Friday, March 28, 2008

Words mean things

In a post a long time ago I used the word "flash". Flash was an old Associated Press designation for a news story of top importance. Usually reserved for deaths of presidents, etc. It was acompanied by bell ringing on the teletype machine.
For you newcomers to radio, you may have never seen a teletype machine. It was a large, very heavy, typewriter that had a big box of fanfolded paper. The teletype ran 24 hours a day spewing out copy at about 60 words per minute if my memory serves me correct. If you were a daytime radio station you had to make sure there was enough paper in the teletype to get through the night because the morning man needed the material that came in during the night. Then there was the RIBBON. Everyone hated to change the ribbon. It was a messy job. You got black ink all over your hands and everything else. Everyone would wait until you could no longer read the words before they changed the ribbon. AP furnished all the paper and ribbons you could eat. The paper had plenty of other uses. But the ribbons were only good for the teletype machine. The ribbons would fit in some typewriters. However, there were so oily that it would gum up the typewriter and the print looked aweful. UPI. the competitor of AP used yellow paper on rolls. They were smaller and needed changing more often. They also used purple ink. Most radio stations in the South used AP. We could have a whole discussion on content of AP and UPI. I'll save that for another day.

I digress.....I was talking about "flash". I sort of used the word as a joke. However, I discovered a recent visitor from :
Moldova, Republic of Bendery, Tighina was brought to this blog by the word "flash". No telling what he was looking for. He was reading in english though.

1 comment:

Russell W. said...

A thought about the old teletypes:

I got started in radio back in 1982, just in time to have changed more than my share of AP ribbons (since that duty most often fell to the underlings at a given station). At the same time, I became a believer in the power of pumice.

Also, those boxes which held the fanfold paper were the perfect size to hold 45s when their supply of paper was spent.

AP just isn't as fun on the computer.