SMC was in fact the "Systems Marketing Corporation" of Bloomington,
Illinois. My experience with SMC was in the purchase of an
automation system for use by WDNL in about 1991. Even though, it
was based on the analog use of reel to reel tape players and the SMC
carousel random select units, it also included some more modern
technology. The control box was connected via fiber optic
lines and in fact the control unit was all digital. I described
it as a "Checker" cab....the use of a vehicle which looked like it came
from the mid 1950s, with all of the modern amenities of the
present. When our crew visited the SMC plant in west Bloomington
the company was toying with using a "CD juke-box" system in their
systems. Their main business was manufacturing change machines
for car washes and other coin and bill based businesses.
Here are two ads both from 1973 with the SMC systems of the day. To see the one used by WDNL go to the History of WDNL.
(from Broadcasting magazine)
The Program Suppliers and the Formats
There were a
number of stations during the
70’s and 80’s
which were using the Drake-Chenault formats, including the AC
“Hit Parade”(later called “Contempo 300”) the Gold/Current Mix “Solid
Gold”(later called Contempo 200”), the CHR “XT-40”, the Country “Great
American Country”, the Oldies “Classic Gold”, the AOR
far as I can remember here is a grouping of stations in Central
and a few from surrounding areas using each of the Drake formats. Not
many of them continued with Drake-Chenault formats past the early to
mid 1980's, having changed to live programming or to satellite
networks. Drake-Chenault was sold to Wagontrain Enterprises in 1986 and
the operation was moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. In
1989 it was purchased by Jones Radio Networks in 1990 and
Denver. It operates today as part of the Jones Radio Network
which along with other music services, formats an array of radio
station formats via satellite which are broadcast by stations across
the country, under the guise of being a local station.
Above left is a picture of a typical Drake-Chenault furnished 10 inch
reel, which probably contained current selections. It was not
unusual to have a partially filled reel of tape which could have held
as few as 6 songs, or as many of 15. The planned rotation of
current music was very tightly controlled by Drake, although it was up
to the individual station to maintain the format. This
reel was from the "Solid Gold" format, which would feature current
selections, although the main theme of the format was oldies from the
50's, 60's and 70's.
later called "Contempo 300" "bright contemporary easy listening/MOR for
today's 18-49 year
old" on 50 AM and FM stations voiced by Charlie Van Dyke and Jim Carson
later called "Contempo 200" "best of the oldies along with today's top
selected by Bill Drake and his programming staff. It's a
gold modified top 40 format which zeros in on the crucial 18-34
demographic" voiced by John Leader, Billy Mitchell
"XT-40" "proven Bill Drake approach to top-40, fast
contemporary-a winner on either AM or FM the clean uncluttered sound of
today!" voiced by John Leader, Billy Mitchell
Drake-Chenault's "THE GOLDEN
YEARS" hosted by Robert W. Morgan.
This demo was "lost" for years.....now a
music/history radio program which would highlight an individual year,
is unearthed for you to check out. This sample demo includes
segment from the year 1965.....
"Super Soul" "The Drake-Chenault format for Urban
based from 8399 Topanga Canyon Road, Canoga Park,
CA 92304. Their phone number was (213) 883-7400.
material from them stated their "formats are designed to be
standard automation equipment readily available from several
manufactures. A basic system sufficient to run the complete
formats, 24-hours a day, can be purchased for as little as $18,000 or
leased for as little as $425 a month."
It was great to get
more information by e-mail
from Denny Adkins,
who was the "original" PD of WBNQ when it
went with the
"Olde Golde"(from Draper-Blore) format in August of 1972 and left to
work for Drake Chenault in 1976. He was President of
Drake-Chenault when he left the syndication company in 1987.
also produced the long form
program "The History of
Rock and Roll." The special was a 52-hour
Bill Drake and researched, written and co-produced(with Bill
Drake) by Gary Theroux. I heard from Gary, who told of his
experiences at Drake-Chenault. He explained that "The History
Rock and Roll" debuted on more than 400 stations in the U.S. and over
400 stations overseas and won Billboard's "Top Special Program of the
Year" award. He also explained how the 52-hour program was
down into "modules, each designed to focus on and spotlight a
particular genre, or in some cases, a key artist in rock
history." The "modules were presented, more or less
chronologically, starting in the early '50's(prior to "Rock Around the
Clock") and running through to what was current in the year the program
was produced: 1978." Gary also designed each hour of the show
stand on it's own which would allow
stations to strip the
show throughout the
week, and use
any number of hours each day. Gary went on to describe the
taking the approach of a "reporter" not a critic, and tried to have the
individual artists tell their story as much as possible, using the
narrator Bill Drake to tie each story or items together. It
who did chose to end the series with the Number One montage of all of
the number one hits of the rock era. The time sweep is
More on Reel Radio later.
