Saturday, 7 November 2015


I have recently listened to some of the great OTR (Old Time Radio) stations through the 'tunein' app and two thoughts occurred to me. Firstly having listened to so many great programmes from the golden era of US radio, I feel in Ireland we have lost so much great radio from RTE because of the lack of recordings which in turn was due to the lack of finances afforded to the state broadcaster.

The golden era of US radio is usually associated with the late thirties, forties and fifties up to the period when television began to replace radio drama as radio moved more to music and news delivery. On stations such as WNAR, Antioch 1710 or Rumsey Retro Radio you can hear some great dramas such as The Whistler, Suspense or The Lives of Harry Lime (from the Third Man starring Orson Wells), comedy programmes like You Bet Your Life with Groucho Marx, The Jack Benny Show or Abbot & Costello.

Perhaps Irish programmes such as one off dramas or The Kennedy's of Castleross would be worth listening to again. Reviews for Radio Eireann programmes were often flowing with praise and how I would love to hear some of the great Irish actors who appeared on the radio.

Secondly stations in the US such as WNAR are available on line but also on medium wave (AM) as a microstation. A microstation broadcasts locally on very low wattage but they are able to broadcast to niche markets without much big brother controls from the FCC. Perhaps a similar system of low powered transmitters could be employed in Ireland on AM frequencies in around 1500 - 1600 Khz where no Irish stations exist and low power would cause little interference to UK stations.

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