Nostalgic Rumblings
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October 2004
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Bob Edwards’ Induction into the Radio Hall of Fame

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 3:06 am

On November 6th, 2004, Bob Edwards will be inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame. XMPR, the public radio channel of XM Satellite Radio, will air the ceremony live at 10:00 pm eastern, 7:00 pm pacific on XM Channel 133.

I wonder if anyone else will note the irony that this happens one day after the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first broadcast of Morning Edition on the then-fledgeling National Public Radio. Mr. Edwards built the network, and was treated shamefully by the current administration of that network in their obscene quest for ratings, or a “new sound,” or whatever other reason excuse they can think of for their bewildering action earlier this year. Fortunately, XM offered Mr. Edwards the ability to continue coming into our homes, cars, and workplaces on a daily basis, and offered us the ability to support public radio programming without supporting NPR.

Revenge must be sweet…congratulations, Bob! This fan will be listening to your induction, just as he does every weekday morning to The Bob Edwards Show on XMPR.

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Filed under: General, Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 5:10 pm

So I’m still sitting in a hotel room at the Holliday Inn North in Newark, NJ.

No, I don’t love the convention so much I cannot leave. I can’t leave because I have no car to leave with. They promised tomorrow morning…but then, they promised this afternoon, too. But what can I do, other than whine and complain?

So…anyone forget anything I can bring back with me? ;)

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FOTR 2004 - More Photos

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 4:06 pm

The next set of photographs is from Friday the 22 of October, which was one heckuva day. The panels ran the gauntlet from a tribute to our old friend Jackson Beck to a “One on One” with Arthur Anderson, with my favorite of the day being the Comedy Panel, filled with giggles both intended and accidental. The Gotham Radio Players performed for the convention once again this afternoon with their usual skill and professionalism, and the evening was filled with the sounds and the voices of radio past.

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FOTR 2004 - Thoughts and Photos

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 12:04 pm

As I mentioned, I’ve had an…interesting weekend. Friday morning we decided to drive to a local mall to pick up some things, and didn’t get more than a half-block from the hotel before experiencing some pretty serious car trouble. Ends up we needed a complete transmission rebuild, which makes this the unquestioned winner of the “Most Expensive Convention” award. (My wife jokes that the next Digest fundraiser discs should be labled the “Tauris Transmision” discs. ;) Thank heavens we decided to head out Friday morning…otherwise we wouldn’t have discovered the problem until this afternoon after the car was completely loaded and no auto repair shops open!

It also means I need to stay at the hotel an extra night; the repair shop (AAMCO) promised me the car would be ready Monday mid-afternoon, so if all goes well I’ll be home Monday evening. (If it doesn’t, I’ll surely rant in this space…) The imposed down-time gives me some time to get some photographs from the convention posted, so at least some good will come from this.

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Some Photos from FOTR…

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 11:51 am

First off, apologies for this being so darned late…not only have I been having a great time at this year’s convention, I’ve also managed to develop some car troublt trouble that’s eating up some most of my already limited “spare time.”

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Where have I been?

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 4:25 pm

Really busy, that’s where. The FOTR Convention is moving right along, and I ma am having a wonderful time. I’ll post more, and maybe some photos, a little later this evening…but right now, it’s time for cocktails and dinner!

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It’s That Time of the Year Again!

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 8:19 am

The 29th Annual Friends of Old-Time Radio Convention begins officially this Thursday, unofficially Wednesday evening with a little pre-convention get-together…as usual, I’ll be there annoying people with my camera and will try to get some pics posted he on The Blog while the convention is going on, along with my commentary. So keep an eye here throughout the week. (Remember, if you use the Mozilla FireFox browser, you can add the RSS feed directly to your bookmark bar!)

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An Amazing Man

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 12:45 am

I was saddened to hear of the death of Christopher Reeve this morning. I’ve told my daughter more than once that, if she ever needs to look for a hero, she should look to this man. Not because of his acting career, impressive as it is. Not because of the defining role of that career, the “Man of Steel.” But because he never gave up, and he never gave in. In a world filled with “role models” who make lots of money while showing little integrity, here was a man who, after suffering the unthinkable, pulled himself up by the sheer strength of his character. I’m certain at points in his journey he felt fear, and certainly despair. But neither could defeat him, and the example he gave should and will live long after his body finally failed his tremendous spirit.

