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Geezer & Greybelt Interview - July 22 2019

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Post by greybelt on 7/25/2019, 7:00 am

Greetings! We're still on the Radio Spirits cruise which (sadly) ends tomorrow July 26.

I sat down with Geezer whom I have known many years but never met until this event. We talked for about an hour about OTR, sound processing, and life in Cobaltia.

This is a 32kps file -- I will post a higher encode once I get back home.
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Enjoy!!

Geezer & Greybelt - July 22, 2019

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The motto of the Laurel & Hardy society, The Sons of the Desert, had a motto that
described Stan and Babe: Duae tabulae rasae in quid nihil scriptum est.
Translation: "two minds without a single thought."
Why did that come to mind when I saw this picture?  Smile

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Post by artatoldotr on 7/25/2019, 8:29 am

Thanks guys

I look forward to listening to it.

Enjoy the rest of the cruise.

Best regards

Art
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Post by pnussbaum on 7/25/2019, 10:11 am

Ah, the good life! Have fun while the cruise wraps up.
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Post by ghemrats on 7/25/2019, 1:10 pm

Two of my all-time favorite Cobaltians! To quote Fernando, "Youuu loooook mah-velous!" Safe travels and journey mercies.
Jeff

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Post by Space Cadet on 7/25/2019, 7:20 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this. I downloaded the file with the intent to listen to it later. But I decided to listen to a few minutes immediately and sat through the entire recording. I was totally fascinated and enjoyed it immensely. Please allow me to offer an insight or few.

Yes Geezer, I think we both found the original Cobalt Club site at about the same time. Probably within a few months of each other and I couldn't even guess which of us found it first. I miss those days and the years following, once the forum came online. We had a lot of fun together back then. I wish we had a few more "characters" in the group today.

Seamus may correct me later, but if memory serves me well, the five post per day, per thread rule was due to limited server capacity. At that time, we were on RIT's network and our server had very little actual disk space. The actual rule was, "Five shows per day, per thread. And take your files down after seven days." I can still remember a certain moderator who finally resorted to posting a list of names weekly, of people whose posts he had to go in and delete himself, just to try to keep the site online. To this day, I feel great pride in the fact, that my name was only on that list twice. And one of those weeks, I was on another continent.

I technically own this site. But that's just a legal fiction (or unfortunate legal reality), because I created the site on Forumotion's servers. But The Cobalt Club belongs to the members. I built this site as a way of keeping "The Family" together after the last server crash. Seamus and I talked it over, and decided that this space would remain as "The Club". Being a belt and suspenders type, I've given both Ghemrats and Seamus full admin rights. This is so that if anything happens to two of us, there's still someone who can carry on and keep The Cobalt Club alive for the members. There's absolutely no friction between us. Seamus has his hand on the tiller. And Jeff and I keep our eyes on the horizon.

A note to new members and those who have just discovered Old Time Radio. By all means, look for those shows which got you interested in OTR. But you also want to at least sample everything that's offered. Even if the genre doesn't appeal to you, download and listen to a few shows from every series you can get your hands on. I can assure you, that you're going to discover that there are many other series' that you will love. And don't be afraid to ask questions in the threads. Yes, some of us have been together for twenty years or more. And there are those who are veritable Gods in the OTR community here. But they're amazingly generous and giving people, who are happy to help others to learn about and enjoy Old Time Radio.

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Post by greybelt on 7/25/2019, 9:23 pm

Thanks for your note, Space! Don and I had a great time. I didn't realize how far back he went in CC history until we sat down for the interview!

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Post by greybelt on 7/26/2019, 10:25 am

Can't believe how fast the Internet is here @ Newark airport

This folder has the Geezer & Greybelt interview in different mp3 encode rates and FLAC.

Enjoy!
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Post by Seamus on 7/27/2019, 12:32 pm

This was brilliant. So much in fact I would like to suggest that you guys do a podcast for the Cobalt Club. maybe a monthly or bimonthly. This was so enjoyable. Maybe we can do interviews with members. Something to think about.

