Point well taken, Tom. I love "Fibber McGee and Molly," but when I hear it
nowadays I wonder how anyone much younger than me can get why it is so
clever and funny; for them, the frame of reference is missing. Jack Benny
fares a little better because his DNA is just in about all comedy; I was
really struck lately about how much is TV show is like Seinfeld or vice
versa, and that may mean it's eternal. But "Easy Aces" is a much harder

I have always found it difficult to find OTR programs that hew closest to
my interests, such as music programming or religious shows. These simply
aren't areas where OTR collectors have focused their energies, and some
will even ask you point blank why you care. You can, of course, access some
of the music programming with the radio element edited out of it, which I
find anything but satisfactory. The announcements sometimes contains data
about what is being played that I need, and even though some of it is pure
horn-swoggle, I would rather have the opportunity to evaluate it against
what I know.

For example, one Raymond Scott Quintet piece that exists only from radio is
a 1939 number that shows the influence of Count Basie, "Quintet Goes to a
Dance." That's how it reads on the typewritten label, and although titles
often are compressed through such transmission, that is the accepted title
for the work now. But the announcer reads it as "The Quintet Goes to
Another Dance." Although Scott's archivist rejects the notion, I think it's
a pun; there was a famous piece by Benny Goodman called "Life Goes to a
Party" which celebrated an occasion whereby Life Magazine covered one of
their dance engagements. "The Quintet Goes ... to Another Dance," i.e. one
other than that covered by Life Magazine.

Uncle Dave Lewis
Lebanon, OH

On Wed, Dec 7, 2011 at 9:58 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> 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 -
>  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