History of the OKVRC

How the Club was Formed

Luckily it’s not too hard to picture five or six antique radio enthusiasts sitting around sharing a good meal and radio-related conversation when one of them suggests starting a radio club, which effectively describes how the idea for the Oklahoma Vintage Radio Collectors club (OKVRC) was formed. The group agreed that the gentleman from Moore, Oklahoma, had the right idea, so in 1992, the group held its first official meeting in Karen McCoy’s kitchen where they elected officers. Their choice for president? It was Jim Collings, of course. Jim’s eyes twinkle when he recalls how he was unable to attend that first official meeting, but if he had any suspicions that the members elected him just because he wasn’t there, twenty-five re-elections since then must have confirmed for him that there was more behind his election than last man out.

Where the Club Meets

CURRENTLY: The OKVRC currently meets at the Sonoma Lake Clubhouse. Check the Calendar and click on a meeting date to get details and a map regarding the meeting date. HISTORICALLY: Even the smallest of clubs must stretch their legs and search for a new meeting place at some point. After all, how large can one woman’s kitchen table grow? Choosing a new place to call home for club meetings wasn’t quite as simple as it sounds, though. The issue was one of accommodating people from out-of-town who wanted to come to the meetings, something that realistically can only be done if the meeting is held on the weekend, Saturday evenings specifically. Radio enthusiasts from the region need enough weekend time to drive in to Oklahoma City and back home to go to work the following Monday. As a rule, Saturday evenings are quite busy for most restaurants, and the club needed not only a place to hold its meetings, but a place to eat dinner and enjoy each other’s company. And meetings were no simple get together. They involved, and still do, members and visitors alike showing various radios they own, learning repair and restoration techniques, auctioning off items that club members donate, and being able to haul radios and components in and out of the meeting room without disturbing other patrons. And, oh yes . . . no room rental fee was necessary since the club had not yet built up a treasury to pay for such space. Over the years, several eating establishments have accommodated the club, including a bar-be-que place on 63th and May that is now a Chinese restaurant, Hometown Buffet, a meeting room in a hangar at the Wiley Post Airport (no food there, but it worked for a short time), the Oklahoma Station, Swadley’s BBQ in Bethany, and now Spencer’s Smokehouse and Barbeque at 9900 NE 23rd Street in Oklahoma City.

When the Club Meets

When the club elected Jim as president, members were aware that he was traveling to Dallas, Texas each third Saturday of the month in order to attend another radio club’s meeting. Since Jim always brought back something interesting to share with OKVRC members (even if sometimes that was just a report of the meeting), club members wanted to accommodate that schedule, so the second Saturday of the month became the official meeting day for the OKVRC.

About the Original Club Members

Though the club started out with only a handful of radio lovers, it grew over the years, and as can be expected with any specialized club, membership fluctuates. Of the original founding members, we’re sure that some are now educating the angels on how to properly tune and care for an antique radio, while others found greener (or at least different) earthly pastures to tread. Many, including Jim Collings, continue their participation in the club and have never lost their love and enthusiasm for the club, its members, and antique radio collecting.
If you asked Jim what one thing he’d like to see happen to the club, he’d tell you that he’d love to see new and younger enthusiasts join OKVRC. Jim’s not about growing the club membership roster for the sake of numbers, but he’d love to see enthusiasm for antique radios blossom among the younger generations to keep it alive for future generations, too. Although radio began as little more than scientific curiosity, it grew into a practical communications technology that effectively catalogued and reported the history of the United States as it was happening. To lose that history and the wonderful radios that represent it would be a great loss.

The Club Newsletter

Early club newsletters were written and provided by Karen McCoy and Jim Collings. Showing Jim’s conservative side and strong desire to see that club members got their money’s worth, Jim would take the newsletter to Kinkos and print it on 11 x 17 paper and fold it into the original four pages of the newsletter. Why that size? Well, back then, you could print one double-sided 11x17 page for less than you could print four pages on 8-1/2x11. It was extra work for Jim and Karen, but work is something from which neither of them shied away.
Eventually, responsibility for the newsletter changed hands to Tom Lazynski and later to Dale McLellan. Today Raymond and his wife, Dorothy, take responsibility for designing, assembling, editing, emailing, and printing and mailing the newsletter. Sometimes they even write articles, but they would love to have members and even non-member radio enthusiasts write articles for the newsletter. Dorothy, with a master’s degree in creative writing, says she’s quite willing to clean up your writing if you need her to, so don’t be shy about sharing your knowledge. That’s what our members are looking for.

OKVRC Swap Meets

The first OKVRC swap meet was held at the OSU extension building at 10th and Portland. It was on the second floor, but luckily it did have an elevator. Unluckily, one of our members fell in that elevator. Turned out he was OK, but at 80 years old, falling down is never a good thing.
The tradition of a silent auction was born early for the club. At the first one there was a special radio up for auction. Two men were equally interested in it, so they began bidding against each other. One of the men was a bit too over-the-top, though. You see, there was only one pen for the auction, so one of the bidders wrote down what he hoped would be his last bid, and decided to win by keeping the pen for himself. The other man was so mad about it that he left the swap meet and said he’d never come to another one. (Apologies to that man, wherever and whoever he is.)