Cart Machine Confab This Weekend

Illinois gathering celebrates clear plastic cases, foil tape, mechanical buttons
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Illinois gathering celebrates clear plastic cases, foil tape, mechanical buttons

Many radio vets of the 1960s, ’70s and today (ok maybe not today) have a soft spot for the cart machine — while others would love to chuck them from the tops of tall buildings.

For those who love and appreciate those chunking, thumping work-a-day deliverers of pre-timed spots and music, Bloomington, Ill., is the place to be on Saturday, Oct. 24, more specifically at Swinger’s Bar & Grille. It’s the Cartridge Machine Reunion, starting 10-ish in the morning.

Expected at the event will be many cart machine aficionados and restorers. Guests of honor will be working (and not-so-working) cart machines themselves. There will be discussions about cart machines and their manufacturers.

Reunion organizer Andy Rector said: "The ‘Broadcast Tape Cartridge Machine’ was introduced at the 1959 NAB Convention in Chicago by Collins Radio and Automatic Tape Control. A simultaneous development in the Washington area led to the introduction of the Spotmaster by Broadcast Electronics in the same year.

"To celebrate the 50th anniversary and recognize the pioneers, the Cartridge Machine Reunion is being held in Bloomington-Normal, Ill., home of Automatic Tape Control (ATC), International Tapetronics Corp. (ITC), Sono-Mag Corp./Moulic Specialties (SMC) and Audi-Cord Corp. (ACC) — all manufacturers of tape cart equipment."

Attendees are encouraged to bring memorabilia and pictures. A discount rate at a local hotel is available for overnight attendees.

Lunch, dinner and a cocktail hour are on the menu at Swinger’s Bar & Grille. Despite the restaurant’s name, spouse-swapping will be frowned upon.

For information contact Rector at (866) 458-7721, ext. 306 or

"NAB Audio Cart Turns 40" (March 2004)


Cart Guys Keep the Format Alive

Remember carts? Yeah, those big blue (or brown, or gray) rectangles filled with that old-fashioned stuff called tape? Splice finders, bulk erasers – they are all a thing of the past, right?