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" free radio 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.

REELRADIO has survived twenty years online. Many will never forget the greatest radio ever made, live, independently, every minute of every day, all over the country. The fun, formatics, styles, personalities, promotions, production, jingles, news, time-tones, reverb, creativity and pioneers of Top 40 Radio are celebrated here! We hope this site will be a valuable reference and an enduring archive for those who want to learn more and listen to this exciting time in American popular media.

Please read some of this before using my mail link.


[updated March 29, 2015]
If you are a copyright or trademark owner who believes that your rights have been violated by this REELRADIO service, please send a notice to our Copyright Agent. Such notice should contain an electronic or physical signature of the person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the copyrighted work, a description of the copyrighted work that you claim has been infringed, a description of where the infringing material is located, your address, telephone number, and email address, and a written statement by you that you have a good faith belief that the disputed use is not authorized by the copyright owner nor any entity authorized to act on the copyright owner's behalf. Our agent for notice of alleged copyright infringement on an application is:
Copyright Agent
P.O. Box 2641
Rocklin CA 95677
United States of America
A notification of claimed infringement related to the Service should be a written communication addressed to the name and address set forth above, and must include substantially all of the following:
  1. A physical or electronic signature of the owner (or person authorized to act on behalf of the owner) of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed upon;
  2. Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed upon, or if multiple copyrighted works are covered by a single notification, a representative list of such works claimed to have been infringed upon;
  3. Information related to the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled, and information reasonably sufficient for REELRADIO to promptly locate the material (e.g. title of work, location within the Service, etc.);
  4. Information reasonably sufficient to permit REELRADIO to directly contact the complaining party, such as an address, telephone number, and if available, an email address at which the complaining party may be contacted;
  5. A statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law; and
  6. A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
It is not our intention to infringe any copyrights, and we will remove the infringing content if we receive a valid notification from a confirmed owner, as described above.


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. Access to the site requires your agreement to these conditions.

Please listen to one exhibit (stream) at a time. Starting multiple simultaneous streams will result in an automatic, permanent ban of your IP address.


When you contribute to the Reel Top 40 Radio Repository, if your content is published, you will always be credited for your contribution, hopefully along with your descriptive text, if provided. Those who contribute two or more airchecks rate a "Collection". This is to assure that you receive the credit for sharing with the rest of us. All contributions are subject to the Terms & Conditions of your membership. Exhibitors receive a lifetime subscription upon the publication of their contributions.

How to Share

Good quality cassette recordings are still welcome. 15 or 7 1/2 ips quarter-inch reel-to-reel tape is still fine, DAT and minidisc is even OK. If you have a CD or DVD burner and know how to make a clean transfer from your tape to your computer, digital media is fine. 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. Here's a hint for those converting their tape libraries - do not save your only copy in MP3. Always keep a full, digital copy in an uncompressed format. Here at REELRADIO, 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 Streaming Audio is processed in real time.

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

  They will not be accepted.

And finally, YES - Established contributors can arrange to transfer their contributions via private FTP.


Here's the part that requires a little more work - 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.

Why does this site exist?

[updated March 29. 2015]
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 grew steadily for the first ten years. 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, and $20 in 2010. Attrition, lack of corporate support and ongoing theft and trade of our exhibits made this increase necessary.


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.)

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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