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Back to Work … and Technology and Radio!

Dan digs into some of radio’s deep history

With the holidays behind us and a brand new shiny new year in front of us, let’s get back to technology and radio.

Media Vaults
In broadcasting we use all sorts of “media vaults” in our business — from TV on-air servers to radio automation systems. Over the past couple of years I’ve been digitizing my own media from CD collection to records, photos and old videotapes. I was talking with one of our IT guys here at New World Center who suggested this link (thanks to Andrew Salman). If you are interested in building your own personal media vault, here is a link which might set you on that path.

Radio DJ Info
When I was on the air (usually a rock jock), I’d hit up the Joel Whitburn book or the Rolling Stone’s “Encyclopedia of Rock” when I wanted to find out something about a song I was playing or a rocker who would stop by for an interview. Today’s DJs probably never have to crack open a book or dig “like we did in the good old days.” Just hit the internet, type the word, and out comes 179,234,354 results of your search! I wish I had this website’s information available to me when I was on-the-air. SongFacts is a great website with excellent info on songs and artists. It’s the song version of the omnibus IMDB movie and TV website.

Radio History
I frequently point out my enjoyment of radio and TV history, so I love it when I stumble on a site like American Radio History. Six million pages of AM, FM and TV broadcast history online for your enjoyment. From U.S. Radio magazine (’57–’61) to Television magazine (’44–’68) and even the grandpappy of old radio magazines, Broadcasting magazine (editions on-line starting from 1931!). Plus music-related sites that are searchable from Billboard to Radio & Records (AKA R&R) to Cash Box (’42–’96). This may be the best radio/TV search engine there is. I tried searching my first station (WJER) from the decade it signed on (1950) in Billboard, and got two hits from 1950 and 1956.

High-Fi Audio Recording
Tip of the hat to the folks at Telos, and former WMMS rock jock Denny Sanders. I used to listen to Denny (and the other MMS jocks like Jeff & Flash, Kid Leo, BLF Bash and the rest) as a “competitor” outside of the bigger Cleveland market while a jock at WONE Akron/Cleveland/Canton (in truth, our signal in Cleveland certainly didn’t rival the strength of the in-market stations, but we held our own). Like Denny (and others), I guess we got swept up in technology and things more “grown-up” (though since he’s a rocker like me, he probably ALSO didn’t grow up). Denny is with the Telos Alliance people and wrote this excellent blog about magnetic tape and the emergence of high-fidelity recording. It’s a great article with some awesome pics!

Radio Unnameable
There have been a lot of films that have had some form of radio in it, from “Pirate Radio” to “Jingle All the Way” to “Play Misty for Me.” This is a link to information about the legendary Bob Fass (see photo), who is said to have revolutionized late-night FM radio. Though the website is to promote the movie called “Radio Unnameable,” there’s some excellent info about Mr. Fass and the crazy days of FM radio in NYC.

And finally …
In 2017, my family lost our father-in-law. He was a great guy. A poker player and bird watcher … a great husband and father! As I saw this video I thought of him and his appreciation for birds. It’s an aerial “bird ballet.” He would have liked this.

A BIRD BALLET from Neels Castillon on Vimeo.

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].