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Hands-on Radio History

Saturday, July 19, 2003
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Sponsored by . . .
TheDavid Sarnoff Library
and the New Jersey Antique Radio Club


Radios Alive! Rabbit fur and amber! Crystal radio receivers! The David Sarnoff Library, one of the best kept secrets in all of Central New Jersey, will kick off a spanking new series of educational programs on Saturday, July 19th from 10-4 p.m. Co-sponsored by the New Jersey Antique Radio Club, the event promises something for all ages and all “sophistications” of radio wisdom.

On the one hand, radio buffs who wish to attend the Radio Club’s clinic for radio repair, or learn the approximate value of an old RCA Victor, Philco, Zenith or nameless treasure, or analyze how much it would cost to fix Grandma’s kitchen radio, can call 609-734-2636 to make an appointment on the hour for one-on-one attention. If your radio can be fixed in less than 60 minutes, the Club’s experts will do it for free!

On the other hand, informal presentations and hands-on learning will unfold throughout the day, without need to sign up in advance. Go modern, with Scott Marshall, one of the world’s finest thereminists, who will play and provide a general introduction to the very first electronic music synthesizer. Go vintage with Rob Flory who will be contacting the radio operators on some of the 63 World War II ships (including the battleship New Jersey) preserved around the country via an RCA Victor radio built in Camden for the US Navy during WWII. (see attached photo). Or attend Al Klase’s talk “Radio from A-Z” at 11 a.m. or 3 p.m. to track the evolution of wireless communications and find out why people couldn’t send photos over cell phones a hundred years ago.

For those who harbor a warm spot in their hearts for 78’s and 45’s, Phil Vourtsis will play the music you want, when you want it, and show why RCA switched from records made of slate powder and insect goo, to records made of plastic. Visitors are encouraged to check under the bed and in the attic, dust off those old platters and take them for a Saturday spin.

Today, it’s the Internet! In the 1920’s it was radio broadcasting! A craze of equal exuberance, bringing a proliferation of books, magazines, toys and puzzles to match the programming. Gerry and Marsha Simkin will open their enormous collection of radio culture realia to document the era and provide opportunities to handle some of the treasured artifacts from the past.

Early television, with three channels, no remote, lots of knobs and small screens will come alive with Alex Magoun and Dave Abramson, who promise that visitors will be able to see themselves through a 1950 TV camera on RCA’s first color television, an antique from 1954, or watch Saturday Night Live’s distant ancestor, the Buick Berle Hour, on RCA’s 1948 set.

If Alex Magoun, the energetic wizard and director of the David Sarnoff Library has his way, July 19th will provide electronic entertainment and education! The program is free and open to the public. It will take place at Sarnoff Corporation’s Auditorium and the David Sarnoff Library, 201 Washington Road, Princeton, NJ. Find directions here.

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