Backing up Space's comments. The first server we had was an old PC server. Dear ducks it was something that Nick assembled out of parts. It had one gig available for shows so when that was full we could not share more shows. At first there was only about 5 of us posting stuff so it worked out okay. Mostly we had maybe 100 Shadow shows as thats what we were known for. I actually joined the site looking for Shadow shows. I had bought a 5 cassette tape Shadow bundle and once done those I wanted more. I was in University and did a lot of things on computers. I had a Micron PC that I paid $7500 for (What nonsense when I look back) so I knew my way around computers. There was another user in high school a runner who went onto Yale he and I were kids and we were all about being funny so we basically posted a lot and we got to know Nick. Nick asked me to mod the place as he was having trouble keeping up as we had to make sure we cleaned up shows every week. So Nick made me and the other guy I wish I could remember his nickname mods. We acted as mods and cajoled people to clean up their uploads. We did it in a funny banter like way. So Space is correct it was maximum 5 shows per thread to the limit of 1 gig and I would send out the we are getting full notes. Shows at that time were around 5mb encoded at 16 and 32 so okay sound but not great. We did not seem to mind at the time.

Now this server had a crappy network card in it and limited bandwidth so if more than 5 people tried to download a show it did not like it. Which maybe what Geezer remembers. She was a temperamental old girl and she went up and down like a yoyo. During that time we went from maybe 25 posters to over 1760 users with about 65 constant posters and 150 people posting comments and such. I remember rebuilding that server with Nick a lot. So we posted a suggestion to the club we buy our own server. We were floored by the response we raised over 2 grand if I remember. And Nick and I put a spec together. It was real server rack mounted RAID disk array in it. Proper backups etc. Top of the line network card. Thats when I built the bells and whistles site. I was silly back then I put in gallery, locked down swap forum, members only site, games forum. I look back at my youthful idiotic tendencies. I wanted this site to be THE old time radio site and indeed it did become that swelling to 1760 members and that was with me okaying every member as we were getting hacked weekly with our popularity.

With great power comes great responsibility. We existed because RIT gave us space for our server and a connection to the Internet. It was premium all the way. Tech wise at that point we were the best. Huge disk space loads of bandwidth and we were posting like crazy and then came those individuals who abuse the hospitality of others. We had about 15 gig of shows about 5 users connected and in a two day period attempted to download everything. so for that week the cobalt club used 75% of the bandwidth allotted for the whole of RIT so Nick got called in and told if that happened again the server would be shut off. Now, RIT was great to us and only because Nick was beloved at RIT did we get a second chance. And remember we were all doing this as volunteers. We had so many members that we were getting abuse I was getting pm's attacking me saying how dare I limit how much people could download (FREE Site People) the people who actually paid to have the new server never complained. I had to post rules like be nice to each other. We had and still do a CC ZERO tolerance policy for attacking each other. We were the haven. I love that about us. Nice people joining no trolling no fake posting no instigating. Now during the glory years we got hacked so much I had to rebuild the site 5 separate times. Nick would jump in and load stuff for me but he was super busy so I was plugging away on it and it took time. Users would go nuts when the site was down. The CC was an actual haven for people. The amount of pm's we received from people who were older and alone and this site was their world. It was a lot of pressure but I was not alone Space was active keeping things in line, Capt. good old Nile Caulder who I fear has gone to the great broadcast in the sky. Niles loved this place and worked his butt off answering questions and moderating with Space.  And members like Mars, Woody, Omaha, Saul Panzer would straighten out any bad behaviour.

On one huge hack a Eastern European hacker had taken over the backend of the site and was using our bandwidth and site to sell watches. I had to take him out and got the authorities in play as once again RIT got hit by I think the FBI for hosting a shady site. So I had to rebuild it all again with huge amounts of security it was almost a full time job keeping the hackers out. Every single day I was running a server script that listed IP's of hackers then adding them to exclusion list. All this crap going on at the backend while the front end was humming and people who upload 200 shows forget about them and I would have to manually remove them to preserve the posts. I then added the feature so you could delete you own shows in bulk. People would for the most part do it but some would not as Space said. They got on the list LOL.

So many great people came through here. Writers, directors, lovers of OTR. Complete assholes (pardon my french I get more direct as I age) and the club dealt with AH's in sometimes hilarious fashion. Sure the fun we have had and are having. We did have a golden era here I hate to lament it like that but we have lost some dear friends.

Space built this life boat during the last hack which coincided with RIT decommissioning the LAN room we had our server in so Nick once again pulled a rabbit out of his hat and got the site moved to his friends hosting company for free. We had ups and downs there and finally the site got accidentally deleted when that host lost hard-drives and had not backed us up. I was in Brazil and busy so could not spare the time to figure out a plan B so Space picked up all the people in the water and pulled them into this lifeboat. And during all that time this for me was 1998 on dial up through to ADSL small server to big server to no server to host to Space here and the world changed you could get files anywhere there was no point to hosting them insite and it was too expensive for hosting and bandwidth and key high posters are gone so the site was still rolling here and Space and I discussed the effort to try and make a site like the old one and we decided that what we had here was the CC the new version of the CC and long may she roll. Its a honour and a privilege to have been with this group for so long to have made great friends and to still be enjoying the same things over 20 years later. And to new things like Spaces' pulps and movies to Ghems movie reviews these things are a must for members to enjoy. Expand out people and participate I am throwing in my love of vinyl as we try and engage and make this a site for another 20 years.

