KABR Radio, Aberdeen, South Dakota 1956 Memories

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Jim Stokes
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Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:28 pm

KABR Radio, Aberdeen, South Dakota 1956 Memories

Postby Jim Stokes » Sun Aug 31, 2014 10:20 am

Dear OTR Folks, I wish to share with you precious memories of my first radio station job at KABR AM Radio, Aberdeen, South Dakota, in 1956, when I was a freshman in college. Since then the station has changed call letters to KGIM AM & FM and operates at a different frequency. So this is a memory of those good old days at the 1220 spot on the dial. Here goes!

In 1956, KABR was located at Dell's Drive Inn, which was a real old-fashioned drive inn on highway 281 north of Aberdeen. The station was a single antenna, low power operation, daylight only operation. The main transmitter was a Gates. It was co-located in a room with a truly vintage multi-rack AM standby transmitter that looked like it had Signal Corps components.

The control room had a vintage Western Electric console with an undamped volume meter and wire wound controls! And, of course, those were dear old vacuum tube days. There were two turntables to the right of the console. Neither had a cue system! So, the board operator/announcer had to place his ear next to the phonograph pickup to cue a record. Alternately, the announcer ad libbed until the music started playing.

One hilarious happening was playing back a Lutheran Church service that was in German. I was warned by another announcer to be sure to rewind the tape tape because it was "tails out." I nodded but had no idea what that meant. Sure enough, I threaded the tape and it played backwards on the air! The pastor called me after the broadcast and politely asked me why I played the service backwards.

There is so much more to tell, and so I have a 1,400 word story that you folks can get from me as an attachment by emailing me at "wordsandmusique@gmail.com.

Best to You All!

Jim Stokes

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