Tuesday, April 17, 2007
The Art of Back Timing
An interesting discussion is going on over at the Kansas City Radio Board about the art of "back timing". It seems my old station 99.7KY goes into network programming every night at 7pm and the person responsible for the transition isn't even live in the studio. So, at 3 minutes to 7, they started an 8 minute song and just cut it off. Lazy and inexcusable.
One of the very first jobs I ever had was when I worked the overnight shift at KSTT in downtown Davenport. KSTT was at 1170 on the AM dial and was broadcasting out of an old rat infested building down by the Mississippi right next to The Hostess bakery where Twinkies are made. Spike Odell was the morning guy and he had a running bit by saying he was broadcasting from "Twinkie Boulevard". Every hour on the hour the network news would come on. Once you had your clocks set by the network, it was up to you to hit that mark with the end of your song. I considered it cheating to play an instrumental.
For example, if you know that you have 7.5 minutes left till the top of the hour, you had better have two songs, both averaging 3:45 in length. If you are going to talk for 15 seconds, then you need to deduct that time from your two songs. It was one of the things that made the job challenging and fun. Being the perfectionist that I am, the tighter the better. Only jocks can realate to this: my favorite moment was at 4am one day. I had the hour timed out perfectly. I ended the hour with "Magic Man" by Heart. If you remember the song, it ended very cold with a drum part and the end. At the exact moment the song ended, the next sound was "I'm so and so ABC news.." Spike heard it and complimented me on the great job of backtiming. It is an art that no one cares about anymore and that is reason number 45367 why I am out of the business.
Posted by RR at Tuesday, April 17, 2007
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