Saturday, June 30, 2007

Anybody Want 6 Boxes Of AP Paper?

Before the Associated Press sent out its news service to radio and tv stations via computer terminals, it used a box of 8 ½ x 11 paper with drive holes on the edge for the printer and scored marks so you could tear off the sheets. Even before then, it was a much larger box of “angel fold” paper: 8 ½ x 14 folded back and forth which you fed into a large, noisy, mechanical teletype machine. There were no score marks; you ripped it off via the edge on the plastic front or used the newsroom ruler to cut the articles.

I just found six boxes of these. Six boxes of memories. Generally, the radio station would have a news person and a dj on during the day; evenings and weekends it was just the dj running everything.

So there you are: The AP machine is running out of paper, you are in the middle of your shift and have enough to do without taking time to change the paper (stop the machine, pull out the emptying box underneath, with the paper in the machine, open and push in the new box, then feed the paper in correctly, start the machine and rush back to the studio).

So you pull your “jon record,” that faithful friend that runs long enough for a good poop, and get to work. As you are working, you hope the AP didn't send a bulletin. There’s nothing worse than missing a major disaster because you were trying to line up the paper correctly in the feed roll.

Changing a saturated-ink ribbon? Don’t even think of that.


Post a Comment

<< Home