A Passion for Radio

Radio is my oldest passion. It started when I was 10 and saw the plans for how to build a radio. My dad fanned that flame with a crystal radio kit. That piece of technology that captured sounds out of the air and reproduced them without a battery or other external power source seemed magical to me, and still does. As I became interested in music, radio was the source to feed that passion as well.

I've had many radios over the years and they all seemed to serve a particular purpose. My pocket transistor radio was how I listened to music. My shortwave radio tuned me into the world. My parents' AM/FM hi-fi system intruduced me to the sound of stereo and it is where I heard my first Old Time Radio shows. My own AM/FM tuner connected to my reel-to-reel tape recorders is how I started build a collection of music and radio broadcasts. My GE SuperRadio is how I tuned in to distant AM stations across the country. Later, the radios I picked up that were produced in the 1930-40s were how I learned about not just the workings of tube radios but, with the help of an AM transmitter, how broadcasts of that era actually sounded to those who heard them back then.

The Radios link on the left provides a more detailed look at the hardware side of this passion.

My passion branched into a new, though related, area when I "discovered" Old Time Radio shows being broadcast by a local station in the mid-1960s. This form of entertainment grabbed me right away and I never wanted to miss a Sunday afternoon's broadcast. It was only a few years later, around 1970, that I began collection the programs when I found that, unlike a television program, these shows could be listed to again and a again. My collection has grown from those few shows to over 65,000 today.

As I mentioned on this site's main page, it is truly a wonderful thing when separate hobbies, interests, and passions collide or overlap. My passion for Old Time Radio Shows met up with my passion for Magnetic Recording when I started collecting these shows and this later intersected with my passion for Computers as my collection took advantage of the digital world as both a way of acquiring content and, through database programming, a way to catalog and organize it. The Computer connection expanded into my building a web site, The OTR Annex, devoted to this topic, that I set up in the later-1990s. It even crossed over to my interest in Video when I produced a television program, "Watching the Radio," on our local community-access television station for about 15 years.

The Old Time Radio Shows link on the left provides a more detailed look at the that passion.

Of course, my passion for radio is not limited to tubes and vintage broadcasts as I have listened to, and collected, New Time Radio, programs broadcast since the early-1960s. Although my early interest was in the musical content, I listened to LOTS of the spoken word over-the-air, which included talk radio as far back as Joe Pyne, the religious broadcasts out of Zzyzx Springs in the California desert, local police calls, comedy routines, and a myriad of other sounds that filled the airwaves. I liked it all. And, unlike the consumption of television, which my parents kept a check on, I had no restrictions attached to radio listening.

The New Time Radio Shows link on the left provides a more detailed look at the this area.

A note about the photo at the top, right of this page. This is a ceramic sculpture I made in the Spring of 2018 in a class I took at Montana State Universty, Billings titled "AM/FM." The curvy line on it shows the two types of radio waves, with the FM wave closer to the viewer. This is another example of hobbies, interests, and passions overlapping.

Click on an image to enlarge it.

Updated January 2021.