www.reelradio.com - A free, public archive of the best Top 40 radio ever made, contributed by people without a motive of personal profit
The Reel Top 40 Radio Repository

Rules and Reasons

Uncle Ricky at 17

Our Founder,
Uncle Ricky

The Repository is about Top 40 Radio, the last great "mass-appeal" music format, before "variety" became "diversity" and every popular music station took a small, specialized piece of what was once a very big American Pie. It's about a time of Big Radio Stations and unforgettable Radio Heroes. It's also about a time when little local radio stations were independently owned and important information and entertainment resources in the communities they served.

I always thought I would work in Radio. In 1965, I was a 14-year old DJ working after school. I was a PD when I was 21, a CE when I was 28, and a consultant when I was 31. I was 43 at my last radio job, in 1994. My Radio Bio is here. Since then, I found decent work in Internet and Computer fields, but it ain't radio. REELRADIO is my substitute for working in radio, and it has served me faithfully first as a hobby, and now, as a non-profit corporation, with lots of responsibility and no monetary compensation, at least for the first ten years.

REELRADIO has now survived fifteen years online. I know now that there are many, like me, who will never forget the greatest radio ever made. The fun, formatics, styles, personalities, promotions, production, time-tones, reverb, creativity and pioneers of Top 40 Radio are celebrated here! And we feel good about it.

Please read some of this before using my mail link.

Why does this site exist?

[updated February 12, 2006]
REELRADIO was born on February 12, 1996. As a contract web designer for Sacramento Network Access (one of Sacramento's first Internet Service Providers), I had access to unlimited file space, good bandwidth, and a new Real Audio 2.0 server. The Repository was the first website devoted to an archive of airchecks. There are now many imitators, and of course, we're flattered.

Response was surprisingly good from the very beginning and there was never any limit on the size or bandwidth usage of this website. In 1999, Sacramento Network Access was sold to PSINet, and our "no charge" hosting arrangement with SNA was no longer assured.

On March 23, 2000, REELRADIO, INC. was registered as a nonprofit California corporation. With the support of hundreds of friends and fans of the REELRADIO site, and the assistance of the Media Preservation Foundation, we built a custom server and bought some technical support. We contracted for co-location facilities and on Friday, July 14, 2000, we started directing requests to our new server.

This site was built and is maintained by a "radio professional" with 30 years experience in broadcasting.
This site would not exist unless people actually cared enough to contribute the exhibits and help with the costs. There have been hundreds of contributors and supporters over the years. Thank you.

The number of weekly visitors to our site has grown steadily. On February 5, 2006, the Board of Directors of REELRADIO, Inc. announced a minimum annual contribution of $12, effective on the tenth birthday of the site (February 12, 2006). This difficult decision followed months of server log and financial analysis that revealed thousands of listeners, but only a few dozen supporters. This minimum contribution was increased to $15 on January 19, 2009. Attrition, lack of corporate support and ongoing theft and trade of our exhibits made this increase necessary.

The remainder of this page explains how AUDIO and VIDEO RECORDINGS, WRITTEN WORDS AND PICTURES can be contributed to this site for the enjoyment of all.


[updated May 1, 2003]
It is acknowledged that all of the material on this site was, by lawful definition, copyrighted at the time of creation by those who made it. Whenever it appears that inclusion of the material here may infringe on the copyrights of current owners, we won't use the material. Otherwise, we will remove any material upon request of the legal owners. All material not protected by musical performance fees paid by this site conforms to "Fair Use" provisions of the law.

This online museum is non-profit (501(c)(3)). The primary function of REELRADIO is educational. We think that "telescoped" airchecks are factual works; they are recordings of one-time radio broadcasts which do not include musical performances. Our "scoped" airchecks include only a small portion of featured air talent or stations and do not adversely affect the value of the airchecks or actual broadcasts.

We have paid and will continue to pay fees for music featured on "unscoped" airchecks. The specific musical performances will be reported to the appropriate licensing agencies per contracted agreement.

Streamed Media on this site is not available for download or distribution, and the site is intended only for the private, non-commercial use of individual listeners who access the site. AND, in addition, the online presentation of any and all textual, pictorial, audio or video material has a derivative REELRADIO, Inc. copyright as of the year of publication. It is WRONG to rip media from this site for any purpose without permission.


[updated May 1, 2003]
We actually started with Real Audio 2.0 format in 1996! Less than half of the media files on this site are now encoded in old-time Real. I am working (slowly) to upgrade all exhibits to higher-quality formats. All files since "Y2K" (and several before) are in Real Media RV8 or G2 format, which offers greater fidelity, even at standard dial-up speeds than ever before. We also feature broadband exhibits (stereo and video). All exhibits sound (and look) Best in Broadband.


