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vanmeter
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Posted: 20 September 2021 at 7:35am | IP Logged Quote vanmeter

With Pat's blessing I'm posting a link to a new live365 station my wife and I launched over the weekend, The Ray Ford Show.

I wanted to emulate the sound of 50s/60s music on AM radio as I used to hear it when I was a kid off in the distance, down to plate reverb and static, which I think we mostly pulled off. Plus, there are vintage jingles, commercials, and a huge playlist—I'm trying to keep this as varied as charts were back in the day, although that's the one pushback I'm already getting ("Too much pop!" "Too many ballads!" etc...or the exact opposite!)

Anyway, I'd appreciate your thoughts. I'm trying to move towards at least the hits being from mono sources and the correct versions but there are a few outliers still as I'm just transferring vinyl as I can, and there are already a ton of disc dubs. My wife inherited a slew of late 50s hits on really clean vinyl from her grandmother, whose husband ran a repair shop 60+ years ago - they were all in her basement, which was the real genesis of the idea of doing this.

Anyway, please let me know what you think!

The Ray Ford Show on live365

Edited by vanmeter on 20 September 2021 at 7:36am
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C J Brown
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Posted: 20 September 2021 at 3:47pm | IP Logged Quote C J Brown

Are you related to radio veteran Ray Ford from Nebraska?
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vanmeter
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Posted: 20 September 2021 at 6:38pm | IP Logged Quote vanmeter

Heck no, this is a West Virginia Ray Ford. We’ve never been up the
holler and over the mountain which is why it sounds like 1962 still. We
hear he was a great broadcaster, though.

Edited by vanmeter on 20 September 2021 at 6:38pm
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C J Brown
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Posted: 21 September 2021 at 3:24pm | IP Logged Quote C J Brown

Heh Heh very good. Thank you.
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Kevin711
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Posted: 21 September 2021 at 4:04pm | IP Logged Quote Kevin711

I've been listening to your station for about ten
minutes. I love it. It really is like listening to AM
radio back in the day. Good luck with things going
forward.
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vanmeter
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Posted: 21 September 2021 at 5:09pm | IP Logged Quote vanmeter

Excellent! Can Ray play you anything?
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Kevin711
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Posted: 21 September 2021 at 7:00pm | IP Logged Quote Kevin711

No, nothing in particular. But thanks for asking. I
wound up listening for about 45 minutes and loved every
minute of it.
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crapfromthepast
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Posted: 21 September 2021 at 8:05pm | IP Logged Quote crapfromthepast

Been enjoying the station! I have it playing in the background while I work on some artwork scanning. I know only about one-third of the songs you're playing, which is great - I like hearing "new" material in the context of stuff I already know.

Great work! How many songs in the library?

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vanmeter
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Posted: 21 September 2021 at 8:47pm | IP Logged Quote vanmeter

There are thousands and thousands, as you might expect...I'm a lifelong collector like many of you. The sources are all over the place...a lot of vinyl, plus CDs, an occasional cassette, and even 8-track for a cut or two. The real genesis of this was my wife finding a cache of really clean late 50s 45s in her grandmother's basement a couple of years ago, as her grandfather had run a repair/sales store at the time and apparently had rack jobber service at some point and just kept samples. I thought, "What can we do with these?" That's her on all the female voicers, so it's really a project for the both of us, down to her supplying a bunch of the 45s of the hits. I have a ton of vinyl I'm still adding as I have time to dub it, as well. I appreciate the comment as I have some radio friends telling me this should be only the top 15 and all that crap...I tell them we are going to try to cause people to actually listen to music again.


Edited by vanmeter on 21 September 2021 at 8:49pm
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crapfromthepast
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Posted: 21 September 2021 at 9:27pm | IP Logged Quote crapfromthepast

I'd advise: Go deep. As deep as you can.

I was born in '68, and two-thirds of your current tracks are unfamiliar to me. If *I* don't know them, I doubt that anyone younger than me will know them. And since they're already unfamiliar, you may as well add in the lesser hits.

Sonically, I'm impressed with the imaging and the absurdly tight segues. I wonder if actual early '60s radio stations were that tight.

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Hykker
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Posted: 22 September 2021 at 5:07am | IP Logged Quote Hykker

crapfromthepast wrote:
Sonically, I'm impressed with the imaging and the absurdly tight segues. I
wonder if actual early '60s radio stations were that tight.


Well, I graduated high school in 1968, so 60s radio was very much the background to my formative
years, and I can say that for the most part 60s radio was anything but tight. Stopping down for a
commercial, weather report, or just general jabber between almost every record was pretty much the
rule. Even major market stations like WBZ, WABC or WLS rarely played more than 2 songs back to back,
and never without DJ chatter between them.

