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Golden Days of Radio - Android Review of Old Time Radio

written by: Regina Woodard•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 8/23/2011
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Do you love those great mystery shows that played on the radio? The ones your parents or even grandparents introduced you to as a kid? How would you like to relive those days of radio with broadcasts of Sherlock Holmes or Bob Hope and Lucille Ball, right from the new technology of smartphones?

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    Live from BH Radio Hall!

    And now, live from the Bright Hub Radio Hall all the way from the new technology of the Internet, we are proud to present our next article featuring the lovely talents of Basil Rathbone, Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, Humphrey Bogart, and Lauren Bacall in this week's show entitled "Old Time Radio". Also featuring Glen Davies and The Hubbsters Orchestra, with limited commercial interruption brought to you by the new dental paste of Colgate.

    And now "Old Time Radio".

    Our story opens as a new user of the Android smartphone system considers the next item to download on their phone. Suddenly, a Halloween memory of listening to the original 1938 broadcast of Orson Welles' adaptation of War of the Worlds or a Sunday night radio program comes to mind, full of childhood memories of parents and grandparents sitting around the radio, waiting to see what would happen to Marlowe as he walked through the door that could lead to his doom.

    But where could one find such a treasure trove of entertainment from days gone by? Was there a way to bring the golden age of radio back into the new world of computers, Internet, and technology?

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    Concept & Features

    Rating Average

    Old Time Radio is an Android app that transports listeners back to the golden age of radio, when shows were delivered via the airwavesGolden Days of Radio - Android Review of Old Time Radio  and where your imagination would suffice for the visuals as to what was going on. Even when television was introduced, radio programming was a big thing; in fact, many of the classic TV shows and movies started out as radio shows, like I Love Lucy with Lucille Ball and My Favorite Spy, with Bob Hope.

    The main feature of the app is the ability to listen to a wide variety of radio programming, from mysteries to detective shows, to sci-fi and comedy, all broadcast in the original format right through to your smartphone. You can play, pause, rewind, and fast forward shows, as well as save your favorites.

    The best thing is that all shows are complete, as aired, and the app is free from both the Android Market and the Amazon App Store.

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    User Interface

    Rating Average

    The user interface for Old Time Radio is actually a very simple one -- tap the microphone to bring up the menu, as well as the play controls. The listing of radio shows can be found on the left hand side (the RSS icon), while the middle selection is for random shows. The last option is the save icon, which allows you to save shows for later play.

    Golden Days of Radio - Sherlock Holmes When a show is running, the play controls are play, rewind, and fast forward (where play acts as the pause control). By hitting the menu button on your phone and selecting 'settings' you can adjust playback, like playing continuously when you have shows saved or from the actual main program listing.

    When a show is playing, the mic will have the classic "on the air" motto, while you can view which series you're listening to, as well as the program name and how long the program is. Maybe it was the shows I was selecting (mostly the mystery and detective shows), but I was actually surprised how long these shows lasted, usually under five minutes.

    The only downside is that there really is no instruction on how to get started, but the learning curve isn't too hard to figure out. If you get the app from Amazon, you can actually test it before downloading; this was a method I used when I discovered it and was able to listen to a full recording of a Sherlock Holmes broadcast. Once on my phone, I was also able to start and stop a new Holmes program when testing the phone app.

    Another downside is that there's no actual widget, which would have been great to have for listening to a program that you had to stop so you could start it again, but it's easy to drag the icon to one of the home screens and when opened, it will immediately go to the last program that was being listened to.

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    Overall - Worth It?

    Rating Average

    My friends and I will sometimes lament that we were all born too late, as these are the types of things we enjoy. In fact, once I found this the first thing I did was send a link to the others so they could also download it. The very concept of being able to listen to classic radio shows is great, though I was a bit disappointed that the infamous War of the Worlds broadcast wasn't in the list for sci-fi, however, the fact that I can enjoy Sherlock Holmes mysteries that I've never heard of, as well as those classic detective stories I loved as a kid, easily overcame that oversight.

    I do wish there was at least a quick tutorial on how the app worked, but I have a feeling many people will be so enthralled with their favorite show, they won't worry about it immediately. I do hope in the next update that a home screen widget will come about. That is actually the one thing I think is missing.

    You have two chances to get this - the Android Market and the Amazon App Store.

    [Android Market Download Link]

    [Amazon App Store Download Link]