I claim final responsibility and choice for all materials submitted to the Repository. I can't promise that anything contributed will be placed online. Airchecks must be of reasonable quality, and content should showcase classic Top-40 stations, formatics, promotions and personalities. All submissions are subject to editing for content and technical considerations.


As much as I appreciate the effort and knowledge of those who collect airchecks, I have nothing to trade. I am not a collector, I just hate to throw things away. I'll share everything I can get that belongs here with everyone on the WWW. My "trade" is this website.


When you contribute to the Reel Top 40 Radio Repository, you are sharing your treasure with the World Wide Web, not just with me. Your e-mail address will always be included with your contribution, along with appropriate credit and your descriptive text, if provided. Those who contribute two or more airchecks must help me design a "Collection". This is to assure that YOU receive the credit for sharing with the rest of us. All Exhibitors receive a lifetime subscription upon the publication of their contributions.

How to Share

Good quality cassette recordings are welcome. 15 or 7 1/2 ips quarter-inch reel-to-reel tape is still fine, DAT and minidisc is better. More and more audiophiles have access to CD burners these days, that's excellent. VHS or HI-8 HI-FI is also an option. The USPS gets things here fast enough; I'll return anything sent to me the same way, if requested. Most important: If you are sending me a dub from a two-track machine, don't "sum" or "mono" the copy, even if it is mono. I do not accept audio in MP3 format. All exhibits must be encoded for online streaming; MP3 audio has been digitally compressed, and I don't want to digitally compress it again.

I cannot accept contributions already encoded as Real Audio. I must maintain archives capable of being upgraded. Also, exhibits are almost always processed in "the analog domain". REELRADIO's Real Audio is encoded in real time.

Please, don't send files to me as e-mail attachments.

  Honest, I mean it, don't.. please. I will and do DELETE all e-mail with unsolicited attachments.

Please, don't send files to me as e-mail attachments!


Here's the part that's difficult - building your Collection. If you submit two or more airchecks, they will be showcased in your Collection, so that you get credit for sharing. Here's what I need for your Collection in the RT40RR:
  1. Your bio - 3 to 4 paragraphs (400-500 words) will do. Write it as you want it to appear, or let me re-write it for you, but I must have something that tells Repository visitors about you.
  2. Pictures - 3 or more graphics, including one or more of you, then and/or now. If you've collected radio station record surveys, those are nice too. Anything of a graphical nature that can be used in building your collection page is important - I can even use photocopies if they are of decent quality.
  3. First person descriptions of your airchecks. There's a story behind every aircheck, even if it's just your recollection of when it was made, or your observations about the particular personality or station.
  4. The airchecks, (of course!)
Now, all of that scares some people away, because it takes some effort to get all that together. But I insist you be given credit for what you've contributed, and I do need your help.

Only got ONE aircheck to share, or don't have pictures? That's OK - I'll put it in our "Golden Gifts" exhibit and you don't have to supply anything except the aircheck itself, although a description is always appreciated (particularly since I may know nothing about what you send.)

Why to Share

The small success I had in radio was always due to being in the right place at the right time with the right people. It took me 8 months to get my first job at the age of 14, and it happened only because someone shared their knowledge and privilege with me.

As an ex-broadcaster, I feel good SHARING the grandest moments of Top 40 Radio with anyone who wants to listen. Don't feel your contribution won't be noticed. Our site comments are stuffed with appreciative messages from ex-radio folk and fans, and they are "hearty in their approbation and lavish in their praise." You can catch some of that glow. Just share.

It's a very good thing to share. It's only with the participation of those who find this site of interest that the Repository will continue to grow.


The Repository has become a bit more work than I thought it would be, and as a result, at times I am backlogged. This does not mean that your contribution isn't very much wanted! It took 30 years to build the legacy of Top-40 Radio; please consider that it will also take some time to assemble an online archive worthy of the subject.

I do appreciate hearing from everyone who wants to share something, or say hello, so you are encouraged to write (ricky@reelradio.com).

When you write, I'll be glad to provide a mailing address, as long as you are aware of the things I need and the fact that there may be some delay in getting your submission or collection online. (That means: You really should read ALL of this page before contacting me.)


Everyone with a "web page" doesn't respect the time, effort, and property of others. While imitation is supposedly the most sincere form of flattery, copying materials on this site without specific permission is really a very ugly thing.

Links to the REELRADIO site are welcome, but not to the REELRADIO stuff. Don't pretend it is yours. Don't pretend that you can ignore the years of work and hundreds of contributors that have built this site.

My very best to everyone who finds this effort worthwhile. Thank You!

Richard, aka: Uncle Ricky

Serving the World since 1996
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