No, not the Top 40 style of radio I played and you grew up listening to on that tinny AM radio (or even the progressive rock on FM)....this is about radio shows from the 40's and 50's when radio was still king. This was the era when families gathered around the large console radio in the living room to listen to Sam Spade mysteries, Bing Crosby singing. Arthur Godfrey variety shows, or big band orchestras performing live in a radio studio somewhere.
Yes, I know this type of entertainment is likely before your time. Being born in 1949 most of it is before mine. For folks used to the visual stimulus of television, simply listening to a murder mystery or comedy without pictures takes some getting used to. The quality is not what we are used to either; shows from that long ago were recorded on equipment that is crude and almost prehistoric-seeming in today's world.
But, with all that said, I hope you will just try an old radio show or two. There are tens of thousands of them available on the Internet. While some of the better known sites charge to listen, many are completely free. If you try those and find you enjoy using your imagination and mind's eye to recreate the scenes being described, then you can go ahead and invest the rather minimal amount for a lifetime's worth of choices. In fact, collecting old time radio broadcasts is a hobby that attracts thousands. You might find an interest, too.
One thing you will quickly notice is how different humor was 60 years ago. Besides being "clean," it was rather hokey. The jokes sound silly to our ears. But, that is part of the fun of listening: you can hear what made your parents and grandparents laugh You will get a better understanding why they struggle with today's brand of comedy and what is appropriate conversation.
There was no such thing as "political correctness" so jokes at the expense of women and the roles of the sexes, labels such as "doll baby" and "honey" were used for most female characters. Again, this is an excellent way of appreciating how far we have come (with a lot farther to go) in being more sensitive to these issues.
OK, enough set up. I have provided several links for you to explore. They are clearly labeled as free or requiring a membership. This list barely scratches the surface of the resources available on-line, but there is plenty here to get you started.
I must mention that one site listed, RUSC, provided me with a free guest membership to evaluate their offerings. I was favorably impressed and at $60 for a year I very well might invest in a regular subscription.
- Old Time Radio Lovers
- Old Time Radio Network
- Old Time Radio Fans
- Wisconsin Public Radio Old Time Radio Drama (look at the archives for past programs)
I will be interested in your feedback. These shows aren't for everyone, but you might find using your imagination instead of your eyes is an interesting experience.