Why I Love Charlotte, NC

One huge residential tower was abandoned where it stands and may end up being too far damaged by sitting exposed to be finished! It’s tough not to blame consolidation there.

When I lived in Charlotte, NC back in the early 70s it was a sleepy, genteel, southern city. “If you die in Charlotte you have to change for heaven in Atlanta,” was the often heard swipe at the city’s second class status.

That was ages ago. Charlotte has changed radically. There is virtually nothing left of the downtown Charlotte I knew. Everything is new. Everything is clean. Everything encourages you to be downtown!

Bringing people downtown didn’t happen overnight. Converting areas adjacent to downtown into residential neighborhoods was incredibly important. Adding restaurants and culture were important too.

Over the last decade Charlotte quietly became America’s banking center. With consolidation that may change.

Banks needed huge headquarter sites. Skyscrapers stand where there were once two or three story buildings. Times are getting tighter. One huge residential tower was abandoned where it stands and may end up being too far damaged by sitting exposed to be finished! It’s tough not to blame consolidation there. A more balanced collection of white-collar employers would have helped, though who really knows?

Sunday for breakfast we went to a funky restaurant in a neighborhood reminiscent of Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. L.A.’s Melrose has more density, but this part of Charlotte seems to be coming along.

If you’ve never been to the Queen City of the South these photos will acquaint you.

Bob Lacey’s Surprise Birthday Party

Bob was heading to the apartment with his younger daughter ostensibly to get a gift from some friends, It wasn’t until he opened the door that he realized something was up.

Bob Lacey gets surprised!This is what’s meant by whirlwind, right? Twenty five hours after arriving in Charlotte I’m sitting in the departure lounge at C2 waiting to leave.

The reason for my trip was to celebrate Bob Lacey’s birthday. Bob and I have been friends nearly forever having worked together at WSAR in Fall River, MA and WBT in Charlotte.

Bob and SheriBob’s been going to work in the same building on Julian Price Place (the only building on Julian Price Place) since 1971. That’s an amazing accomplishment spanning three different facets of broadcasting. For the last 15 years Bob and Sheri Lynch have been on-the-air in Charlotte and 60 other cities.

Dedicated blog readers (is there such a thing–really?) will remember Bob visiting me last weekend. He had no idea there would be a party for him upon his return to Charlotte nor that I would be flying to Charlotte on the plane after his! In untypical Geoff-style I was quiet… hint-less.

Bob and MaryI arrived in Charlotte and met his girlfriend Mary (literally met her for the first time at the airport) who shuttled me around the city as we took care of last minute party preps. The party itself was held in a beautiful condo apartment in the Myers Park section of the city (rub your thumb and the two adjacent fingers together in the money symbol).

Bob was heading to the apartment with his younger daughter ostensibly to get a gift from some friends, It wasn’t until he opened the door that he realized something was up.

The party was filled with Bob’s friends and co-workers and, of course, Mary. Another former WBT, WSAR alum, John Lambis, drove in from Atlanta.

You never know if the guest of honor is truly surprised at a surprise party, but I think so. He certainly looked shocked.

Bob and GeoffWhat do you get someone reaching his 60th 30th birthday? Among the most memorable a ‘mocked up’ cover from AARP Magazine with Bob’s photo and Bob oriented pull-quotes replacing the actual Bruce Springsteen cover. I gave Bob a book of photos from our Maine “mancation” a few years ago.

Charlotte’s mayor, Pat McCrory, declared the day Bob Lacey Day and read a very un-mayoral, funny, proclamation. You’re not going to see this one quoted in the newspaper!

All things considered a very successful trip. I’m glad I could share the moment.

Blogger’s addendum: While driving to-and-fro we passed a sleazy looking motel by the side of the Interstate.

“Oh my God,” I blurted, “I used to live there when they were apartments!”

I’ve been gone from Charlotte a very long time. A lot has changed.

