Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Spool of Wire

The Germans invented the “tape recorder.”about the time the Nazis began trying to take over the world.

Disc Recorder
After the war, we brought that audio technology over to this country and the radio stations began using tape for the first time. Before then, they had used either discs.....which were actually “cut” with a recording needle, or wire recorders, both of which produced an irritating amount of noise into the recording, known as "hiss."
Wire Recorder

Tape, produced a remarkably noise free signal.

In 1948 my dad bought radio station WAYS' old wire recorder...for $25 bucks.

I used it for years to practice “trying to sound like a radio announcer,” my passion at the time.

Wire recording from Ed's attic
I have no idea what happened to that old relic, but when cleaning out our house on East 5th street. I found a spool of wire at the bottom of one of the boxes which I recognized as part of that old machine. It probably contained recordings of me at age 12 or so.....pretending to be Edward R. Murrow......or who knows what.

I brought it up to Virginia where it sat in a box for another 10 years.

Recently a radio engineer friend of mine, whose hobby is rebuilding obsolete radio station equipment  (He built an exact copy of the radio studio and all the equipment of the first station he ever worked for....complete with a working his home.) happened to mention that he had just completed rebuilding an old “wire” recorder and it was working perfectly.

I couldn't resist digging out that old spool of wire.......and asking him to see if anything was on it, and, if so, make a CD of it.

It turned out to be the third radio show I ever did at WGIV. My father had recorded it off the the fall of 1952.

Lets go to the tape!

I mean, WIRE:

(Theme song, Washington and Lee Swing....up and under)

Ed  1952
“Good morning everyone......this is Ed Myers....welcoming you to another half hour of recorded music and news of the Charlotte High Schools.

Training all of our thousand watts and the 1600 kilocycles we open our show with “Water can’t quench the fire of love....”

I was dreadful. The records I selected were almost as bad.

Jack Campbell
Bill Bullard
There were two special guests on the show that day, Bill Bullard and Jack Campbell......both of whom had just been named “All State” for the football season just ended.

Neither said very much, but then my questions to them were pretty lame.

Neil Jones 1952
Apparently, Neil Jones had driven them to the studio...because I mentioned him as being one of the studio guests.

I gave special mention to the finalists in the just concluded “I Speak for Democracy” contest:

Barry Clark 1952
Jo Ann Casey, North Mecklenburg High
Linda Hughes, Tech
Jimmy Sample, East Mecklenburg
Joe Hass. Harding
Barry Clark, Central
Doris Ann Williams, Clear Creek
Vernon Greg Jr., 2nd ward
James Jones Jr. Myers Park
Melvin Boyce, Pineville
Dorothy Greer, Plato Price
Jeanette Green, West Charlotte and
David Foley, O’Donahue

One of the records was "Why Don't You Believe Me," by Joni James (who was new enough at the time for me to say "some call her Johnny, and some say Joni.")

Another was Jambolia by Homer and Jethro:

Jambolia and a pizza pie and a bowl of soup beans,
Potted ham and a can of chocolate covered sardines,
When we sing, it sounds just like a cat and dog fight,
But we don't sing for money.......just for spite.

Mercifully, the show was only 30 minutes long.

It made me realize that memories are best stored in our minds, not on some cold electronic medium.

That small spool of wire also reminded me that now, as I'm winding down my radio career, I'm going out the same way I went in......broadcasting news of Central High School. The only difference is the tools I'm using.

Those thousand watts and 1600 kilocycles have been replaced by the station known as  -Ed