Studios I Have Known & Loved

May 23, 2012

I started in radio before Al Gore invented the internet.   We used real switches and things called turn-tables.   They played round disks called records.  Some were 45, some 33.   On occasion on Sunday, we played a 78.

We also  had a device called a reel to reel.   You could record and play back your own voice.   No more “1 timing it, we could mass communicate.”

Here’s a bit of trivia:   How many grooves on a record ?       TWO.    One on each side.  Albeit  a long an continuous circle.

Then we went to CD’s.    Still little round things, but smaller and much easier to scratch (or just a good greasy chicken leg fingerprint could cause a skip).

Then we decided to make studio’s user friendly.     We made them stand up.   Or sit down.  Or stand up with tall chairs.   We added track lighting, sun shades…and then computers.  And I-pads.   And digital editors.   And..and..and…

Our first on air studio was nothing but a microphone in the middle of the room.  We gathered around it.

Then we built cool little places to hide.

And then came the personalized studio for specific shows.

Then can newsroom studios.

And a big place for everyone to gather and chat.

In the day, radio “consoles” as we called them were tube type.  Produced a lot of heat. All the equipment was noisy ( motors, clunks) so we learned when to turn the mike on/off and we designed remote start buttons.  Some a glorified light switch mounted in front of the announcer to turn on the turntable.

But that all ended when the digital age was born.    We had a few false starts, but eventually we landed on true digital state of the art network wired all digital ( except the microphones we speak into) facilities.  If we could only speak in 1s’ and 0s’ we would not even need that !

We have come so far so quick.  And who is to say where we will go.   Any (every) brand new fancy studio I have ever been involved with was trumped by the next new invention before 2nd drink was spilled in it.

And now we have a big studio with a microphone that we all gather around.   Everything else is on the studio computer.

But our most unique studio of all may well be the WBT/Carolina Panthers NFL broadcast set up inside the Bank of America stadium with yours truly trying to figure out what we do now.

I hope you enjoyed our tour down memory lane.  In the, I end with a couple great “mobile studio” units.

Jerry Dowd is making Greater Media, Inc. great in his role as Director of Engineering of Greater Media Charlotte.