Four Photos I Like From The Beach In West Haven

I pulled out my camera and fired off a few dozen shots. These are the four I like.

This past weekend my friend Bob was in from Charlotte. We met my first day in radio!

Before he visited other friends we went to the beach in West Haven. I really like this as one of the best places to ‘walk the water’ with a paved path along the Sound’s edge.

It’s laid back. It’s friendly. It’s unpretentious. It is not what it was back when Savin Rock was the place! That’s fine.

I pulled out my camera and fired off a few dozen shots. These are the four I like. It’s worth noting they’re four very different subjects and camera techniques.

These shots were taken out in the open meaning I didn’t need permission. That being said I don’t want to invade anyone’s privacy and will act accordingly.





Enough Already–Let’s Vote

In 1972 I waited in a long line at the Mallard Creek 2 polling place in Charlotte, NC to vote for Eugene McCarthy. “If you vote for him things will be awful,” I was told. I did vote for him. Things did turn out to be awful.

What makes this election different from the 11 other presidential elections I actually remember (Sorry Ike, I don’t remember ’52 or ’56) is how long it’s been heavily covered.

In the pre-Internet, pre-cable days candidates were on the stump, but mostly unnoticed by the general population. If you spoke in Chillicothe, you might have gotten some local TV coverage (in fact you prayed for local TV coverage) and maybe a short AP/UPI write-up, but no one else knew. Now, every breath you take, every move you make, they’ll be watching you!

Democrats pulling for Senator Obama equate this massive coverage to vetting and use it to thwart Senator McCain’s claim we know nothing of Obama. I don’t think McCain’s getting much traction here. We all feel, right or wrong, after all this time we know the candidates.

I remember reading somewhere that Bush-41 knew he was going to lose to Bill Clinton a few weeks before the election (I cannot find a citation fo this–but it is my memory) and then just went through the motions. It doesn’t look that way with John McCain, who I saw speaking from a town on the Tennessee/Virginia border a while ago. Still, it’s got to be tough to know you’re as far behind in the polls as he is.

I’ve always thought it was students and young adults who drove Lyndon Johnson from office. And yet when franchised as a very liberal young voter I never voted for eventual winners. Very frustrating.

In 1972 I waited in a long line at the Mallard Creek 2 polling place in Charlotte, NC to vote for Eugene McCarthy. “If you vote for him things will be awful,” I was told. I did vote for him. Things did turn out to be awful.

No one I knew was voting for Nixon and yet he ran away with North Carolina and the election in general. Since then I voted voted both Republican and Democratic in presidential elections. To be kind, I am not a bellwether.

At work I asked Intern Jacob if he was excited about this election and if he thought students were involved. He quickly answered yes. I found that encouraging.

Back in 1960 the election results were on all-night. The election itself wasn’t decided until the pre-dawn hours. Though I was just 10, I remember how exciting that night was (and I also remember primarily watching NBC). I was prepped for the same fun in 1964, but everything was decided quickly. Not every election goes down to the wire. In fact, most do not.

Tomorrow’s results will probably be known early and Barack Obama will go-to-bed President Elect Obama. In football he’d be seen as a prohibitive favorite… and yet they still play the games.

They’re On-The-Road

I don’t want Rick Springfield’s travel schedule–only his frequent flier miles.

Helaine woke me at 10:00 AM for a quick kiss and goodbye. She and Stef (who came back late last night) are on their way to Saugus and Beverly, MA for a Rick Springfield show and a half.

The real show is tonight in Beverly (Behv-uh-lee). Tomorrow he’s in Charlotte. Sunday it’s Chandler, AZ. I don’t want Rick Springfield’s travel schedule–only his frequent flier miles.

This afternoon the band is playing Saugus with a brief set for a Boston radio station–Mix 98.5. The event is called “Cougarpalooza,” and it’s contest winners/invitation only. Probably an acoustic set, I got them tickets through a friend of a friend. Just a few songs–I’ll call that the half show.