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Why Our Mail Server is No Longer Accepting Gmail…

Filed under: General, News — Charlie Summers @ 12:43 pm

It’s a shame, really, but we’ve decided not to accept connections from Gmail servers.

Why? It’s really simple; Gmail has decided not to include the originating IP of the mail.

Most legitimate web-based email services include the IP address of the originating machine, either in an X-Originating-IP: or like header field, or within an additional Received: header field. That way, in the event someone does something stupid (sends spam, makes threats, insults others, whatever), it’s possible to contact the upstreams of the originating server.

Doesn’t happen often, you say? Poppycock…we received probably fifteen 419 spams (”Hello, I’m so-and-so from Nigeria; you don’t know me, but I want to give you $60,000,000!”) from throwaway addresses in the last week alone. But Yahoo! includes the originating IP as the final Received: header field, so it’s easy to know where to send complaints. We got a bunch from Hotmail this week as well…but thanks to Hotmail’s X-Originating-IP: header field, no question to whom to complain. (And for whatever it’s worth, Hotmail is more efficient in removing the miscreant accounts than Yahoo is.)

But some non-standard web-mail services, like, don’t include this information. So we don’t accept mail from those services into our server. Yes, certainly, it affects legitimate users of the service. But I need to protect the addresses on our server…anyone who’s mail is rejected is welcomed to use their “real” email address to mail into the server, or a free email account from a better-behaved service.

Since Gmail is still listed as, “limited,” we’ve been debating both internally and with other mail administrators on the Internet what to do about the lack of this information. We finally decided that, in complete fairness, if we’re rejecting mail from because they don’t include this information, we can’t very well accept Gmail mail if that information isn’t there. And we will continue to reject mail from any email system which we determine to be omitting or obfuscating this important information.

Do we check the origination of every message? Of course not. But should we have the ability to do so to protect our users and see that those who abuse our server by mailing cruft into it are reported? Absolutely. If Gmail begins adding this information to their mail, we will resume accepting their mail. Until they do, we won’t.

And this isn’t, “misinformation about Gmail” as they’d like you to believe all complaints about their service are, this is easily-validated information. Simply view full headers of any email coming from the Gmail servers, and you’ll see the trace stops at the internal LAN IPs of their machines.

If you’re a Gmail user, please complain to them about this issue, since I know we are not the only mail system to reject mail for this reason, and likely more will follow. Feel free to send them a link to this blog entry so they might understand we’re not rejecting to be mean, we simply can’t accept their users’ mail until they play nicely.

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Member Stations are Begging Again…

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 9:42 am

…and it’s time to remind them that you won’t be contributing this year, or any year until the problems at NPR are handled. When you get that renewal card in the mail, remember to send a note telling them that with the recent changes at NPR “dumbing-down” the programming, you won’t be supporting your member station until the people who are ruining the network are removed.

And again I suggest you take the money usually given to your local NPR member station and use it instead to purchase an XM Satellite Radio receiver and subscription. You can support quality public radio programming, get more choices, more information, and exclusive shows like The Bob Edwards Show, while not sending a dime to NPR.

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CART Is Trying Something New…

Filed under: Old-Time Radio, Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 7:46 pm

Received this information from Peggy Webber, and previously posted it to the Internet OTR Digest:

- —-

The California Artists Radio Theatre is trying something new.

They will be touring with a few of their most crowd pleasing shows, and the first one will be Andrew J. Fenady’s “The Man with Bogart’s Face” starring comedian and impersonator Rich Little. The rest of the cast are special CART talents: JoAnne Worley, Leslie Easterbrook, Samantha Eggar, William Windom, Linda Henning, Marvin Kaplan, H.M. Wynant, Beverly Garland, Tom Williams, Bob Legionaire, John Bliss, Ian Abercrombie, and announcer John Harlan, with Kenneth Stange performing the score he wrote for the show, Tony Palermo is on
sound. Peggy Webber produces.

