I got to thinking today, about the history of OTR and want to dispel some myths, confirm some facts, and we will do this with a game I call True Or False. All you have do is make a guess.
Q1: OTR stands for Other Terrestrial Radio?
Well, no that doesn’t even make any sense. OTR stands for Old Time Radio. The old-time radio era, sometimes referred to as the Golden Age of Radio, was an era of radio programming in the United States during which radio was the dominant electronic home entertainment medium. It began with the birth of commercial radio broadcasting in the early 1920s and lasted through the 1940s when television gradually superseded radio as the medium of choice for scripted programming, variety, and dramatic shows.
Q2: It is a fact that everyone during the golden age of radio listened to the medium and that there was a radio in every home?
That would be false. According to a 1947 C. E. Hooper survey, 82 out of 100 Americans were found to be radio listeners. A variety of new entertainment formats and genres were created for the new medium, many of which later migrated to television: radio plays, mystery serials, soap operas, quiz shows, talent shows, daytime and evening variety hours, situation comedies, play-by-play sports, children’s shows, cooking shows, and more. Believe it or not even today there is not a TV in every home.
Q3: The earliest form of Old Time Radio was found in Paris in 1890?
That is true, broadcasts of live drama, comedy, music, and news that characterize the Golden Age of Radio had a precedent in the Théâtrophone, commercially introduced in Paris in 1890 and available as late as 1932. It allowed subscribers to eavesdrop on live stage performances and hear news reports by means of a network of telephone lines. The development of radio eliminated the wires and subscription charges from this concept.
Q4: The first OTR program broadcast in the United States took place on Christmas Eve 1906?
Very True! On Christmas Eve 1906, Reginald Fessenden is said to have broadcast the first radio program, consisting of some violin playing and passages from the Bible. While Fessenden’s role as an inventor and early radio experimenter is not in dispute, several contemporary radio researchers have questioned whether the Christmas Eve broadcast took place, or whether the date was, in fact, several weeks earlier. The first apparent published reference to the event was made in 1928 by H.P. Davis, Vice President of Westinghouse, in a lecture given at Harvard University.
I could go on and on with questions answers on this topic. I will visit this subject again later on down the road in volume two. Thank you for reading!
This Week’s Podcast: On the podcast this week we return to some good ole old time radio with a classic science fiction story from X-Minus One. We have the best of your stories and head back in time to hear a speech given by Douglas MacArthur. You can listen to this podcast on Thursday at Ron’s Amazing Stories, download it from iTunes, stream it on Stitcher Radio or on the mobile version of Spotify. Do you prefer the radio? We are heard every Sunday Night at 8:00 PM (PST) on AMFM247.COM. Check your local listing or find the station closest to you at this link.
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