Gary also told of the
situation of his leaving
company, not by his choice, but by the choice of a former GM of
Drake-Chenault. Gary's leaving the company, angered Bill
Drake made a move to bring Gary back into the fold. By then,
accepted an offer to teach music and entertainment history at
UCLA. He later co-hosted a long running Saturday
oldies radio show in New York and was Music and Entertainment Editor
for Reader's Digest, where he created over 300 multi-box sets of music
featuring nearly every style and era of 20th Century music.
also the author of "The Top Ten" which tells the story of each of the
top 10 biggest hits of each year.
I remember "The
History of Rock and Roll" as
being a holiday tradition at WDNL when I was there in the early
years. The show debuted on Memorial Day Weekend in 1978 on
where it was an instant hit. I remember one advertising
whom I tried to persuade to advertise on the show, having turned me
down, was upset that I didn't persuade him more. The next
ran the show....on Labor Day weekend in 1978, he was the first to sign
up for sponsorship!
I also remember the "Silver Anniversary" edition of the 52-hour
special, which was released in the early 1980's. I felt at
time the show was not of the quality of the original presentation of
1978. Gary Theroux explained that a new staff came in and
the hell out of" the original show, adding elements featuring then
current artists even though they had no historical significance or
should not have been included because they didn't fit the genre as rock
artists. For example, producing an full hour on the
rocker, Dionne Warwick." Gary goes on to explain that Ms.
was a pop balladeer, and one of the all time best, but didn't warrant
being included in the program. The new version also cut the
history of the 1950's down to just one hour of the 52 hour series!
Reel Radio also features a demo of "Solid Gold
Rock and Roll" an all
oldies format from 1970. It appears to be the second format
"Hit Parade" developed for automation by Drake-Chenault. It
contains many of the same type of elements of the later formats, but
the style of voice overs for the music was considerably different from
later examples. The jingles read, "Solid Gold-Rock and
Roll." This was probably replaced by "Classic Gold"
"Solid Gold" evolved into a mix of oldies and
if not all
of the jingles from the early period were produced by the Johnny
You'll still hear the style of many of the Johnny Mann Singer's jingles
on many oldie stations today.
It appears that, and
has been confirmed by
contributors, that Drake-Chenault ownership and management failed to
ride the changing tide of technology and re-direct the format services
from being a reel to reel format supplier to that of being a satellite
format programming supplier, of which there are several operating
today. What was left of the original company's assets were
ultimately absorbed by the Jones Radio Networks.
It's unknown if the
original "History of Rock
and Roll" would be available today.....but I would suggest perhaps a CD
To hear an air check
of "Solid Gold" go to the
CHR History page and
look under WWTO and WBNQ.
Drake Chenault From the
InsideHere's a wealth of
about "how they did it!" as described by the Director of Engineering at
Drake Chenault from 1974 to 1988. Henry "Hank" Landsburg's
narrative of the technical aspect of supplying over 300 radio stations
with formats is featured on this site. There's more to be
including pictures and audio, so check back often for
Be sure and return here!
to Denny Adkins, former PD of WBNQ in
Bloomington, Illinois and a former President of Drake-Chenault for his
contribution!! thanks to Tim Brown from KGRS in Burlington, Iowa,
D-C station for his contribution. thanks
to Jon Rohrer for his
contribution of more D-C demos from the 1970's!
thanks to Gary Theroux for his contribution about "The History of Rock
thanks to Cliff Rogers for his contribution of music reels from Drake
Chenault's "Solid Gold!"
thanks to George Nicholas for details on Billy Moore's voice overs of
the XT-40 format.
Many thanks to Hank
Landsberg, former Director of
Engineering at Drake-Chenault Enterprises, Inc. 1974-1988 for sharing
his incredible experiences!
The San Diego
based Peters Production’s formats included the CHR
format, “The Love Rock” and the beautiful music format “Music Just for
the Two of Us.” Below is a demo for "Love Rock".
