TV Alternatives: A Listening Experience

Having abandoned cable TV some years ago, I have found some nifty alternative forms of media entertainment.  From the days when radio was king, here are some places to go on the Internet to find enjoyable, clean entertainment.  Break that visual vice obsession!

All sites are free and don’t require any sign-up:

Old Time Radio Now. OTRNow offers classic American radio from the 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s.  With two channels broadcasting simultaneously, the listener can tune in to the general entertainment channel offering comedy, drama, serials, soaps, dance bands, etc.  Scroll down their home page to their second channel which is devoted to crime drama and mysteries.  Programming for the most part includes the original commercials and sponsors.  And the date each program was originally broadcasted is also listed.  This is a great old time radio site.  No modern day annoying commercials and no announcer chatter.

Old Time Radio Net. This offshoot site allows the listener to pick the program they’d like to listen to.  Choose from a variety of genres and shows like Abbott and Costello,  The Bing Crosby Show, Cisco Kid, Flash Gordon, The Green Hornet, This Is Your FBI, and The Bob Hope Show, just to name a few.  What a hoot, to listen to Bob Hope’s comedic monologue about the 1948 presidential election and Truman’s surprise win.  Again, all programs are complete with the original commercials and the original broadcast date.

YesterdayUSA. This site offers a big variety of programming but it’s not my favorite stopover.  At unpredictable times, your listening visit can be bogged down by the yakking of announcers talking about the programs and/or the stars of old time radio.  Interesting information for some folks but not my reason for tuning in.  Still, this site offers a well-rounded programming schedule.

And you can still hear a complete range of current radio-based programming by visiting the BBC. I’m not a fan of all their programs–it is the BBC after all.  But I often find some entertaining and interesting gems at their sites, from classic dramas, clever comedies, mysteries, classical music, and some really good Sci-Fi:

BBC Radio 7: Lots of variety that plays 24-hours a day (8 hours of programming repeated twice during the daily cycle).  You can opt to listen in real time (the UK is 5 hours ahead of US EST) or you can listen to programs in their radio player.  All programs are archived into their radio player within an hour after airing and are made available for listening for up to 7 days.  BBC 7 offers lots of comedy, both contemporary and classic, great Sci-Fi, mysteries, drama, children’s programming, and much more.

BBC Radio 4: This site is more high brow than its sister site, BBC 7.  More focus on the arts, news analysis, politics, book reviews, book readings, science, history, and religion.  I tip toe around this site, picking and choosing the juicy plums that occasionally pop up.  And you’ll find some good ones–some months back they did a reading of Betty McDonald’s The Egg and I.  It was a laugh aloud experience.  They also archive their programs in their radio player.

BBC Radio 3: The ultimate BBC listening experience for those aficionados of classical music, jazz, opera, and literature.  Sometimes I’ll stream music from this site while I’m reading or blogging.  All their programs can be listened to at your leisure within their radio player.

Enjoy.

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