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This story was published in Radio Recall, the journal of the Metropolitan Washington Old-Time Radio Club, published six times per year.

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Our expert is Dr. Michael Biel, OTR historian and professor of Radio and TV at Morehead State University.

QUESTION: I was pretty impressed by the quality of the audio of NBC’s 1927 remote of Lindbergh's return to America, after his historic solo flight across the Atlantic. Does this rank as the earliest of the surviving remotes? Charlie Mueller, Forest Hills, NY

ANSWER: It was professionally recorded by Victor Records, and eight sides were issued. There are three 12-inch discs with Lindbergh and Coolidge speeches directly from the original masters, and a 10-inch compilation of commentary which were dubbed and edited from the original masters.

There is a slight loss in sound quality on the two dubbed sides compared with the original masters. There were about 20 sides recorded, containing over an hour. The metal parts exist at RCA, and several sets of vinyl test pressings were made back in the 1980s. My tape dub of them was made by the late Jack Tower, which further accounts for the high quality of some of the circulating copies. Columbia Records was also recording the broadcast and vinyl pressings of two sides survive in the Library of Congress.

I remembered the sound quality of the Columbia sides being superior to the Victor recording, but I realize now that I did not have the original Victor masters to compare with at the time. I only had the two dubbed sides back then. It would be interesting comparing them directly. There also are two sides at LC from Columbia's recording of the New York City parade a day or two later.

But this 1927 event is not even close to being the earliest surviving remote. In fact, MOST of the earliest known legitimate recordings are remote broadcasts! First, there is the speech by former President Woodrow Wilson which was aired from his Washington, D.C. bedroom on November 10, 1923. Then there are excerpts from more than a dozen New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra concerts from Carnegie Hall from WEAF in 1923 and 24. A couple of them were issued on the large historical CD set which the NY Philharmonic issued two years ago. The earliest one I have is from December 13, 1923 from the original discs. FDR's speech at the 1924 Democratic Convention exists, along with another short excerpt of some talk from the podium.

On September 12, 1924 the Defense Test Day broadcast on the AT&T network included a series of reports from military bases all over the country. Coolidge's inaugural address from 1925 exists. The March 14, 1925 and January 1, 1926 recording of a trans-Atlantic broadcast from 2LO London via 5XX Daventry over WJZ included dance music from Ciro's Club and the Westminster Chimes from the House of Parliament. The rest of the January 1st broadcast included segments from Washington, D.C., Schenectady, and NYC, but these were probably all from the studios of the stations on the network, so were not really remotes.

There also are some recordings of several 1925 and 1926 broadcasts of The Associated Glee Clubs from the Metropolitan Opera House from WEAF. Some of these AGC masters were released on Columbia and Victor. Unreleased sides exist in the Library of Congress.

Compo of Canada released on Apex Raditone two hymns from an August 9, 1925 church service broadcast from the American Presbyterian Church in Montreal, and a speech by William Lyons Mackenzie King broadcast on October 19, 1925 from the Montreal Forum. This one is particularly interesting because some prankster turned all the lights out in the middle of the speech, and King is heard trying to silence the crowd by saying "You will find you will be able to hear just as well in the dark!"