Radio comes full circle.
I must had been about four-years-old when I became aware of radio. Radio mostly broadcast live from New York, Chicago, and from my hometown of Los Angeles or Hollywood. And back then it was not referred to as “Old-time radio.” Or as some call it today, ‘OTR.’ Some programs were broadcast with a live studio audience. Never mind the voice characters were just standing there reading straight from a scrip on a music stand with a sound effects man behind them. Radio back then was just Dragnet or The Lone Ranger or The Great Gildersleeve. Just as some refer today to TV programs as just Sixty-minutes or Monday night football or Americas Got Talent.
Back then I liked listening to Sky King, You Bet your life, Fibber McGee and Molly, and the Jack Benny show. It was all current and entertaining. Not Old Time Radio. No sir!
My family had in our tiny Livingroom a Sears mahogany flip-top radio/record player combo console. Just a single speaker AM radio with a two-speed record player changer up top. About the size of a Maytag automatic washer.
Down below was a separated section for recorded albums and singles. A space intended for forty-five RPM and 78 RPM records. However, in our house this space below was taken up mostly with the World Book Encyclopedia. About eight volumes. So many early evenings I would be sitting on the living room floor cross leg listening to Dragnet with Jack Webb while flipping through the encyclopedia looking at photos of old train steam engines or looking at the broad view of Hoover Dam.
My mom was a stay-at-home mom She listened only in the day time hours. Her preference was listening to soap operas and the Breakfast Club out of Chicago each morning. Helping her kitchen duties speed along. None the less, soap opera was her most listened to radio program. Young Widder Brown, Lorenzo Jones, My true Story, Young man’s family, Back Stage Wife, and others. Then later radio was an important part of my teenage years. As in Rock and Roll music. L A, where I grew up, had good R-N-R stations. KFWB, KHJ, and KRLA.
Then came Television. We bought our first TV in 1952. It too was a Sears model. A 12-inch black and white fuzzy round picture screen set in a square mahogany box cabinet. It would be best described as looking at a black and white photo covered with wax paper.
So then came I Love Lucy, Dragnet the TV show, Milton Burl, Howdy Doody, and the occasional diagonal and rolling lines. My mom’s favorite was watching men’s professional wrestling. Don’t ask me why. Then in 1952 the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. And away went radio listening from our attention. I could only speculate it was the promoters of TV that began calling radio, Old Time Radio. Just to push it back as a has-been relic. Never the less, I still love radio. I love exploring other radio markets. This is done late at night on an AM receiver when the ionosphere royals and flows. Causing radio waves to bounce and made easier to capture on most AM radio receivers. I have listened to late at night radio stations from Chicago, Cincinnati, Saint Louis, Denver, Dallas, and sometimes as far away as Los Angeles and San Francisco. But now days I use an app on my iPhone called ‘Tune-in Radio’ and listen to almost any radio station around the world. But limited by listening to stations speaking only English. One of my new favorites to listen to is CBC Radio 1 in Halifax Nova Scotia. Home of the famed Marconi Towers. And Marconi being the inventor of the process called radio. How cool is that?