Suggestions for New OTR Collectors

by Jack French

Here are a few tips that will assist you in enoying your new hobby more and expanding your knowledge and your audio holdings:

  1. Read the articles by Terry Salomonson on starting, archiving, and trading in OTR, found at the Vintage Radio Place .

  2. Join an OTR club with a good rental library and informative newsletter. There are 20 clubs in the US so if there is not one in your town, join one that has mail-in members. I'd recommend SPERDVAC, Metro Wash OTR Club, and OTR Club of Western New York among others. Not only will you be kept up to date by newsletter on obituaries, new acquisitions, and conventions, but you'll also be able to rent tapes and dub them. (Some clubs also have books and magazines to rent). Webmaster note: You can obtain a list of some of these clubs by checking my OTR Clubs list)

  3. Try to get to one of the big conventions held annually. The Newark one is in October, the Cincinnati one is April, the Puget Sound one in July,and SPERDVAC one in November. The latter prohibits tapes from being sold, all the rest have numerous dealers present selling tapes at about $ 3 each.

  4. If you have a passion for a certain series, you could join a fan club (there are such for Jack Benny, Popeye, Lum 'n Abner, Vic and Sade, the Shadow, and a few others).

  5. Whether your collection is large or small, try to obtain a log for every series you're collecting so you can get the correct dates, titles, etc so you don't get trade for duplicates you already have. The Vintage Radio page above has a listing of many logs, several of which you can down-load from that site. Webmaster note: See the OTR Logs page for logs in various formats at and other sites

  6. Get on the mailing list for at least five dealers who carry the stuff you like to collect. There are over 40 in the US and most will put you on the mailing list for a buck (and keep you on once you order tapes.) Webmaster note: See the Program Guide (Table of Contents Page) for info on some OTR dealers and clubs that support this site. Also see the Vendors' Table for an even larger list of OTR dealers.

  7. Try to get access to at least one or two of the following reference books:

  8. If you decide to trade tapes with other collectors, consider a few common-sense guidelines to prevent unanticipated surprises when trading with a stranger:

Jack is editor of Radio Recall the newsletter of the Metro Washington Old Time Radio Club. Annual dues for membership in MWOTRC are $20 for local folks, and $15 for members residing outside the local area. For more info, send an email to Jack, or send him a snailmail letter (enclose a SASE if you want a reply) at PO Box 2533, Fairfax VA 22031.

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