Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Air check preferences

I have had this discussion with several "long timers" and thought I would open it up for some input. Just like with sports and politics, there seems to be a lot of disagreement over what constitutes the best possible air check.

Personally, I enjoy an unscoped hour or more of a program. Keeping the music and commercials in as they ran back in the day. To me, it is not "just" the air personality, it is the overall sound of the station and the difference that hopefully he or she made while on the air.

If all I hear is the DJ sounding totally pumped coming out of a Kiss record and then 10 seconds later I hear him sounding mellow introducing Neil Diamond, it comes off as having something missing. The music of that very hour, plus the commercials, and often the news headlines, all added to the sound of the show no matter how great the personality may have been.

However, for the most part, there is nothing we can do about a scoped aircheck. The music and commercials and all the rest are, for the most part, gone forever. Many of the airchecks were either edited down many years ago, or were taken from the studio tapes when PD's would record only when the microphone went on. (And I can understand that.)

It is probably too late to find and preserve the vast majority of these, if they even still exist, but I often wonder what became of the old slow speed reel-to-reel tapes of everything that aired that most radio stations kept in order to meet FCC requirements. Those would have it all. If only I thought about it years ago when the reel-to-reel machines were first becoming outdated.

I equate thorwing away the "raw" hours of recordings of music stations across the country to those of us who tossed out our boxes of baseball cards in the 70's that would have rivaled our 401k's in value if we still had them today. At least I can't blame my mom for throwing away hours of radio tapes.

At least I have some "entire" hours to enjoy. As today's over-the-air radio continues to go downhill with conservative, non-local, often pre-recorded air personalities and 500 song playlists, I'm finding myself listening more and more to radio as I still want it to be. To what got me excited about it many years ago and made me want it as my career until I just couldn't take it anymore.

But they leave me wanting more!

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