Monday, September 17, 2007

Radio History - Programmer's Digest LP Magazine

Programmer's Digest was an unusual vinyl LP magazine targeted for radio broadcast professionals. It was only around briefly, published for just a few years in the early to mid 1970s. Issues were originally sold on a subscription basis, like a print magazine.

1972 programmers digest

The brain child of publisher/editor Buddy Blake, who along with Bobby Byrd assembled a nice collection of industry gossip, various air-checks (station ids) by many radio on-air personalities, interviews, sales strategies and some comedy bits in their issues.

These were great radio days - before the air-waves were largely run by just a few mega-media outlets as is the case today. Nowadays the dial seems over-run with morning zoos on every station except NPR and, with a couple of solid exceptions, showing a sad lack of compelling music programming.

There are some true broadcast gems to be found in this series. One of my faves is some great ribbing of recently fallen, but back then on-air, shock-jock Imus at the hands of a gravelly-voiced howler know as the Wolfman Jack.

The LP magazines don't turn up all the time - possibly a small number of subscriptions as compared to the relative expense of pressing up vinyl led to its early demise - and now to its rarity. A few sites offer downloads of snippets from different issues (along with other sources), but to truly get a feel for 1970s radio, its best to spin a platter - analog, baby, analog!