Belated anniversary and welcome to visitors

Greetings to members of the Metropolitan Washington Old-Time Radio Club, whose Mark Anderson put a nice mention of this site in the group’s Feb. 3 email newsletter. (Scroll down for a half-dozen episodes of the “Europe Confidential” series he mentioned.)

Within an hour or two, I had more mail, this time from Jack French, author of Private Eyelashes, a terrific study of women detectives on old time radio, who reminded me that I had a password-protection block on one of the pages here that mentions a series I had read about in his book. No more! Go to: Hot Copy.

Other newcomers, for more about my project see the “About” menu above. But just last week I noticed I had let a couple of events slip by without comment — my 100th “post” about one of these old-time radio episodes with journalist characters, and the anniversary of starting the blog in January 2011, so that’s plenty of excuse for a recap.

This site has two parts. Tablet and mobile phone browsers may do their own thing with the “sidebar” and “menus,” but on a laptop or larger screen, here’s what you get:

  • The more than 100 blog posts like this one, appearing in reverse-chronological order, usually discuss one radio episode and can be subscribed to as a podcast (RSS subscription address). Those posts are tagged with “category” keywords that are listed in the right column.
  • The horizontal menu at the top of the screen lists more than 50 in-depth “pages” which also look like category names. They discuss whole series,groups of series, issues, or personalities, and are in a process of being organized. Some of these essays combine earlier blog posts.  Printed, some would be five or more pages long. One of them contains more than 100 links to radio adaptations of Hollywood movies.

My project here may be a book someday, blending my interests in newspaper-history, popular culture and communication technology. I love the fact that radio — the “new medium” of the 1930s — continued to celebrate the work of newspaper reporters, in contrast to the attitude of some “new media” folks today.

I also like to celebrate the new medium of digital archives: Almost all of the audio files linked here are hosted at the Internet Archive (archive.org), most of them in collections by the Old Time Radio Researchers Group.

Appropriately, JHeroes.com began with a couple of episodes about the flashiest of radio heroes, The Green Hornet and Superman, both of whom had secret identities at major metropolitan newspapers.

Since then, I’ve written about both fictional and historical print journalists whose stories were dramatized on radio between 1930 and 1970. The horizontal menu at the top of the page lists “aggregation” pages where I’m gradually pulling together the story of whole series or themes — such as the adaptation of Hollywood “newspaper movies” for radio broadcast, or the historical reenactments of “Cavalcade of America,” “Soldiers of the Press,” “The Big Story” and other programs.

(I’ve also made this blog serve a dual purpose as a discussion space for a course I’ve taught on the portrayal of journalists in popular culture of all kinds: novels, short stories, films and television, as well as radio dramas. That helps explain the rather deep list of films adapted for radio. Although I’m not teaching that course this semester, I still keep a running list of bookmarks to related items I find on the Web, and that bookmark list is echoed at the top right side of this page.)

About Bob Stepno

mild-mannered reporter who fell deeper into computers and the Web during three trips through graduate school in the 1980s and 1990s, then began teaching journalism, media studies and Web production, most recently as a faculty member at Radford University.
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