What’s interesting about Saugus is I once (briefly) lived there… in the middle of a swamp! It’s a long story. You really don’t want to know.

The girls return tomorrow. They have “Clicky” so I expect documentation.

The Numbers Are In

Nielen ratings are in for last night’s debate

The Nielsen ratings are in for last night’s debate. I’m confused by the list of stations aggregated which doesn’t include Fox News and MSNBC, both of which would add significantly to the final total.

If these overnight numbers stand, the ratings are well below other recent debates.

OK–I’m a little surprised. I thought for sure there would be a lot more interest considering all the buzz.

DMA Rank Market RTG Rank RTG SHR (000) 21 St. Louis 1 52.1 82.0 649 48 Memphis 2 49.5 67.0 330 26 Baltimore 3 47.1 66.0 515 9 Washington, DC (Hagrstwn) 4 44.6 68.0 1030 29 Nashville 5 44.0 66.0 424 46 Greensboro-H.Point-W.Salem 6 42.2 61.0 285 32 Columbus, OH 7 41.5 63.0 377 43 Norfolk-Portsmth-Newpt Nws 8 41.4 59.0 298 58 Richmond-Petersburg 9 40.3 55.0 211 18 Denver 10 39.7 65.0 586 24 Charlotte 11 39.3 54.0 426 7 Boston (Manchester) 12 39.3 58.0 944 22 Portland, OR 13 39.0 74.0 450 31 Kansas City 14 37.7 61.0 350 16 Miami-Ft. Lauderdale 15 37.2 52.0 573 38 West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce 16 36.4 55.0 282 27 Raleigh-Durham (Fayetvlle) 17 36.2 54.0 377 51 Buffalo 18 36.1 54.0 230 25 Indianapolis 19 35.3 59.0 379 53 New Orleans 20 34.8 48 209 11 Detroit 21 34.3 55.0 661 59 Knoxville 22 34.3 51.0 185 61 Tulsa 23 34.1 55.0 178 45 Oklahoma City 24 34.0 55.0 231 40 Birmingham (Ann and Tusc) 25 33.5 48.0 245 52 Providence-New Bedford 26 33.5 50.0 211 15 Minneapolis-St. Paul 27 33.4 59.0 569 19 Orlando-Daytona Bch-Melbrn 28 33.4 52.0 479 62 Ft. Myers-Naples 29 33.3 51.0 164 28 San Diego 30 33.0 59.0 349 50 Louisville 31 33.0 48.0 218 17 Cleveland-Akron (Canton) 32 32.9 55.0 505 37 San Antonio 33 32.9 48.0 261 20 Sacramnto-Stkton-Modesto 34 32.7 55.0 454 4 Philadelphia 35 32.1 51.0 941 44 Albuquerque-Santa Fe 36 32.1 50.0 218 23 Pittsburgh 37 32.1 51.0 371 6 San Francisco-Oak-San Jose 38 32.0 62.0 779 13 Tampa-St. Pete (Sarasota) 39 31.7 49.0 569 49 Austin 40 31.6 52.0 201 36 Greenvll-Spart-Ashevll-And 41 31.5 46.0 265 64 Dayton 42 31.4 50.0 161 1 New York 43 31.3 48.0 2317 8 Atlanta 44 30.9 52.0 714 3 Chicago 45 30.7 51.0 1067 14 Seattle-Tacoma 46 30.3 58.0 541 30 Hartford & New Haven 47 30.2 45.0 306 47 Jacksonville 48 30.0 47.0 196 33 Salt Lake City 49 29.9 63.0 261 35 Milwaukee 50 29.2 49.0 262 34 Cincinnati 51 28.3 49.0 256 42 Las Vegas 52 27.9 46.0 196 5 Dallas-Ft. Worth 53 27.7 46.0 671 2 Los Angeles 54 26.4 50.0 1484 12 Phoenix (Prescott) 55 24.8 47.0 448 10 Houston* 56 0.0 0.0 0 Weighted Avg. of 55 markets* 33.2

Bob Lacey Brings His Vacation To Connecticut

If he keeps the rest of his vacation as tightly packed as this first day, he’ll have no vacation.

