Edward R. MurrowI couldn’t possibly mention all of them, but two come to mind as maybe the best, Ed Murrow was one, William B. Williams was another. Being a good broadcaster has always been, since that morning in October of 1966, the primary goal I sought to attain and it has spilled over into all my other work.  

“Technology,” there’s that word again. Technology has created a new term, Podcast.  Podcast is the melding of two words, iPod and Broadcast. In this time of broadcast conglomerates, Podcasting is democratizing the world of broadcasting.  Anyone with a microphone, a computer, some software and something to say can podcast.  That can be a pretty good thing.  Being a good broadcaster in many ways has William B. Williamsbecome even more important than ever.  A lot of that has to do with having responsibility to your listener and to yourself, to always do your very best. And as Marlon Brando once said about acting, “My only responsibility to the audience is not to bore them.”

Being a good broadcaster is about creating images.  I think the one thing I loved most about radio was that you create an image, an illusion which sparks the listener’s imagination and their imagination in turn creates images that are their own.  This germination is a pure and delightfully unknowing connection. 

When I ventured into the world of podcasting I made a conscious choice to mix technologies.  I chose to use an old RCA 77 along with an the new MP3 digital recording device.  I’ve had the 77 for several years and decided it was time to put it back to work.Walter Winchell

Back in the late 80’s I was looking to buy an RCA 77 and I either didn’t have the money when one came along or when I had the money I never seemed to stumble onto one.RCA 77 Microphone

Now, I worked at CBS for 17 years and one day I was chattin’ with my friend Gary who was the sound effects guy on one of their shows and I mentioned I was looking for a 77.  As luck would have it, or better put, in that moment of synchronicity, he told me he had a friend who was a retired engineer and wanted to sell one.  So I bought it.  It’s the one you can see in the Region’s Road image on my website.  This particular microphone was used in television, “Live” television, on the Garry Moore Show in the 1950’s.  It was taken out of service in 1957.  It was one of those shows I used to watch on that TV Johnny Pekoc used to fix.

Garry Moore’s signature was that he had a crew cut, wore a bow tie and had an easy going manner.  His show was a huge staple at CBS, being one of the top money grossing variety shows on the network.  Carol Burnett, Don Knotts, Don Adams, Jonathan Winters and George Gobel all got their careers going on the Garry Moore Show.  When I use this microphone I often imagine Garry Moore’s sidekick and announcer Durward Kirby using this very microphone, but I don’t really know if he did.Garry Moore  I also wonder if I might have actually have seen it on the show from my boyhood living room, but I don’t know that either. What I do know is this microphone has a little bit of history, some age and a whole lot of character. I like that and it still sounds great too.

From the mid 1940’s until the late 60’s when they were taken out of service, CBS went through thousands of the RCA 77’s.  My friend Ray Sills who headed up the sound effects department for years once told me that in the 70’s when somebody would retire, they’d take one of the old 77’s, spray paint it gold, mount it and give it to the guy as a going away gift.  Now of course this would destroy the microphone but it was a nice keepsake.  He also remembered a day when they were getting rid of them, there was a dumpster out on 56th Street and it was nearly half full of discarded 77’s.  Everything is replaceable, that’s one of the things I learned as a broadcaster. Funny how things are valued, then become worthless and then sometimes, with the passage of time, they find value again.  Maybe that’s why I love this microphone so much, ‘cause its still here when most of them are gone. 

Announcer Durward KirbyEvery time over the years I’ve mentioned my 77 to somebody who knows audio, their eyes light up and they want to know how it sounds, they want to hear it. Audio guys are like that.  It’s a form of respect for the history and the years of service the 77 delivered.

At any rate, I’m telling you all this cause I’ve had some people ask and I figured you might be interested in knowing something about the microphone in the photo, knowing that it isn’t a prop, it’s real and it’s old. Sometimes new isn’t necessarily better, course on the other hand I guess you could also say that just ‘cause something’s vintage doesn’t mean it’s great either. But in this case it is.

Oh, and one more thing, about how you never know how things are going to work out.  When I went to that broadcast school in New York City back in the 60’s, there were 33 of us who graduated.  Between you and me, I was looked upon by most of the others as the one guy out of the group who would never make it in broadcasting.  Funny how things turn out, ain’t it? Surprise, that’s the one thing that makes life worth living, along with magic.



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