So many thanks to Geezer and Grey a better pair you could not want to meet(Geezer might say you WOULDN'T want to meet LOL)

And to greybelt great to know the origin of your handle here. I started Jiu-Jitsu at 14 and 41 years later am still beating myself up weekly. I may not get up off the mat as quickly as I used to but its a pursuit till the day you die. Any other fellow Martial Artists on here? I had the amazing luck of being able to adjust business meetings as I traveled all over the world so I could study and attend events with some of the greats like Dan Inosanto, Bill superfoot Wallace, Benny The Jet, Mas Oyama, Wally Jay. On the mats in Brazil with the Gracies who had huge dojo's with 600 people a night training. It was and is a great life as it keeps you out of trouble I think of my friends who went through rough times with substance abuse and theres me getting kicked in the face in some tournament LOL a good life indeed. Grey and I will now create OTR loving Martial Artists thread LOL.

Sorry for the rambling thread this site has meant so much to so many. Long may the CC live.
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Post by otrwashh on 7/27/2019, 6:37 pm

Seamus,

Thank you for this wonderful History of Cobalt Club.

I have wondered many times about Niles.

I remember when my good friend, radio dramatist Jim French passed in December, 2017.  
I still think of him every  day. I am happy to know that his former manager,
Larry Albert his keeping Imagination Theatre alive.
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Post by lasombra on 7/28/2019, 11:28 am

Really interesting stuff, thanks!!!

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Post by greybelt on 7/28/2019, 12:12 pm

A martial arts aside....  (OTR comments at the bottom)

I did not start until 45, just as a goof, to get out of the house once a week and away from my home office to get away from things. I was an awful student and never practiced. Then I noticed from the pre-session stretching and drills that persistent symptoms of chronic prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain syndrome (I know, too much information, but there's even more at this site) were ebbing. I was feeling better overall. I started to get serious about it. The Okinawan styles suit older students better, as it is softer than Japanese Shotokan and there is (generally) more willingness to accommodate differences in build and condition (for instance, I have a repaired shoulder with lesser mobility, so some of the kata had to be adjusted to me). In Rhode Island I took Ryuku hon Kenpo Kobijitsu that was taught by Seikichi Odo in Okinawa, but after he died in 2002, his system started to ebb. Open hand and weapons were combined in that system and I got a black belt before I left, more for persistence than skill. After moving to NC, I had a brush with Shotokan, and I think I frustrated them more than they frustrated me. The dojo was far more interested in preparing younger people for competition events, while I like the history and health aspects. It was oil and water, but I have great affection for everyone there. I did find a teacher with whom I have trained for six years here, in Shorin-ryu Shorinkan, which comes through the late Shugero Nakazato, now maintained by his son. I'm so much better now, and have second degree black belt in open hand and first degree in weapons. I'm limited in the latter since some of the weapons require dexterity that my shoulder cannot support, but I'm really good at bo (a six-foot stick) and really enjoy that. I'm working my way up to learning the Eku (an oar). Part of the history of karate weapons is that the emperor did not allow the people to have any weapons. So, they learned to use farming and fishing tools in defensive fashion.

So here I am, 63, always the oldest person in the class, often by a lot, and older than my teachers. I remind them that old age and treachery can overcome youth and skill Smile  I have great fun teaching the arts now, and meeting other people of similar interest but different backgrounds, ethnicities, skills, and professions whom I would never meet otherwise. It's really enriched daily life and I look forward to it providing a good and healthy retirement.

A key reason I enjoy martial arts is that I never found the fitness center or fitness equipment like treadmills to be interesting. In martial arts it is impossible to know everything, so you'll always be learning something new. The workout is always varied, so it is a full body workout. You learn history and it helps keep your mind and reflexes sharp. I recommend it to everyone.

Now to the CC and OTR stuff...

