Reliving Radio's memories and magic in Portland, OR since 1996

  Reliving Radio Performances
sharing the magic of 70 years of history
with folks who remember the Way Radio Was.

Reliving the memories and magic of radios from years gone by.

        Reliving radio in the person of Dick Karman has been sharing the joys and entertainment of radio with audiences since 1996. There are the rare occasions that allow a full scale radio re-enactment of an old radio show on stage, just like it was done in the 1940s. This is a historical re-enactment complete with authentic sound effects, scripts, music and microphones.

        On a routine basis, Mr. Karman takes smaller shows to Senior Centers, churches, retirement communities, and convalescent centers. During these brief times, he shows pictures and tell stories of the way radio was in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. The presentation is centered around audio clips of radio news, personalities and entertainment from those decades. This one man show is an audio-biography of radio, tailored especially for those who remember the WAY RADIO WAS.

        Reliving Radio has drama and public speaking classes that use original radio scripts as a tool to move young people towards meaningful communications skills. Those classes and weekend workshops in the area of radio theater and radio history are held in the Portland metropolitan area, when opportunity permits.

        Reliving radio also does background music and announcements for senior citizen special events. Vintage car shows, church "talent" shows, and senior class reunions have all welcomed the music and memories of Reliving Radio.

    When the opportunity presents itself, Reliving Radio plays radio history-related games like "remember these" and radio Jeopardy with audiences that remember the WAY RADIO WAS.

  •   All of the A/V equipment is provided.

  •   Warm and friendly host - never pushy

  • Presentations in the Willamette Valley and Portland Metro Area.

  (Bookings in Washington on selected Fridays only)

The Way Radio Was
Comes to you !

. . .at your location.  

Dozens of times each year the Way Radio Was visits convalescent centers and retirement communities to reminisce. The presentations are between 60 and 90 minutes in length and require enough room to set up a radio console and a projector and screen (which are provided by Reliving radio).

When time and attention permit the Way Radio Was displays radio memorabilia from another time. Microphones for the 1920s and 1930s are accompanied by radio receiving sets from those decades. There are also radio props, such as the chime block used to sound the NBC chimes in small stations in the 1930s, and On The Air sign from a long past-closed AM station in Portland.

Read what others have said.

The presentation is directed by the response of the audience. If the sweet music of the 1930s or the swing music of the 1940s is well-received, dance bands and radio shows like Your hit Parade, or Stage Door Canteen take precedent. If anecdotes of Jack Benny or the Great Gildersleeve are popular, the time is redirected to comedy and comedians. There are thousands of songs, hundreds of shows and millions of memories locked up in the Way Radio Was.

The Way Radio Was draws out the audience and slows the presentation when someone makes a request or relates a memory. Pleasant memories are ways to evoke the better times for those with memory ailments. The host makes time after the show, to meet and talk to folks until all questions are answered or stories are told.

The Way Radio Was

  • Encourages audience participation

  • Is flexible to the needs of the facility

  • Often arrives early and stays late to reminisce with individuals

  • Tailors the speed of the presentation to the audience.

  • Prices



Special Events
Nostalgia and Fun

Reliving Radio has been honored to provide vintage dance music at wedding receptions, 1950s period music for cruise ins, vintage swing music for vintage car shows, and background and narration for church events that honor the greatest generation.

Reliving Radio has all of the equipment for your outdoor gathering, or your turn of the century memories event. We've recreated BurmaShave signs for car shows, a radio station 1940s sound stage for a "Original Amateur Hour" talent show, USO band stand for a veterans day event. What it takes to make your special event even more special can happen.

The Reliving Radio music library covers the years of 1930-1960. When combined with vintage radio commercials and some period news flashes, your events steps back in history.

Think of Reliving Radio when planning your event:

  • Public Address systems for gatherings from 10 to 1,000

  • A vintage music library to enliven the time

  • Vintage equipment to make a talent show special

  • Minimal transportation expenses within the Willamette Valley

  • Think of it as antique DJ


Reliving Radio
Historical Radio Theater reenactments

On a Limited Basis
  On limited occasions the Karman Collection of radio history reconstructs a radio sound stage from the 1940s and a group of volunteer time travelers, step back into the roles of radio actors in the 40s. The performances are open to the public who become the live studio audience.

The troupe has performed shows from The Whistler, Sam Spade, Screen Director's Playhouse, Campbell's Playhouse, Suspense, and Adventures in Odyssey. All from original scripts.

Read what others have said.

All but the most antiquated sound effects (we don't use ivory tusks) are straight out of 1940's textbooks. Some are over 60 years old. Some are reproductions by talented sound effects technicians. The most natural time for a nostalgic radio reenactment is during the Christmas holidays, and often Christmas shows are the most enduring memories. If you would like to be part of our next performance or receive discount tickets to be in the audience please e-Mail us.

