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Frequently Asked Questions:

Other Pages of Interest:

What is old time radio (OTR) and where does it come from?

More than 50 times as many shows can be stored on an MP3 disk than a standard audio CD,
but MP3 recordings must be played on your computer or special MP3 player device.

Watch a brief video about the MP3 format:


Why Collect Old Time Radio Shows in MP3 format?

If you're reading this webpage on your computer with a CD drive, you already have everything you need to enjoy OTRCAT MP3 CDs; they are guaranteed to play on your computer.

MP3 is a sound compression format that allows up to 50+ hours of old time radio shows on just one MP3 CD compared to just 1 hour of recordings on an audio CD,

Just one OTRCAT MP3 CD is the equivalent of 50+ audio cds!Saving your old time radio show collection in the MP3 format is a great way to save old time radio shows for easy listening.

With the introduction of MP3 technology, collections of old time radio shows that once filled rooms on reel-to-reel, cassettes, and transcription disks can now be stored on a small stack of MP3 CDs.

MP3 is an acronym which stands for Mpeg 1 Audio Layer 3. Because the lower fidelity of the original vintage recordings, there is miniscule loss of sound quality due to MP3 compression.

These disks play in your computer and special MP3 player device...

MP3 CD Value Example from Mr. Alan Ladd:

The 52 episodes of BOX 13 that fit on one Mp3 CD for $5.00 would require 26 audio cds to store the same shows! ($130.00)

Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2015 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved-Reproduction is prohibited.

Quick facts about OTRCAT MP3 CD's:

Storing radio shows on MP3 cd is great!


Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2015 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved-Reproduction is prohibited.


What is old time radio (OTR) and where does it come from?

Atwater Kent RadioThe term old time radio encompasses radio recordings made usually between the mid 1920's through 1960. This "golden age of radio" included all genres of amazing recordings which were frequently performed live by top name performers.

Although much of radio history was lost (never recorded), existing episodes still in circulation were primarily stored by fans or sponsors of the program on transcription disk or reel-to-reel tapes. These recordings are encoded (converted from analog to digital format) from their original media into MP3 format for easier collecting, playback, and listening.

Will these old time radio shows play in my MP3/DVD player?

Probably! It depends on what brand and model of MP3/DVD player you own.

The good news is if you're reading this webpage on your computer, you already have everything you need to enjoy OTRCAT MP3 CDs; they are guaranteed to play on your computer.

Old RadioMost of the newest generation MP3/DVD player support playing OTRCAT MP3 disks, but the MP3 CDs themselves are guaranteed to play in your computer using the program WinAmp (available for free). Many MP3 players say they will play all MP3's, but simply will not play certain MP3 bitrates. Most of the recordings are stored as 32kps 22khz bitrate MP3 files; if your player supports these specs, they should work fine, but not always.

For away from the computer listening, see a list of recommended MP3 players or general information about the MP3 format. See also: how to listen to old time radio in your car.

Audio disks will play in any standard modern audio CD player at home or in your car.

What is the sound quality of these old time radio shows? What bitrate are they stored?

Radio TubeDespite inferior sound recording quality of the time period these shows were recorded, most shows' sound quality is relatively good.

Although MP3 bitrates vary from series to series, our old time radio shows are stored at 32kps 22hz to 64kps 44khz.

By today's standards, these vintage recordings are relatively low-fidelity. There is little loss of sound quality due to MP3 compression at these bitrate setting. More important than the actual bitrate of the MP3 is the quality of the original media. OTRCAT strives to encode, collect, and organize the best quality recordings available.

You can listen to a full episode from most series to sample to the sound quality online. Near the top right of a log page, there is a sample episode that you can listen to a streaming show or download the MP3 file to your computer.

OTRCAT Sampler CD #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6 , #7 , #8, #9, #10, and #11 are available that contains a single episode from every series. These bonus MP3 CDs are available free of charge when you place your order online.

There are also new episodes every day on FREE OLD TIME RADIO DOWNLOADS PAGE.

Can these shows be transferred to audio cassette?

Dual MinijackYes! A dual-male minijack cord (available at any electronic's store) can easily be plugged into the back of the computer and then into a tape recording device. Just play the MP3 on your computer and press record on the tape deck.

Another alternative is a MP3 CD player and a cassette adapter (or lower power FM tuner) which is a great way to play the actual MP3 CDs in the car; please click here to see a list of recommended MP3 players.


Can MP3 shows be transferred to audio cd?

Yes - you can rewrite the MP3's onto audio CD. Just one OTRCAT MP3 CD is the equivalent of 50+ audio cds!The greatest disadvantage is that you can only fit two 30-minute episodes on a single audio CD compared to the hours that can fit on an MP3 CD.

