Oldest Radio Recording Extant?

There’s lots of radio broadcasts from the 1940’s and 1950’s around in the form of audiotape and on the internet,
but what is the oldest radio entertainment broadcast still extant and available to the listening public?

Radio Yesteryear and the Library of Congress have recordings of several Amos ‘n’ Andy shows broadcast on NBC in 1929.

The Library of Congress has an earlier NBC radio broadcast of Charles Lindbergh’s reception with President Coolidge in Washington in June 1927 following his historical trans-Atlantic flight.

The archives of the BBC probably have recordings of broadcasts from the 1920s too.

In fact, this page at the BBC website has several on-line clips of broadcasts from the 1920s, although no entertainment shows.

Anybody curious about the world’s earliest television recordings? From 1927-28!

Thanks Walloon!

Yeah, it’s too bad we don’t have more radio broadcasts from the 1920’s. But I guess they just didn’t think anybody would want to hear it 80 years later, that and it was rather difficult technologically.

Its funny, one of the few reasons so many broadcasts survive from the 1940’s is World War II, when the Army requested recordings to keep up the morale of the troops.

Man, Amos and Andy, it’s amazing when you think about it, such a short time 80 years, and yet a show that was seemingly ubiquitous and the dominating force in American entertainment, just a couple decades later is incredibly dated and with good reason treated with shame and careful propriety.

Awesome, I love old stuff like this. First thing I “did” in the yahoogroups ISOT game i mentioned was invent the phonograph (a pretty easy tech) and get recordings of surviving Declaration of Independence and Constitution signers - it’s a shame nobody thought to save recordings very much in real life. (I have heard numerous more phonograph ones than real radio ones, howevermaybe they just felt phonographs were more worth saving ing eneral. That’s what they were there for.)

I loved those early BBC ones, thanks. That rugby one was interesting, especailly b/c I have a CD each of old time sports & news broadcasts I got for Christmas a few years back; one was a 1932 World Series game (the time Babe Ruth pointed to center, supposedly caling his shot on a home run he hit a moment later), and it’s interesting how much less commentary there was, at least by American sports announcers; same with a World Series call of a 1936 or so game. Much more like neitral reporting. Whereas the English announcer there automatically compliments one of the players in that recording on that site.

Maybe this list of links will help: http://www.bl.uk/collections/sound-archive/nsalinks.html

And slightly off-topic, given that it’s not radio, but I found a 1890 recording of Florence Nightingale here: http://cadensa.bl.uk/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/5?searchdata1=nighti56.ram&library=ALL

You could check the site www.radiogoldindex.com, as it is a set of lists of surviving (mostly American) radio programs.

The link does not work.

Sorry, it’s www.radiogoldindex.com

And that link does work!

Works for me. And I’m bookmarking it. Thanks.

Bookmarking also. Thanks.

I understand that there are some early recordings of horse races going back to the 1890’s. However, that may be silent film rather than a radio recording.

Documenting Early Radio: A Review of Existing Pre-1932 Radio Recordings.

Cicero, you’re thinking of Eadweard Muybridge’s photographs of running horses, made in the 1870s using arrays of still cameras.

Harry Von Zell’s classic blooper (“Hoobert Heever”) was recorded during the Hoover administration (1928-1932).


Harry Von Zell had a very long and distringuished career as a radio and television announcer, working with Jack Benny and many others. When he died, sometime in the 1980s (I think), what was in the first sentence of his obituary? The 1928 screwup. As they say, “When you’re right no one remembers. When you’re wrong, no one forgets.”

The Hoover administration was March 1929-March 1933.

Again, off-topic, but when I was working on a research project some years ago, I found out that a university in…Virginia, I believe has a recording of Tennyson reading one of his own poems. Very cool stuff.

True enough…the elections were in 1928 and 1932. The adminstration was inaugurated the following March and ran through the March following the 1932 election. This is is one of those things that “everyone knows about and blithly ignores”.