I first heard of a 'Paraset' when I saw a message on the QRP-L reflector announcing an upcoming 'June 6th Paraset D-Day' activity. A search for more information soon revealed that the Paraset was a small vacuum-tube transmitter-receiver unit built during WWII in the UK at the Whaddon Hall headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Service Communications Unit. Known officially as the 'Whaddon Mark VII', the units were either air-dropped by parachute or carried, by the jumpers themselves, into many of the occupied countries of western Europe. . .
Seventy years ago today was the original broadcast of "The War of the Worlds". Listen to it, uninterrupted, here. The program reportedly caused a mass panic across much of the Northeast. [more inside]
I Love Lucy Pilot (1951). Originally unaired. More about this. Of related interest, the audition for the I Love Lucy Radio Show.
The U.S. Constitution protects your right to bear arms. And it supposedly protects your right to mock nearly-bare bears. Speech is definitely subject to supply and demand. So why does the FCC feel the need to regulate swearing on the airwaves? Steven Pinker complains. [via ALDaily]
Voices and Music of World War I and Voices of World War II: Experiences From the Front and at Home both feature spoken word, sheet music and songs galore (all audio RealPlayer). The Great War site has plenty of stuff, but the core is the collection of songs, anti-war, patriotic, France-themed, Kaiser-knocking and so forth. The WWII site also has a whole bunch of music, demonstrating the changing mood of the US, from conflicted feelings about the start of the war to conflicted feelings about the atomic bomb. Among the artists are Nat King Cole, Leadbelly, Benny Goodman and Fats Waller. But in addition the wonderful songs there are newscasts, speeches, propaganda and other radio broadcasting of all kinds.
Stanford Italian literature professor Robert Harrison does a conversational show on KZSU, the university radio station, called Entitled Opinions (on Life and Literature), which is also distributed as one of the most fascinating, engaging podcasts in any possible universe. Choicest topics include mimetic desire, Proust, the inflationary universe, 1910, American writers in Paris and the history of the book.
The Early Television Foundation and Museum Website covers the nascent days of the nation's pastime, with interesting items like mechanical TVs and programming schedules from 1939.
NPR's On The Media presents a short set of pieces about comments on news websites and the challenges of "digital democracy," with discussion from Ira Glass about responses to a show about teenage runaways, and New Republic editor and critic Lee Siegel, who posted anonymously to respond insultingly to comments on his own blog. And a Roanoke newspaper editor discusses how one paper sees the integration of comments into online news sites and whether it's a valuable reader service. [more inside]
Interval Signals Online is a site devoted to "Interval signals, signature tunes, airchecks and identification announcements from international, domestic, and clandestine radio stations around the world" such as Radio Tirana, AFAN Radio of Antarctica's McMurdo Station, and Radio Greenland. (Last three links are automatic downloads). Tip of the hat to mykescipark.
This is the city, Los Angeles California. I work Here. I carry a badge. My name's Friday. [more inside]
Nanotube Radio. "We have constructed a fully functional, fully integrated radio receiver, orders-of-magnitude smaller than any previous radio, from a single carbon nanotube". (via)
Find a short wave radio and before long you should be able to tune into The Lincolnshire Poacher - the station plays an introduction comprising part of the eponymous folk tune followed by a robotic female voice reading strings of numbers: listen! So called Numbers Stations have been a mysterious constant of short wave radio for several decades. The Conet Project [previously 1, 2, 3] has made a collection of the recordings available allowing you to listen to "Ready! Ready! 15728", "The Buzzer" (especially mysterious), "Gong Station Chimes", "Magnetic Fields" and many others.... [more inside]
Jean Shepherd has been mentioned before but WFMU's Beware of the Blog has finally dug out an mp3 of Shepherd himself telling the story of "I, Libertine" (mp3 link) (wiki). I, Libertine was a literary hoax that began as a practical joke. Shepherd asked his listeners ("the Night People") to go into bookstores and ask for a book that didn't exist. Fueled by bewildered bookstore owners and distributors, I, Libertine eventually did end up as a genuine bestseller, proving his point that the process of choosing bestsellers was flawed.