First copy the episodes you wanted to record onto you computer hard drive and use a program such as Nero or Easy CD Creator. Using a slower write-speed (such as 2x or 4x) and CD-R media (rather than CDRW disks) will insure a more probable successful write.

As an inexpensive alternative, see the list of recommended MP3 CD players that can play the disks directly for as little as $20-$30.

Why are the same episode listed more than once in the same series?

Even back in the golden era of radio, they had script 're-runs.' The producers of the many of the series frequently used the same popular script and rebroadcast or performed it on a later date (so it's usually the same or very similar script, but actually a different variation of the performance recorded).

What does AFRS stand for?

AFRS labelAFRS, "Armed Forces Radio Services," began rebroadcasting favorite radio programs to troops and their family stationed over seas starting in 1942.

What does "transcribed" mean?

AFRS labelDuring the golden age of radio, most of the recordings were broadcast live.   The advent of transcription disks (recording media) and later magnetic tape allowed actors and artists to prerecord the shows for later broadcast.  During the old time radio era, the networks thought it was important to notify listeners that the recordings was "transcribed" or prerecorded.

Why do the filenames appear jumbled on my Macintosh computer? (System 9 Users)

Mac OS9Listeners using a Macintosh computer with System 9 or older, may need a program to fully decipher the file name of the shows. A free joilet extension is available which enhances the way your Macintosh computer can read CD-ROM's. Without this joilet extension, file names may appear abbreviated which will make it harder to decipher the episode titles (although the shows will still play fine). This file name problem has been resolved in by Apple in OS X.




How are these CDs labeled?

sampler cdAll CDs come with labeled with silk-screened black lettering graphics and come in paper sleeves with clear plastic to protect them during shipping.

The radio shows are stored on Mitsui and Taiyo Yuden media which is the top quality CDR media for longest archival life.

Because the label is silk-screened directly on the disk, there is no sticky label to jam in CD drives.

Unlike inkjet printed labels, these attractive silk-screened label will not run, fade, deteriorate, or shorten the lifespan of the media.


How long does it take to get these shows?

Speedy ClockOrders ship promptly - often within 24 hours of receipt of payment. Once in transit:

  • Orders of 1 CD (shipped via first class mail) should arrive within a week.
  • Orders of 2+ CDs (shipped via priority mail) should arrive within 2-3 days.
  • International order delivery times do vary, but typically arrive via airmail within 7-14 days.

Click here for complete ordering details including shipping rates.


How are these collections updated?

FOR LARGE UPDATES: OTRCAT strives to increase the variety of collection size and sound quality. If a better encode or additional episodes are located, OTRCAT typically sends an email newsletter when the new collection is available at a discount price.

FOR SMALL UPDATES: If only a single episode or two is added to the collection, OTRCAT will typically send an email newsletter with a link you can listen to additional episode for free of charge from the website.

How do I get OTRCAT.com coupons?

To receive special coupon codes and discounts, please sign up for the OTRCAT newsletter which includes list of new articles, exclusive content, collections, and special offers available at OTRCAT!

What is the OTRCAT refund policy?

Due to the nature of these recordings: once an order is placed, all sales are final. Our extensive collection is digitally transferred; any "flaws" in these 50-90 years old recordings are inherent in the original media and are not grounds for a refund.

What is the OTRCAT privacy policy?

Radio TubeOTRCAT is committed to protecting your privacy; we do not sell, trade, or rent your personal information to others. We only use the information we collect about you to process orders and to provide support and updates for our products.

OTRCAT respects your privacy. Your email address and personal information are never shared with a third party. By entering your email address in the "join mailing list" or "checkout" form, you agree to sign up for the free OTRCAT email newsletter which you can unsubscribed at any time.

To protect consumer information, we use a secure server for collecting personal and credit card information. The secure server layer (SSL) encrypts (scrambles) all of the information you enter before it is transmitted. For additional security, credit card information is not stored locally (only passed encrypted to the credit card processor). All customer data we collect is protected against unauthorized access.

"Cookies" (which are small pieces of information that are temporarily stored by your browser on your computer's hard drive) are required for the OTRCAT shopping cart to function correctly.

Can I join the OTRCAT mailing list?

Yes! Simply fill out the form below to receive the old time radio newsletter with new collections, discounts and special offers:


OTRCAT respects your privacy, your email addresses and
personal information are never revealed to any third party.

How can I contact OTRCAT?

crouching otrcatIf you have any other questions, suggestions, or error reports, please email order@otrcat.com. You can also write to:

PO BOX 19234



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