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Radio AM to FM: February 23, 2001

Real Radio Audio

My wife, Jean, thinks I'm a bit weird. She says I spend far too much time listening to old radio "airchecks" presented on Uncle Ricky's Reel Top-40 Radio Repository, an internet site at

She's right, of course. On both counts.

But I can't help myself. The Repository is a huge collection of (primarily) top-40 airchecks and jingles dating back to 1931 (more on that later). I could spend hours listening to these recordings. Sometimes, I do.

Reel Radio began way back in 1996. February 12, 1996, to be exact, as a way to demonstrate the capabilities of Sacramento Network Access' new Real Audio 2.0 server. SNA founder George Hall thought it would be good for his business and a good thing to do for radio history, so he gave Richard "Uncle Ricky" Irwin the OK to set up the site.

What began as a way to highlight a magical time in radio has evolved into what is one of the largest collection of radio recordings anywhere. It's now a nonprofit corporation supported by listener donations. And its available, free, from the comfort of your own home using your internet connection.

Recent additions include the KHJ Big 93 of 1972 (available uncut over New Years Eve but now edited), a recording of The Real Don Steele on KRLA from 1986, and Bing Crosby on KHJ from 1931.

Wait. Bing Crosby? KHJ? 1931?

Yes cubed. It is the earliest known surviving aircheck of KHJ ... and the earliest known aircheck of any radio station anywhere. It seems the recording was requested by NBC, which wanted to monitor this rising young Crosby fellow.

If you haven't visited the site for a while -- or if you have never visited -- you owe yourself a visit. You need an internet connection, a good computer (any Mac, most Windows boxes with good sound cards), and the free Real Player.


Last year's Waggys ran late. This year I want them back on schedule. So, in the spirit of the Grammys, I am accepting nominations for the best and worst of Radio, 2000.

Do you have a favorite radio personality? Favorite talk host? Least favorite station? Anything even remotely related to radio is fair game. Send suggestions to me at The Daily Breeze or via e-mail at

Color Radio Update

Its still in the works, but Chuck Blore never thought it would be so much work to put together: The launch of Color Radio has been delayed. Blore is still hopeful that it will launch in the first quarter of the year. I'll shoot for Summer, just to be safe.

Mickey Mouse

Reader Doug pointed out that all the local Disney-owned stations ran wall-to-wall remotes for Disney's new California Adventure ... without mentioning their corporate tie-in. Didn't work anyway, though, as attendance was far below expectations.


Speaking of Disney, I pulled a major goof last week, putting ABC together with Infinity instead of Disney. I should have mentioned CBS/Infinity and ABC/Disney as two of the three major radio chains.


Copyright © 2001 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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