My generation's iHeartRadio

My old radio buddy Steve Orchard found a picture of the old beast. Back in the 80's, this was my generation's iHeartRadio This was the automation system we used on 99-7,WIMI up in Ironwood, Michigan.(Da U.P., eh') We ran the Drake-Chenault Contempo 300 format.(soft rock). I convinced the powers that be that we needed to add the X-reels (top 40 reels) for the weekends. I promised we'd only use them on the weekends...(he-he) Someone slipped would always slip them in during the week. I was such a rebel back then.

Each reel contained 20 to 25 songs. #1 was oldies, #2 was a little more current, #3 recurrents, and #4 had the soft rock top hits. The X-reels had the good stuff (he-he again). The sytem was set up to follow a series of commands to go from one reel to the other from commercials, to jingles, voicetacks (DJ) ,wx and more. It was my job to set up those commands on that Radio Shack looking keyboad on the left. At end of each event there was cue tone to kick off the next event. In a way, I guess I was writing code. I forgot all about that. My son Paul would be so proud.

That thing in the middle is the instacart. It held 47 slots for the carts that had commericals, jingles, voicetracks (DJ) , weather, news recorded on them. By the way, a cart looked like the old 8 tracks.

One of the pains of working with tape....we always had to clean the play head on the machine with a cue tip and some rubbing alcohol. All that friction from the tape would build up. If we didn't clean it caused all kinds of problems. I remember someone forgot to clean the the heads in the instacart.....and all 47 carts were airing at the same time. I'm not mentioning any names, Mark, Chris, Bart, Joan, my wife Dorothy, Shoo (we miss her) and Steve Orchard. Wait, no Steve was the only one that DID clean the heads....and actually took the meter readings.

Oh, one more thing....I was the dummy that came up with the slogan "Music Source"...99-7,WIMI". Kind of like the Christmas music thing I did here in Milwaukee. I'm sorry classic hits, oldies and soft AC stations around the country for that.

I know I used a lot of radio jargon. Sorry, but old radio dogs, like me, will get a kick out of it.

Leave a comment below if you were ever in radio. What system did you use?

Gregory Jon

Gregory Jon

Gregory Jon has been a big part of the Milwaukee radio scene since 1991. Read more

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