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July 20, 2022 10:01 am  #1


Super Radio - The Satellite Service You Never Got To Hear

I was listening to WABC's podcast of "The Day The Music Died" - a mini-documentary of the final morning (May 10, 1982) that music was played on the legendary 77 in New York City, which was about to debut its all-talk format. It's a great near-hour of nostalgia featuring the terrific talents of Ron Lundy and Dan Ingram. 

One of the things they tell listeners upset about the end of music on the station is that they'll be back in something called "Super Radio." This was an ABC and Rick Sklar-created satellite service that pre-dates Sirius XM by decades and was well ahead of its time. It was supposed to be a syndicated option that would make it possible for a station to play its own jingles, spots, weather and news, but have the music and jocks fed from a central source - in this case, mostly New York City. 

So how come you never heard of it? Despite investing heavily in the concept, the service never launched. According to Airchexx.com

"Super Radio was abruptly cancelled just prior to its actual launch. It's said that the staff was completely unaware that the service was not meeting its sales deadlines and was completely shocked when they heard the news." 

Which means we'll never know how far this could have gone and how it might have changed radio as far back as 1982. Airchexx.com has a demo of the great Dan Ingram showing what might have been. You can hear that here. 

I just wish it had come to fruition. I managed to find a manual of how the place would work on the WorldRadioHistory.com site, and it looked both incredibly ambitious and perhaps at the time, potentially unworkable. It outlines a series of cue tones connected to pre-programmed cart machines, which would have played local jingles and spots, while taking the programming off the satellite. 

It sounds like a Rube Goldberg contraption but I have to assume it would have worked. 

But what the manual shows is how great the talent involved would have been. Imagine this line-up airing on your local station: 

https://i.postimg.cc/0QMZ0BP5/sr1.jpg

https://i.postimg.cc/Hnm58ZLh/sr2.jpg

https://i.postimg.cc/d12ZF29m/sr3.jpg


You can see the manual for what might have been here, including the technical set-up that shows how it all was supposed to have worked. (It's page 15 called "The Concept And How It Works.") Here's a small example.

https://i.postimg.cc/cHRhz8gP/sr4.jpg

 

July 20, 2022 11:56 am  #2


Re: Super Radio - The Satellite Service You Never Got To Hear

I have listened to Ron Lundy and Dan Ingram. I have heard the name Jay Thomas but the rest of the regular lineup is not at all familiar to me. However, that weekend rotating timeslot of Lujack, Morgan, Purtan etc. would have been terrific.

 

July 20, 2022 12:49 pm  #3


Re: Super Radio - The Satellite Service You Never Got To Hear

Jay Thomas wound up as an actor as well as a DJ, perhaps best known for playing Eddie LeBec, Carla's goalie husband on the TV show "Cheers."

     Thread Starter
 

July 20, 2022 3:20 pm  #4


Re: Super Radio - The Satellite Service You Never Got To Hear

I remember when the CRTC was considering the license applications for XM and Sirius, a third business entity was also vying for a license for a subscription digital service via a terrestrial network. They got shut out.


You don't have to be a good sport to be a mad one.
 

July 20, 2022 3:52 pm  #5


Re: Super Radio - The Satellite Service You Never Got To Hear

Does anybody remember the Canadian Radio Network (CRN)? Chuck Camroux was behind it, as I recall. They had jocks like Rockin' Robin and Pat Porter. My recollection is that Porter was on from 10 p.m.-4 a.m. and Robin did 4 a.m.-10 a.m. Don't know about the rest of the day. This was around 1989-90. CING-FM carried it, but don't know about other stations.

South of the border, there was "Night-Time America" first hosted by Bob Dearborn, then Mike McKay. It was on from midnight to 5 a.m., Tuesday-Saturday. Locally it was carried on WBUF-FM. They had 154 affiliates at one time, including stations in Chicago, Boston, Denver, St. Louis and Seattle. The show lasted from 1981 to 1985.

http://rockradioscrapbook.ca/nta-dearborn-dec15-81-s.mp3

http://rockradioscrapbook.ca/nta-logo.jpg

 


"Life without echo is really no life at all." - Dan Ingram
 

July 20, 2022 4:48 pm  #6


Re: Super Radio - The Satellite Service You Never Got To Hear

I do remember in the 80’s and 90’s Chuck Camroux’s CRN network.   We carried it in Oshawa as of 1989 when I worked at CKAR-AM 1350.    It was carried overnights.     

I later worked for the Pelmorex Radio Network which was originally located in Sudbury then moved to Mississauga.   It was bought out in 1999 and moved to downtown Toronto as MediaNet Radio Network until it was permanently shut down in early 2003.    During the MediaNet years, the late Roy Hennessy was our GM.   He was great to work with.

