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The Return to Tech Stuff

One can never imbibe too much tech trivia

This blog is called Off the Beaten Path which is ironic since I’m about to return to one of my regularly beaten paths — fun tech stuff.

WMCA 1951
I love old radio and TV history. We’ve got a very colorful past in our industry … but then again, theoretically it’s “show business.” On this link, we look at an “independent” radio station in New York City in 1951, WMCA. These were the days when the focus was still on being a radio network affiliate, so that’s why this is the focus on “an independent.”

Digital Audio Codec Help
Comrex has a great primer on connecting IP codecs. I always appreciate manufacturers who are willing to share knowledge. I’ve posted others in the past and wanted to share this one.

Shack Attack
I only slightly exaggerate … When I was a kid we had these places called “Radio Shack.” Once a month, you could get a free battery. They sold every electronic widget around. They had a comic book for kids. And once a year they released a great catalog. Sadly, “The Shack is all but gone.” Fortunately there’s a place where you can peruse these old catalogs reflecting on the “Battery of the Month Club.” Here’s the link to Radio Shack Catalogs.

TV Identifiers
I find this link fascinating. We do everything now off of computers so thinking back to “the good old days of TV” doesn’t usually make us think of what those folks went through for cool on-air logos. When I started in cable TV in 1977 (I was 14), our IDs ran off of slides on the telecine. Nothing as elaborate as what these big broadcasters went through.

For many radio stations, Muzak was a “background money maker,” as “back in the day.” It was distributed by telco. Then FM stations found they could use their SCA to deliver Muzak without the high cost of phone lines. I’m familiar with one smart family in Ohio who had an AM station and got an FM years and years ago strictly for the idea of delivering their Muzak service. Of course, now it’s easy distributed over mini-dishes with better fidelity, and Muzak has also evolved from “elevator music” to something a little more “ear friendly”. It’s also interesting to note that they simply don’t “run a jukebox,” but their music is well thought-out and planned “to induce a better shopping experience” (or, in other words, make the shopper happier and maybe buy more stuff). Anyhow, if you’ve ever wondered about the origins of Muzak, here’s the story by WQXR, New York Public Radio.

And finally …
My friend, and a former prof at Ohio University’s School of Film, has his root in Bluegrass. After Vietnam, he and other vets started Appleworks which, as I recall, was a recording studio exclusively for Bluegrass music. Jack is an accomplished musician and talented story teller. When I heard this, I thought of good ol’ Jack. I think you might also get a kick out of this. You’ve heard “Rocket Man” by Elton John a million times … but NEVER quite like this. Enjoy!

If you stumble across a good or unusual website that might be of interest, please don’t hesitate to send me the link and any info you might have about it. My email address is [email protected].