My friend Bob came to Connecticut to spend a day. We weren’t going to squander it!

He left Charlotte, NC Saturday morning and was here by mid-afternoon. It didn’t take long to drop-the-top on my car so the two of us could head out. We hit the Glenwood Drive-In, a local dog house, before turning south to the shoreline.

Bob grew up here. He likes to go back to those places he remembers as a kid–especially the shore. We took I-91 south to I-95 then turned east&#185. We drove over the Connecticut River and exited on Route 156 in Old Lyme.

Old Lyme is an interesting place, because there are really two Old Lymes… at least to me. There is the beach area of Old Lyme with the Miami Beach Association’s plot of sand flanked by some loud beachside bars. There’s also the more quiet, more traditional Old Lyme. The homes aren’t as special as the care taken of them. In that way it reminds me of Greenwich or “The Flats” area in Beverly Hills. It’s quite beautiful in an understated way that can only be achieved when the construction in your town is mature.

We crossed back and continued up river to Essex. This is another picturesque New England community on the Connecticut River. Most people know it for its scenic railroad with steam engine rides up-the-river.

While Bob perused a gallery on Main Street, “Clicky” and I staked out the street, looking for photos to take. That’s where I ran into “W,” the dog. I held the camera very low to the ground and snapped away. It was too low for me to look through the viewfinder. I’m getting better at these low point-of-view shots, but still wasted most of what I took because the top of the dog’s head was out of my frame!

Down the street was a pretty town park which sloped to South Cove, on the river. Right in the middle a wedding party was posing for pictures. It was a spectacular day. I wonder how much angst the bride had hoping the forecast would come true?

Our evening ended with Helaine joining us for dinner at Lenny’s in Branford. Bob and I had the “Shore Dinner.”

As we drove home I saw I’d put over 100 miles on without going much of anywhere.

Bob left after breakfast on Sunday morning. He was on his way to Maine for a week with his grown son, Christopher. If he keeps the rest of his vacation as tightly packed as this first day, he’ll have no vacation.

&#185 – Though I-95 runs mainly east-west in Connecticut, it is marked north-south. To go east, follow the signs for north and vice versa.

Bob Is Flying To Connecticut

I did the same–except the soda burst out and sprayed all over me.

My friend Bob is on his way… and by on his way, I mean sitting at Charlotte’s Douglas Airport waiting for his delayed plane. He’ll be visiting for a day before heading north to see his son Christopher in Massachusetts.

I’ve known Bob since my first day on radio, back in 1969. Stef is looking forward to quizzing him about those early years. Be afraid, very afraid.

The difference between Bob and me can be characterized by what happened the day I was scheduled to move from Charlotte to Cleveland. Bob had come with me to a tire store on Independence Blvd. in Charlotte.

We decided to get drinks, so I dropped some change in a Coke machine. Bob got his, stuck it in the opener and popped the cap. I did the same–except the soda burst out and sprayed all over me.

His flight is now in the air.

My Return To WBT

Whoever listens to AM radio on a Monday night at 10:40 PM will be interested.

In the early 1970s, my radio career took me to WBT, Charlotte. It was one of America’s truly great radio stations–never to be replicated. Tonight, I’ll be on again.

John Harper, who’s filling-in for the normal nighttime talk host, has asked me to spend a few minutes talking about Hurricane Bertha, the Category 3 storm in the Atlantic. More than likely, that’s where Bertha will stay.

Though well inland, Charlotte has been zetzed by storms. In 1989 Hurricane Hugo creamed the Queen City with strong winds and torrential rain.

Hopefully, whoever listens to AM radio on a Monday night at 10:40 PM will be interested.

My Jesse Helms Story

As I remember, the spot paid $800, or a month’s pay for me. That was quite the incentive.

