S Radio

You know one thing I was a little too young to take advantage of much was old time radio shows. Throughout the late 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s, these short plays and comedy acts were THE biggest of the big deal of their day. Yes before television, internet, and satellite programming, radio drama and comedy were the top dogs on the block. Now talk radio is king but it tends to be repetitive, argumentative, and makes for anything but stress-free fun.

By 1960, most U.S produced radio dramas and fun comedy programs were canceled as TV quickly seized control of our lives with a bloodless coup. As a teen, on Sunday nights, one radio station in California would re-broadcast old time radio shows for only one hour. I would try to listen as often as I could and enjoy the colorful way the actors brought a script to life with inflection, emotion, and sound effects.

Apparently Sundays too, were the days with the least amount of radio listeners for normal music programming, because I remember my folks allowing me to listen to the very experimental Dr. Demento radio show. The program featured comedy, music, bawdy drinking songs, and anything goofy, weird and UN-television. Dr. Demento hangs on in relative anonymity today with his web presence and limited terrestrial radio audience. However in the homogenized 70’s, I think the show appealed to me with its irreverent humor and sophomoric innuendo which I embarrassingly still draw on today in my writing.

Despite worldwide media’s huge turn toward internet entertainment, television, and large budget motion pictures, radio still happily lives on today. Obviously with the advent of talk radio, mostly of a political tone, commercial markets in the United States, have boomed over the last 20 years . Still to this day Britain’s BBC media giant, produces NEW regularly scheduled radio dramas and soap operas for their European markets. Many of these programs air daily, or on weekends and are sometimes available through internet podcasts.

Now these days, whenever stuck in my motorized appliance, I have the good fortune of a satellite radio on board for audio entertainment. The XM/Sirius folks provide a whole channel dedicated to JUST old time radio shows. I love listening to the ‘Shadow’, or ‘X minus 1’, George Burns, Abbott and Costello – you name it. All the shows are not rip-roaring funny, or deceptively mysterious, but for anyone who spends as much time with words as I do, they are ALL very entertaining. If you are interested in a taste of the ‘good ol’ days’ then check out this site for true old time stress-free radio programming. Give them a listen, and you may never go back to your redundant talk radio station again.

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