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ARSCLIST  May 2014

ARSCLIST May 2014

Subject:

Re: Advice on otr discography

From:

"Randy A. Riddle" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Tue, 27 May 2014 12:04:47 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (434 lines)

I agree this would be a useful project, but it's a different animal than
the lp discography I'm working on.

Really, this would be a survey of archival holdings of original and dub
transcription discs and tapes, as well as tapes from collectors that have
found their way into archives and libraries.

Back during the hey-dey of OTR nostalgia, there were thousands of tapes
that were shared among collectors and many that were commercially released
by big outfits like Goldin's Radio Yesteryear or Radio Reruns and
collectors that would dupe and sell a limited number of copies and sell
them through mail order or other venues.

The lp discography would be useful for libraries, collectors and
researchers since the lps were more widely distributed in many copies -
most aren't uncommon.

I put some thought into a larger database of OTR.  The basic idea I came up
with was a database based on individual programs that would list a full
description, keywords, casts and where the shows are held or are available
online and some notes about the specific holdings on the original discs or
tapes and the sound quality if known.

I really think this would be a good candidate for an inter-institutional
effort done with some type of seed money from a grant or big money
donation.  I did some "back of the envelope" calculations and figured you
could catalogue all of the OTR shows circulating among collectors in a
couple of years with about $1 million to cover the costs of full-time
cataloguers that would listen to the programs and enter the information.
 There are many more programs that are on discs in archives that have never
been transferred to tape or digital.

