This podcast is both a treasure-trove and a true labor of love by its main host and his colleagues who both provide the classic materials and introduce them personally.
First of all, the audio quality is some of the best I’ve ever encountered with old radio programs online. “Buck” (our main host) clearly works diligently to find the best-quality editions available from a variety of sources, and he uses a decent-sized resolution for the audio, so it’s not riddled with the kind of digital artifacts that sometimes plague other streaming version. (One of his hosts, “OTR Rob,” sometimes seems to use much lower resolution, but “Buck” and the other hosts tend to do first-rate audio transfers).
At the core of the podcast (not surprisingly) are at least three episodes a week of classic episodes of the old Jack Benny program, all corresponding to the exact same week in whatever year they were originally broadcast. Hence when it’s Christmas or New Year’s or the Fourth of July for us, those holidays are also being observed on the show. This detail of scheduling makes for an unusually rewarding experience, especially the longer you listen. And it’s important to note that these Jack Benny shows are still as vividly entertaining as they always were, achieving a truly timeless quality of comedy, especially in the decade after World War II.
Since the shows are “lined up” with their time of year, that leaves the summers without Jack Benny shows, and Buck always takes the opportunity to load up the summer with a HUGE variety of other great radio programs, many of them dramas or other comedy programs from various eras. Each summer there are wonderful treasures shared. Even during the main part of the year there are plenty of non-Jack-Benny programs to listen to. In fact there’s usually SO MUCH material every week that you could never run out of something interesting to listen to. The amount of sheer entertainment content on this podcast is astonishing. Various hosts (though especially “Buck”) verbally introduce nearly every show — the presentation is very casual and personal, but there is often historical context provided or anecdotes about the actors or other considerations that influenced the shows when they were made. After a while the hosts become very familiar and seem a bit like family, so relaxed and engaging are their commentaries. But best of all, after the podcast introductions, once the original old radio program begins, it plays without interruption. There are LOTS of great choices made in the execution of this podcast, and everything about it has only improved over the near-decade it’s been in existence.
So whether you choose to listen to old radio programs during a commute or on long drives, or at home, while working or before you go to sleep, alone or with friends, you’re pretty much guaranteed to always have something worthwhile and entertaining to listen to on the Buck Benny Podcast. If you love old radio programs, this is the finest podcast out there for you. If you’ve never discovered old radio programs, there’s no better place to begin your discovery process. Great shows in great audio quality, with enthusiastic and well-informed hosts introducing them — what more could you ask for?