Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The New Bear Manor Media Radio

"We're almost ten years old so we're definitely not a niche thing any more so that kind of angle for coolness is done for us," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said almost a year ago during a report to his stockholders, nothing that losing younger Facebook members to competing social networks was a known problem.

A few months ago I asked a young girl about the age of 12 what she does on her iTouch all day. Does she communicate on Facebook? No. She listens to podcasts and internet radio. Seems the report, as indicated in an expose on the evening news, was not exaggerating. Young children today prefer something more hip than Facebook. And with thousands of internet radio stations playing old-time radio, a question arises: which station or stations to listen to? Recommending my personal favorites these days seems to spark aggression against me from radio hosts who feel an endorsement for another radio station, other than their own, is a personal attack against them. I prefer to endorse any radio station that provides original programming and vintage radio broadcasts, regardless of who the radio hosts are. Avoiding recommendations and instead focusing on a newly-established site might be of interest to the folks reading my blog. And there is a new station on the block.

The Bear Manor Media Radio Station was launched two months ago and has provided some valuable celebrity interviews and rare recordings that warrant review. Spearheaded by Joe Bevilacqua, the radio station provides exclusive content not found anywhere else. Last month I enjoyed an interview with June Foray, the voice of Rocky, the Flying Squirrel, and Bob Colonna, son of entertainer Jerry Colonna. Audio clips from rare radio broadcasts and television programs were interlaced between the interviews as a refresher course to the characters they voiced on television and radio, along with some background provided by the celebs "in their own words." From both an entertainment and historic point of view, I found those interviews fascinating and enjoyable. I was craving for more.  

Running an internet radio station 24-7 is complex and time-consuming. Ask any radio show host seeking material to fill the hours. What Joe came up with was 22 hours of programming every month that virtually plays on a loop, so you can tune in to the station any time and listen to the programs. This means if your schedule is busy in during the first half of June (just as mine), you can tune in to the station during the later part of June and not miss the monthly offerings. New programming rotates starting July 1 and the first of every month.

Among the programs being offered on the Bear Manor Media Radio Station:

THE VOICE ACTOR SHOW  (Hosted by Joe Bevilacqua)
Host Joe Bevilacqua's celebrity guest this month is Bob Bergen, the current voice of Porky Pig. Also features a bonus at the conclusion of the broadcast: a Blast From The Past with The Jack Benny Show (November 25, 1951) with Verna Felton as Dennis Day's mother.

LORIE'S BOOK NOOK  (Hosted by Lorie Kellogg)
Host Lorie Kellogg's monthly guest is Fredrick Tucker, author of the biography of Verna Felton, published by BearManor Media. Also features a bonus at the conclusion of the broadcast: another Blast From The Past: The Abbott and Costello Show (episode #48) from January 20, 1944 with Harold Peary and Verna Felton.

THE J-OTR SHOW  (Hosted by Joe Bevilacqua)
Host Joe Bev presents cowboy star Tom Mix with a unique mix of new and old-time radio with "The Secret Mission" (May 8, 1945), "The Vanishing Village (August 13, 1945) and "The Bodiless Horseman (2010).

Host Fred Frees (son of voice actor Paul Frees) presents an hour of audio readings from BearManor Media books, including: The Music of Al Lerner, Don't Wear Silver in the Winter by Janet Cantor Gari, Journey Thru the Unknown by Murray Langston, The Unknown Comic and a Fred Frees Presents Profile.

An hour of recently discovered rare old-time radio programs that were recently pulled from archives, not heard since their original broadcasts. For those who collect old-time radio recordings, chances are you don't have these among your collection. Why radio stations do not pull un-circlated radio programs from archives to highlight their program remains a mystery but here you will enjoy two rare goodies: The Cisco Kid (episode #17) "The Fighting Editor" and the premiere episode of Blondie from October 30, 1939.

Timed with the commercial release of STELLA DALLAS on DVD, host Terry Salomonson presents an hour of old-time radio from his personal vault. This month's offering is Lux Radio Theatre (episode #145) with Barbara Sranwyck and John Boles starring in -- what else? -- STELLA DALLAS. Originally broadcast on the evening of October 11, 1937.

Host Chef Steve Mendoza presents Lost Frank Sinatra, Jack Benny, BearManor Summer Reading and Grilling with guest Dr. Glenn Berger, former recording engineer at A&R records under Phil Ramone and the music of Frank Sinatra.

Host Joe Bev presents an hour of 78 RPM records: Popeye Meets Betty Boop, Billy Costello and Helen Kane. Such rarities include: Let's All Sing Like the Birdies and I Wanna Be Loved By You. These are novel musical offerings that are not widely available and worth listening to while checking your e-mail, browsing Facebook or verifying you recent Amazon or eBay purchases. (I fell in love with this program last month...)

Host Joe Bev presents A Mel Blanc Festival, including Mel Blanc's demo tape, Bugs Bunny Meets The Tortoise, the 1962 Capitol Record, CBS Radio's Mel Blanc's Fix-it Shop (from September 3, 1946) and Ray Campi's 1974 interview with Mel Blanc.

Another hour of recently discovered rare old-time radio not heard since their original broadcasts. This offering includes the premiere episode of A Date With Judy titled "Tiger" and Bulldog Drummond (from March 23, 1945), titled "A Dinner with Death."

You can tune in to the radio station from their website:

Should you not choose to listen to all 22 hours, but prefer to listen to specific programs on your own time, podcasts are available with a simple click on the same website.

And for those who have iTunes:

Fred Frees Favorites
J-OTR Show
Lorie's Book Nook
The Voice Actor Show
The Lost OTR Show
Audio Classics Archive
What's Cookin' with Chef Steve
The Jazz-O-Rama Hour
Cartoon Carnival

To be honest, my first impression of this new radio station was questionable, but the longer I listened to it, the more I discovered that it was different from the rest. Having listened to more than a few dozen internet radio stations that play old-time radio one program after another, something different was appreciated. And interviews with celebrities, kin of celebrities, authors, historians and scholars, with brief audio clips from rare recordings and "lost" old-time radio programs, this station is worth checking out.

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