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Re: [ARSCLIST] FM reception way back when

Tom Fine wrote:
I grew up in lower Westchester and we never had this problem with a roof-top antenna, except on Channel 2 during the annual solar activity in the late summer and early fall. Reception was great, especially after the World Trade Center was built. We were on a height of land point on the border of Harrison and White Plains.

I grew up in the opposite direction, Teaneck, NJ. which is just beyond Englewood. We were on the downward slope from the high point where Teaneck High is, going down towards the Hackensack River. Especially when they began to build high rises and a water tower on the Hackensack Hills beyond the river, we got extreme triple ghosting from the hills which were on a more direct line-of-sight to the Empire State Bldg. than we were since we were shadowed by the Teaneck hill but they could see it. TV antenna installers did not understand that more-directional antennas usually have nodes of reception to the rear just like a hyper-cardioid microphone does. The reflections eventually overpowered the direct signal.

I didn't know from cable TV until I lived upstate after college.

Cable TV didn't come to Bergen County till after I had already moved away, but my parents had it for a couple of years before they also moved away.
FM reception was also excellent, with just a plain dipole tacked to the wall.
Naturally when this happens to a TV picture it is evident that FM reception from the same Empire State Bldg would have multi-path distortion. But since I was only about 2 air-miles from Lodi, I had GREAT reception of WABC-AM! Everywhere on the dial. Despite that, I had several good AM-SW radios and DXing was great. Try that now and all you hear is buzz from dimmers and compact flourescent lights.

FM content was another matter, I grew up in the late 70's and 80's so it was already headed down the toilet but was much better than the unlistenable FM dial of today.
Down here in Kentucky radio ain't worth listenin' to much. Yeeeeeeeee Haaaaa! But I grew up in the 50s and 60s in the tail end of OTR. the era of the great rock jocks like Pete "Mad Daddy" Myers, the great storyteller Gene Shepherd, and the birth and growth of underground radio. "Inside" with "Uncle Chris" Albertson, Bob Fass' "Radio Un-namable", and on and on. And I engineered a comedy series like Firesign Theatre the year BEFORE Firesign Theatre began, and I did some shows like Dr. Demento BEFORE Barry Hanson put on his demento top hat. (Sorta like Victor Borge's uncle who invented 4-UP, 5-UP, and 6-UP.)

I now live in an area that is a true fringe zone (far enough north of NYC to not get any stations from the Empire State building and far enough east of the Hudson to miss the Hudson Valley stations and on the back-slope of a big hill so no line of sight to much unless I wanted to build a tall tower out back, which is not in the cards) so I do very little radio listening anymore. If the content were more compelling and there were no internet streams, I might reconsider the tower idea, but such is not the case.

-- Tom Fine

I'd go bonkers if it weren't for XM. Can't wait till the Chanukah Channel reappears! (Gotta get them to air some Sam Levenson and Aaron Lebedeff this year.) The irony is that I just retired from a career as a professor of broadcasting. But the industry bears little resemblance to what it was when I began -- but it ain't MY fault !!!!

Mike Biel mbiel@xxxxxxxxx

----- Original Message ----- From: "David Weiner" <djwein@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> To: <ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> Sent: Monday, October 06, 2008 9:54 AM Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] FM reception way back when

I like the accuracy of the current TV show MAD MEN, which takes place in
1962. The main family lives in Westchester and whenever we see the parents
or kids watching TV, the reception is a bit off - slight double images,
occasional snow - just as it would have been then using a rooftop TV antenna
from such a distance from New York City.

Dave W.

-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:ARSCLIST@xxxxxxx] On Behalf Of David Lennick
Sent: Monday, October 06, 2008 12:59 AM
To: ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [ARSCLIST] FM reception way back when

Anyone remember similar experiences to this? I'm just listening to a tape
in 1960 (I recorded it, in fact) off the CBC's FM station in Toronto, and
the quality is excellent and free from interference, every so often there's
brief series of clicks..because someone elsewhere in the house changed the
television channel.

We were a family of tape fiends. Schedules were noted..taping off AM was
worse, since light switches, television, running the dishwasher, opening the

fridge, just about anything involving electricity would cause clicks,
static, whistle etc. As my mother frequently replied, "I can't pee in the


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