Fordham University Libraries has added to its Digital Collections the archives of the long-running WFUV radio program, The Big Broadcast, which aired from 1973 to 2016. This collection has been digitized and made available through a generous donation from an anonymous donor.
Hosted by Rich Conaty (1954-2016) for over four decades, The Big Broadcast enjoyed a near-cult following among fans of 1920s and 1930s pop and jazz. Conaty’s passion was infectious, attracting a devoted audience that included well-known writers and musicians.
A Fordham University and WFUV alumnus, and nationally-respected authority on recorded music before World War II, Rich Conaty curated each show with meticulous salutes to composers, crooners, and bandleaders. It was all drawn from his voluminous record collection and leavened by his encyclopedic knowledge.
A note on presentation: This collection consists of hundreds of show recordings, presented here in “juke box” style, in accord with U.S. copyright law. Federal law restricts the user’s ability to select individual programs in on-demand fashion, or to “rewind” or “fast forward” through content. One may start and pause the player on the current program. When that show is complete, the player will load the next program.
Additional shows will be added to the collection over time.
Keeping the memories alive
At any moment, there are around 7,000 78s at auction on eBay. But keep an eye out on Feedback scores - many sellers have no idea how to grade records. A few confess to not being able to play them! Subscribe to VJM, a quarterly magazine with plenty of 78s and LPs. Online, you might want to visit Alan Cooperman's site [jazz78s.com], Warren Hicks' Records for Collectors, or Kurt Nauck [78rpm.com]. And once you've picked up some records, you'll need to play them. A vintage machine, like those you'll find at the Mechanical Music Extravaganza, is nice to look at, but rough on records. Kevin A. Barrett has a range of contemporary three-speed turntables and, most importantly, the right-sized needles for old sides [kabusa.com].
Archeophone Records - Put out wonderful, most acoustic (pre-1925) material, including their "Phonographic Yearbooks," Bert Williams and Marion Harris
Frog Records - Wonderful transfers of McKinney’s Cotton Pickers, Miff Mole and King Oliver
Hep Jazz - Alastair Robertson's label is expansive, and embraces modern jazz and big bands, as well as Cleo Brown, Isham Jones and the Tennessee Tooters
Jazz Oracle - A great label out of Canada
Rivermont Records - Bryan Wright’s label, the company that works with me on “The Big Broadcast” CDs
Vocalion Records - A seemingly inexhaustible source for British Dance Bands, but they’ve also done Leo Reisman, Rudy Vallee and Paul Whiteman
Mosaic Records - Well-produced, limited edition CDs. Bix Beiderbecke, Venuti & Lang, Bunny Berigan, Prima & Manone