Rat Patrol Radio was born from a discussion of period music on the forums for the game WWII Online, in the summer of 2000. Realizing that the mostly younger audience of prospective players had never heard WWII music, my friend Robert and I wondered how we could introduce them to Big Band and Swing music.
I had one Andrews Sisters and one Glenn Miller CD, which was the extent of my collection. I used to watch Abbott and Costello war movies on WTBS as a kid, which is where I discovered swing music. I’d heard about this new thing called “internet radio,” so started exploring the Net to learn more. In the fall of 2000, I finally found a new service called Live 365, which would rent prospective internet DJs server space and bandwith.
There was a catch, however; you had to abide by RIAA rules, which stipulated that no more than four songs from any one artist, album or box set could be broadcast in any rolling three hour period. Working it out using an average of 3 minutes per song, this meant I needed 15 CDs from different artists! That collection has grown to over 150 CDs, and several gigabytes of public domain Old Time Radio and WWII news shows.
Rob was invaluable while assembling this collection, as we only wanted music that was from 1945 or earlier. Rob’s mom sang with a big band on war bond tours in WWII, and he met many noted sidemen as a child when they would come visit his mom. He could listen to a song, and say “That’s so-and-so on the trumpet solo, and he was only with this band between this year and that.”
Rat Patrol Radio evolved from a quick idea into a living tribute to the men and women of the Greatest Generation. The emails I receive from all over the world relating the stories of parents and grandparents who served in World War II, and how this music touched them are my greatest inspiration. They reaffirm my efforts to keep RPR on the air.
We hope you enjoy the music, and maybe learn some things about what our parents and grandparents went through in their battle to save the world from Fascism.
Thanks for listening!