This field of work has provided an honest way to make a
living and wonderful time spent creating ‘epics’ in my
For 38 years
I’ve produced a weekly broadcast, “Collectible Classics: the Music of
America 1920s–1950s.” I love my little studio
operation, and RW editor Paul McLane suggested I share a few thoughts about it.
are heard in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire over WZBK(AM). For seven
years I produced a similar afternoon drive-time broadcast here on Cape Cod on
WFCC(FM) in Chatham.
“little show” is assembled, researched and produced in a small studio in our
home. The equipment is vintage. A Shure M67 mixer feeds a Sony MiniDisc
recorder for production. The “air product” is dubbed to CD and mailed to the
station. A turntable capable of playing 78s, LPs and electrical transcriptions
helps to bring back the great sounds of the performers and musicians of the
1930s and 1940s.
When I reach
back to older tapes, I’m aided by reel-to-reel machines including those
manufactured by Webster-Chicago (Webcor). A Webcor wire recorder might be
pressed into service once in a while. The computer allows me to play CDs
through the Shure mixer.
include discographies by British author Brian Rust and American musicologist
Roger D. Kinkle. The Internet has been helpful in research, as have members of
the Association for Recorded Sound Collections.
I walked into
my first radio job in the summer of 1943. Winslow Bettinson was the program
director for radio station WHEB(AM) in the New Hampshire seacoast town of
Portsmouth. He taught me how to use the vintage RCA turntables. Your timing had
to be just right, allowing three turns of the table while you were finishing
On Aug. 23,
1943, I debuted with a10-minute spot featuring Decca recordings made by the
Four Ink Spots. I would cue up the discs with insufficient time for the
turntable motor to get “up to speed.” As a result, my first listeners would
hear the guitar intro “wowing in.”
After a few
more such rookie announcer mistakes, I made it. It was my entry into a field of
work that has provided an honest way to make a living and wonderful time spent
creating “epics” in my little studio.