Information for
Newcomers to the OTR Hobby

Welcome! Whether you are a teenager wondering what folks "saw" in old-time radio, or a seasoned citizen recalling your youth, welcome to both and to the hobby of collecting, preserving or otherwise enjoying old-time radio shows.

This page is intended to serve as a quick introduction to the hobby. You can

The "golden age" of radio presented a wealth of varied programming to radio listeners of the time. For many, radio was THE entertainment and news medium. Jay Hickerson, editor of The Ultimate History of Network Radio Programming and Guide to All Circulating Shows lists over 6000 radio shows (or series) in his book. Some of these shows were excellent representations of drama or news. Others were mediocre. Some were pretty bad. Quite a few were preserved on early aluminum or glass discs, "shellac" recordings (known as ETs or "Electronic Transcriptions); and later on magnetic wire or tape.

In the late '60s and early '70s, collectors scrounged ETs from available sources, and some pooled their resources to make magnetic tape recordings of much of the material. Several old-time radio clubs were formed, and some of these still exist today. Tape recordings of various shows were passed from hand to hand, with many folks making duplicate copies for their own use. Each duplicate (or "generation") lost a little audio quality, so the shows that are still available today may vary considerably in audio quality, depending on their "generation" and other factors.

Today, there seems to be a resurgence of interest in OTR. This phenomenon may be due to the perceived stagnation of current radio fare, or the genuine production and entertainment quality of the old shows, or a myriad of other reasons. For many, their daily commute is made less stressful by listening to a half-hour OTR show rather than the yakkata-yakkata of a talk show or the BOOM-BOOM-BOOM of a music station.

This resurgence of interest may also be due to the growing number of OTR pages on the World Wide Web. The WWW gives both youngsters and oldsters a chance to communicate their interests in the hobby. Hobbyists can "talk" with some of the folks who were instrumental in the development of old radio shows of three, four or five decades ago!

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