MP3 Players: Then and Now

Creative Nomad Zen Xtra Jukebox

It has been seven years since I purchased my Creative Nomad Zen Xtra Jukebox MP3 player and it is still working great in 2011.

The 40 GB player may not be as slim as the MP3 players being sold today but it has 4,092 songs in it that I recorded from CD’s I had in my collection which has used only 14 GB of the space in the player.

I have found that Windows Media Player is best for ripping the songs from a CD into the computer and then after that process is completed going to My Computer will find the music in the My Music folder.

Right clicking on the music folder for the album and sending it to the player is all that is needed for it to copy the music into the player.

The sound quality to me is excellent and the music can be listened to in many ways. FM transmitters can be used to play the music in a stereo system, from non MP3 radios and other music sources.

However I have encountered problems getting the exact frequency on the transmitter to listen to the music so seldom even try to use them.

When my wife bought me a record player a couple of years ago it had an MP3 connection in the back enabling me to just plug one end into the MP3 player and the other into the MP3 connection on back of the record player.

There are many speakers today that are easily connected to a MP3 player. At one time Dollar Tree had one for a dollar that while it wasn’t the best sound but it did work.

Last year I found a I-Pod radio selling at a garage sale for only $3 which also has a MP3 connection in the back and it is great to listen to music and old time radio shows.

The old time radio shows on MP3 CD’s go directly into the My Music folder in Windows after the CD has been inserted into the CD drive. So with the MP3 player connected to the computer and the folder for the old time radio shows on that CD open right clicking will send the shows to the MP3 player.

Most MP3 CD’s will hold 100 old time half hour radio shows which is 50 hours of listening pleasure. For instance I have over 800 Jack Benny episodes on 8 or 9 discs.

One MP3 CD in my collection has an entire baseball game between the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees in 1934 with legendary Hall of Fame pitcher Walter Johnson as an announcer. 77 years later it is still possible to listen to a game in which Lou Gehrig is playing but Babe Ruth was out with an injury that day.

There are also MP3 CD’s that are packed with radio shows that announce the bombing of Pearl Harbor and another about the Normandy invasion and you can hear the news broadcast those days over 60 years later.

Another MP3 CD includes a typical broadcast day from 1939 which includes every show that day that was broadcast from sign on till sign off and gives an idea of what it was like 71 years ago.

With my collection of over 17,000 old time radio episodes of many different shows it is easy to transfer several episodes of a particular show to the MP3 player and then after listening to them delete them from the player since they are on a MP3 CD so I can tell immediately if I have heard a show since I have heard it the episode would have been deleted.

If someone wants to buy old time radio shows it is much cheaper to buy them in MP3 form than on a regular audio CD since an audio CD may hold only four half hour shows and a cassette tape will only have a half hour show on front and back of the tape depending on how much the tape will hold.

2GB MobiBlu Cube MP3 player.

Move the calendar ahead to 2011 and MobiBlu has on the market a very small 2GB MP3 player that  only weighs .063 ounces and it is a .94 of an inch square.

The MobiBlu player shown in the photo is currently being sold at Amazon for $111.22 which seems a bit too pricey for such a small player.

The player includes an FM radio and a clock. It also includes a built in microphone and a voice recorder.

The radio also can save music or talk shows into the player for later listening.

The price still is a little steep for a player that holds only 32 hours of MP3 music and 64 hours of WMA music.

To me it is more of a novelty than a practical MP3 player.


My clunky looking Creative Nomad Zen Xtra Jukebox may not be as small as the MobiBlu player but it has provided a lot of listening pleasure the last seven years.

Someday my Creative player will be obsolete since it is not compatible with Windows 7 the last I knew and I am already getting not compatible with Windows Media Player messages already but it does still work with it.

The only problem is that I have misplaced the installation CD for the player and since our computer was repaired after the virus the software is no longer in the computer so I can’t download music and old time radio shows till I find the missing software.

However I can still listen to the music and old time radio shows in the player for many years to come. Buying electronic products can produce a myriad of problems but I can truthfully say the Creative Nomad Zen Xtra Jukebox is working as well today as when I received it in the mail back in 2004.

1941 Philco console radio.

I can still listen to old time radio shows that go as far back as 1928 which is 83 years ago. The MP3 CD’s have been a amazing development that enable listeners in 2011 to go back in time to the good old days of old time radio which lasted from the 20’s till September 30,1962 the day old time radio died.

I can still recall visiting my grandparents at their Allendale, Missouri farm in 1959 and listening to radio shows and Kansas City Athletics baseball games as they were broadcast on a radio similar to this 1941 Philco console radio.

However the MP3 player enables me to relive those days 53 years later as I listen to the same great old time radio shows that were being broadcast back then.

It is exciting to listen to the old comedy shows like Fibber McGee and Molly, Great Gildersleeve, Amos and Andy and the Jack Benny show.

Detective shows of that era come alive again as Boston Blackie, Dragnet, This is Your FBI and dramas likk the Family Theater and Lux Radio Theater can be heard today bringing back memories of the good old days when life wasn’t so fast paced.

Listening to the Christmas shows from those days are a special treat like A Christmas Carol, Amos and Andy Christmas show in which Amos recites the Lord’s Prayer to his daughter on Christmas Eve. Another favorite was the Lum N’ Abner show where neighbors walk through the snow to help a destitute family.

The Family Theater Christmas episode of A Daddy For Christmas will bring tears to your eyes as a mother and her son try to make it after her husband is killed in World War II and the son’s mom winds up marrying a department store Santa Claus.

MP3 technology has made it possible for us to hear those shows on MP3 CD’s that are nominally priced with Ebay showing  621 items under the old time radio CD’s listing.

Some of the sellers are selling huge numbers of shows on MP3 CD’s and DVD’s. One seller is selling 852 episodes of Jack Benny shows for $4.89 using Buy It Now with only a $1.69 shipping charge. The only caveat is that these episodes are all on one DVD while it would take about nine MP3 CD’s for these same episodes which would drive the price higher.

These shows will play on a computer but it will take more technical knowledge than I have to play these shows on other devices but most audiophiles should have no problem.

Anyone who misses the good old days of radio can listen to the old shows at several websites if they can’t afford or don’t want to purchase an MP3 player.

OTR.NET is one of the best to listen to old time radio programs for free with over 12,000 free shows to listen to including 610 Jack Benny shows. is one of the best places to sample shows where almost every show sold on the site has a free sample of that show.

Happy old time radio listening!!


Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

3 thoughts on “MP3 Players: Then and Now”

  1. Thanks Jim…I was worried I wouldn’t even be able to know how to transfer shows to the MP3 player but after some trial and error figured it out so it is easy now. Only negative is that this player doesn’t have FM radio so always have to take radio and MP3 player when I travel to see the grandsons in Texas.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s