Radio Show Syndication on Vinyl LPs
December 9, 2009 4:25 PM   Subscribe

In 1975 and again in 1984-1992 Dr. Demento was distributed on LP vinyl records. There was a history of distributing shows on transcription discs, but this and other shows are now found all over the internet along with other forms of "bootlegs" thanks to digital recording and LP record players co-existing.

One of Lou Reed's May 1978 shows at the Bottom Line was released but another was only distributed on the Retro Rock radio show by the Clayton Webster Corp.

Retro Rock also distributed shows featuring Billy Joel, Black Sabbath and The Yardbirds.

Where did they go? Steve Bunyard's Clayton Webster at times owned WARQ, was sold to Olympia Broadcasting, was bought back and went bankrupt.

Spin Magazine had a Spin Radio Concert show on which Hüsker Dü appeared.

The King Biscuit Flower Hour was distributed on LP from 1980 to 1987 featuring Talking Heads, Patti Smith and Men at Work. Other shows were Off The Record, Superstar Concert, and something called Live Tracks.

Besides buying the original LPs (or reel-to-reel tapes for the masochistic) or finding recordings, King Biscuit has also digitized and remastered their archive for free streaming & in some cases downloading. (previously)
posted by morganw (14 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I worked in radio from '91-94. Even after we'd switched all music playback to CDs (properly cueing up records is a lost art), we had the occasional syndicated weekend "countdown"-type show come in on vinyl. So, I'd sit there reading books and play the commercials between tracks.
posted by mrbill at 5:01 PM on December 9, 2009

Very interesting post.
posted by four panels at 5:10 PM on December 9, 2009

American Top 40 was distributed this way for many years, and those discs are now collectible. (Interestingly, the first year of the show was sent out on tape, which stations were required to send back. Well, they kept coming back shorter and shorter because station engineers and producers were always cutting off bits of tape to use.)
posted by evilcolonel at 5:23 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh, hell yeah, morganw, thanks for this. I was a black-eyeliner girl in catholic school in the 80s and I used to listen to the Dr. Demento show on WOXY Oxford OH (Miami University of Ohio), which required a couple of coat hangers duct-taped to the radio antenna, unstrung, twisted together and hung out the window.

It was there I first heard the Beatle Barkers (SLnonYT).
posted by toodleydoodley at 5:50 PM on December 9, 2009

Gee, when I was working in the radio (late '70s), most syndicated shows were distributed on LP. And the 5-minute-or-less 'feature' shows often provided two weeks of content on one 12-inch record. The place where I worked was going to start airing a 'where-are-they-now' feature, but the first day's interview was with Francis Gary Powers, the 'infamous' U2 pilot who had done airborne traffic reports for our station before getting hired to fly TV's Telecopter. (We all knew where he was) And less than 4 hours before the show's airtime, the Telecopter crashed, killing Francis Gary Powers. The PD canceled the whole series and I ended up taking home the 2 LPs with a month's worth of shows, just to get them out of everybody's sight. I may still have them in the back of my rarely-visited storage unit; probably valuable for all the wrong reasons.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:59 PM on December 9, 2009 [3 favorites]

Ah, I remember those LPs. Somewhere I have an LP set of AT40 with Bob Eubanks filling in for Casey Kasem.

The records were pressed so that Segment 1 was backed with Segment 3, and Segment 2 with Segment 4, so that the DJ could cue consecutive segments without interrupting the program flow.
posted by Gridlock Joe at 6:42 PM on December 9, 2009

One of the few LPs I still own (I think; I haven't looked in that box in ages) is a syndication disc of Firesign Theatre's KPFK radio show Dear Friends.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:39 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

I just got through reading Bootleg: The Secret History of the Other Recording Industry by Clinton Heylin. He talked about these discs ended up getting bootlegged on vinyl. Fascinating book, highly recommended. It brought back some great memories of buying bootleg vinyl at records shows at the American Legion Hall. $5 for a single record, $10 for a double.
posted by marxchivist at 8:57 PM on December 9, 2009

Spin Magazine had a Spin Radio Concert show on which Hüsker Dü appeared.

Hmm, wouldn't mind checking this out. Anyone seen this floating around anywhere?

The Minutemen also did a Spin Radio Concert approximately 4 months before D Boon passed, available on the Internet Archive.

The first two years of Spin Magazine were pretty great. Bob's son really put the Gucci in Guccione. Byron Coley, John Leland (his articles are what turned on to Big Black and The Fall, early Touch & Go, and Big Stick's rad "Crack Attack" single), hell, even Richard Meltzer showed up in their pages. Too bad it's now complete shite.
posted by porn in the woods at 5:31 AM on December 10, 2009

Fish heads, fish heads, eat them up, yum.
posted by caddis at 5:58 AM on December 10, 2009

Ask a fish head anything you want to. It won't answer; they can't talk.
derail! derail!
posted by e.e. coli at 6:11 AM on December 10, 2009

My theme song to get me through the day at work has always been "Boot to the Head" by the Frantics. It's the only way a web person can get through user error questions. :)
posted by stormpooper at 7:02 AM on December 10, 2009

Back when I worked in radio (92-95 I think) we got in these "interview discs" which were pre-recorded answers to a set of questions so the dj could pretend to actually have Johnny Cash or The Tractors or whoever sitting there in the studio with him answering his questions about his new album. At the time we thought they were hilariously lame, and would make weird cut-up recordings with them for our own amusement. Now I'm sure they're just another strange curiosity of the last days of independent radio.

I had kept any oddball records and 78s that caught my fancy in the archives of the station which were being thrown out because they were switching to digital (even though our 1000w transmitter was still powered by vacuum tubes) and I had a bunch of these show discs from the 60's and 70's that I later sold for a pretty good chunk of change in the Nashville used record stores.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 7:17 AM on December 10, 2009

And after digging through Google for a bit, WFMU has a post about those interview LPs, including a script and a sound file, so you can pretend to interview Phil Collins. Excellent.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 7:30 AM on December 10, 2009

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