Calling your personal online radio station the best of everything seems designed to provoke controversy. But in this case it's just one "mature consumer" taking a stand against big media and youth oriented marketing. Be sure to read the about page. [more inside]
Should Michael Reagan be free to say this on syndicated radio? Should Mark Dice be free to say this (NSFW audio) on his website? [more inside]
[NSFW]"The following program is in living color and has been rated X by the Vietnam academy of maggots. The purpose of this program is to bring vital news, information and hard acid rock to the first termers and non-re-enlistees in the Republic of Vietnam. Radio First Termer operates under no Air Force regulations or manuals. In the event of a vice squad raid this program will automatically self-destruct." Radio First Termer was a pirate radio show broadcast by "Dave Rabbit," an anonymous USAF sergeant, for 63 hours between January 1st and 21st, 1971, out of the back room of a brothel in Saigon, gracing the dial at 69 MHz and 690 AM.>> Fearing reprisal from his superiors, Dave Rabbit then shut Radio First Termer down and, after returning to the States, went back to living a normal life. 34 years later, while helping his son on a homework assignment, Dave came across old recordings of his show. He's since revived his old persona via podcast, and has also brought Radio First Termer back to the warzone--to Baghdad, Iraq. [more inside]
It's no secret that amateur radio operators, or hams, often build their own equipment. Especially with the aid of antenna tuners, most anything can be used as an antenna. One group of hams took this to the extreme, using ladders and shopping carts as antennas as they started an annual competition that would eventually see trucks, train tracks, a tree, and even a pair of exercise machines and a football stadium used. I stumbled across the site last night, and it turns out that this year's competition is this weekend! Ham radio, by the way, no longer requires a Morse code exam, just a set of questions on electrical and operations theory. Those curious can take practice tests online, since the FCC releases the question pools.
Let's Pretend With Uncle Russ. From 1948 to 1952, kids at American military bases all over the world tuned in to Let's Pretend with Uncle Russ on Saturday mornings to hear a variety show of stories and music. Although the majority of listeners were the children of U.S. military personnel who received the program through the Armed Forces Radio Service, "Uncle Russ" also had a worldwide fan club of listeners from faraway places who tuned in to hone their English skills. The site is maintained by "Uncle Russ" himself, Russ Thompson, who wrote, directed and produced the 30-minute show, as well as providing character voices. The site features photos, fan letters (the most popular reason for writing was to join the "Around the World Safety Club"), celebrity guests and more from the show's run.
Phil Schaap has hosted a jazz program for the past twenty-seven years on WKCR, Columbia University’s radio station with unapologetic passion and a depth of familiarity that comes, in part, from the personal relationships he had with the musicians themselves.
Whole Lotta Shakin' - a PRI documentary series on the history of rockabilly, hosted by Rosie Flores.
The pop music industry has sadly come to depend on “heritage acts” – wrinkled, dyed-hair, aging stars – to pack houses and make money.
“Whatever a future superstar act will be, it won’t be as ubiquitous as the acts from the ’60s because we were all listening to Top 40 radio.”
“Whatever a future superstar act will be, it won’t be as ubiquitous as the acts from the ’60s because we were all listening to Top 40 radio.”
What's one of the best ways to break into UK radio? Hospital Radio of course! There are over 408 radio stations in the UK that originate from hospitals. Fully staffed and loaded with volunteers, they are a lifeline to patients and produce modern, original programming. Who got their start on hospital radio? Hundreds of legends in the UK radio industry! Including Chris Moyles, Scott Mills, Jacqui Oatley, and Heena Tailor.
The Goon Show was a popular and influential radio comedy produced by the BBC from 1951 - 1960, starring Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe. Here, you can listen to it whenever you like. [more inside]
A very special 'This American Life' about an administration with the endemic belief that laws only apply to the little people, and a limitless refusal to concede on even petty issues, no matter the costs. The highlight is about immigrant widows of US citizens (30:50). The program also discusses the constitutional beliefs of the presidential candidates. [more inside]
A cool map of lightning frequency over time across the globe. And a live version for the U.S. Heck, a zoomed-in version on the Northeast for the past 60 minutes. It turns out that you can even buy a small Lightning Detector to map local lightning strikes on your PC. It listens for the signature static crashes from lightning, sometimes called sferics (short for atmospheric noise), much like you can hear on an AM radio during a storm. You can even listen to streaming audio from NASA's (Alabama) VLF receiver.
LugRadio is a fortnightly British radio show that takes a relaxed, humorous look at Linux and open source.