This engagement will be October 30th on the Mainstage of the Los Angeles Valley College in ValleyGlen,91401, next to Studio City, just off Coldwater Canyon and Burbank Blvd. There will be two performances 1:30 PM and 7:30 PM, the day before Halloween, October 30th, Saturday. Show is 90 minutes and with two ten minute intermissions. Seniors : $15; general admission is $20.00. The entrance to the theatre is at 5800 Fulton, off Burbank Blvd. And parking is free.

Box Office will be open, and reservations may be made at 1- 818 947 2623.

ADA devices are available, if requested at time of reservation, accomodation
space for wheel chairs is available. The event is sponsored by the Arts Council of LAVC..Non profit, tax deductible. CART CD’s and refreshments are available for sale, in the lobby.

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What’s with Salon?

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 9:34 am

I’ve been using Firefox RC 1 on two of my computers, and am really excited with the “Live Bookmark” feature which allows sites with RSS feeds (like, ahem, this one) to become live bookmarks, allowing the user to jump to any of the fed articles through the Bookmark menu or toolbar. Well-behaved blogs (like, ahem, this one) show an “RSS” graphic in the lower-right of the window; click on it, and you can subscribe to any of the feeds listed on the web page. If the graphic doesn’t show, you can manually add a live bookmark through the Manage Bookmarks window.

But even manually adding the RSS feed from a Salon blog (specifically The Thrilling Days of Yesteryear) doesn’t seem to work…I consistantly get “Live Bookmark feed failed to load” errors.

Anyone have any idea why this fails? (I have feelers out elsewhere…if I find the answer, I’ll post it here.)

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XMPR Is Finally a “Real” Public Radio Station…

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 8:57 am

He, he…yesterday (Wednesday 7 October) XMPR (Channel 133 on XM Satellite Radio) was initiated into the world of big-time public radio. They completely blew the 9:00 am EDT rebroadcast of The Bob Edwards Show ending up resorting to some bizzare book reading (I think) to keep from broadcasting silence while figuring out where the heck that digital file was…and what I found even more amusing, they screwed up the 9:00 pm EDT rebroadcast, too, although not as long, and with a different book reading.

Guys, cheer up. Stuff happens; now you sound just like every other public radio station in the country. ;)

(Yes, my tongue is firmly in my cheek. And like I said before, with Bob Edwards again on the air, mornings make sense again.)

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Review: The Bob Edwards Show

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 12:54 pm

Oh, shut up, Charlie. There’s no bloody way you’re going to be anything approaching unbiased, so quit pretending you’re going to do anything approaching a review.


Let me put it this way: my morning, for the first time since April, started the way it was supposed to start. And to steal a line from one of the XM promos, “I’m a happy man!”

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Is NPR at it again?

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 1:17 pm

Weekends are about the only time I listen to NPR anymore - their new weekday morning program hosts are just annoying, and thanks to XM Satellite Radio I can satisfy my need for news with XMPR, the BBC World Service, CSPAN Radio, and other news/talk stations.

But when listening this morning to Weekend Edition Sunday, I heard that Liane Hansen is away and her replacement is Sheilah Kast. I’ll wait a sec while you say, “Who?”

Usually they call in their experienced anchors, like Linda Wertheimer or (ugh) Susan Stamberg to pinch-hit for folks who are away. The last time they shoved new, inexperienced anchors at us was August, 2003, when they put together the “Barbie and Ken” team now marginalizing their weekday morning program. That they are bringing in a “new hire” (from November, 2003) to anchor WESun implies they are considering mucking around with the weekend schedule, now that they’ve dumbed-down All Things Considered and destroyed the unique character of the morning program, making it less than an ATC clone. And even more troubling, the “Voices from the Week’s News” segment was oddly single-focused on the Presidential Debate - there certainly were other interesting sounds from this week’s news, so why change the point of the weekly piece? This implies to me, in my well-deserved paranoia, that the pinstripes who have managed to remold NPR in their own image to the detriment of their listeners are now turning their micro-management focus onto the weekend morning programs.

I have to admit, I don’t really care whether or not they replace Liane Hansen; she’s pleasent enough, but not terribly unique. But if I were Scott Simon, I’d call Bob Edwards (or Ed McNulty, who Scott said goodbye to at the close of yesterday’s show wishing him well working with Bob) and see if XM has a slot available for him. Clearly, Weekend Edition Saturday is way too good a show to be left alone by those executives determined to remake NPR as bland and lifeless as possible.

