"Radio is the sound salvation..."
-- "Radio Radio," Elvis Costello & the Attractions, 1977
Actually, Costello was being his cynical youthful self, as that song was actually a diatribe against the commercial radio of that era. (Recall his later line, "And radio is in the hands of such a lot of fools trying to anesthetize the way that you feel.")
Back then, you really didn't have a lot of choice -- though compared to the AM and FM of 2010, late '70s radio might seem like the essence of variety. But frankly, we have it all over the listeners of that era. Why? Because of the medium you're using to read this right now...the Internet.
Technically, it may not be "radio" the way Marconi or FM inventor Edwin Armstrong imagined it, sinc e there's no transmission tower; in some ways, it's the high-tech equivalent of those carrier current stations colleges have, the ones you can only pick up in dorms. But the world wide Web makes the entire globe your campus.
If you're a member of "Carole & Co.", or merely happened to dtop by, there's a good chance you have interest not just in Carole Lombard, her films or career, but the times she lived in. And now, thanks to a pair of online stations, you can experience the music she heard, 24/7. This is in addition to specialty shows such as "The Big Broadcast," which Rich Conaty has been running for 37 years, mostly at its current home, WFUV-FM in New York (http://www.wfuv.org, 8 p.m. to midnight Eastern on Sundays), or "Hot Jazz Saturday Night," a longtime staple of WAMU-FM in Washington (http://www.wamu.org, 8 to 11 p.m. Eastern on Saturdays).
The first station is called "The 1920s Radio Network" (http://www.whro.org/home/1920s/_), though to be honest its title doesn't give a clear indication of the music it plays. At times you'll hear a lot of blues and pop from the 1940s, or conversely music first recorded on Edison cylinders in the early 20th century (with the song's title and artist announced on the recording at the start). It's a fascinating mix, giving you an idea of how American popular music evolved over the decades. This is one of the HD stations emanating from an FM station in Chesapeake, Va.
The other station, Radio Dismuke (http://www.dismuke.org/radio/), is purely an Internet creation and is more narrowly focused, as it concentrates on music from 1925 (when electrical recording was first introduced) to about 1935 (the dawn of the swing era), a time frame comparable to Conaty's program. ("Dismuke" is the last name of the person who put this together, a guy in Fort Worth, Texas.) The station's link provides intormation on how to listen -- two streams are available, either Live365 or LoudCity.
Both stations provide fun listening.and are a nice change of pace if you'd like to immerse yourself in the past, or simply want your fix of Louis, Bing or the Boswells. So take a tip from Costello when he says, "So you had better do as you are told/You better listen to the radio."
And, truth be told, all sorts of people are discovering this music; Les Paul listened to Conaty's program for years until his death last year, and Marshall Crenshaw, who recorded the likes of "Cynical Girl" and "Someday Someway" in the 1980s, is an avid fan of Conaty's show.