plea to otr lovers of old time radio golden oldies 20's 30's 40's

My names Joe Leto and I am starting up a new low power AM radio station in Parkersburg, Iowa and have found a few oldies radio shows online but not enough to keep enough content to air 24/7 365.I was asking you today how I could ((buy)) or do whatever necessary to build an old time program list like many of you have done over the years...!!!!I have loved old time radio since I was a kid I even became a ham radio operator back in the 80's and up to now because of my love for vintage radio,  and old time radio in general with all of it wonderful actors and entertainers of long lost and almost forgot glory. I built a low power AM radio station just to broadcast old time formats from this bygone era and I feel like I never want to pay sony/bmi/ascapp another penny when shows like Jack Benny Glen miller Captain Midnight etc etc etc exist and are as relevant today as they were 50 years ago in my opinion. Please let me know how I can provide this wonderful content to my small town and allow these oldies to live again. If I can introduce these wonderful treasures to people who never heard of them and fall in love with them like I have then I feel I have done something amazing.I am sure you feel that every day !!! Best RegardsJoe LetoGeneral ManagerKOIW GOLDEN OLDIES AM 515-250-2108 c319-346-8028 studio

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Dave Richards's picture

How about Fred Hall's Swing Thing? It's a great show, and for $49.95, if you send them a 64GB flash drive, they will send it back with a complete archive of his shows - hundreds of them. The shows stream, in lower quality, from the website, and you can do a search by name, to find what artists are featured in the varius shows. One of the first ones I listened to had Fred interviewing Artie Shaw.

Dave Richards

Oakland, California

Carl Blare's picture

Go here and splash around in dreamy goodness.

Carl Blare

ArtisanRadio's picture

Here's another link - the Old Time Radio Researchers.  I highly recommend this one, as they tend to have the highest quality rips of most OTR shows (a lot of them newly transcribed from the original discs), as well as the most accurately named and dated.  Plus a number of shows that are not commonly found.

Mark's picture

I do FM in Canada and it's oldies 50s 60s and 70s instead of 20s 30s and 40s but getting the playlist is the same.

I have about 3000 songs(500 of that is station id's and jingles and about 60 Chickenman episodes.

You don't hear a song repeated for days(24/7) with this variety.

About 600(approx.) songs came from my record collection of 45s that I, back when converted to digital in MP3 format.

The rest....stuff I didn't have from the records I slowly kept adding to the playlist by....well maybe you don't want to hear this...but downloading with a downloader program from Youtube. Everything that was recorded is there. Any song you can think of you will find. Even obscure stuff. The audio downloads in MP3 and after volume leveling is ready for adding to playlist.

Also most of the old time radio dramas are there in their entirety.

The whole complete library of the CBS radio mystery theater narrated by E.G. Marshall is there episode by can get for free anything you want to play on your station....even the old time radio jingles are there.

You can listen before downloading to see if it's the right version you want.

There are many different postings of the same song and sometimes you have to listen to a few to get the best sound quality.

Well that's how I did it.




wdcx's picture

Druid Hills Radio AM-1610- Dade City, FL. Unlicensed operation authorized by the Part 15 Department of the FCC. We do not censor free speech and hide public information.

Radioham's picture

Great ideas..!!!

I will take any and all help I can get and that's why i love this forum people are always here to help !!!


Joe The Radio Dood



AM 1680 KOIW Old Time

Radioham's picture

I finally pulled the trigger and bought all of eBay almost out of anything and everything old time radio now I will spend the rest of my life transferring mp3 files to HD's :P

EBAY GREAT SOURCE for old time radio files in bulk





AM 1680 KOIW Old Time

ArtisanRadio's picture

A few years ago someone put up a bunch of 16 inch transcription discs up on e-bay (as a lot).  I managed to snag them - they weren't rare or anything, but a lot of stuff from the early 50s, such as the show "Guest Star...".

I transferred them into .wav format using a Marantz DVD audio recorder and a Califone record player capable of playing of 16 inch discs, and then onto both CD's and .mp3's.  I then put them into my rotation at one point.

Most of my OTR collection has come from already transcribed CD's or .mp3s such as that commonly available on e-bay, but there is something to be said for going back to first principles.  Even though it's a lot of work, and requires somewhat specialized equipment, you control the quality of the results (or lack thereof).

