Thursday, January 20, 2005

Ok, does anyone remember cart machines?

Cart machines. Ahh... those were the days.

For the uninitiated, the term "Cart" is short for "Broadcast Cartridge". Obviously, a "Cart Machine" is the piece of equipment that plays (and sometimes records) 'em.

A Cart is basically a length of tape (the same as you would use on reel-to-reel machines), wound inside a plastic case (CARTridge, if you will). The two ends of the tape are spliced together, forming a tape loop. As soon as the recording reaches the end, it is automatically cued and ready to air again! Carts are generally made with lengths of tape that correspond to a certain number of seconds: e.g. 20sec, 40sec, or 2:30.

Carts were (and still are) especially useful for recording any short item that needs to be played repeatedly, such as top-hour station ID's, jingles, community announcements, commercial spots, etc. Many stations had most, or all of their music recorded on carts as well. The songs were usually transferred to cart from vinyl records.

When you begin recording on a cart, the cart machine puts an electronic pulse onto the tape. When you playback the cart, the machine recognises the pulse and stops as soon as it comes around. It's now cued right at the beginning and ready to play again. It is also possible to put more than one cut on a cart, and then each time the cart is fired (played) it will play one of several recordings in succession each time the machine is fired.

Example:

Fire cart.

Cut #1 plays: "Graveyard 1270 WGRV! Your home for the Jim Bohannon Show. Weeknights at 10, Only on WGRV!"

Cart stops, Cut #2 cued.

Fire cart...

Cut #2 plays: "Graveyard 1270 WGRV! Your home for Graveyard Township Football!"

Cart stops. Cut #3 cued.

Fire cart.

Cut #3 plays: "The New York City Stations don't have Graveyard Traffic! That's why there's Graveyard 1270, WGRV!!"

Cart stops. Cut #1 cued.........

Neat!! (ok, maybe not, given the above examples... but if you're still reading this, you know EXACTLY what I'm talking about!)

Carts look very similar to the 8-track tapes you may remember from the 70's.

Cart machines came in many forms. They were all very heavy and built to extremely high quality standards. There are cart machines that can play one cart at a time, there are "triple deckers" and there are even cart machines that will rotate up to 64 carts on automation.

Most cart machines are electronically controlled, but some old ones require you to insert the cart and then pull a big lever in order to play. These days, dinosaurs like that can usually only be found in toilet radio stations (sorry LNG... We Do Love YA!!)

In fact, most radio stations do not use cart machines any longer. Some stations still have them as backup sources, but most of these high quality, reliable machines have gone to the breakers to be turned into insurance writeoffs. Digital editing has made leaps and bounds in broadcasting. Instead of an Otari MX5050 and a razor blade, you can now edit audio quickly and efficiently in the digital domain! In fact, if you win a radio contest, your call can and will be edited before it goes on the air, using one of these.

Oh, yes... the venerable cart machine has all but gone the way of the Dodo. Instead, the music, commercials, liners, sweepers, etc. that you hear on your favorite radio station almost exclusively come from a computer. In fact, on a lot of radio stations even your favorite DJ comes from a computer, or from a satellite. This is called voice-tracking. But that's another subject entirely.

More to follow...





5 Comments:

Blogger Mark said...

Not sure what you mean by Toilet Radio Stations - is that because they are going down the toilet, their format stinks, or what?

So, what do you think about Satellite Radio?

April 13, 2005 at 9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mark.

Ok, by toilet radio stations, I mean stations that have an extremely hokey sounding format. Toilet Radio is actually a term of endearment.

Stations like the linked WLNG, in Sag Harbor, NY, are an example of this type of station. WLNG broadcasts in MONO, has a very pronounced REVERB on the audio chain, and does alot of remote broadcasts from small shops around the area. Also, most of the commercials you will hear on WLNG are produced by simply having the advertiser call in over the phone and record their own commercial. I actually like WLNG, because their sound is so ridiculously different than what you hear on a typical radio station.

As far as Satellite Radio is concerned, I'm still not convinced it's worth paying for. I borrowed my boss's car one time, and she had Sirius. It was interesting, but I am not prepared to put up the equipment cost plus monthly fee for it, at least, not yet anyway.

-Alan

May 5, 2005 at 8:58 AM  
Blogger edwardgibson48915170 said...

Make no mistake: Our mission at Tip Top Equities is to sift through the thousands of underperforming companies out there to find the golden needle in the haystack. A stock worthy of your investment. A stock with the potential for big returns. More often than not, the stocks we profile show a significant increase in stock price, sometimes in days, not months or years. We have come across what we feel is one of those rare deals that the public has not heard about yet. Read on to find out more.

Nano Superlattice Technology Inc. (OTCBB Symbol: NSLT) is a nanotechnology company engaged in the coating of tools and components with nano structured PVD coatings for high-tech industries.

Nano utilizes Arc Bond Sputtering and Superlattice technology to apply multi-layers of super-hard elemental coatings on an array of precision products to achieve a variety of physical properties. The application of the coating on industrial products is designed to change their physical properties, improving a product's durability, resistance, chemical and physical characteristics as well as performance. Nano's super-hard alloy coating materials were especially developed for printed circuit board drills in response to special market requirements

The cutting of circuit boards causes severe wear on the cutting edge of drills and routers. With the increased miniaturization of personal electronics devices the dimensions of holes and cut aways are currently less than 0.2 mm. Nano coats tools with an ultra thin coating (only a few nanometers in thickness) of nitrides which can have a hardness of up to half that of diamond. This has proven to increase tool life by almost ten times. Nano plans to continue research and development into these techniques due to the vast application range for this type of nanotechnology

We believe that Nano is a company on the move. With today�s steady move towards miniaturization we feel that Nano is a company with the right product at the right time. It is our opinion that an investment in Nano will produce great returns for our readers.

Online Stock trading, in the New York Stock Exchange, and Toronto Stock Exchange, or any other stock market requires many hours of stock research. Always consult a stock broker for stock prices of penny stocks, and always seek proper free stock advice, as well as read a stock chart. This is not encouragement to buy stock, but merely a possible hot stock pick. Get a live stock market quote, before making a stock investment or participating in the stock market game or buying or selling a stock option.

December 23, 2005 at 12:52 PM  
Blogger leanordgibson4326 said...

I read over your blog, and i found it inquisitive, you may find My Blog interesting. My blog is just about my day to day life, as a park ranger. So please Click Here To Read My Blog

December 28, 2005 at 7:52 PM  
Blogger 1cug42tvrc said...

While you read this, YOU start to BECOME aware of your surroundings, CERTIAN things that you were not aware of such as the temperature of the room, and sounds may make YOU realize you WANT a real college degree.

Call this number now, (413) 208-3069

Get an unexplained feeling of joy, Make it last longer by getting your COLLEGE DEGREE. Just as sure as the sun is coming up tomorrow, these College Degree's come complete with transcripts, and are VERIFIABLE.

You know THAT Corporate America takes advantage of loopholes in the system. ITS now YOUR turn to take advantage of this specific opportunity, Take a second, Get a BETTER FEELING of joy and a better future BY CALLING this number 24 hours a day.
(413) 208-3069

May 3, 2006 at 11:32 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home