It is important to keep recruiting new members to CC, so I implore everyone to become active at the Old Time Radio Researchers Facebook page (which is skillfully moderated and kept on topic), and the Radio Transcriptions FB page (moderated by transcription disc collector Sammy Jones). I try to encourage people there to join CC because of the work we do here. CC is for serious collectors and fans. There are "lurkers" here, fans in the background, but they're here because their interest in OTR deepens here. The FB platform is not one where work can get done, but is a place for good recruiting and augmenting interest in these recordings. Old Time Radio Lovers FB page is only lightly moderated, with no screening process for members. It's not as serious as the other two. It's a fan site, not really a collector site. That description might be a little unfair, but is a mainly true generalization. I know some serious collectors who are active on Old Time Radio Lovers because they answer questions and feel it is a good place to educate new fans about the history and also about collecting. That is absolutely true, but I suspect some of our veteran CC members might find that FB page a little too light in content for their desires.

I was on the Radio Spirits cruise this past week, which is really a Greg Bell cruise, and that was mainly listeners to the SiriusXM channel 148. Only Geezer and I were serious collectors. Many of the people there had not really heard about collecting. They were shocked that I was doing this for 40+ years (actually 47 now) and that it was a real hobby!

The SXM execs thought of the Radio Classics channel as not being all that important ... and then, because they can measure how many people are listening through the SXM app (they can't measure listeners over the satellite), Radio Classics was often in their top ten channels!!

There is still great interest in these programs, so while I did not find the content of the cruise program to always be compelling, I was very pleased to see enthusiastic listeners. Greg Bell also said that the number of younger listeners was far greater than he or the SXM execs ever thought it would be. The channel is more appreciated at SXM today than it was previously. Greg encourages all who can to listen on the app to keep the numbers up and in front of the SXM execs.

I will soon be posting an interview with Greg that we did on the last day of the cruise. I'll put it up tomorrow (Monday 7/29/2019) or the next day. He had heard about OTR before assuming the duties for the channel in 2002, and was a CBSRMT fan in its original broadcasts. I am surprised at how many folks at the OTRR FB page started to explore OTR because of their interest in CBSRMT. I always considered CBSRMT as only occasionally good, but now I see the wisdom in the efforts to assemble the best possible sounding sets of that series (some OTRR members are doing that right now, a few months away from final compilation). These may help encourage more collectors for many of the better programs that we focus on.

As far as my interviews are concerned, I have always believed that our hobby has its own history worth preserving, and I'm always seeking interesting subjects and established collectors, especially in my various travels when I can sit down face to face with them. I hope to do a few at the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention this September. I will also be at the SPERDVAC event in November. Let me know whom you'd like to hear from! I did get a long note from artatoldotr whom I will attempt to record sometime in the future.
I'm so glad CC survived and that this cloud-based platform is working out and starting to be more active. We need to find our lost members, when we can, and get them involved again. Some of the active members have passed away, of course, and they are greatly missed.

That's it from here! Now back to Suspense....

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Post by otrwashh on 7/28/2019, 6:27 pm

I don't do Facebook because of its failure to respect user privacy.

Interesting National Public Radio story on this topic:
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Post by ghemrats on 7/28/2019, 6:44 pm

I'm one of those serious collectors and completists, having joined Cobaltia way back when the only shows offered were *The Shadow* and *Doc Savage*. When Seamus brought forth the good old days, I was there with Mars, Omaha, Saul Panzer, Captain Niles Caulder and Red Panda and Woody--some of the greatest folks around. As I became a serious trader and poster after my mother passed away, the Gang really helped me cope with life's losses, gains and joys of camaraderie.

When the old site at RIT crashed, so went our outlet for fun and courteous venting for months, and, boy, what a loss that was. I vividly recall the emails I'd get along the lines of "Has anyone found out what happened? Is Seamus all right? Is Niles still around? Dark days of the 'net.

I'm retired and soon to be 67, and if it weren't for Space re-upping this incarnation, I don't know if I'd have kept up with the collecting mania as much as I have. This is a genteel place, a haven akin to the old Gentlepersons' Club of leather chairs and an air of respectful tascal-ry. Long live Cobalt and the memory of all our fallen brothers and sisters. Love you all.
Jeff

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Post by Space Cadet on 7/28/2019, 9:46 pm

All that I can really say, is that I'm proud of The Cobalt Club. Not this current board. But The Cobalt Club. It's been in business for over 20 years now in one form or another. But it's not now, nor has it ever been about the physical location. It's always been the club members. Old or new, the members are The Cobalt Club.
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Post by Gordon Johansen on 8/5/2019, 1:53 am

Great interview. As a relative newcomer to the group but one with little time on his hands, I certainly appreciate the efforts of people like both of you. It was a very informative piece. Thanks for posting it.

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