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ARSCLIST  December 2011

ARSCLIST December 2011

Subject:

Re: Fwd: Old-time radio convention meets in Newark for last time - NorthJersey.com

From:

Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 7 Dec 2011 09:58:25 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (96 lines)

I think the point you are making is that Radio Yesteryear and then Radio Spirits charge too much for 
sometimes poor audio quality and overly-large box sets. But what about outlets like OTRCat, which 
offer dirt-cheap, terrible-sounding CDR full of programs? I would say both are equally bad. OTR is 
SO prime for an iTunes model -- it's a niche market that's pretty commoditized (and, come on, how 
much did any of the people releasing OTR programs pay per program source?). So why not sell 
individual programs as decent-quality downloads (192kbps MP3 is just fine for almost all OTR 
content), for say a quarter (25 cents) per hour? My bet is, it's a very "long tail" model and there 
would be enough sales volume to make it viable if not wildly profitable (is Radio Spritis wildly 
profitable? I doubt it. What about OTRCat? It seems like it costs him as much to produce and mail a 
CDR as he's charging, if his time is worth anything). A friendly, accessible, super-easy-to-order 
and instant-download/instant-gratification website is what's needed to attract new listeners. No kid 
in his 20's is going to wait for a Radio Spirits catalog, order a 50-CD set for $100 when he only 
wants 1 or 2 programs, and then wait days for it to arrive, then rip it to his iPod. Talk about 
totally outmoded and last century! And then look at the CDR sellers' website, who can navigate 
those? Someone needs to team up with Amazon or iTunes, make the descriptions and listening samples 
standardized and easy like music is on those websites, and sell the content cheap enough that people 
will take a chance on something older than their grandparents.

And here's another issue. For someone of my generation, and certainly for younger people, OTR is 
very remote like old black and white movies. Sure, some acting and some story-telling is so good and 
so compelling that it still resonates today, but most of it comes off as stilted, antique and 
irrelevant, because the culture has moved on. And yet, the OTR sellers concentrate most of their 
marketing on ancient radio dramas or radio re-enactments of movies that even Grandpa would admit 
were stilted and boring. What about old news events? Old ground-breaking news shows like came out of 
"Murrow's Boys" consistently in the 40's and 50's? Yes, Norman Corwin celebratory victory-casts get 
more than fair marketing, but I know of only one seller who's collected most of the ground-breaking 
"Hear It Now" weekly news magazine shows, and I've asked numerous times on this list (which includes 
some heavy-duty OTR collectors and accumulators) about various CBS news specials and year-end 
summaries, and no one seems to own a copy or know where one can buy one. I think there may be 
longer-term interest in actual real-world history than "The Shadow" or "Fibber McGee and Molly," or 
a Bing Crosby show, but maybe that's just me.

I'm sure this will get some dander up in the OTR world! ;)

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "David Lewis" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, December 07, 2011 9:22 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Fwd: Old-time radio convention meets in Newark for last time - 
NorthJersey.com


> In response to DDR's set up, which I know was intended tended at least
> half-humorously, I did wish to say something. The decline of interest in
> OTR -- and Dr. B may dismiss these proposed reasons and offer others, as is
> his wont, and right -- derives from numerous factors that worked against
> it: the concentration of the legacy into too few hands with botiuqey/gifty
> business models, the drying up of conventional radio outlets still
> delivering the goods, the aging/dying off of the original audience that
> remembered it from when there was no TV, the enthusiasts' interest in too
> few of the genres represented by OTR, etc. It came to a point where the OTR
> universe was contracting, rather than expanding, and once that plateau is
> reached it becomes like a white dwarf, a tiny former star with all of the
> material packed inside it, growing ever denser and dimmer.
>
> By virtue of its mandate, ARSC is busier and more badly needed than ever
> before. The manifold DRM issues, the recent and unprecedented truly serious
> and scholarly investigation into pre-1917 recordings outside of opera, the
> controversy of what constitutes jazz and what that has stirred up,
> activating interest in a whole range of little appreciated dance band
> recordings, the rapidly decaying formats of recent times and the neglect
> from scholars of relatively recent eras. The failure of "new musicology"
> and the lassitude of musicologists more concerned with accruing tenure --
> which is getting away from them anyway -- than with developing a true
> understanding of developments in music of recent eras. And so forth, and so
> forth .... Jeez.
>
> We can't cure all of these issues, but they all prevent some kind of
> challenge, and we find ourselves of finding ourselves having somewhat
> whiter hats than the white hats who ought to have the job of evaluating or
> taking care of these things. And I admit I expanded our definition beyond
> what we do, but all of this affects us in some way. The universe is clearly
> expanding, not contracting, for ARSC. It is all our little organization can
> do to keep up with new developments, and much of the relevant news I hear
> either comes through this list or its members. I'm not happy to see the OTR
> people disband, and another thing we might have to consider is how to deal
> with OTR related issues now that there is no more OTR organization to
> centralize thinking about it, access and to respond to what level of
> enthusiasm there is about it. It never ends.
>
> Uncle Dave Lewis
> Lebanon, OH
>
>
>
> On Sun, Nov 20, 2011 at 11:09 AM, Dennis Rooney <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>
>> All who fear ARSC as we know it self-extinguishing must read this.
>>
>> DDR
>>
>>
> 

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