Rock" was very similar to Drake-Chenault in
sound....basically formatted reel to reels with announcer intros and
outros, jingles, position statements, id's, buffers and etc..
can only assume that the methodology was very similar to that of
Drake-Chenault with dead rolls,
"EOM" placement and formatics. "Music Just for the Two of Us"
a beautiful music format with voiced buffers, no song identification
Peters Productions "Love Rock" The
letters of KPPI were used in the demo, standing for Peters Productions
Inc. This automated music service included
the top hits
of the day mixed with recurrents and oldies, great production elements
with local elements.
thanks to Jon Roher of We B
for his Peters Productions "Love Rock" demo.
Productions "Music Just for the Two of Us" This
was a beautiful
music automated format which included a selection of instrumental and
select easy listening vocals.
thanks to Dave Bickford for his Peters Productions demo "Music Just for
the Two of Us."
Jon Roher for the "Love Rock" demo
thanks to Dave Bickford for the "Music Just for the Two of Us" demo
This automated contemporary
included a complete package of music, production elements and
jingles allowing for the use of local elements. This was a
lower energy presentation of contemporary music, a more adult approach
and very much unlike what was heard on many AM Top 40 stations at the
to Jon Roher of We
"Stereo Rock" demo.
TM "Beautiful Rock" This automated contemporary
a complete package of music, production elements
and jingles allowing for the use of local elements.
This format used a beautiful music style of presen
tation with complete fade outs of songs, periods of
silence between songs and other program elements
and was very low key. The music featured were from
the original pop artists instead of using intrumental
versions of the hits by cover artists.
thanks to Jon Roher of We B Video for his TM
"Beautiful Rock" demo
Scott Davis, whose father was a
jock with WGY(AM)
in Schenectady, New York, he discovered the format as it was on the
station's FM sister station WGFM.
He says, "As a
music lover, it was great to able to listen to ALL parts of a song
uninterrupted, including the intro." He goes on the describe
format as containing 15 minute segments of music consisting of 2
currents, one oldie and 1 recurrent. The first
using the "Stereo Rock" format included KXXY,
Oklahoma City and WMAQ-FM, Chicago.
Others included WFBQ,
Indianapolis, WSAI-FM, Cincinnati.
was conceived for TM Programming by
George Burns, of
Burns Media Consultants as an "adult alternative" to screaming DJ's,
teenage contests, bubble gum music, etc.. The style
format was one that was more in the "FM tradition" style of
presentation, as opposed to the "AM style" of Drake-Chenault and other
syndicators. The "voice overs" were done by long time Dallas
DJ, John Borders. At it's peak, TM had this format
Some of the
jingles used were from the TM SR-1,
SR-2 and SR-3 series
from the mid 70's. According to Scott, there were
series of tapes, that would change or flavor the format to be more
album oriented. The album oriented tapes would include back
announcements with mention of the album the cut was from.
1980's TM Productions merged with Century 21 Programming to form
TM-Century. For a look at TM-Century Productions now visit tmcentury.com.
to Scott Davis, A
TM Productions radio format expert for his contribution!
More Music Programming, "The
American Music" This
program traced the history of contemporary music from the mid 1950's to
today(which was 1972).
thanks to Randy and Michelle Middleton for their contribution of the
demo for "The Chronology of American Music"
More Music Programming, "The
American Music" This
is a much
shortened version of the mid 1950's to 1972 montage of all of the
number one hits throughout the era.
thanks to Randy and Michelle Middleton for their contribution of the
demo for "The Chronology of American Music"
Facts about More Music Programming are
only information I have comes from around 1975 with a demo of a
recording of an automated format called "The Performers" which featured
a "live like" sound with four different announcers used each
day. Each jock would have a shift at your station
would run 6-10am, 10am-3pm, 3-7pm and 7pm to midnight. It was
called a "progressive MOR" format and featured contemporary easy
listening songs from the 1960's and 70's. It would be
to a "light rock" format of today.
