My bedtime OTR playlist has changed its form over the years, partly from available material and partly from my tastes. In the ’90s when I started pulling away from current toxic crap and seeking older and better entertainment, the only available tape cassettes carried the Big Shows like Fibber and Jack Benny. After the early web brought together groups of serious collectors and preservers, a much wider variety appeared. I was still sticking with the Big Shows at first, then gradually tried out the more obscure local and regional shows and short syndicated features. The latter IMMEDIATELY dominated my preferred playlist. These short items (5 to 15 minutes) didn’t have the time or budget to develop Complex Moral Conundrums. They mainly covered odd historical facts and unexpected human interest stories.
Today I wondered if there was an equivalent in print. Easy answer: Yes to both 5 and 15. Newspapers used to have Fillers, about one inch tall, and Human Interest Stories, about 3 inches tall. Fillers occupied the bottom of a column when the Big Shows didn’t quite fill the space. Human Interest Stories usually occupied the middle of a column, substituting for an advertisement block when no ad was available.
Back when newspapers existed, those features were my favorite parts, exactly as the audio equivalents are my favorite parts now. I used to read the fillers at the bottom first, and then the Human Interest pieces in the middle of the right side.