Another OTR source, which I had a membership to until the bank changed my account @$%^&*(), is "R U Sitting Comfortably".  Ned Norris has posted thousands of categorized shows and features which are available for downloading at a membership rate of $7.50 per month.  Slightly better deals for quarterly and annual memberships.  Sound quality varies if I remember correctly.

I also  used to take advantage of the lending library offered by First Generation Radio Archives back when they had one.  One could order shows on audio CD on a lending basis, much like Net Flicks by mail, and even view the labels and runouts of most of the transcriptions!  Even then the sound quality varied but mostly because of the various people doing their "restorations".  Some of the programs were chock full of digital NR anomalies and what I sometimes call micro black holes.  Sounded a lot like heavy handed use of "blanking" which was offered on the Packburn units.  FGRA is still possibly the best organization out there for fidelity vs. dollar but their vast library is nowhere as accessible as it used to be since now they only offer box sets for outright purchase.


-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
Sent: Wednesday, December 07, 2011 8:58 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Fwd: Old-time radio convention meets in Newark for last time -

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