When Radio Was

Thanks to Chris at SD Radio for point radiophiles to this video clip of San Diego (and LA) radio legend, Shotgun Tom Kelly on the air in 1972.

 Vintage top-40 radio. It all looks and sounds very familiar. The mic, the board, the turntables, and cart machines—that very same equipment was the stuff of the studios in which I worked in the mid-70s to the early 80s. The film is a nice glimpse into what radio used to be. Notice how, when the audio switches to in-studio sound, the sound cuts out when the mic is on. Almost no movie or TV show ever gets this right. Tom also dealt with requests the way most of us did! Tom had a tight playlist and not much room for requests.

The constant sound, short records, flashing phone lights, bad headphones, cueing records, finding spots, reading live spots (commercials) – notice that the spots and station IDs and jingles were on “carts” but the music was still on 45s those were small records, not CDs. The only thing we didn’t see was Tom taking the transmitter readings and checking off the commercial log. 

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  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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One comment

  1. Very cool, indeed. And his voice still sounds the same. I get to hear him regularly up here on KRTH 101. I poked around and he’s got what looks like a nice web site.

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