First-person diaries, sound portraits, and hidden chapters of history from Peabody Award-winning producer Joe Richman and the Radio Diaries team. From teenagers to octogenarians, prisoners to prison guards, bra saleswomen to lighthouse keepers. The extraordinary stories of ordinary life. Radio Diaries is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.
A journey back to the very beginning of recorded sound and the strange, random, beautiful things people captured more than a century ago. We recommend listening with headphones.
On January 1st, 2022 all audio recorded before 1923 is entering the public domain because of a new law, the Music Modernization Act. Archivists around the country have been digitizing thousands of old records, tinfoil, and wax cylinders that few people have ever heard.
We hear one of the first recordings ever made, dated 1853. We then visit with Thomas Edison and his phonograph invention, which etched sound into tinfoil. There are amateur home and field recordings, instructional tapes, and commercial music. And then there’s Lionel Mapleson, the grandfather of bootlegging, who spent years recording the Metropolitan Opera from every possible vantage point.
Today’s episode is a collaboration with Sam Harnett and Chris Hoff of The World According to Sound. A live audio show and online listening series. Their next performance is January 6, grab your ticket today.