Jesse Helms died today. He was the very conservative former senator from North Carolina.

Back in 1972 I was working as a disk jockey at WBT, the 50,000 watt AM station in Charlotte, NC. This was a wonderful, old line station. Under one roof we had an AM, FM, TV and separate video and audio production companies. There were few stations like it then–certainly none like that now.

One day an open call came from Jeffersonics, the audio production house. A political spot was being cut and they needed a voice. Everyone was encouraged to read.

I don’t have now and certainly didn’t have then “pipes,” but I went nonetheless and read. As I remember, the spot paid $800, or a month’s pay for me. That was quite the incentive.

I didn’t get the job. It went to Jack Petry, our midday man with a voice so deep he once told me he couldn’t be heard over a vacuum cleaner!

The three words Jack read: “Nixon needs Helms.” In retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t get it.

The Antenna I Can’t Part With

The rumor was, the guy who designed the antenna, an MIT grad student whose name I won’t mention, was really working for the CIA. Having the ability to monitor local radio stations from afar… let’s say Albania from Turkey, for instance, was a valuable tool in the Cold War.

altazimuth_loop.jpgI was just up in the attic a few minutes ago. I was looking for something that was actually right next to me!

While there, I caught sight of the ‘thing’ in the photo to the left. As any fool can plainly see, it’s an NRC DIGFET Altazimuth loop&#185.

OK – what’s that? You’re entitled to know.

When I was growing up… in fact, until the early 70s, I was a BCB DXer. That’s a person who listens to distant stations on a plain AM radio.

I heard the easy ones easily. It was those stations between the stations, the really long hauls with weak signals, that interested me.

There was (actually there still is) a club for these dweeby shut-ins desperately trying to identify what they were hearing: the National Radio Club. Its DX News, published by volunteers pounding on manual typewriters, was my source of knowledge… albeit months old by the time it got to me.

The loop antenna made it possible to eliminate local stations, allowing the distant ones to come right in. I know it sounds impossible, but by turning the antenna to just the right angle, vector math nulled the strong signal.

The rumor was, the guy who designed the antenna, an MIT grad student whose name I won’t mention, was really working for the CIA. Having the ability to monitor local radio stations from afar… let’s say Albania from Turkey, for instance, was a valuable tool in the Cold War.

While working in Charlotte, NC at 50,000 watt WBT, I could turn the antenna to hear KFAB in Omaha. They were both on the same frequency, with KFAB purposely sending very little signal in my direction!

I used that antenna to listen to the Radio Dakar in Senegal on 764 kHz and the BBC on 1214 kHz from my dorm room at Emerson. The signals weren’t great and I didn’t really mind.

In Cleveland in the early 70s, I caught a station ID from KORL 650 kHz in Honolulu while WSM in Nashville was off-the-air for weekly transmitter maintenance. I only heard a few seconds, but they included a jingle for “People Power,” their talk format slogan at the time.

Since I wanted to be in radio, having this amazing antenna allowed me to listen to disk jockeys and radio stations not normally available.

The antenna still works. Until Major League Baseball began streaming games on the Internet, we used it to hear the Phillies on 1210 kHz, even though there’s a station here in Hamden on 1220 kHz!

I really have no use for my ugly antenna anymore. I do nearly no AM listening, and haven’t BCB DX’ed in years.

There’s not a chance I’ll throw it away. You might not understand why. I’m the only one who has to.

&#185 – NRC is National Radio Club. DIGFET is short for “dual inverted gate, field effect transistor.” It’s a low noise amplifier to increase the signal strength. Two were used in a push-pull configuration. Altazimuth referred to the antenna’s ability to turn and tilt in order to find the perfect spot to null out a station.

Dinner With A Friend

Tonight I had dinner with Joel Denver. Joel and I were in radio first in Charlotte and then in Philadelphia back in the 70s. We became friends, but as is so often case, we moved and our lives changed until we fell out of touch.

