VCR-type devices for taping radio broadcasts???

Is this sort of product available. There are radio programs that I would like to tape, since I’m never around when they’re on. I know you can tape from a VCR if it’s hooked up to a tuner or receiver, but I have a hell of a time getting VHS to fit inside my car’s cassette player. Does anyone make something programmable to record radio broadcasts?

Well, If all else fails you could jury rig it with your home stereo… Get a timer, plug your cassette deck into it, set the timer to turn on at the appropriate time, and then hit record before you leave. Five minutes before your show comes on you stereo turns itself on, and starts taping.

Just a thought. Don’t know how well it would actually work.

Here’s a radio with a built-in recorder and timer:

Here’s another one:

I haven’t seen just a cassette recorder and timer, with no radio.


You may already have checked this, but many radio programs are available an the internet.

I tape the Howard Stern Show on a VCR tape every day. If I can listen to it at home through my VCR, I dub it over to cassette then I can take it on the road.

For timer-recording straight to cassette, you’ll need:

*A timer capable of turning on AC power to a number of outlets.

  • A radio with an audio “line-out” connector (in North America, known as an “RCA” connector) or a headphone jack. Most receivers and all tuners have line-out connectors; portables often have headphone jacks. A radio without these connectors won’t work. See below for remarks on power switches.

*A cassette recorder with “timer-record” feature (see below).

  • A connecting cable. Use an “RCA-to-RCA” cable, unless the radio has a headphone jack, in which case use a cable with a headphone plug on one and and RCA plugs on the other. There are several sizes of headphone jacks; make sure to get a fitting plug.

Most radios and all cassette recorders will be stereo, with two audio plugs for each connector. If the radio has a mono headphone jack, some tinkering may be necessory, as the audio may be recorded on only one channel of the recorder.

Follow these steps:

  1. Connect the audio out of the radio to the audio-in of the cassette recorder.

  2. Plug the radio and cassette recorder into the power outlets controlled by the timer.

  3. Turn the radio and cassette recorder on.

  4. Tune the radio to the station with the desired program.

  5. Insert a blank tape in the cassette recorder.

  6. Select the timer-record feature on the cassette recorder.

  7. Set the external timer to turn the power on just before the time of the radio program.


  1. Start the timer. The timer will cut the power to the radio and cassette recorder.

At the appointed the time, the timer turns the power on, the radio starts playing, and the casette recorder starts recording.

I am wondering whether the X-10-style remote-controlled outlets and switches would work. There are also timers for turning on lights and such when one is away. A hardware store, not a stereo store, is the place to look for these.

Some things to be aware of…

Power Switches

Make sure that the radio and recorder have mechanical power-switches that can be left in the “on” position when power to the equipment is switched off externally. Such equipment should then turn on when power is reapplied to it.

Some newer equipment has an “intelligent” power switch, will not remain “switched on” when power is removed, and will remain off when power is reapplied.

Timer-Record Feature

You need a cassette recorder with a “timer record” feature; if you load a blank cassette, enable timer-record, then externally turn the power off to the recorder, it will automatically turn on and start recording the next time power is applied.

Timer-record may not be that common a feature; I don’t see it when looking at my current (fairly-decent) tape deck, but my older cheap one has it.

However, if you can’t find a cassette recorder that has the timer-record feature, audio recording on a VCR has much to recommend about it. On a HiFi VCR at the slowest speed, it offers high audio quality, low cost, and the longest continuous capture time (up to 8 hours) of any common audio recording format. As the OP stated, a dub to MD, cassette or CDR needs to be made for portability.

Audio recording on a VCR is easily done with almost any HiFi VCR and a radio with line-out connection or a headphone jack.

You’ll need:

  • A radio, as described above.

  • A VCR with separate audio “line-in” connectors. (Older VCRs may only have “RF” connectors; this type of VCR won’t work.) A “HiFi” VCR is strongly recommended, because of the much better sound-recording quality.

  • A connecting cable, as described above.

Follow these steps:

  1. Connect the audio out of the radio to the audio-in of the VCR. Ignore the VCR’s video input.

  2. Turn the radio and VCR on.

  3. Set the VCR to accept signals from the connected input (as opposed to its internal tuner). Usually this involves selecting some sort of input.

  4. Set the VCR to start recording at the time of the radio program.

  5. Tune the radio to the station with the desired program.

  6. Insert a blank tape in the VCR.

  7. Leave the radio on. Some VCRs may be turned off; often they will turn themselves on to start recording.

The radio continuously supplies the audio program to the VCR’s audio inputs. At the appointed the time, the VCR starts recording the audio program. (The VCR also starts recording blank video from the unconnected video input; this can be ignored upon playback.)

This is the cheapest way to archive radio broadcasts, audio, and music. Even a relatively cheap tape will work fine for audio in a HiFi VCR. …

Incidentally, this also is a good way to record internet audio transmissions; simply connect the line-out of the receiving computer’s soundcard in the same way as the line-out of the radio. This enables one to record realaudio programs where the sender has disabled recording in the computer itself… :slight_smile: Analog? What’s that? :slight_smile:

These devices are quite common in shortwave radio circles. Usually they are integrated right into the radio. Here’s a good one: