(In 1933 KTRB came on the air from studios at the corner of McHenry and Sylvan and Modesto and moved to a new home on Norwegian Ave. in 1942. One of the first employees to join the staff in 1933 was Cecil Lynch, a young man from Modesto. Lynch eventually became public affairs manager for the station and very involved with numerous remote broadcasts including numerous" Man on the Street" broadcasts from various locations in and around Modesto. The question is "how did they do that?" Magnetic recording on tape or wire was not available for commercial use until after World War II, which means that anything that aired before 1947 was either a live broadcast or presented via the miracle of “electrical transcription”.. ET's. So, how did the audio of those remote broadcasts get back to the studios where they could be fed into the heavy and expensive ET cutting lathe machine to produce the recordings? Here is Mr. Lynch's explanation of how it was done.)
By Cecil Lynch-
The technic used for recording the delayed broadcasts was very simple. All the ET recordings were done at the KTRB studios on the big Presto brand “lathe”. KTRB had one and I also owned one. The remote audio was fed into a phone line previously installed by KTRB at several terminals around town. For the most part, Bill Bates was on the control board at KTRB at the time of the man-on-the-street interviews. Most often, the recorder and blank discs were set up by me prior to departure from the studios. Cuing was done by countdown, starting at 10 and proceeding to start. The technic must have worked perfectly, because we never had any errors in the recording.
I preserved numerous ET's collected during the years I was in the broadcasting business and fellow Modesto Radio Museum members and I have started to recover the audio from many of them, including one particularly interesting remote that Doug McCleary and I did at 65 feet up on one of the new towers being erected at KTRB in 1942. (listen to soundtrack below).
The remote amplifier was built in a small tool box that also contained the microphone and either 50 or 100 feet of cable and a reel of lamp cord to extend from the amp up to 150 feet to a terminal. One remote in particular was conducted at 65 feet up on one of the new towers being erected at KTRB on Norwegian Avenue in 1942. From that position on the the tower, I dropped the microphone cord down to the amplifier at ground level and connected the amplifier from there to the nearest terminal in the building. KTRB newsman Doug McCreary was my partner for the street broadcasts and other special events including the KTRB tower broadcast.
How Remote Broadcasts Were Made Possible In 30s and 40s
Doug McCreary and Cecil Lynch
Presto Brand electrical transcription (ET) cutting machine and operator 1940's