Randy



On Tue, May 27, 2014 at 9:26 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> Hi David:
>
> I agree with your point, that there is other captured (recorded) material
> that was never commercially reissued. It would also be good to document
> just what are the sources for the commercial reissues (for instance, some
> of the transcriptions sold by David Goldin and later by the company to
> which he sold some or all of his material) seem to be copy transcriptions
> (ie disk-to-disk dubs).
>
> To my thinking, a practical way to document this would be, instead of
> traditional discography, do it as program listings followed by known-extant
> recordings, known-once-extant recordings and commercial reissues including
> their sources. I don't know if this data can ever be collected this long
> after the fact, but it would show a "family tree" for each distinct
> broadcast.
>
> If someone ever works on this, you should contact Art Shifrin and spend as
> long as it takes to pick his brain. Art knows a lot about how radio
> programs were transcribed and has some first-generation documentation of
> practices at some networks and with some shows. It's also worth looking
> into Columbia University's archives because I think Erik Barnouw left his
> papers to Columbia. My point is, there has been some research and
> documentation done, so no need to completely reinvent the wheel. There also
> is a large collection of recordings if not documentation in Tennessee that
> I have mentioned before. It is probably worthwhile finding out more about
> the donor and seeing if he left papers along with the hundreds of reel
> tapes.
>
> If one were to get into this, expect to step in with both boots, expect to
> take years, and don't expect to make a fortune from your work. I expect
> you'll end up with a Rupli-sized series of books, if printed books are even
> appropriate for this (it might be better to just put it all in an online
> database at this stage of technology). There were thousands of hours of
> broadcasts preserved (recorded), many episodic shows and also many local
> broadcasts and one-time events. So much material to document and trace!
>
> -- Tom Fine
>
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "David Lewis" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Tuesday, May 27, 2014 7:44 AM
>
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Advice on otr discography
>
>
>  I appreciate that in many cases LP reissues would be the only accessible
>> source for some broadcast material. But I also know that what was issued
>> on
>> LPs/tapes
>> represents only a fraction of radio recordings in the first generation
>> space. Naturally, first generation sources are quite inconsistent in the
>> way that they are numbered;
>> instantaneous cut sources are often not numbered in any way, and one
>> source
>> for a program might take an entirely different form from another of the
>> same program.
>>
>> Nevertheless, I wonder why our forebears found it satisfactory to document
>> only the reissue versions of radio programs. I realize an entirely
>> different kind of project is
>> being suggested here, one that has value and that I applaud. But in the
>> Hal
>> Kemp discography I wrote in preparation for my recent ARSC talk, I was
>> frustrated by the
>> lack of solid data available on first generation sources for radio
>> programs. It naturally leads to inconsistency of entry.
>>
>> best,
>>
>> David N. Lewis
>> Lebanon, OH
>>
>>
>> On Wed, May 21, 2014 at 6:49 PM, bARC <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>
>>  Everyone
>>>
>>> For OTR you can now search our online catalog @
>>> http://arcmusic.org/catalogs/recordings/
>>>
>>> Using radio you get about 1400 hits, so by label best, like Radiola (112
>>> LPs).  We also have a Herman Chittison collection on CD donated by his
>>> biographer (80 discs)  We would focus on cataloging all the many others
>>> commercial radio discs in our collection as needed, per request.
>>>
>>> B. George
>>> Director
>>> ARChive of Contemporary Music
>>> NYC
>>> info@arcmusic
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> On May 21, 2014, at 6:23 PM, Chuck Howell wrote:
>>>
>>> > We have a number of these discs here in our holdings at UMD, and would
>>> be happy to participate in such a discography project.  I doubt we have
>>> anything that the contributors to this thread aren't already aware of,
>>> but
>>> I would like to put in a word for including commercially released 78's in
>>> the project as well.  We have some of these as well, which, since they
>>> were
>>> released contemporaneously  with the program, weren't really considered
>>> OTR
>>> at the time.  They are still of interest though.
>>> >
>>> > Chuck
>>> >
>>> > Chuck Howell, CA
>>> > Collection Leader
>>> > Special Collections in Mass Media & Culture
>>> > Hornbake Library North, RM 3210
>>> > University of Maryland
>>> > College Park, MD  20742
>>> >
>>> > phone - 301-314-0401
>>> > fax - 301-314-2634
>>> > [log in to unmask]
>>> >
>>> >
>>> > ________________________________________
>>> > From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [
>>> [log in to unmask]] on behalf of Randy A. Riddle [
>>> [log in to unmask]]