Things got tighter by the late 60s, largely due to the influence of Bill Drake's formatics and the
success the stations he consulted acheived.
We didn't think much of it at the time because there really weren't any alternatives.
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vanmeter
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Posted: 22 September 2021 at 6:43am | IP Logged Quote vanmeter

Thank you so much for taking the time to write up such comprehensive and thoughtful feedback. What can I say? Ray is a hyper old man who drinks a lot of coffee, hence the quick segues. There were some stations doing the faster pacing early on as evidenced by airchecks, and we just kind of prefer it that way, although the point is taken.

In all reality, this is meant as an homage and more of a pastiche than an exact replica. We use the word "emulate" a lot as that's really what we're trying to do...just imitate the essence as opposed to bringing it back exactly. We also say "Imagine it's 1962" on our web copy and then play The Casinos and Petula Clark, so some liberties are definitely being taken.

The station's been live for less than a week so we're taking in all the feedback and will consider it all after a few more days have passed—any input is always appreciated good or bad!
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Paul Haney
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Posted: 22 September 2021 at 9:38am | IP Logged Quote Paul Haney

I listened for a bit this morning. Nice to hear some of that '50s stuff especially.
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vanmeter
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Posted: 22 September 2021 at 10:26am | IP Logged Quote vanmeter

Good to hear!
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vanmeter
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Posted: 26 September 2021 at 9:11am | IP Logged Quote vanmeter

Goldmine just posted a nice article for anybody interested in reading:

Return to the golden age of radio with The Ray Ford Show

Edited by vanmeter on 26 September 2021 at 9:43am
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LunarLaugh
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Posted: 26 September 2021 at 10:57am | IP Logged Quote LunarLaugh

Fantastic station you have going here. I can tell a lot of
love and care went into this.

I've had an urge to do something like this myself but
focusing on the familiar late 50s to early 70s oldies
format that's become all but extinct from the airwaves (at
least in my neck of the woods, it is) but I've been putting
it off until I have ample time to "get it right", so to
speak. Whenever that time will be is anyone's guess.

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vanmeter
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Posted: 26 September 2021 at 12:32pm | IP Logged Quote vanmeter

Well at least here we just had to pick away at it for literally a year before we had anything ready to share. We both have full-time jobs plus two special-needs children so by pacing ourselves (which I'm not always the best at) we eventually got over the finish line to the point we could share, although I have other things I want to do to it soon to enhance the experience a bit, like giving her the overnight voicers and pre-programming the news and such. Right now I'm still adding it by hand every morning. But I have to give credit to my wife as I'd still be tweaking the processing and wondering which pressing of "Venus" sounded best or whatever if she didn't push me to keep moving it forward.
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PopArchivist
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Posted: 27 September 2021 at 5:00pm | IP Logged Quote PopArchivist

vanmeter wrote:
But I have to give credit to my wife as I'd still be tweaking the processing and wondering which pressing of "Venus" sounded best or whatever if she didn't push me to keep moving it forward.


I take it you have the view that CD released don't sound as great as the original vinyl? Just had a listen. Nice job! Just curious but do you source some stuff from CD or is everything a vinyl dub in your playlist?

I do have to commend you I'm fairly familiar with the Top 10 from 1954 onwards so I did have it on for a little bit. I'll ask since it has not come up, but no Beatles or Rolling Stones?

Edited by PopArchivist on 27 September 2021 at 5:01pm


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vanmeter
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Posted: 27 September 2021 at 6:02pm | IP Logged Quote vanmeter

No, not that at all really - especially since we're lowering the fidelity and adding reverb and static! More just that there are some cases where the CD releases don't really match the vinyl so as I can I'm switching out disc dubs. Elvis especially; a lot of the CD reissues seem much closer to the masters, but the records themselves had added reverb and compression (like "I Got Stung") so I'm trying as I can to make sure anything I know is different is correct. But there are still some that aren't...it'll just be an ongoing project.

There is some early Beatles (including some of the Beat Brothers material) and right now no Stones but I might put in some of the earliest material. I'm on the fence about the British Invasion stuff...some of it feels right to me and some of it doesn't mix well at all. There's no real rule to any of this in my mind, just whatever seems to work together.
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Posted: 29 September 2021 at 8:02am | IP Logged Quote Ringmaster_D

Hey Ray! I finally got around to checking out your station
and I am loving it! Although I was born in 1969 I was
raised listening to my Dad's favorite station WCBS-FM out
of NYC. Your station is like WCBS-FM with a playlist
extending into the Bubbling Under charts and album cuts.
I can't get over the great one-hit (and no-hit) wonders
that you're digging up. I'm pleased to say that my Dad is
still with us. He is going to love this. Thanks for
keeping this music alive.
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