For the next month, Brigham Young University is offering everyone the chance to tune in to old-time radio.
Rodney H. Brady, president of Bonneville International, turned over a collection of antique electronic equipment to BYU this week, and formally introduced an exhibit that will be open to the public."When I first saw this collection, I lost my breath at how extensive it was," Brady said.
Michael Ohman, BYU music professor and antique buff who will oversee the collection, agrees.
When BYU began preparing the antiques for exhibit, they were all in boxes, he said. "Opening them was just like Christmas day."
"People would open the boxes and `ooh' and `aah' and ask `Do you remember this?' " he said. It brought back a lot of memories.
The exhibit, in the George Brimhall Building Gallery on the BYU campus, houses about 250 pieces of the nearly 1,000-piece collection, and, according to Ohman, most of the pieces still work.
The show will be there for only one month, Ohman said. Then it will go into storage until the new Museum of Fine Arts is completed, where it will have a permanent room and exhibit space.
BYU President Rex E. Lee accepted the gift of the collection and told those present that this was a unique event.
"Sometimes it is an embarrassment to us at the university that we have so much of value that needs to be displayed and no place to put it," Lee said.
The university turns down many offers because of the lack of space, he said. "This collection is different and we are pleased and honored to have it."
Ohman said BYU took over the collection because KSL, which maintained the collection with Bonneville International, didn't have the facilities to store and maintain it.
In 1983, KSL acquired the collection from Salt Lake resident P.R. McIntire, who spent his life gathering broadcasting equipment.
Jim McIntire, P.R. McIntire's son, who was present at the exhibit's opening, said his father knew his collection well. "He could pick up a handful of cords and know which radios they belonged to."
Brady said McIntire didn't want to be paid for the collection and he instead had Bonneville and KSL donate the money to a charity.
"We don't know of another collection in the country that is this extensive," Ohman said. And BYU will continue to maintain the collection and, as other pieces are found, add to it.
"It's not just the radios, it's also the emotion," Ohman said. To the people who grew up in the era of radio, the exhibit will bring back a lot of memories.
Although radio has declined in popularity since the rapid growth of television after World War II, "television leaves nothing to the imagination," Ohman said. "Radio had you captured by one green dot, and you felt as if you were a part of the program."
The exhibit is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. It is free.