All these networks plus one that was run by Telemedia in the 80’s provided content to radio stations overnight and even during the daytime, if needed.   They were run using various Htz tones that would trigger commercials and IDs on either carts or reel-to-reel tape.

Of course as the 2000s rolled around, radio stations began looking into their own computer gear so they could run programming from their own stations 24/7 thus eliminating the need for satellite distribution.

I’m not sure if satellite still feeds stations much or at all with programming or if syndicators just provide download links for stations to pick up voice tracks (eg John Tesh, Delilah) to insert between music mixes.   I’d need a response from anyone who knows more info about syndicated programming today.

Last edited by djwildbill (July 20, 2022 4:53 pm)

 

July 20, 2022 6:07 pm  #7


Re: Super Radio - The Satellite Service You Never Got To Hear

I used to listen to Bob Dearborn on WCFL in the early 1970's.

 

July 20, 2022 6:31 pm  #8


Re: Super Radio - The Satellite Service You Never Got To Hear

djwildbill wrote:

I’m not sure if satellite still feeds stations much or at all with programming or if syndicators just provide download links for stations to pick up voice tracks (eg John Tesh, Delilah) to insert between music mixes.   I’d need a response from anyone who knows more info about syndicated programming today.

In the late 2000s, the Canadian airings of Delilah were distributed as individual segments, and each station would pull the files from an FTP server and import them into the automation. Earlier in the decade, the show was still transmitted live via satellite.

As for Tesh, a friend of mine was working at the then-CHUM stations in Ottawa in the mid '00s, and CJMJ-FM ("Majic 100" at the time) aired the show... they still had board ops playing the songs off CDs, and the Tesh voice tracks were on the Scott Studios computer, along with imaging and spots.

 

July 20, 2022 7:32 pm  #9


Re: Super Radio - The Satellite Service You Never Got To Hear

Current automation systems can go get the tracks off a standard FTP site themselves, and even back-time the tracks hit posts if you want.


 
 

July 20, 2022 11:56 pm  #10


Re: Super Radio - The Satellite Service You Never Got To Hear

There was a service called Superadio in the 80's until the early 2000's which offered syndicated CHR programming.  It was later acquired by Westwood One, I believe.

 

July 21, 2022 12:01 am  #11


Re: Super Radio - The Satellite Service You Never Got To Hear

Forward Power wrote:

djwildbill wrote:

I’m not sure if satellite still feeds stations much or at all with programming or if syndicators just provide download links for stations to pick up voice tracks (eg John Tesh, Delilah) to insert between music mixes. I’d need a response from anyone who knows more info about syndicated programming today.

In the late 2000s, the Canadian airings of Delilah were distributed as individual segments, and each station would pull the files from an FTP server and import them into the automation. Earlier in the decade, the show was still transmitted live via satellite.

As for Tesh, a friend of mine was working at the then-CHUM stations in Ottawa in the mid '00s, and CJMJ-FM ("Majic 100" at the time) aired the show... they still had board ops playing the songs off CDs, and the Tesh voice tracks were on the Scott Studios computer, along with imaging and spots.

Some of that was because the entire staff strongly opposed music being loaded in to the automation system,  They felt that it made jocks more replaceable.  The CHR station in the building had board ops running syndicated countdown shows all weekend as well.   

 

July 21, 2022 9:46 am  #12


Re: Super Radio - The Satellite Service You Never Got To Hear

Tomas Barlow wrote:

Forward Power wrote:

djwildbill wrote:

I’m not sure if satellite still feeds stations much or at all with programming or if syndicators just provide download links for stations to pick up voice tracks (eg John Tesh, Delilah) to insert between music mixes. I’d need a response from anyone who knows more info about syndicated programming today.

In the late 2000s, the Canadian airings of Delilah were distributed as individual segments, and each station would pull the files from an FTP server and import them into the automation. Earlier in the decade, the show was still transmitted live via satellite.

As for Tesh, a friend of mine was working at the then-CHUM stations in Ottawa in the mid '00s, and CJMJ-FM ("Majic 100" at the time) aired the show... they still had board ops playing the songs off CDs, and the Tesh voice tracks were on the Scott Studios computer, along with imaging and spots.

Some of that was because the entire staff strongly opposed music being loaded in to the automation system,  They felt that it made jocks more replaceable.  The CHR station in the building had board ops running syndicated countdown shows all weekend as well.   

It was to save on music royalties.


 
 

July 21, 2022 1:18 pm  #13


Re: Super Radio - The Satellite Service You Never Got To Hear

RadioAaron wrote:

It was to save on music royalties.

That's correct... it was related to SODRAC and storing music on hard drives versus continuing to play CDs. In Belleville, CJOJ-FM had automation when I was in the area, but music was played off of NSM CD jukeboxes controlled by the automation.