Antique Phonograph Music DJ and radio show

If Boing Boing ever throws a big bash in New York City, I'd hire Michael Cumella to DJ. Forget Technics 1200s; When Cumella spins a party, he brings two antique hand-cranked phonographs and a crate of 78s from the beginning of the 20th century. Besides offering his services as the "Crank-Up Phonograph Experience," Cumella is the host of WFMU Radio's "Antique Phonograph Music Program With MAC." If you've never heard the show, I suggest you fire up the Graphophone and get your Old Timey on with a quickness.

Michael Cumella's Crank-Up Phonograph Experience

Antique Phonograph Music Program with MAC (via The Wire)

"The iPhonograph" kit (via Submitterator, thanks angelheaded!)


  1. This is a great show, and it’s also followed by the greatest comedy show on radio: The Best Show on WFMU.

  2. Back in the day one would not be photographed in shirt sleeves. Put on a coat, man!

  3. So he does beatmatching by varying his speed of hand cranking? Cool. How does he fade out?

    1. He does!! on the radio show. I’m sure it could be arranged for the dj gig!! All acoustic, all the way!

  4. really check out the podcast though. There have been some great shows recently. He hung out with R Crumb playing records one week. He went to a place in Pennsylvania where a man had a garage full of cylinders and 78s and dug around and played some. Really great stuff. I think Mac is really personally responsible for bringing back a wide awareness of popular music from the acoustical recording era that has been mostly forgotten.

  5. The horns by their physics are the only amplification. The coupling to a room is excellent.
    I once saw an elliptical horn in Sausalito, CA that was 6 feet in diameter fed by a 10 inch driver. With 2 or 3 watts it made the building shake.

  6. I believe he does spin wax cylinders in addition to the shellac. The Robert Crumb interview he did was a lot of fun.

    BTW if you crave that old timey sound but don’t want to mess with all of the old equipment, he sells an acoustical horn and adapter for your iPhone!

    If you want to hear the slightly later (20s-30s)electified 78 RPM era stuff, I recommend Joe Bussard’s Country Classics on WREK Atlana, which airs friday 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.

    1. Yes, Narddogz, I link to his iPhonograph video at the bottom of the post. And I’m a big fan of Joe Bussard too.

  7. I heard that you are supposed to change the needles on those old phonographs VERY frequently, otherwise those massive tonearms will begin to sand your records into oblivion!

  8. Those old phonographs had no volume control, so when people wanted it quieter they would stuff a woolen sock down the horn, hence the phrase “put a sock in it” (supposedly).

  9. Excellent taste! I discovered the Antique Phonograph Music Program years ago, because it comes on right before the Best Show on WFMU (it’s the name of the show, but it is the best show as well!). MAC has turned me on to so many strange, lovely records I never would have heard otherwise. I also have to give him major props for providing complete, detailed playlists of everything that is on the show.

  10. That is indescribably awesome! I wish I had known about this DJ a few months ago. I would have loved to have him play at my wedding reception.

  11. – MAC (and I ) also put together the amusing Internet Museum of Flexi / Cardboard / Oddity records, at

    – When WFMU started streaming radio content over the internet, back in the 20th century, MAC’s Antique Phonograph Radio Show was the first to be played.

    – If you haven’t ever listened to it already, WFMU probably is a station you’d want to listen to.

  12. This is cool. Hooray for Michael Curmella!

    Funny, but this Sunday, July 12, at 3:00 PM (PST), KBRD-AM, 680, Lacey, WA, begins my all show, PHONOGRAPHIC MEMORIES. The music featured comes primarily from 78 rpm, electric transcriptions and mostly pre-dates 1960. KBRD-AM (rated by someone, “THE 9TH BEST RADIO STATION IN AMERICA”) plays only pre-1960 music, from a song list with 18,000 tunes. Check the podcast,

    78s Live and Breathe.

    Dennis Flannigan

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