>>> > Sent: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 11:03 AM
>>> > To: [log in to unmask]
>>> > Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Advice on otr discography
>>> >
>>> > Thom -- Thanks for your encouragement on the project.  I've amassed a
>>> > collection of old time radio lps for many years keeping data about them
>>> for
>>> > my own reference (in the 70s on 3x5 index cards).  I've been thinking
>>> it's
>>> > time to do something more public with it if there's interest.
>>> >
>>> > I'd limit my work to commercially released lps - there are so many
>>> > cassette, reel to reel and even 8-track issues out there, it would be
>>> > difficult to track them down.  I would say that many would need
>>> extensive
>>> > work even to get them to play now - the lps are more permanent and more
>>> > commonly found by collectors and libraries.  There's some overlap with
>>> > collectors interested in music works by specific artists (like Bing
>>> Crosby)
>>> > or individuals that collect personality or memorabilia related to
>>> > personalities (such as Bela Lugosi or Marilyn Monroe).
>>> >
>>> > Work does need to be done on what kind of transcriptions are held in
>>> > institutions and by non-profit organizations or commercial entities.
>>>  I've
>>> > heard the American Legion has an extensive run of original
>>> transcriptions
>>> > for some series they released to stations in the early 50s about the
>>> Cold
>>> > War, for example.  Getting a handle on institutional holdings would be
>>> a
>>> > big project all by itself.
>>> >
>>> > Tom Fine - Duke University didn't get any original transcriptions in
>>> their
>>> > advertising collections - they have microfilm of original scripts.
>>>  Over
>>> > the past few years, I've donated several transcriptions from my own
>>> > collection that fit with their different collecting areas, like women's
>>> > history or African-American culture, so they have some to compliment
>>> their
>>> > archives.
>>> >
>>> > I've used Goldin's site to double-check dates or other information on
>>> > specific shows or to see if something is in circulation among
>>> collectors.
>>> > I'm going to contact him by mail soon with some questions about Radiola
>>> > and some of the quirks of the records he issued and points on the
>>> history
>>> > of the company.
>>> >
>>> > I'd like to find some people associated with or who have first-hand
>>> > knowledge of the other "biggies" in the old time radio reissuing area
>>> in
>>> > the 70s and 80s like Mark 56, Nostalgia Lane, Golden Age, etc.  Part of
>>> the
>>> > aim of the discography, for me at least, is a look at how nostalgia was
>>> > "sold" to the public through these releases.
>>> >
>>> > rand
>>> >
>>> >
>>> >
>>> > On Wed, May 21, 2014 at 10:16 AM, Tom Fine <
>>> [log in to unmask]
>>> >wrote:
>>> >
>>> >> If you guys are going to do this, you should get going while there are
>>> >> still some first-persons alive and some key second-persons like David
>>> >> Goldin. Also, whomever runs this should make sure to talk with Art
>>> Shifrin,
>>> >> who has quite a lot of knowledge on this topic. Also Mr. Ellis down in
>>> the
>>> >> DC area, who has a huge collection of high-quality OTR already
>>> digitized.
>>> >> It's also very much worth re-reading the Erik Barnouw trilogy of books
>>> >> because of the numerous and accurate references and other
>>> documentation
>>> >> throughout.
>>> >>
>>> >> There is also a huge collection of low-quality but sometimes very
>>> >> interesting OTR tapes -- yep they are the dreaded 4-tracks on 1/4" at
>>> >> 3.75IPS type -- at a university in Memphis, it may be University of
>>> Memphis
>>> >> or Memphis State University. The librarian there is very nice and
>>> helpful
>>> >> about making CD dubs, but she is not an OTR person.
>>> >>
>>> >> My own interest in OTR is mostly focused on "news and actuarial," ie
>>> very
>>> >> little interest in "nostalgia" drama or comedy especially the
>>> well-worn
>>> >> mainstream stuff. I also have some interest in music recordings, but
>>> only
>>> >> those of good fidelity. David Goldin used to have some very
>>> interesting
>>> >> news broadcasts available from his custom tape service, but I never
>>> had
>>> >> enough money to buy all of them. I should add, one exception to my
>>> general
>>> >> disinterest in the drama stuff is "Mercury Theatre On THe Air" and
>>> >> "Campbell's Radio Theatre" with Orson Wells (sp?). I'm still on a
>>> quest
>>> to
>>> >> get all the Mercury Theatre shows in really good fidelity. I know some
>>> just
>>> >> don't exist in good fidelity anymore.
>>> >>
>>> >> Another possible source of radio-transcription audio that I bet hasn't
>>> >> been tapped is the archives of long-standing corporations and
>>> advertising
>>> >> agencies. This would be especially true for the drama/comedy stuff,
>>> which
>>> >> was sometimes produced by ad agencies specifically for corporate
>>> sponsors.
>>> >> For instance Duke University has been given tremendous amounts of
>>> vintage
>>> >> video advertising material. Is there any audio material in the lot? If
>>> so,
>>> >> is it documented? What about GM's corporate archives? Coke? Pepsi?
>>> >>
>>> >> -- Tom Fine
>>> >>
>>> >>