I still haven't edited/processed a lot of the recordings.  If anyone is interested in some of the raw results, let me know.  I can get you a list of what I have, and send you a CD or two (most of these shows are generally considered to be in the public domain ).  While the raw results in .wav are much larger in size, they allow you to do your own sound processing (I don't recommend processing the .mp3's).  I used audacity, which does improve the sound quality somewhat, but there are certainly other software packages that produce better results.

Radioham's picture

ON A LIGHTER NOTE I am desperately looking for musical content and would pay you sir for your time and troubles for nice sounding oldies music it seems BMI and ASCAP will be on me soon enough i am ready to pay them later than sooner but I figure if I can find older obscure quality music of a bygone era i be happy to shell out for it sir to stay off the licensing vampire suckers who come for everyone sooner or later.. 





AM 1680 KOIW Old Time

ArtisanRadio's picture

My knowledge of copyright law is mainly for Canada.

From what I understand for the U.S. (Tim in Bovey is the expert), over-the-air stations do not have to pay licensing fees for performances, which is a good thing because there are no performances in the public domain until the mid 2030's.  Radio stations just have to pay licensing fees for the actual songs.  Generally, it's considered that anything written before 1922 (I believe) is in the public domain.

Part 15 over-the-air broadcasters do not have to have either a SESAC or ASCAP license (confirmed by Tim in Bovey).  BMI has a blanket Part 15 license (or at least, they did).  Considering the relatively low cost ($150 I believe), and the fact that it allows you to play anything in their catalog, and also considering the amount of work necessary to determine if a song is in the public domain, I'd spring for the BMI license and be done with it.  Then you can play whatever you want (over-the-air).

But that doesn't directly answer your question.

I'm not sure what kind of bygone-era music you're looking for, but there are plenty of sources for vintage jazz (through to the 1950s).

I get a lot of my music from Usenet - there is a group called alt.binaries.sounds.78rpm-era that is quite active, and lot of very obscure (as well as popular) stuff gets posted there.  Much of this music IS in the public domain in most countries of the world (the U.S. is very draconian in its copyright laws), including Europe and Canada, and a lot of the posters come from these countries.

You'll need to subscribe to a premium Usenet server to download this material.  Most have over 3000 days of retention (7-8+ years of posts).  I'd recommend either Usenetserver (inexpensive & great retention) or Giganews (more expensive but the highest retention).  You'll also need a news reader - I use Xnews, which is long on the tooth but still works well and is free.

Another source of vintage jazz is the Internet Archive that has been linked to previously.

Of course, most classical music was written prior to 1922, and so is suitable for license-free over-the-air play in the U.S.

Hope that helps.

Radioham's picture

This is why i love this forum you guys have all the sweet info :)

I am going to follow this example as we speak.. I think the later is the better choicefor the long haul that's what's needed to keep the audience base familiar with broadcasted content alt.binaries.sounds.78rpm-era sounds like a winner.....!!!keeping my station on a regular schedule, so not to mix it up too much because people don't like change muchso not to rock my audiences boat...



AM 1680 KOIW Old Time

ArtisanRadio's picture

There are two ways to get downloads from Usenet.

One is to use NZB files (basically an index, much like a torrent, of posts).  There are plenty of NZB search sites - you enter in your search criteria, find your posts, and then download them.  You'll need a Usenet reader that supports NZB files (XNews doesn't, unfortunately).

That's great if you're looking for specific artists or songs.

But there's so many obscure artists and songs that are being rediscovered and republished that I prefer scrolling through the posts of a news group, and downloading a song or two of stuff that looks interesting.  If I like it, I download the rest.  It takes more time, but I've found some tremendous music that way, such as the Harlem Hamfats.

ArtisanRadio's picture

Here's another link that allows you to easily download (from a browser) OTRR certified sets - these sets are either certified complete (all episodes) or accurate (dates, titles, etc.).  Other sources may appear to have more episodes, but they're likely (99%) duplicates with bad dates.  I've found the OTRR stuff to be the best quality - as I've mentioned previously, they're often new encodes from the original transcription disks.