A Jean Shepherd podcast?

Imagine a “News from Lake Wobegon” without the homespun prairie jive, lasting for more than an hour every weeknight, and packed with great stories, mostly of being a normal kid from greater blue-collar Chicago. That was Jean Shepherd, who was Required Listening in New York — and the whole Northeast — from the ’50s to the ’70s. “Shep” was also a writer of books and articles, a public performer, an artist and a screenwriter best known for A Christmas Story the 1983 hit movie that has since become required showing on holiday season television.

So I’m listening right now to “A Voice in the Night: A Tribute to Jean Shepherd”, on one of the Sirius public radio channels. I can’t tell which one because the display on the receiver is too dim, and the service’s own guide is nearly clue-free. (And I wont get rid of this receiver, because it’s one of the early ones with an illegally strong FM transmitter, which I like, and because it fits in three different cradles that will fit none of the newer units. I will, with regret for losing Howard Stern, dump Sirius when my subscription runs out later this year.)

Anyway, I’m busy and would love to hear this show later on a podcast. Alas, the only listen-link on the show page goes to a RealAudio stream that requires sitting at your computer (and having a Real player). If anybody knows how to get this on a podcast, let the rest of us know. Thanks.

10 comments

  1. Russ Barrett’s avatar

    I remember the WOR signal trickling down to Southside Virginia in the 60′s, bringing Jean Shepherd nightly after the 10pm news. I listened faithfully, and even sent him a news story once that he read on the air.

    I haven’t found any Shepherd podcasts, but there is a wealth of his material at the Internet Archive. Their search engine is a bit wobbly, but I found this page of his 1966 shows:
    http://www.archive.org/details/JeanShepherd1966

    Replace the 1966 with years up to 1976 for more shows.

  2. shepfan’s avatar

    You might want to look at shepcast.blogspot.com. That’s the home of “The Brass Figlagee,” a Jean Shepherd podcast I’ve been running for several years now. The content is all Shep as originally offered in the now-defunct shep-archives.com, and presented in more-or-less chronological order, making exceptions for shows about holidays or seasonal events. The show you mention, “A Voice in the Night,” will be among the last episodes included as it aired after Shep’s death. I hadn’t originally intended to include it, but hearing your interest, I will.

  3. Eugene B. Bergmann’s avatar

    I don’t know about podcasts, but you can hear (and record off your computer) at: http://legacy.kcrw.com/specials/JeanShepherd.html

    There are many hundreds of Shepherd programs available for little cost from various sources. See references on the main Shepherd website: http://www.flicklives.com and also see the hundreds available on ebay on its Jean Shepherd page. In addition there are previously nearly unheard syndicated Shepherd shows being released on CDs by http://www.radiospirits.com (I write the program notes for these). I’ve also written the only book about his creative work: EXCELSIOR, YOU FATHEAD! THE ART AND ENIGMA OF JEAN SHEPHERD.
    Excelsior!
    Eugene B. Bergmann

  4. scottlo scorbal’s avatar

    Don’t know if this would be of interest Doc. Max Schmid’s weekly show on WBAI entitled Mass Backwards is available as podcast. Each week he plays a Shep show from the archives.

    I’ve been listening to Jean Shepherd for the first time for the last half year or so. Excellent stuff.

    Here’s the URL for Max’s podcast page:

    http://www.flicklives.com/Mass_Back/podcast.htm

  5. shepfan’s avatar

    The http://www.archive.org/details/JeanShepherdXXXX files are the back end of “The Brass Figlagee” podcast. You won’t find Shearer’s show in that group since it isn’t uploaded yet. When it is, it’ll be at http://www.archive.org/details/JeanShepherdUndated.

    Another Shep podcast is Jim Clavin’s “Jean Shepherd Revisited.” Lately Jim has been featuring shows that haven’t been heard since their first airing: http://www.flicklives.com/reruns/podcast.htm

  6. Steve Markowski’s avatar

    Doc,

    Download mp3s here: http://budurl.com/75fy

    My mom put me on to Shep when I was in grade school. My dad sprang live from a Shep story: “Get that crazy man off the radio!!!”

    He’s a cherished part of growing up in Brooklyn in the ’50s. Nothing he did on PBS, in Playboy or the movies, touched the young heart like those late night one-on-one spellbinders with old Shep.

    Excelsior!

  7. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Thanks for all the great links everybody. I’ll check them out after I’m past the current travel gauntlet.

    Russ, the old WOR signal in the 1960s was very strong to the southwest. See here and here for more about WOR’s trasmitters. There have been five so far. The best, which was operative when you were listening, was a figure-8 with big lobe to the southwest and northeast. The newer transmitters have been west of the city, aiming a smaller lobe to the southwest and the biggest one to the east, with slightly different patterns day and night:

    http://www.fccinfo.com/CMDProEngine.php?sCurrentService=AM&tabSearchType=Appl&sAppIDNumber=1150097&sHours=D

    http://www.fccinfo.com/CMDProEngine.php?sCurrentService=AM&tabSearchType=Appl&sAppIDNumber=1150097&sHours=N

    Their old signal was strong from Baltimore to Hartford. The new one? Doesn’t impress me. Oh well.

  8. Bob Kalsey’s avatar

    Thanks for the heads-up about the Jean Shepherd program. As a kid I listened to him late at night in Palo Alto on my dad’s old Hallicrafters radio. I was a big fan. I’m a fan of Harry Shearer, too, and had the pleasure of working with him on a very funny video a few years ago. So anyway, I did some poking around and found Jean Shepherd: A Voice in the Night available in mp3 at http://hearingvoices.com/news/2009/08/hv067-jean-shepherd-1/

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