Joel’s company, AllAccess.com, is located on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. Around 40 miles from where I’m staying, I gave the trip an hour.

I headed up the 405, through the Sepulvada Pass and past the Getty Museum. You go under Sunset but over Wilshire, as Century City fills the view to the left. From the 405 I moved to the Santa Monica Freeway and finally whipped north onto the Pacific Coast Highway.

Malibu is like no other place. Much of what’s here has changed since the 50s! It is among the most beautiful and most dangerous places in the world to live.

Inland, homes sit on canyon walls. Most likely, one of your neighbor’s homes is below you! Homes are often lost to fire or slide, usually with minimal warning.

On the ocean side, where the homeowner owns to the high water mark, lots have been maximized. As homes are rebuilt, the ocean side often ends up mainly glass. Lots of homes have decks, extending the property closer to the water.

PCH passes by municipal beaches, open space, shopping and thousands of tiny, mainly rectangular, homes. Often they are plopped on lots with little room to spare.

Driving north on PCH it’s hard to separate one house from the next. They are that close. With few garages or driveways, the curb lane is filled with parked cars. These teeny homes all are well over a million dollars apiece.

I passed Cross Creek and then Webb. This is the real glitz area of the Pacific Coast Highway. The Malibu Beach Colony is in this area where PCH moves farther from the shoreline.

Joel’s office is in a small office building just off the highway. I parked on the street and walked in. It was chilly tonight.

He looks like he always did. His smile is there. His laugh is there too.

Back in the 70s, I was single. Joel was married. He’s still married, just not to the same person. His wife Ria seemed very nice.

Joel and I left for dinner. It was a sushi place a little farther north on the highway.

We had lots to talk about. Both of us had been in radio. Joel was still connected with the business, but no longer on-air.

Both the sushi and conversation were good. I enjoyed hearing a little about his business. Joel realized the Internet was the right place to publish back in 1995. He was able to anticipate the market.

As is often the case with new media, his success has come at the expense of old line printed pages. His site can get the info out sooner and with less cost and hassle.

I’m often amazed by the number of my friends who have done well. Here’s another one for the list.

I’ll have to go back and spend a little more time next time.

Hello I Must Be Going

Sunny Los Angeles. It looks like it’s about to spend an extended period getting drenched. That can mean only one thing. I’m heading to L.A. I leave Saturday.

Why am I going? No real clue. It’s just away. It’s a place I enjoy.

I have some friends I want to see. Probably some photos to take too, if the weather cooperates.

One friend, who I’ll be staying with for a few days, has grown a beard and then removed it since the last time I saw him. He has asked for anonymity on the blog – which will be respected.

I’ll also be spending some time with my cousins in Orange County. I’ve never seen their house, near the retired El Toro Air Station, just inland from Laguna Beach.

Two more stops are planned, both with people I haven’t seen in decades.

Joel lives and works in Malibu. I knew him when we were both disk jockeys in Charlotte and Philadelphia. I have known him under three different names!

Dave, who I first met as I turned 18, is from Marin County, near San Francisco. He runs a business designing, installing and repairing recording studios. He has lived an interesting and exotic life, including lots of time exploring Asia. He and I were ticketed for jaywalking across from the Roosevelt Hotel.

Today, I was trying to think of how many times I’ve been to Los Angeles. Certainly a dozen. Probably closer to twenty. Though I once got lost and ended up driving Helaine and myself through some pretty sketchy neighborhoods, I know my ‘home turf’ of the Valley and West Side reasonably well.

I will be taking Clicky and enough electronic accouterments to choke a TSA agent.

No changing planes, but we are stopping in Chicago (MDW). January and Chicago. Wish me luck!

Strange Remembrance Of Tammy Faye

Tammy Faye Messner, she of the heavyweight makeup and previously disgraced life, died on Friday. The death was revealed Saturday by Larry King, on who’s show she had appeared a few days earlier.

