An Interview w/ MAC of The Antique Phonograph Music Program!

MAC-twohorns-cover-20150605-IMG_5184An Interview w/ MAC of The Antique Phonograph Music Program!
(This week, one of my DJ heroes MAC from WFMU’s The Antique Phonograph Music Program calls in to discuss his show, and the joys of collecting music from the earliest days of recorded sound.)

Playlist & Footnotes:

For the last several years now I’ve been a fan of WFMU, a New Jersey based radio station that features a number of incredible programs that chart unique and unusual territory that most radio stations would never play.  Among the many programs that are not only unique, but entirely singular in the world of radio is The Antique Phonograph Music Program, where the host – MAC, a collector and music enthusiast – plays music from crank up machines to give you a taste of what pre-electricity music sounds like.

Incredibly, this program has now been running for over 20 years – 20 years, and two weeks as of this recording – and there is absolutely no sign that he is slowing down.  Celebrating this anniversary MAC recently had a huge blowout that was broadcast live on WFMU, and with a recent New York Times Profile and managing the Antique Phonograph Enthusiasts page on Facebook – where collectors new and old can get advice on machines and where to pick up records – MAC is a pretty busy guy.  This is why I was very excited that he managed to take time out of his busy schedule to chat about all things radio and collectable for our program today.

I’ll let MAC tell his story from here on out, but here are a couple of links that relate to our conversation:

The National Jukebox.  Managed and maintained by The Library of Congress, this is a massive collection of recordings that anyone can listen to right off their website.  However, it is a huge collection, and slightly unwieldy in terms of how to sift through it.  Good luck!

The UCSB Cylinder Audio Archive.  The University of California Santa Barbara Library maintains this incredible digitized collection of cylinders that, again, is quite a lot without an “entry point.”  My recommendation is to check out their front page, where they have a “Cylinder of The Day,” which is available to download or play right off the site.

The Internet Museum of Flexi / Cardboard / Oddity Records.  This is the page that we discuss that MAC manages, and it contains a wealth of information about disposable records.  These are things that were designed to have a very limited shelf life, either because they were made cheaply, or their intent was only to be a one or two time listening experience.  (For example: flexi-discs and postage-stamp records, or the kinds that you find on cereal boxes.)  This is a worthwhile site to troll when you have some time on your hands, and you will find some amazing gems if you dig around.

The Mechanical Music Extravaganza happens every six months, and if you are on the East Coast, is a great place to feed and / or begin your hobby, if you haven’t already found a good way to do so.  Plus: you can meet other amazing collectors.

Perfecting Sound Forever by Greg Milner.  This is the book I mentioned, that covers the entire history of recorded sound, starting with the original inventors in the late 19th Century, and ending with the most current technology that 2009 – the year of publication – had to offer.  I will say, the book is incredibly academic, and very dry, but offers a look into the beginning stages of recorded sound, and the challenges that existed in capturing sound, a challenge that people continue to to face today.

Radio Boredcast.  We make a very brief reference to this 744-hour radio project that was assembled by WFMU DJ (and artist) People Like Us, aka Vicki Bennett.  Mac contributed this hour of programming to the month-long broadcast.


It was a real pleasure to talk with MAC, as both a fan of this era of music and his program, and I urge you to check his program, and discover a world of music that is unlike anything that you would hear these days.  Music changes and trends shift every few months, and it is easy to forget that music has a 100+ year history, with over half of that history taking place before The Beatles were even a glimmer in your parents eyes.  Hopefully this conversation will pique your interest in checking out this incredible and excellent program.



An Interview w/ MAC of The Antique Phonograph Music Program!

Side A: 

01.) The Antique Phonograph Music Program [Excerpt] * WFMU * 30 September 2015
02.) Telephone Lines * Eric Hausmann * Solo Traveller
03.) The Universal Telephone Ring
04.) Interview w/ MAC * 16 November 2015 [Part I]

Side B: 

05.) Interview w/ MAC * 16 November 2015 [Part II]
09.) On The Radio * Cheap Trick * Heaven Tonight

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