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William Brown (WCBS listener) 1/4/06

I certainly remember from the 1970's, besides all the anchors and reporters who worked at Newsradio 88, and the various sounders, some of the ads, especially during the late night/overnight hours, for such entities as Mickey Rooney's Downingtown, PA hotel (forgot the exact name thereof) and Gramercy Park Clothes (with such names as "Bearded Mike" and "Bela the Fella"), the latter of which, I.M.H.O., were to WCBS in terms of memorability what Dennison Clothes' iambic pentameter-laden ads were to WABC Musicradio 77 in the latter half of the 1960's and very early '70's. I also remember vividly the printouts of the Newsradio 88 schedule from 1974 (with pictures of the anchors) and the offers to send away for such layout apart from spreads on magazines of the time like New York.

But I also have a question: namely, would you know offhand the origin and/or source of the teletype sound heard over WCBS for many years starting in the mid-1970's (that is, after Arthur Godfrey's show came to an end, being as I've heard that March 1972 aircheck sans teletype in the background)? I've heard different teletype sounds over the years from different radio stations (including 1010 WINS, Philadelphia's KYW and Los Angeles station KFWB), and noticed that no two teletype sounds on such stations were alike. I know this is esoteric, but I happen to like the sound (usually 368 OPM - operations per minute - but I've heard earlier recordings of teletypes where the speed seemed to be set at 375 OPM; and believe me, I checked the speed at which they operated by analyzing the tempo of different recordings on an audio workstation).

Anyway, thanks for the memories . . .

-- William Brown, New York City.

NOTE from Don Swaim: Perhaps some of the former WCBS techs can better answer your question, but as I recall the teletype sound was created by the simple expedient of taping the racket from one of the machines, and then dubbing the noise onto a cassette with a continuous loop.

NOTE from Barry Siegfried: The teletype sound "was" indeed acoustically recorded from the teletype machines which occupied our teletype "cage", which was this separate area of the WCBS newsroom on the 16th floor of Black Rock that was enclosed by glass and housed approximately 1/2 dozen teletype machines.

The sound itself was recorded on reel-to-reel tape by Charles Mascari, who for several years was the morning drive board technician and a production technician at WCBS sometime before August, 1975 which is when I arrived at WCBS. He would then dub that sound on to a large 10-minute cartridge, which was played directly to the air chain from an old Gates Criterion cart machine with its cue tone sensing eliminated. When the cart would wear out, we would simply replace it with another.

When Charles left WCBS, I took his place on morning drive and doing production work so for several years after that, the task of keeping the teletype sound replenished on working 10-minute cartridges fell to me. As I recall, we used teletype sound in the background all the way until sometime in the mid-to-late 1980s when the news director decided we didn't need it anymore. It was a decision that I appreciated, since that meant we would not have to support it anymore. :)

Hopefully, this answered your questions.

Barry Siegfried
Technical Supervisor
WCBS Newsradio 880

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