Talk shows through the ages

A. Joseph Ross
Thu Aug 30 17:49:52 EDT 2007

On 30 Aug 2007 Donna Halper wrote:

> Yes that's how it used to be done-- Ed and Wendy King had a very
> popular talk show on KDKA in Pittsburgh in the late 40s, if I recall
> correctly, and that's what they had to do-- paraphrase what the caller
> said and then reply.  SO was that due to technical issues?  I mean, in
> the 1940s, was it impossible technically to put a call on the air and
> have it sound good? Or was this a carry-over from earlier FCC and FRC
> decisions?   I ask because in the 1920s, the Department of Commerce
> ruled that calls could NOT be put on the air because they considered
> that "point to point communication," which was reserved for ham
> radio... broadcasting was supposed to differentiate itself by reaching
> out to a mass audience.    
Another issue is, how would they have done a delay in those days?  
Back in my days at WMUA in the 1960s, the delay was done by running a 
reel-to-reel tape between two tape recorders that were side-by-side 
in the studio deck.  The tape went from the supply reel on one 
machine to the record head on that machine, which recorded the 
program, then it went to the playback head of the second machine, 
where it was played back over the air, and then to the takeup reel on 
the second machine.

I'm sure there are far more sophisticated ways of accomplishing the 
delay on talk shows today, but how could it have been done in the 
days before magnetic tape?  And, if they could legally and 
technically put a phone call over the air, would they have taken the 
risk that a member of the public might say something which, by the 
stricter standards of those times, should not go over the air?

A. Joseph Ross, J.D.                        617.367.0468
 92 State Street, Suite 700                Fax: 617.507.7856
Boston, MA 02109-2004    

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