Reliving Radio Actors:

All actors and technicians must over the age of 16 or accompanied by a participating parent. Reading skills and voice quality are the primary considerations. Attendance at rehearsals is mandatory. Actors receive no remuneration.

Reliving Radio anticipated 2012 schedule::

  • Christmas performances the first week of December

  • Script Selection will be September 30

  • Casting and selection will be October 20

  • Rehearsals will be during the month of November

  • One (1) all day dress/technical rehearsal is required



Reliving Radio History,

The Classes

Reliving Radio began in 1994 as a student project. Teaching young people the value and skills of radio theater. After a 13 week acting class, the students would perform for family and friends. The exposure to clear public speaking, reading (scripts) aloud, and teamwork proved valuable to the youth as they have continued in their lives and having families of their own.

The Karman sound effects collection began as the accompaniment for these performers. As it grew to include often needed pieces like 1940s telephones, slamming doors, and foley (walking) boards, they were loaned to other drama groups and are still maintained for the occasional live performance by Reliving Radio.

The Reliving Radio classes decreased in size and popularity when the economy worsened. However, radio theater groups continue to come to Reliving radio for script advice, sound effects, and occasionally studio equipment.

The trill that was live radio theater classes still lives in our memories and will be resurrected when students and time are available.

The Radio Collection  

Since 1974 The Karman radio collection has been nurtured with the intent to share the memories of radio. One set belonged to an early radio frequency troubleshooter with Portland General Electric, name Farris White. Another belonged to a vintage radio tinkerer that we all knew as Buck. The collection contains microphones that date back to 1920, and a short-wave receiver that was bought by a vet when he was discharged after World War II. Their radios and more than a dozen others live on in the collection to honor their memory.

Certain pieces of the collection travel with the Way Radio Was to brighten the eyes of shut-ins or trigger the memories of folks at retirement communities and senior citizen centers. They are a portion of the stories that are told and retold. Most of the traveling show sets have stories, either grand or simple, of the Way Radio Was.

Reliving Radio doesn't buy radios but often receives donations of sets so that they too can be shared with others.

The Radio Shows  

Dick Karman recorded his first old time radio show on a wire recorder in 1964. That first show doesn't still exists, but several thousand of its successors do. During the 1960s and early 70s radio shows were strictly collector's items. Collectors would peruse the catalogs of other collectors and trade this show for that show. Since the advent of the internet and inexpensive digital storage, fairly good quality copies of many of the shows are readily available today.

The Karman collection, once stored on hundreds of reel-to-reel tapes now reside on computer discs and CDs. Many of the sound signatures from those show are heard when Reliving Radio presents the Way Radio Was. History is deceiving. In an hour long presentation very few full length shows can be shared, yet sharing the familiar introductions and themes often is enough to rekindle the memories of a bygone era.

The radio shows that mean the most are the ones that you remember. The Karman collection doesn't have all of the shows available, but has many popular and a few obscure shows that bring back the memories.
Turn off your television and turn on old radio shows - the theater of the imagination is the biggest theater you will ever be in.


Radio entertainment and
radio theater related links

Reliving Radio Weekend Workshop Information
Generic Script Library
Old radio Shows for Fun (search for old radio shows by name)
Yuri Rasovsky- Audio Dramatist site

These links are not an endorsement by Reliving Radio or anyone associated with Reliving Radio - please visit them at your own risk


Research Bibliography

Listening to Radio 1920-1950 by Ray Barfield 1996
On The Air, the Ultimate Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio, John Dunning, 1998
Pioneer Mikes (Oregon radio history) by Ronald Kramer,2009
Great American Broadcast by Leonard Maltin 1997
NBC: America's Network, by Michele Hilmes, 2007
Puget Sounds (Seattle Radio History) by David Richardson, 1981
CBS: Reflections in a Bloodshot Eye by Robert Metz, 1976
Billboard book of Top 40 Hits 1940-1954, Joel Whitburn 1995
American singing groups: a history from 1940s to today, By Jay Warner, 2006.
Miles Chart Display of Popular Music, by Betty Miles, 1981
Fibber McGee & Molly, On the Air 1935-1959, by Clair Schulz, 2008
The Verse by the Side of the Road, by Frank Rowsome, Jr.,1985
The Pictorial History of Radio, by Irving Settel, 1967
Of Mikes and Men by Jane Woodfin 1951
Great Radio Heros by Jim Harmon, 2001
The Big Broadcast 1920-1950, by Frank Buxton and Bill Owen, 1973
It Only Hurts When I Laugh, by Stan Freberg, 1988

These books are recommended for their historical content and not for their political correctness.