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April 11, 2021 3:10 pm  #1


Old Radio Control Board Question

Before everything was run by computer, those of us who go back far enough used a radio board to get our shows on the air, complete with turntables, VU meters and faders or turn pots (short for potentiometers.) 

I recently found a pic of the late, great Joe Mayer, one of the on-air personalities at the legendary WGAR Cleveland. I have a friend who was an announcer there in its glory days, when it ruled the roost in that city. His reminiscences of that board have me questioning if anyone else has ever heard of this. 

"All Robert Reymont-made, "idiot proof" (as he used to say) stuff. It was easy and basic -- and every pot ran wide open!  The incredible processing (also Reymont-enhanced) took care of all levels. Turn the left pot, the left turntable starts...right pot, same thing. Crank it full, and you're broadcasting!"

Am I reading that right? Has anyone ever heard of a board that if you turned the pot one way, it started the turntable? Wouldn't that make it sound like everything was faded up, unless you were perfect with cueing up the song? Yet WGAR was one of the slickest and best sounding AM stations I've ever heard. The boards I recall using had a separate starter for the turntable so you could leave the pot up and have it start full blast when you hit the switch. Maybe I'm just not reading his description right. 

It's been a very long time since I recall coming across any old-style radio board, and by the time I was doing it, almost everything was on cart, so this was not an issue. But I'm wondering if anyone else has heard of this. If so, how did it work for you?  


https://i.ibb.co/HDLLTzf/wgar-joe-mayer.jpg

 

April 11, 2021 3:29 pm  #2


Re: Old Radio Control Board Question

RadioActive wrote:

Am I reading that right? Has anyone ever heard of a board that if you turned the pot one way, it started the turntable? Wouldn't that make it sound like everything was faded up, unless you were perfect with cueing up the song?

Yes you are indeed reading it right.  Having said that, I've never used one.  But I can see one real good reason for it.

I have used turntables mounted on a wooden base.  When cued up 1/4 or 1/2 turn for a song, the motor would have a fair bit of torque and sometimes you'd hear a "burp" as the disc started in the silent groove.  If you're talking over it, or doing a cross-fade, that's not such a big deal but going from a silence it would be noticeable.  I have had to deal with that and the in that case, you would start with the pot all the way down and crank it up very quickly to mute the burp.

Of course, I say of course, (in my best Foghorn Leghorn voice) kids these days wouldn't have a clue what I'm talking about. 
 

 

April 11, 2021 5:55 pm  #3


Re: Old Radio Control Board Question

I just received a reply from my friend, who explains it this way: 

"Regarding the WGAR board: Yes, when the pot came out of the click/cue position, the turntable would start, and the jock would crank it quickly wide open. No, there was no fade up if you did it fast -- a quick flick would open it wide. It was genius, really. There was so much expansion/compression, and other processing on the line that you could fake out the equipment by cranking the on-air source back (to about 15 on the clock), then hit the record at full volume. It was really fool proof."  

     Thread Starter