Radio dramas were popularized in the 30s, ’40s and ‘50s, and despite the popularity of smart-phone/tablet games and social media, radio dramas are making a big comeback.
We’re not talking about audiobooks, which are usually narrated by one person; here we’re talking about the acted-out plays with realistic sound effects and music. Remember those?
The beauty of old time radio is that, combined with the marvel of today’s internet, they are often free and the quality is very good. One can download stories of choice to their computer in order to listen later, or click a button to listen online so as to avoid the computer getting overloaded with large downloaded files. It’s so convenient! It’s also easy to download the tracks and put on a disc to give someone as a gift, or if they don’t have internet.
“Sometimes it only takes one good song to bring back thousands of good ol’ memories."
Here are some of our favourite sites:
Internet Archive – A non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, website, and more. Visit the main website and look for the “Old Town Radio” button, to link through to over 4,000 free shows you can listen to. Each show is on average 40 minutes in length in various genres from comedy, drama, crime, to old-time shows arranged by episode. Here you can link in to listen to CBS Radio Mystery Theater, Dragnet, Gunsmoke, My Favourite Husband, and much more. www.archive.org
Relic Radio – Another free website with thousands of options, Relic Radio was established in 2007 and provides podcasts of some of the great old time radio dramas, making them easy to listen and enjoy. Not our favourite as it seemed more difficult to find categories or descriptions of each show, but the selection of shows is quite high. www.relicradio.com
RUSC (R U Sitting Comfortably) – Established in 1999 by husband and wife team Ned and Joy Norris, avid fans of old time radio shows, who wanted to build a website with the best compilation of shows available anywhere. The site does offer quite a few free downloads, as well as membership to a large collection of over 30,000 shows with good descriptions of each show. Membership fees are $7.50/month or $60/year – they even offer a gift subscription – perfect for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day! www.rusc.com