In the past year, since first getting hold of that life-changing accessory, the iPod, I’ve been finding a variety of online resources to fill it up with. The first things that really caught my attention were the OTR, or Old-Time-Radio, dramas. Fantastic stuff here. For free, I’ve gotten hold of the epic collection of Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre recordings, including the famed “War of the Worlds”and another treat: the baffling but ever-entertaining “The Man Who Was Thursday”.

Radio drama was—and is (see below)—vast and far-reaching. One of the best sites I’ve found for the old stuff is RadioLovers, which has a huge collection. Like any genre, it’s a mixed bag, but some highlights for the mystery fan include Cloak and Dagger and The Adventures of Philip Marlowe.

Radio Memories Network is a more proper podcast service, which has a stunning array of shows. The most obvious way to tune in to this is to visit the wealth of possibilities through your iTunes in the Podcast directory, the way I get hold of a lot of interesting stuff these days.

Two real gems I’ve come across from other sites are the Ray Bradbury science fiction classic “Zero Hour” (which I had at one time, lost, and can’t find online at the moment—but it blew my mind), and an episode from Welles’ “The Lives of Harry Lime”—“Ticket to Tangier” (which I also can’t find online now, so I’ve uploaded to my own site, here).

I think I originally became aware of radio dramas because of my audio book producer, the immensely talented Yuri Rasovsky. He’s not only a brilliant producer of audio books and dramas, but he’s also a radio historian, as well as a cool guy.

What his passion showed me, which I’d never really realized, was the range, depth, power, and innate potential of the radio drama. I’m always fascinated and excited by people who tell stories in a completely different way than myself, and Yuri’s one such person. One of his strokes of genius was to write and produce, of all things, an audio version of the silent film, The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, which AudioFile described, rightly, as “orgasmic”!

Who woulda thunk it?

(Originally posted at the Contemporary Nomad)