>>> >>
>>> >> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Thom" <[log in to unmask]>
>>> >> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>> >>
>>> >> Sent: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 9:48 AM
>>> >> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Advice on otr discography
>>> >>
>>> >>
>>> >> In the paper I gave at ARSC, I included a call for a Radio Research
>>> >>> Interest Group for ARSC, one of whose aims would be to give input
>>> into
>>> >>> standards related to metadata of broadcasting works and their
>>> exemplars
>>> >>> (based in part of principles of the National Recording Preservation
>>> Plan's
>>> >>> goals of better cataloging practices for sound recordings and the
>>> >>> recommendation under 4.3 "A Coordinated National Collections Policy"
>>> for
>>> >>> "a
>>> >>> subcommittee to develop strategies and tools to collect and preserve
>>> radio
>>> >>> broadcast content").
>>> >>>
>>> >>> Your proposed discography would be very useful as it would list
>>> commercial
>>> >>> publications of radio programs on disc, and would link them to their
>>> >>> original works and series. I hope you will consider publishing it to
>>> the
>>> >>> web as well as in book form (Scarecrow Press does this), and that you
>>> >>> would
>>> >>> allow other parties to license your data for re-use in broader
>>> databases
>>> >>> (such as national discographies [NRPP Recommendation 3.1]).
>>> >>>
>>> >>> Best,
>>> >>> Thom Pease
>>> >>> Library of Congress
>>> >>> (not speaking  for them).
>>> >>>
>>> >>>
>>> >>> On Wed, May 21, 2014 at 8:00 AM, Randy A. Riddle <
>>> [log in to unmask]
>>> >>>> wrote:
>>> >>>
>>> >>> I'm considering putting together a discography of old time radio
>>> >>>> broadcasts
>>> >>>> released on lp.  I'd like some advice from folks in ARSC,
>>> particularly if
>>> >>>> you're in a library, archives or if you're a researcher on whether
>>> this
>>> >>>> would be a useful endeavor.
>>> >>>>
>>> >>>> Some background ….
>>> >>>>
>>> >>>> In the 70s and 80s, as part of the "nostalgia boom", several small
>>> labels
>>> >>>> popped up releasing old time radio broadcasts on lps.  Some were
>>> widely
>>> >>>> distributed through mail order and retail outlets, such as releases
>>> from
>>> >>>> Goldin's Radiola, Mark 56, Nostalgia Lane and Murray Hill.  Many
>>> others
>>> >>>> were put out by otr enthusiasts in limited runs.
>>> >>>>
>>> >>>> Although many otr broadcasts are floating around at archive.org and
>>> >>>> other
>>> >>>> sites, these lps do contain better quality or more complete versions
>>> of
>>> >>>> broadcasts and some that have never made it to digital.
>>> >>>>
>>> >>>> The lps often have no information on the disc or cover about the
>>> >>>> particular
>>> >>>> episode of a program.  If the particular broadcast can be
>>> identified,
>>> it
>>> >>>> might have been done from a tape dub floating around or original
>>> >>>> transcriptions and might be altered or incomplete.
>>> >>>>
>>> >>>> The discography would describe in detail the contents of each lp,
>>> noting
>>> >>>> the sound quality or any problems with the material.  In addition,
>>> it
>>> >>>> would
>>> >>>> cross-reference different releases of the same broadcasts.
>>> >>>>
>>> >>>> I've managed to gather a fairly large collection of these lps, but
>>> would
>>> >>>> probably need to fill out some gaps in my collection, so this would
>>> take
>>> >>>> some time to pull together.
>>> >>>>
>>> >>>> I'm at a point where I've been informally putting together notes on
>>> these
>>> >>>> discs for my own research, wondering if a discography like this
>>> would
>>> be
>>> >>>> more broadly useful and the kind of interest there might be in it.
>>> >>>>
>>> >>>> I've considered three different outlets for the discography.  I
>>> could
>>> put
>>> >>>> it together as a website, an ebook I might sell through Amazon, or
>>> try to
>>> >>>> submit it to a publisher like Macfarland.
>>> >>>>
>>> >>>> I don't want to reformat all the information at a later time - a
>>> blog,
>>> >>>> ebook or publisher manuscript - would be assembled differently.  My
>>> >>>> question, if you think this would be useful, would be what you think
>>> the
>>> >>>> best outlet might be so I can figure out the best format to put
>>> together
>>> >>>> the information.
>>> >>>>
>>> >>>> The scope of the discography would be complete broadcasts or
>>> significant
>>> >>>> broadcast excerpts on lp discs and wouldn't include the many
>>> compilations
>>> >>>> of songs drawn from different broadcasts that are probably
>>> highlighted in
>>> >>>> artist or genre discographies.  However, it would include discs that
>>> >>>> might
>>> >>>> contain a complete broadcast or band remote, for example.  It would
>>> also
>>> >>>> include some lps issued before the 70s, such as lp releases of the
>>> CBC
>>> >>>> McCarthy-era drama "The Investigator" or Columbia issues of episodes
>>> of
>>> >>>> "You Are There".
>>> >>>>
>>> >>>> Thanks.
>>> >>>>
>>> >>>> rand
>>> >>>>
>>> >>>> __________________
>>> >>>> Randy A. Riddle
>>> >>>> [log in to unmask]
>>> >>>> www.coolcatdaddy.com
>>> >>>>
>>> >>>>
>>> >>>
>>> >>>
>>>
>>>
>>
>>

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