Information And Help To The New Collector - Part VIII


by Terry G.G. Salomonson

Before we get into many more of these installments, I thought that we really should cover one high interest area, especially for the new collector. Namely, where are the clubs that you can join and exactly what is a buying group. Newsletters, Digests, Publications, and Commercial Dealers will be the main focus of future installments in this series. After the first installment of this series appeared in the Old Time Radio Digest, I received a lot of mail concerning the buyers group references.

I will not offer a large amount of text in this section. I will just give some basic information on the following and save room for the important names and addresses, which of course is what you are interested in obtaining.

Let's look first at Antique Radio Clubs. There are several that you can join if you are interested in collecting or even repairing original radios. They are a good source for information on schematics, parts, gatherings, etc. I've included the name of their publications and any fees that I know about. You should, of course, check to see if these fees and costs are current or have changed. Here are a few:

Antique Radio Clubs

Of course, if you are interested in obtaining and collecting just old time radio programs, you have several directions that you can follow. Joining a club or special interest group, is a great way to help build your interest and collection. These clubs and groups will have the same dedication and interest that you have. They will also be a good source for information about your area of enjoyment, and will probably also be a good source for the actual programs themselves.

Some clubs, groups and organizations specialize in particu- lar programs such as science-fiction, or drama, etc., and others have a broad collection of everything offered through the dec- ades. I will not attempt to identify which of the following clubs and organizations have strong drama, or western, or comedy collections, you can sort that out by contacting them. My pur- pose here is to provide you with enough information so that you can contact them.

There are fees and costs in belonging to most clubs and organizations. So, along with identifying your interests and what you're looking for, be sure to ask about the costs in first joining and what the yearly costs are after that. Some organiza- tions charge more for the first year and the yearly costs after- wards are lower.

Many, but not all clubs and organizations, have lending libraries that you can borrow or rent reel-to-reel, or cassette tapes from. Some libraries are small and specialized, some libraries are very large and diverse. You will what to check on the costs of borrowing the tapes, which includes the cost per tape, the amount of tapes per transaction that you can borrow, postage and handling fees, and the length of time you are allowed to borrow the material. Check also if the club will allow you to trade additional material that you have for material you may want from their library. This will cut your costs as your collection continues to expand.

Many clubs and organizations produce a publication of some sort. A single sheet newsletter to a multi-page pamphlet. Some are monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly. Through these publica- tions, you can usually run a small ad for your own wants and needs. Other collectors can then contact you directly and that may lead you to individual collecting and trading between the two of you. The individual collector may have larger holdings of programs than even the club has.

The following list is alphabetical order and not in any kind of preference or recommendation.

OTR Clubs and Groups

Another area that can be a good source of information for you is fan clubs. They may or may not have audio recordings of the programs that you are looking for, but they may be a good resource for your needs regarding broadcasts that individual stars appeared on, and other factual information. They may also offer print material, video tapes of motion pictures and television appearances, and scripts, etc.

Again, the following list is alphabetical order and not in any kind of preference or recommendation.

Fan Clubs

The last address, includes FAX, e-mail, and world-wide-web locations. It shows that old time radio continues to be with us as we continue to grow with the future.

If anyone knows a group or organization that I left out that would like to be included in a future installment here, please drop me a line.

Lastly, buying groups. Some years ago, buying groups were very popular among a few dealers and some of the larger collectors that were looking for uncirculating programs. The idea is that in order to gather programs at a cheapier cost per show to yourself, you join with a few other collectors, pool your money together and purchase the material you want. This works especially well if the material is being held by an individual who is asking a lot of money per episode. Some reels of material can cost $25.00 to $40.00 per reel and more. This would certainly put these reels of new material completely out of the hands of most collectors.

Once the buying group selects and purchases the material, the original reels in then circulated from one group member to another in some sort of rotational order. Usually there is a mailing list included with each package of material that is circulating and as you finish with the material, you sign off your name with the date you received the material and the date you mailed it to the next individual. This way the material is trackable and any delays can be identified and hopefully corrected so that all the individuals on the list can receive the new programs in the shortest possible time.

If there are 10 members of the group, then your cost for the material purchased is a tenth of what you would have paid as an individual. Some times restrictions are placed on the material either from the source of the programs, or the group itself. It makes sense that you wouldn't want to be near the end of the rotation list, finally receiving programs that someone at the beginning of the list was already selling or circulating to other collectors.

I have both belonged to and headed buying groups. They can be a lot of fun and a lot of headaches. I have been asked many times over the last few years to start another buying group. But there just are not enough hours in the day to turn my attentions to all of the areas that I am involved in. To run a buying group, you need to devote more time than you would think. Maybe some day I will return to a buying group, either as a member or an active supplier of material. I feel that collectors that join a buying group, definitely receive their monies worth. There are not a many buying groups today as there were in the past. If you find a buying group, they are not easy to join. Usually there is a waiting list as groups remain small. Smaller groups allow the material to circulate faster among the members than with larger membership.


If there is an area of information that you, the new or well established collector, would like to see in this series, please feel free to write me. Any questions, comments, or suggestions will be carefully considered. I can be reached through this internet web site or the following addresses:

P.O. Box 347
Howell, MI 48844-0347


Copyright (c) 1988 - 1998 by Terry G.G. Salomonson. All rights reserved.

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Jerry Haendiges Productions 1998