Yo La Tengo is Murdering the Classics... again! For the 12th straight year, this legendary group of music nerds from Hoboken, NJ encamps to the studios of local free form radio station WFMU to play, on the spot, three full hours of listener-requested covers. The request show, part of the station's annual pledge drive, happens tonight (Sunday, March 2) from 5-8 pm EST, and thanks to the wonder that is the internet you can listen (128k MP3 stream) and pledge live from anywhere in the world (or catch the real broadcast in FM at 91.1 in NYC / New Jersey and 90.1 in the Hudson Valley, Catskills, Western NJ and Eastern Penn). [more inside]
Go way back into time with a deliciously analog collection of mastermixes from 1980s-era soul radio from London. [more inside]
To The Best Of Our Knowledge is one of the most wide-ranging and literate public radio shows in the US, a two-hour "radio salon" featuring leisurely exploration of weekly themes like No Smoking, Identity Crisis, Weekend, and The Mind, Music, and Math. Host Jim Fleming approaches these big ideas through the works of authors - journalists of all stripes, memoirists, poets, fiction writers, essayists. Five years' worth of shows are available on audio archives; you can also search the impressive list of authors by name, or subscribe to the podcast. [more inside]
Soukous Radio is an online radio station that plays/streams this energizing, joyous, African fusion music, known for its bright guitar sound and rumba/salsa beat. The name, Soukous, is derived from the French word secouer, to shake. A popular, recent Soukous video by two Ivory Coast singers, DJ Eloh and DJ Mix, The Bobaraba (which means “big bottom” in the local Djoula language), celebrates booty shaking. [more inside]
Waging a tiny rebellion via shortwave radio. "Missing the Internet's precision, what I think most recommends shortwave radio now is its offer of quest. It's in the hunting for something unknown that might not be there anyway, and if it is, may dissolve, sputtering, eaten by sunspots or zapped in static."
Los Angeles! he walks again by night... ...out of the smog, into the fog. Relentlessly -- ruthlessly -- ("I wonder where Ruth is?") -- doggedly! ("Woof woof!" *) For the past 42 years the Firesign Theatre, the best comedy group of the 1960's, has been putting their art in cans from Canada to Kashmir. Up for the Grammy in 1998 and 2001, Firesign at their best combined clever, multilayered writing with pitch-perfect satirical performances as Rocky Rococco, Ralph Spoilsport, Art Holeflaffer, Hemlock Stones, Uh Clem and Barney, and many more. Back in the day, it would have been astonishing if at least one of your peers couldn't recite all of The Further Adventures of Nick Danger, Third Eye, including the sound effects. [more inside]
The HF Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) (a Google Video) radio signals are clearly heard in the 40 meter band, echoing off the Moon. This video shows S-meter readings as seen on a Yaesu FT-1000MP amateur radio (ham radio) transceiver located in San Jose, California. And of course a thorough explanation of what you are watching/hearing can be found on About the HAARP - LWA Moon Bounce Experiment.
Enjoy a heaping helping of old time radio with classic Christmas specials from The Jack Benny Show. [more inside]
Jean Shepherd was one of the greatest storytellers ever to be heard on radio. The Jean Shepherd Project collects recordings of these historic broadcasts, converts them to mp3 files and makes them available to be revisited by his longtime fans and by those who wish to discover what great American storytelling is all about. [more inside]
Maximum Fun! Interviews with all sorts of interesting people. John Hodgman and Henry Rollins, Brendon Small and Peter Molyneux, Terry Jones, Jonathan Katz and Jonathan Goldstein, Patton Oswalt, Elmore Leonard, They Might Be Giants, Ira Glass, and many, many more, from all areas of the arts and sciences and stuff. Something for everyone! [more inside]
The Radio Kitchen is an mp3 blog dedicated to the late night wonder of listening to shortwave and AM radio, now and as it used to was. Brought to you by The Professor from WFMU's defunct AM and Shortwave Radio blog). [more inside]
From Our Own Correspondent BBC journalist Alan Johnston gives his account of being kidnapped in Gaza for 114 days. Best in his own voice [mp3]. [more inside]
Live Loud Acts: archives and playlists for The Pat Duncan Show on WFMU. Hour upon hour of expertly curated punk rock radio. Pat's Myspace page has more info. [more inside]
Here are four classic short stories by John Collier in four different forms: the original text of his famous "Thus I Refute Beelzy"; a 1947 radio script for "Evening Primrose"; a radio version of "Back for Christmas", starring Peter Lorre; and Patton Oswalt's interpretation of "The Chaser."
Streaming interviews and performances from KGSR in Austin. Rufus Wainwright, Willie Nelson, The Gourds, Gomez, Kelly Willis, Pete Townshend, and many more.
Just watched a tv show, looking for the music you just heard? Playing the radio, and didn't catch the DJ saying the title? On the go? In the woods? (Also)
The DeZurik Sisters committed only six songs to record during their recording career, but were the first women stars of the Grand Ole Opry and the National Barn Dance. Now WFMU has 32 tracks of theirs from their early appearance as The Cackle Sisters on the Purina Checkerboard Squares Radio Show. Download away and hear the yodeling that swept the nation in the early 40s.