The last name Messner came late. Tammy Faye is best remembered by me as Tammy Faye Bakker, wife of Jim Bakker of TV’s PTL Club. Alas, they succumbed to the huge buckets of money sent to them, using their ministry as a piggy bank. Jim Bakker was sent away to prison.

You remember the PTL scandal? They had the air conditioned dog house!

My memories of Jim and Tammy go way back in their career. In fact, when I looked around the web, what I’m about to tell you was nowhere to be found&#185.

Before the PTL Club, Jim and Tammy worked for Reverend Pat Robertson. Surprise!

This was back when his, then little, satellite channel was called the Christian Broadcasting Network. In their latter days with Robertson, Jim and Tammy often appeared on and hosted Robertson’s flagship 700 Club.

Long before Jim wore a shirt and tie, I remember the “Jim and Tammy Show,” a Christian children’s show! Yup, Pat Robertson had these two moral weaklings host a show for kids!

I remember sitting home in Charlotte, NC back in the early 70s, watching them and laughing. It was amazing sport for me.

The show seemed very over-the-top and totally insincere. Of course I had no way of knowing where their careers would go.

After her marriage to Jim ended, Tammy somehow managed to position herself as a tragic figure, caught up in a world out-of-control. I was never that charitable or forgiving toward her. All I could think about was all the money, a large percentage obtained from the poor, old and infirmed, that flowed to PTL and was squandered by the Bakkers.

I’ve always felt there should be a special category for crimes that openly betray trust. Stealing that way seems so much more repugnant than conventional forms of theft. Its ‘enhanced punishment’ would apply to crooked politicians and other civil servants on the take, con men of all stripes, and folks like Jim and Tammy.

Her makeup was the least of my concerns.

&#185 – After finishing this entry, I did find this site which talked about the Jim and Tammy Show.

Audio Tape – How Quaint

When we cleaned out the house last month, a lot had to be thrown away. There were certain items, however, where I drew the line. Specifically, I kept audio tapes. These little five and seven inch reels chronicle my time in radio.

I know I work in television, but in many ways I still maintain my undying love for radio. It’s where my broadcasting career started. In high school, it was the career I lusted after.

Radio has changed. What I found romantic has been beaten out of the medium by national chains and their bean counters. I still love radio.

Unfortunately, my audio tapes represent a dead storage format. I’m not sure audio tape recorders are made anymore. I don’t have one.

We used to have a very nice audio deck at the TV station. Where it is now is a mystery to me. Audio, like everything else, is recorded digitally, not on tape.

Luckily, my friend Rick still has two audio decks in his basement. One is in the studio, the other sadly sits in storage. Even the deck in the studio needed to be re-cabled before we could roll on the tapes.

They’re too nice to chuck, too dated to use.

First, we listened to an aircheck from the early 1970s. I was working at WBT in Charlotte, NC. 1110-WBT was a blowtorch – a 50,000 watt AM station that could be heard from Canada to Florida (and we had a jingle which claimed just that).

I thought I was a pretty good disk jockey then. Wrong. This aircheck will never see the light of day again.

There were a few things of note on the tape. Our hourly IDs were voiced by Johnny Olsen, who was the announcer on virtually every Goodson-Toddman game show of the era. Rick, who can recognize most contemporary VO guys, drew a blank.

Trust me, back then he was immediately recognizable.

This tape was meant to get me a job. In order to attract some attention, I opened with a medley of jingle singers trying to sing my name – and failing. That was actually pretty cool.

The other tapes included more recent airchecks, a few custom jingles and the “TM Song.” TM, a jingle company in Dallas, produced a sales presentation jingle, singing all their clients call letters.

There’s just no way I could have let these tapes become unplayable. And now, they’re stored digitally and protected from another era of electronic obsolescence.

Blogger’s note: I have worked on this audio for over an hour. How frustrating!

For some reason you sometimes have to click on the play button twice. I wish I knew why. Adding this reminder is much simpler than fixing it.