Big News from Cladrite Radio!

Big news!We’ve got big news! Cladrite Radio has taken the Patreon plunge, and we wanted you to be the first to know.

Patreon is a website that allows creative types to receive monthly support from their fans, followers and, in our case, listeners. We’ve set up several contribution levels, starting as low as $1 a month, and with a thank-you gift (or gifts) at each level.

Cladrite Radio is a labor of love, but it costs us a good deal of money, time and energy. A little support from our listeners, readers and followers will go a long way toward making things a bit easier for us.

If you listen to our toe-tapping tunes, enjoy our posts here on our blog and on our various social media platforms, or both, we’d very much appreciate if you’d at least pay a visit to our Patreon page and consider chipping in what you can—you’ll receive some swell stuff in return, in addition to our deep gratitude. We love exploring the pop culture of the first half of the 20th century with you, and your support can help us dig even deeper.

Cladrite Radio’s New Home Sweet Home

You may have noticed that things look a bit different around these parts, and there’s a good reason for that: We’ve been hard at work for weeks, revamping our website.

Cladrite Radio is now a fully secure, mobile-friendly website and we have a brand new streaming player for you to enjoy our toe-tapping tunes of the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s. We hope you’ll put the new site through its paces and let us know if you experience any technical issues.

Moving the site to a new server and springing for increased security wasn’t cheap, so if you’d like to show your support by chipping in a few clams, you’ll see a link to the right of this post that allows you to do just that. And thanks!

An attractive woman sits listening to a vintage radio

The Latest from the Streaming Wars

We’ve been talking to you of late about the technical troubles our streaming provider, Radionomy, has been experiencing, and here’s the latest: Our stream is currently available via all the popular browsers via this website, our page on the Radionomy.com website, the Internet Radio feature in iTunes (look for us under Jazz), and via the free Radionomy app that’s available for Android and iOS.

However, it’s still not available through many third-party apps (like Reciva and Nobex—though Android users of the latter may be able to access the stream), and that has impacted our listener hours rather drastically. This matters because Radionomy has a daily minimum number for listener hours and any stations that fall below that mark get 86’d.

We’re not that close to the danger point just yet, but we’re closer than we’d like to be. So we humbly ask you to make it a point to give us a nice, long listen or two (or twelve) over the next few days to get our average back up a bit. Choose whichever method mentioned above that works for you; it’s all the same to us (and to Radionomy).

We may look into switching to another streaming provider one of these days—Radionomy is not only buggy, but their communication with their broadcasters is almost non-existent. But the service is free, which matters to us a great deal—a money-maker Cladrite Radio is not. We’re lucky when we break even.

So unless and until we switch, please keep us streaming in the background whenever you’re able (heck, stream us on your computer or phone and mute the sound, if you’re not in the mood for our toe-tapping tunes at just that moment, though honestly, when are you not in the mood for great music from the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s?). And thanks!
Listening to Cladrite Radio on the beach

Past Paper: The Mystery of the Vintage Magazine

Vintage magazine cover-The Oklahoma WhirlwindOn a recent visit to a paper ephemera store in our hometown of Oklahoma City, we came across a vintage magazine called The Oklahoma Whirlwind. Dated 1928, it was tightly sealed in plastic and the crusty proprietor of the shop wasn’t willing to let us to peek at the publication’s contents, but we found the cover illustration intriguing.

Was it even remotely possible that in 1920s Oklahoma, there was a magazine that was marketed to—or, heck, even friendly toward—the gay community? Surely not, but here was this cover, plain as day, right before our eyes.

As you’ve already guessed, we broke down and bought the vintage magazine, ripping open the plastic as soon as we stepped out of the shop. We quickly ascertained that The Oklahoma Whirlwind was a college humor magazine, published by students at the University of Oklahoma. The material is pretty typical of the era and of limited interest (though a few of the advertisements have appeal). No mention is made of the illustration of the cover.

But a closer inspection of the illustration revealed a couple of details that suggest the cover wasn’t so gay-friendly, after all. The tiny depiction of a rat chasing a mouse and a bird giving the go-by to a willing-to-be-eaten worm (see below) suggests that the point the artist is making is that a gay couple canoodling on a park (or campus, perhaps?) bench is against nature, or something along those lines. As depictions of homophobic sentiments go, this one’s pretty mild, thankfully, and perhaps even crosses over to good-natured.

A mouse chases a catA bird refuses a worm

Happy Birthday, Smith Ballew!

If you turned on your radio in the 1920s and early 1930s (or, for that matter, if you tuned into Cladrite Radio right now), you wouldn’t have to wait long before you heard the crooning of one of a handful of popular male vocalists: Chick Bullock, Scrappy Lambert, Dick Robertson and a few others.

These weren’t the biggest stars of the day—they didn’t rank up with, say, Bing Crosby or Rudy Vallée—but they were among the busiest singers for hire, performing and recording with a lengthy roster of the most popular orchestras of the day, and, depending upon which contractual restrictions they were violating at the time, often being credited under various pseudonyms.

And probably as busy as any of them was Smith Ballew, who was born 114 years ago today in Palestine, Texas. Ballew was a popular radio singer and sang on literally hundreds of records. He was so busy that he once reported for for-hire session at a recording studio in NYC with no earthly idea who he was to be singing with that day—it turned out to be Duke Ellington and his orchestra.

Smith Ballew

After this busy phase of his career, Smith Ballew became a singing cowboy in the movies, starring in 17 pictures between 1936 and 1951. He retired from Hollywood after that, moving back to the Lone Star state, where he took a position as manager in the missiles division of an aircraft company. He passed away in 1984.

Happy birthday, Mr. Ballew, and thanks for the musical memories!