What is “Old Time Radio”?

Old Time Radio, or OTR as its fans often call it, is a shorthand label for the Golden Age of Radio, from approximately 1920 to 1950, from “Stoopnagle and Budd” and “Amos and Andy” through “Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar”. This is the period when radio was the dominant mass medium in the United States, roughly equivalent to television’s position today. Even so, the comparison suffers, because today’s mass market is so heavily fragmented. No single program in any medium commands as much of the audience as “Amos and Andy” or the various Arthur Godfrey programs did at their peak.

Still, it is comparable, in that radio was the average person’s primary window on the world: News, sports, entertainment and culture all entered the home through the glowing dial of radio’s mahogany console. Radio will probably never be so dominant again, but ARTC is working to revive one little piece of it.