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ARSCLIST  May 2014

ARSCLIST May 2014

Subject:

Re: Advice on otr discography

From:

Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Tue, 27 May 2014 13:48:04 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (514 lines)

I think a logical way to split up such a project would be:

Drama/serials/produced fictional enactments

Music

News and actuarials/documentaries/non-fiction productions

Even splitting it three ways, it's many phonebook-sized volumes.

If anyone ever takes up this project, good luck to you! I hope you're young, or have excellent 
health and genetics. It will take decades.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Steven Smolian" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, May 27, 2014 12:49 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Advice on otr discography


> Sound quality varies greatly among iterations.  Records derived from a
> common source are issued in great and in terrible sound receive equal
> billing and potential buyers hare left unwarned about the latter, I feel
> this ellement must be taken into account.
>
> Does old time radio also include opera broadcasts?
>
> Steve Smolian
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Randy A. Riddle
> Sent: Tuesday, May 27, 2014 12:05 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Advice on otr discography
>
> 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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