Back in the day radio stations played a lot of syndicated shows, and these shows were delivered on the only medium, besides vinyl, that radio stations could support. The only reusable medium of the day in fact, reel-to-reel tape. When I first started working in radio we had seven reel-to-reel machines spread across our four studios, not counting the tape editing area, where production staff literally spliced scraps of tape together using a razor and scotch tape before handing them over to be aired.

I don’t know how or when it happened, but at some point I acquired a copy of two episodes of The Goon Show on a 2-track reel. Without diverging too far off topic, The Goon Show was a 1950′s BBC radio programme that defined what would come to known as british comedy for the next several decades, even into today. It starred Spike Milligan, Harry Secombe and Peter Sellers.

By the time I left radio (at least on a regular basis) reel-to-reel had become an arcane and forgotten format, replaced by the CD, mp3 and the digital revolution. Analog tape decks were thrown out to make room for new power house computers and digital effects units. Archives of reels soon followed, many containing radio gold in the form of interviews, live shows and other records that did not exist anywhere else and were not converted to any new media before being tossed. This reel is a testament to those times. Luckily I was able to dump the contents of this reel onto a cassette before I lost that chance. The irony now of course being that cassettes have become as arcane as the reel. I can play neither.