Want thousands of hours of entertainment for free? How about listening to old time radio, which is often abbreviated as just “OTR.” There are many ways to get to hear those classic old radio programs. First, you can go to one of my favorite websites; vTuner. It is a website that has links to free online radio. You click on the station link on the upper right corner of their home page. Then down on the bottom of the next page you would want to click on “Radio Drama.” Most of the stations are internet only although there are a few stations that are both broadcast and internet. A few stations are in languages other than English.
iTunes is the main audio app for iPhones but is also available for Windows devices. They mix old radio programs in with “News / Talk Radio.” A easier way to find stations is to search for “OTR” in the search box.
If you have SiriusXM in your car, you can get old radio programs on channel 148 – Radio Classics.
The largest collection of old radio broadcasts is on the Internet Archive. It says that there are 2,520 results but that is misleading as some of those results will lead you to a page of episodes. Some of the titles have way over 100 episodes. So it is impossible to figure out the total number of radio episodes available. There are shows available for any genre. You can either listen to a show right off the web page or if you click on “MP3” you can download a show to listen to it on any MP3 compatible device like a smartphone.
These are some of my suggestions for those not familiar with old radio programs:
- Comedy – George Burns and Gracie Allen; Fibber McGee and Molly; My Favorite Husband (starring Lucile Ball before I Love Lucy).
- Westerns – Gunsmoke (stars William Conrad as Matt Dillon); The Six Shooter (starring James Stewart); Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch (a short story and a few songs).
- Detectives – Sherlock Holmes (some star Basil Rathbone); Richard Diamond, Private Detective (starring Dick Powell); The Saint (starring Vincent Price).
- Crime – Dragnet (before the TV show); Gangbusters; Mr. District Attorney.
- Mystery/Fantasy – The Shadow (early episodes star Orson Welles), The Green Hornet; The Whistler.
- Medical – Dr. Kildare (with Lionel Barrymore as Dr. Gillespie).
- Sci-Fi – Superman (usually multi-part serials); X Minus One; Dimension X.
- Music – Grand Ole Opry; Camel Rock & Roll Dance Party (with DJ Alan Freed).
- Almost Genealogy – Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons.
One other series worth mentioning is “Lux Radio Theater” which did radio versions of movies. Most of the time they starred the same people that were in the movie. There are so many episodes available for this great series that they are separated by year. The page with episodes from 1950 has links to other years. On the 1950 page is a presentation of the “Wizard of Oz” with Judy Garland. Judy sounds like a girl during the dramatic parts but when she sings you know that she isn’t a girl anymore.