Old Time Radio

Reliving Our Parents Memories Seventy Years Later

The Origins

Old-Time Radio (OTR) and the Golden Age of Radio refer to a period of radio programming lasting from the proliferation of radio broadcasting in the early 1920s until television's replacement of radio as the dominant home entertainment medium in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

During this period, when radio was dominant and the airwaves were filled with a variety of radio formats and genres, people regularly tuned in to their favorite radio programs. In fact, according to a 1947 C. E. Hooper survey, 82 out of 100 Americans were found to be radio listeners. The end of this period coincided with music radio becoming the dominant radio form and is often marked in the United States by the final CBS broadcasts of Suspense and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar on September 30, 1962.

The Cast Of Characters Was Endless

Bob Hope Groucho Marx Bad Guy!

Murrow Yes Guess Who!

Shows For Everyone!

Comedies: Abbott & Costello | Amos & Andy | A Date with Judy | Barrel of Fun | Benny Goodman | Bob Hope Show | Blondie | Evening with George Burns | Camel Comedy | More..

Dramas: Avenger | Defense Attorney | Charlie Chan | More..

Mysteries: Boris Karloff | Cloak and Dagger | Dark Venture | More..

Variety: Al Jolson Show | Arthur Godfrey and his talent scouts | Artie Shaw | Authors Playhouse | Big Bands | Eddie Arnold Show | Ernie Ford | More..

Westerns: Hopalong Cassidy | Death Valley Days | Gene Autry | Gunsmoke | More..

SciFi/Superheros: 2000 Plus | Batman | Buck Rogers | More..

Music: Big Bands | Benny Goodman | More..

Misc: Afloat with Henry Morgan | Archie Andrews | Les Miserables | Breakfast Club | Amazing Mister Malone | Complete Broadcast Day | Eddie Arnold Show | Educating Archie | More..

Today We Have Several Websites Providing Access To The Golden Years

Listening Circa 1930-1950

Listening To The Radio

Paul remembers the big radio in the front room that was used in the 1940's and 1950's.  It was a Zenith Trans-Oceanic and in fact picked up stations on the short wave bands!

Content Covered All

Radio content in the Golden Age of Radio had its origins in audio theatre. Audio theatre began in the 1880s and 1890s with audio recordings of musical acts and other vaudeville.

These were sent to people by means of telephone and, later, through phonograph cylinders and discs. To day we do it with CD's and MP3 files!

Visual elements, such as effects and sight gags, were adapted to have sound equivalents.

In additions, visual objects and scenery were converted to have audio descriptions.

The First Broadcast

On Christmas Eve , 1906, Reginald Fessenden sent the first radio program broadcast, which was made up of some violin playing and passages from the bible.

The year Paul's father was born!

It Was Live

In the beginning of the Golden Age, American radio network programs were presented almost exclusively live, since the national networks prohibited the airing of recorded programs until the late 1940s. As a result, prime-time shows would be performed twice for both coasts. However, some programs were recorded as they were broadcast during this period, typically for syndicated programs or for advertisers to have their own copy. When the networks became more open to airing recorded programs in the 1950s and 1960s, recordings became more common.

Recordings Were Not CD's

Recordings of radio programs were typically made at a radio network 's studios, since the expense and expertise of making a recording was usually more than a local station was capable of handling.