Thursday, May 22, 2014

Rock radio...early days!

...the early hot days of rock radio!
     ...and when jocks and program directors and even owners sometimes got paid in cash or girls or drugs to play certain records.
Now...the radio stations have to pay the music folks just for permission to play the songs!
That’s come full circle, right!

.....but here are some of the fun things that happened in early rock and roll radio.....

the “echo chambers”.

There was a time in early rock radio that it was thought your sound was better is you echoed it.
I was at WIRL Peoria in the late 50’s when pop music stations were jumping on the craze and paying thousands of dollars for the echo devices for their stations.
Our chief engineer got us one.  For ten bucks.
He went to the hardware store and bought a water hose.  Hooked it up and we had our echo!
and....(this is hard to believe)  some rock stations in heavy competition would speed up the records just a make the other station(s) sound “draggy”.
I kid you not.
Also...when a hot artist’s record say a new Elvis song was to be released the record promotion guys for that area would have a copy in their synchronized they would enter the radio stations at the exact same times so one could complain they got shafted. I took part in one of these “deliveries”.  I was stationed at the door at the appointed time...10AM in Baltimore and the record was handed to me for WCBM.  I rushed it up the stairs and into the control room and handed it to the jock who put on the air immediately.  We checked to other station(WBAL?) and they got it on about two minutes later!

If anything else comes to mind I’ll let you know!

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