Radio 1.0 meets Web 2.0. TUN3R is a virtual AM/FM radio for the internet, complete with a little dial and a boss key, creating a uniquely satisfying way to search for radio stations. On a related note, also worth perusing is this discussion of the expanding world of social music sites. That list misses quite a few neat sites including the graphically stylish Musicovery; the Hype Machine, which pulls music from blogs; and Goombah, which reads your iTunes library, but there are many more. [some prev]
After 15 years, Schickele Mix is no more - "Dedicated to the proposition that all musics are created equal" - That's the tag line of Schickele Mix, the best, broadest, funniest, and most interesting music education program ever heard. Created and hosted by Peter Schickele (best known for his other entertaining music education creation - P.D.Q. Bach - a fictional composer son of Johannes) Schickele Mix juxtaposed Bach with the Beatles, Elgar with Duke Ellington and the Everly Brothers, Tuvan throat singing with twanging Texas Swing, or Schubert with Spike Jones in "suites" demonstrating the universality of musical techniques and themes. Checkout the playlists and you'll see what I mean. After 15 years of broadcasts and re-broadcasts, Schickele Mix is no more. This is a shame, since three and a half years of educational weekly programs could be repeated for new audiences, if not continuously, then with a gap of a couple years until something better comes along. These programs have such rich content, it's a shame future audiences can't be created. I've got to wonder whether it's not just the 5 cycles of repeated playings (which, by the way, I've never gotten tired of) that's the whole reason for its disappearance from the airways. The program depends on a wide range of recorded music. Perhaps the new proposed performance royalties, or even merely their threat, have managed to claim Schickele Mix as a victim. As Peter Schickele said at the end of each program, "It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that certain je ne sais quoi. And with the apparent demise of Schickele Mix, we've lost a serious source of that important "je ne sais quoi."
Claybourne was a unique and well produced radio drama set in New Zealand. It was science fiction, a thriller, a soap opera. It aired in 96 five minute episodes, but died mid-storyline when it's creative team- like so many creative teams- couldn't get it together.
How do you do: since 1950, Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago, Illinois has produced dramatized salvation stories which are now syndicated around the world. 2,950 weekly one hour stories have been produced so far, and the variety of wayward paths these poor sinners have taken is astonishing, running the gamut from "Gambling, Lying, Fear", to "Country Music, Bigamy, Pride" to "Jewish, Seeking, Piano(part 2)." Whatever their false beliefs, all these fortunate folks have one thing in common (well, besides being voiced by the same few people): their hearts and minds and lives have all been UNSHACKLED! With impressive production values and sound effects created onstage during the live taping, it may be the last true radio drama. Sadly, PGM does not evangelize open audio formats; Real or WMP only.
Musekeweya ("new dawn") is a phenomenally popular radio drama broadcast out of Kigali, Rwanda. The soap, funded by Dutch NGO La Benevolencija, follows the story of two star-crossed lovers who come from opposing villages involved in an increasingly violent struggle. Thought Rwandan law makes it difficult to discuss the genocide in the media, the show aims to open a dialog using the fictional villages of Bumanzi and Muhumuro as a proxy for Hutus and Tutsis. A soap opera may seem like an unlikely vehicle to tackle a topic of such national importance, but it's actually not uncommon. And, certainly, Rwanda is a country that knows all too well about the power of radio
"I've said all along, we are in this together." John Simson, executive director of SoundExchange - the royalty collecting arm of the RIAA - extends an olive branch through 2008 that will cap the advance payments internet broadcasters will have to cough up at $2500 per year. This comes in the wake of the Day of Silence, (it was June 26, did anyone notice?) spearheaded by Los Angeles-based terrestrial/online radio station KCRW (home of the brilliant Morning Becomes Eclectic) and SaveNetRadio, during which some of the biggest names in online radio - include Live365, NPR and Pandora - went dark for 24 hours, airing a one-hour broadcast twice during that day on the history of flat fees in public broadcasting. [direct .mp3, 38mb] Under the much-maligned changes made by our government's Copyright Royalty Board, the top six internet radio stations would have had to pay 47 percent of their total revenue (anticipated to be around $37.5 mil.) to the RIAA, starting this July. The Internet Radio Equality Act [summary, in its entire pdf glory] has been introduced to the House of Representatives, seeking to permanently reverse this decision.