Saturday, July 9, 2011

9 July 1957 “Old Radio Programs & New Technology”

I recently received a letter from a follower asking me where I got my old radio programs to cd. I figured a post about old radio programs would be interesting with an accompanying Vintage Daily News to go along with it.

girlwithradio Before TV in the 1950’s, most passive entertainment came from the radio. Though the 1950’s had the TV, radio was still a major part of your daily life. The radio in the car was a new thing in the 1930’s and was not standard equipement. At first home systems were adapted to the car.

By the 1950’s most cars came with a radio:

A common feature of modern car radios is the "seek" function which allows tuning from one station to the next at the push of a button. This was a popular option on some Ford products in the 1950s. It was known as the "Town & Country" radio since it used a pair of switches marked "Town" and "Country." Pressing the Town button actuated a motor to rotate the tuning mechanism while the receiver sensitivity was reduced so that only local (stronger) signals would be received. When a station was tuned, the motor stopped. Pressing the Country button had the same effect except that full sensitivity was enabled so that the very next available station would be selected. In addition, for repeated seeking operations, pressing a foot switch on the driver's floor up to the left where the "dead pedal" is located on modern cars would reactivate the Seek at whatever sensitivity was last selected.

The Radio program was the forerunner of the soap opera’s which transferred to TV. But, they started out for homemakers in the afternoons. One could listen to the drama unfold while they folded the laundry.

1950’s tv actors often started out as Radio personalities. Andy Griffith, for example, began as a stand up comic and radio personality. Here is an example of his early radio entertainment HERE. And of course Dagwood and Blondie from the funny pages was also a Radio Program (here sponsored in 1947 by lustrecream shampoo). This would later become a TV program. Listen to the radio broadcast HERE.

My hubby was kind enough to make compilation cd’s for me by downloading shows and commercials from some online sites with MP3’s and then burning them to disc. In today's Daily News I have a few links to such sites. allows you to download MP3’s which can then easily be burned to cd or simply used on an i-pod type device. This is very good if you can manage a fun make over of an old Radio into an MP3 Player docking station.I have a link to an instructables to make such a radio in the News today.

You can also use a product called an i-trip which plugs into your i-pod and allows it to transmit over any radio, such as your car. This is a much easier solution and you don’t need to destroy your old radios, simply get them running again. This even works on old Tube Radios. Then you can take your vintage music/shows/commercials into each room that has an old radio and away you go.

Here we see someone using it to transmit on an old radio. This is an easier use as you simply need to get an old tube radio or radio that works and then broadcast to a dead air station any list you have. You could make up an mp3 list of old radio shows, commercials from a particular year and while you are busy doing your chores feel as if you have indeed time-traveled.

another example of using a radio broadcaster for an mp3 player on an old radio.

These transmitters run about $20 and I put some in the corner store. You can buy them HERE. I love things such as this that allows us to enjoy and keep our old things and not just to look at as if in a museum, but to interact and use them as intended, to hear great old programs and music (or new as well. Feist would sound just as good on an old set as would Ella, though I prefer Ella myself.)

Any way you slice it, old time radio is just plain ole’ fun. I love it, as well, as it is another way to ‘wean’ oneself off the constant entertainment required by modern living. It disconnects you from the viewing need, which suddenly frees you from the sofa. You can easily garden, clean, and move about while enjoying old radio programs, freedom from the modern stare at the screen. I hope if you have never tried old programs you do give it a go. You will be vastly amused and entertained. So, check out the various links here and on the News today and see what you think.

Happy Homemaking and let me close with G I Jill, a famous radio announcer here from a 1950 recording. If you would like to hear more of G I Jill including a 3 part war time broadcast go to APRON TV and click on Classic Radio Programs on the side. Enjoy!

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