James Marshall's Radio Page

Radio can always be used for listening to music, news, etc., but here I have in mind some other aspects of this form of audio entertainment: old time radio, shortwave radio, and radio scanning. A bit related to music and such is at the bottom in the other radio section.

Old Time Radio

Many years ago the radio reigned supreme in home entertainment and there were some really great programs broadcast back then. There were tons, just like TV now, but a few of my favorite old time radio (OTR) programs include Suspense, Escape, X Minus One, Dimension X, Quiet Please (see also QuietPlease.org), The Whistler, The Mysterious Traveler, Lights Out, and other mystery/drama type shows. There were great comedy shows, too, but they're not my first choice. Many shows have entries at the Wikipedia's list of OTR programs. To get a feel for the kinds of stories OTR told, try OTR Plot Spot's plot archives (mainly sci-fi, horror, and adventure) or OTR Plot Summaries (mainly "Detectives, Mystery, Vigilantes, and Westerns"). A variety of sites have programs, but most don't have very many shows online. In general, I get my OTR from Antioch 1710 AM's online stream or by purchasing MP3 CDs from OTRcat. If you decide to order from them, please say that James Marshall from College Park recommended you. Thanks. The Old Time Radio Vault also has a good selection of shows available for purchase; you can get custom made CDs from them, but I prefer OTRcat's premade CDs for series. Alternatively, you can try the Internet Archive's OTR site, which has a bunch of series and shows available for free. If you're looking for program logs, Vintage Radio Logs has tons of them available.

Shortwave Radio

I bought a shortwave radio back in 1999 so that I could listen to radio broadcasts from all around the world. It's interesting to hear what's happening in other areas of the world and sometimes you'll get a new perspective on the same news you get on the TV and radio. I started with the Radio Shack DX-398 and when it finally died after 20+ years, I opted for what's basically the latest upgrade of the same model, the Sangean ATS-909X2. Here's an older ATS-909 FAQ for the original model that hasn't been updated in a long time but might still be useful. These radios have pages of memory that allow you to store many shortwave frequencies in memory and they can also receive Radio Data System (RDS) signals/information. (They also have AM, FM, longwave, and on the ATS-909X2, air bands). One really cool thing I found is the Shortwave Radiogram which broadcasts a set of tones on shortwave that can be decoded with the right (free) software into text and images; see the SW Radiogram Gateway wiki for more details. Since there's a lot less on shortwave aimed at the US now than when I started, and I'm coming back after a long hiatus, I don't have a lot of links to provide, but some you might want to check out include: SWLing.com, DXing.com, HFRadio.org's schedule, ShortwaveSchedule.com, short-wave.info, Prime Time Shortwave (this last one may have old info). Also of possible interest, this page of propagation information (I've heard that better is high SFI, high SN, low A, low K) and these two widgets showing solar-terrestrial data and HF propagation conditions:

Radio Scanning

After realizing that I was still missing out on a lot of radio action by not covering the frequencies above shortwave, I decided to purchase a scanner. In about 2000, I chose to go with the Sony ICF-SC1 Wavehawk, which has since been discontinued. Even cooler, it was possible to get (semi-weak) coverage of shortwave frequencies via a specific keypress sequence detailed in the Sony SC1 Wavehawk Yahoo Group (apparently gone now), and it has nearly continuous coverage with the only real gap being the US cellular phone region. With this, I could listen to a large variety of local radio broadcasts including police, aircraft, fire, EMS, weather, marine, military, government, FM radio, TV audio, utility companies, schools, colleges, stores, malls, hotels, trains, taxis, and probably more. Since these tend to be more like intermittent conversations and not continuous broadcasts, they're normally listened to by scanning across frequency ranges, hence my "radio scanning" header. I might get a new one though; more communications are digital now and my Wavehawk, which is showing its age, is analog and thus can't pick up much (if anything) near me anymore. cityfreq lists frequencies by city (not always huge lists, but still not bad). There are some federal and state laws regarding scanners, so you might want to start reading up on the topic at this page about scanner laws in the US.

Other Radio

Since FM and AM (aka MW) radio are pretty common, I didn't put them above, but I did want to mention HD Radio (Wikipedia), the digital radio format used in North America. I think it's primarily used on FM, but there's some usage on AM also. In late 2022, I bought a Sangean HDR-14, which seems to be highly recommended from the reviews I've seen, to be able to listen to these broadcasts and finally hear digital, over-the-air radio in higher quality and with more choices since this technology allows for multiple channels on the same frequency. hdradio.com has some info plus station lists and details, but I'm not sure it's up to date. You can try the HD Radio Directory or radio-locator instead, both of which appear to be more current.

For reference, I thought I'd collect some other radio, music, etc. resources I tend to use. These include services like Amazon Music and YouTube Music (Google Play Music) If anyone knows of a good, preferably free, way to stream music directly from your home computer instead of having to use a cloud service, let me know. There used to be some, but I'm not sure there are anymore. TuneIn is a pretty good online radio service that gives good access to regular radio stations (e.g., FM radio) streams from around the world. While I often listen to a variety of music, I'll mention a few particular services I like: Digitally Imported has a good selection of electronic and dance music while its sister sites RadioTunes and JazzRadio.com are nice for a variety of genres and jazz, respectively (they have some more as well); JPHiP and JPopSuki are pretty good for J-pop and similar music; and Antioch 1710 AM is one of my favorite sources for streaming old time radio (also noted above in the OTR section). I also watch J-MELO, a Japanese music program, on NHK World on cable (these are their English language pages).

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