Monday, March 28, 2016

The Girls in the Band

PBS ran a special about "The girls in the band."  Great female pop musicians past and present.  I caught only the last few minutes.  I hope they had something about Phil Spitalny and his all girl orchestra. Who can forget Evelyn and her magic violin.  Click on Phil.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


Old deejays never die.  We just grumble about what happened to radio.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

When radio was all there was

I wonder if a person who grew up in the world of television and internet can ever fully appreciate the value of the spoken word as it was transmitted by radio in that medium's "golden era." A few podcasters  try, but the word "radio" has a different feeling, a totally different meaning for them than it does for one who experienced radio when that's all there was.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


One more reason to be glad I'm pretty old:  I listened to "Vic and Sade." It was one of the most popular radio shows back in the day.  It wasn't  a dramatic soap opera.  Just Mr. and Mrs. Victor Gook (rhymes with book)  and young son Rush talking about their daily lives and the colorful characters they knew.  Nothing of great consequence, no drama.  Brilliantly written with great humor,  perfectly cast and performed, it was wildly popular and got lots of awards. The estimated number of listeners in 1943 was seven million. The Gooks lived  in  "the small house half-way up the next block." That's how the show started each day.

Looking back, thinking about what made it such a big hit, maybe you would need to have lived during the 30s and 40s to understand why we loved it.  For escapism radio gave us the same fare we have on TV today.  Soap operas, crime show, drama, sports, music and variety.  But when we needed something we could relate to and laugh along with , Vic and Sade filled the bill.  It was a sweet, simple time for a great many Americans.  We really lived like that, sitting on the front porch and going over the day's events.

There are many old time radio fans not old enough to have experienced it as I did. I wonder what they have to say about Vic and Sade,
I am real pleased to find several online groups and blogs dedicated to Vic and Sade.  This is my favorite:

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

 I have not listened to Garrison Keillor for quite a long time.
Maybe it's that there are so many great story tellers on the internet and a few on live radio there isn't time to hear all of them. 

Canadian story teller Stuart McLean is apparently as popular on Canadian Radio and in public appearances as Keillor is in the states, maybe even more so.  He's a good writer and his stories have more laugh-out-loud situations than Keillor's  Lake
Wobegon monologues.  Like Keillor's stories,  McLean's Canadian tales have a standard cast of characters. 

But I can't get used to his delivery.   He reads his stuff and sounds like he's projecting to the live audience.  Keillor knows how to romance a microphone and make it intimate. He is old enough to understand the power of radio as a spoken word medium.
                                          To find the Canadian Show google "The Vinyl Cafe."


Radio, the once great spoken word medium

I did a Facebook post about how I liked Steve Allen, a true wit and multi talented performer. I said  he's one of many TV greats who got their start in radio.  Johnny Carson, too.
Ask anyone age 75 or younger about a favorite radio station and they'll say it plays good songs. 

At 85, I have no common frame of reference with younger persons that lets me talk about radio as a great spoken word medium.  They do  podcasts and call it radio but it's not the real thing.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Vote for Gracie and the Surprise Party

The greatest presidential campaign was 1940.  George Burns's beloved Gracie tossed her hat in the ring with real style.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Radio's Big Voice

I imported this one from my Facebook Page

I listened to The Lone Ranger, The Challenge of the Yukon and Super Man last night. I continue to be amazed at how real those old radio shows were. Truly "theater of the mind." Another interesting thing. Male radio heroes had deep voices. Clark Kent went into the phone both , emerged as Superman and his voice dropped an octave . The rock culture and its falsetto singers changed all that. A deep voice now sounds like somebody's grandfather. I couldn't get used to the light voices of the movie actors who played Superman. They sounded like Clark Kent when he went into the phone booth to become Superman with super powers and a super voice. It just wasn't right. Another old time radio show, one of the best ever produced and also great onTV, was Gunsmoke. I never watched the TV version. William Conrad had the perfect Dodge City sheriff radio voice but he was too fat for TV. It was the longest running Western series.. I am so glad that I grew up with that kind of radio that let me draw my own mental pictures of what the characters looked like.