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REPS Showcase Report Part 5: Saturday Evening

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 4:00 am

Follow “More” link for complete article and photographs

Pretty much every convention holds a large banquet to conclude, or at least capstone, the festivities, and REPS Showcase is no exception. REPS, however, takes a bold and somewhat unusual approach - instead of holding the banquet in the same area as the convention, they instead held this year’s inside a local restaurant, again within walking distance of the Seattle Center.

I use the term, “bold,” because with any choice like this, there are always trade-offs. An area routinely used for wedding receptions isn’t necessarily perfectly suited for performance art…this required careful logistics and care in choosing the programs to be re-created during the evening’s performance. Although not everything went as smoothly as the organizers hoped, I thought they did an amazing job within the severe limitations of the restaurant as performance space.

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XM Radio fails in one genre…

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 4:40 am

I love my XM Radio; the news and current affairs programming is about the most complete you’ll find in one place (with The Bob Edwards Show premiering next Monday morning!), and the depth and breadth of music is really amazing…lord, I swear somewhere on there you could hear Thai music running. But when it comes to Old-Time Radio, it falls apart.

Of course, we can blame this on the XM people not knowing anything about OTR, so they contracted with MediaBay, another company that doesn’t seem to know a whole lot about OTR. I’ve complained before about When Radio Was (and stay tuned for another comment on the subject), but the RadioClassics division of RadioSpirits/MediaBay, which programs the OTR channels for both XM and Sirius, finds an even deeper low than its commercial-station sibling.

Since I’ve whined about RadioClassics before, too, I sat down and listened to two hours straight of XM’s RadioClassics programming. I was determined to find something good to say about the programming.

(*sigh*) Oh, well.

I mean, what’s good to talk about? The commercials are worse than anything you’d hear on AM radio, mostly promoting RadioSpirits closeouts…er…I mean…special deals, but also promoting anything else they think they can sell, like financial weeklies and golf magazines. Of course, like When Radio Was, they run their shows on the half-hour, so any original commercials and some programming as well, needs to be hacked out to make room for these commercials. There’s a “host” with a voice for newspaper who clearly doesn’t know jack about OTR occasionally interrupting the commercials with the sparset information possible about the shows (I was tempted to check the show dates he gave, assuming from his unprofessional anouncing skills that they’d likely be wrong, but I didn’t waste the time). Granted, ever since MediaBay moved RadioSpirits from Chicago to New Jersey they haven’t had anyone on-staff who knows anything at all about OTR (check their financials…they don’t know much about selling any kinds of spoken recordings, either), but this is just embarasing.

The sound quality is surprisingly poor, considering how RadioSpirits keeps claming how great a job they do cleaning the sound (First Generation Radio Archives does a much better job, and frankly I routinely receive shows from high-end collectors who deliver substancially better sound than anything I’ve heard from First Generation - heck, I have MP3s that sound better than some of RadioSpirits’ “restorations”).

Understand, I am not the target market for RadioClassics…that channel is targeted to people who don’t know any better. But a serious collector wouldn’t give this channel more than five-minutes worth of listening…and all collectors of OTR should at least aspire to be a serious collector.

If you’re looking for good quality complete-as-aired programming with a knowledgable host airing interesting Old-Time Radio, I’d suggest Ed Walker’s The Big Broadcast every Sunday night (on-demand complete streaming shows are available for the week after broadcast in RealAudio format at This guy forgot more about OTR than anyone currently on-staff at MediaBay ever knew.

But don’t look on XM’s or Sirius’ RadioClassics channels…this is strictly for those who don’t care about quality OTR.

Speaking of dumbing things down, MediaBay has removed their writer for When Radio Was, Anthony Tollin, and replaced him with…someone on-staff in New Jersey. As many of you already know, Mr. Tollin is one of the foremost radio historians, and the undisputed expert on all things Shadow. So for those few people who are still listening to When Radio Was, your last reason is gone - plan on hearing Stan Freberg sound like he’s suddenly received a lobotomy. Now not only will there be hacked-up programs, there will be hackneyed descriptions to go with ‘em.

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