Listener Tips

How to Listen to Vintage Radio Drama

Vintage radio drama, also called "Old Time Radio" by many, requires good active listening skills. For this reason it can be a worthwhile hobby to introduce to individuals or use in classrooms. As you listen, you must keep track of the different voices/parts and sketch in where the events are happening. It takes a huge portion of your concentration and the only mutli-tasking suitable for listening to vintage drama are things like walking the dog, cleaning, or driving (a familiar/easy route). Many find it helpful to listen in the dark or in a dim room. 

Searching the Blog

You'll find a search box in the upper left hand corner of the page. One of the reason I use the four-letter, all-caps series codes is to allow you to search up all of the episodes in a particular series. Searching for "DIMX" will get you all of the entries for Dimension X, for instance. You can also use the labels in the right hand column to search by genre and theme. Think of these as "play lists."

Decoding the File Names

I use a consistent file-naming procedure. The file is compose of:

  • The four digit year
  • The two digit month
  • The two digit date
  • The three digit episode number in parenthesis
  • The four-letter series "code" between underscores
  • The episode title with proper casing, no spaces, and no punctuation marks
So 19430525(043)_SUSP_SorryWrongNumber.mp3 is episode 43 of Suspense, Sorry, Wrong Number, which aired on May 25th, 1943.

The files are named this way so that they sort correctly (by date) when thrown into a folder. Also, the names can be imported into a spreadsheet or database and broken apart using fixed-width splits. (This is why, for instance, the episode numbers are like 143, 043, and 003, instead of 143, 43, and 3.)

Download or Stream?

In most browsers you can right-click on a file name to download it. I have tried to put the episodes up with the show notes in the Lyrics field, so that they display consistently in whatever music player you utilize. The nice thing about downloading the files is that you can listen to them anywhere/anytime, whether you have a data connection or not. The bad thing, obviously, is that they eat up space on your hard drive or in your phone. For now, bandwidth is not an issue for me, so feel free to listen however you like.