A picture is worth a thousand words, but this one deserves a personal
explanation from your photo album tour guide, Jon Wolfert: "Before
I began working at PAMS, I naturally thought that they would treasure
their library of past productions as much as I did. But when I
arrived there in 1971 I was introduced to reality. There was only
so much space in the building, and when it ran out the older master
and reference tapes were unceremoniously tossed into cartons and
thrown haphazardly into this un-air conditioned storage room.
During my first year at PAMS, I spent many weekends going through
this gigantic mess and found countless items of historical interest
which would otherwise have been destined for the trash can. (Whether
they belonged there or not is left up to the reader.)"
Backing up a few years, here's a look at Control Room A in 1967. Notice that all
ten channels of the new "10 track" recorder were arranged
vertically in one rack. Of particular interest is the presence
of the "Cue Mat" machine, which is the rectangular unit
sitting on top of the full track machine. This peculiar Ampex
device was probably the world's first floppy disc drive (of sorts).
It played discs of magnetic tape, about the same size as a record
album. You can see the discs sticking out of the beige holder
above the two-track machine. The discs cued up automatically,
like carts, but required no re-cue time after playing. PAMS used
this system to insert generic elements into syndicated jingles
(such as the sonovox word "music" in series 31, and
the "swiszle" sound effect and countdown numbers in
series 32). Ampex thought this technology would replace cart machines,
but only a few were actually sold partly because a disc would
only hold about 3.5 minutes of audio.
Billy Ainsworth (on the left) played saxophone as well as singing and producing many
vocal sessions at PAMS. Jodie Lyons (right) was a singer
and also a writer/arranger who was responsible for a wide variety
of material ranging from portions of Series 27 all the way to
Ray Hurst played guitar and mallets (vibes, xylophone,
etc.) in addition to writing many of the commercial jingles which
PAMS did for retail clients and advertising agencies. In the mid-60s
Ray also authored a novel method of guitar instruction called
"Color Way" which was recorded at, and distributed by,
PAMS tried something a bit different to entertain visitors to
its hospitality suite at the 1974 NAB convention in Houston. The
vocal group performed live, singing along with pre-recorded music
tracks. The cuts used were :60 commercials, whose lyrics had been
customized for the occasion, or longer station jingles. The room
was packed for every show. (left to right: Linda, Jim, Carol,
Billy, Abby, and Marv).
Photos on this page
by Jon Wolfert amd Ken Justiss. Rights to all photos
are reserved by their respective owners.