The format seemed to be similar to TM's Stereo Rock, in that, the
current music selections would be grouped in pars and voice tracked
right on the reels. There seemed to be more than one way to
announce the current two song sets, some were announced during the
segue, others would drop in a custom station ID slogan line, but each
set would end with a back announce of the two songs. Each
announcer would have his(no hers at the time, it was 1975), set of
reels, probably day-parted as to time slot. Oldies were back
announced and would lead into spot sets. Each jock also did a
series of local PSA's which were inserted within spot sets, and custom
weather intros, which would lead into local announcers with weather,
news or whatever local programming elements programmed. There
were also customized drops with station ID's for music
It was really not a bad sounding format and sounded somewhat "live
like" although it would have been impossible to react to any local
issue which would have come along that would have been normally
mentioned with a real live announcer. Local issues like bad
weather, local news events, etc. would have been totally ignored by the
I'm not familiar
with any station using the format within central Illinois, or at least
within my listening area. The station on the demo was
Another format offered by More Music Productions was called "The Great
Hits" and was a more contemporary format, similar to what
Drake-Chenault was offering with "XT-40" or "Solid Gold." The
voice overs seemed more energetic and less robotic than the
Drake-Chenault formats. Once again, I'm not familiar with any
local central Illinois stations airing the format. The
used on the demo was KIOQ in Bishop, California.
More Music Productions also syndicated a long form program called "The
Chronology of American Music" and was a direct competitor to
Drake-Chenaults History of Rock and Roll. This long form
also included a musical montage which included a segment of every
number one song from 1955 to the present, which was then
The demo was distributed on a 7" single which would have been played at
33 1/3 rpm. An actual demo was contributed by Randy
Michelle Middleton to dougquick.com and the audio is available
above. The audio includes typical record noise of pops and
which we no longer experience with digital audio....ah the good ole'
anyone has any information on these formats or any others offered by
More Music Programming, I would like to include it here.
to Randy and
Michelle Middleton for the More Music Production demo for "The
Chronology of American Hits"
Century 21 Programming, was located in Dallas, Texas and was
of radio station jingles, commercial jingles and eventually automated
radio formats. Sometime in the 1980's Century 21 Programming
merged with TM Productions to
continue to offer radio station imagery packages, as well as commercial
jingles. For a look at TM-Century Productions now visit tmcentury.com.
information was received about the
automated formats offered by
Century 21 Programming and Productions from Chip Douglas
He was an employee during the 1970's for about a year and tells that
Dave Scott Blythe was the Operations Director of the company at the
time. Chip supervised the country and "E-Z" formats as well
tape mastering and duplication processes.
"Z-Format" was created by Dave Scott and Mike Rice for KFMZ in
Colombia, Missouri after Mike had a falling out with
Drake-Chenault. (I assume that Mike was a former employee of
D-C??). Chip worked at KFMZ, and later at KIRL in St. Louis,
at Century 21 in Dallas.
If anyone has
anymore information about the company...the format....or any
Illinois/Indiana radio stations which programmed any of their
formats....please e-mail me at dougquick @ dougquick.com
an automated contemporary format which included the top hits
the era, mixed with recurrents and oldies. The format
production elements as well as jingles. thanks
to Jon Roher of We B Video
Century 21 "Z Format" demo.
several formats, including "The Z Format" which was a relatively "soft"
album format. It included songs from Seals and Crofts, Lynyrd
Skynyrd, Yes, Deep Purple, Cheap Trick, Elton John, Paul McCartney and
Wings and Steely Dan. Pictured above is what Century 21 would
feature on the cover of each reel of tape, inside a music list with
information about each song, time, intro(for live formats-and talk
over), licensing information for BMI/ASCAP reports, etc. It
included recording information for quality control. The reels
were coded and numbered and scheduled for format control.
times, reels from other formats would be intermixed with others in
order to daypart the station as to available audience at certain times
thanks to Chip Douglas Mosley for his information about Century 21!! thanks
to Cliff Rogers for his
contribution of music reels from Century 21's "Z Format" and "AC"
Arts was yet another of the radio syndicators which supplied various
formats and programs to radio stations. The company produced
formats: "American Rock," "Sound 10,""Bright and Easy Country,"
"Encore" and "The Entertainers." Radio Arts also produced
weekend features including "Your Hit Parade" which starred Andre
Baruch(the original announcer for "Your Hit Parade") and Bea
Wain(Andre's wife and former Big-Band era singer) and "The Polka
Parade." Former client services employee of Radio
Chris Edwards worked there for around a year and said it was a treat to
have them in the studio for their taping sessions every few days, how
much history they both represented in the music business and they were
"both the nicest people you could imagine."
Radio Arts-"American Rock" this
syndicator getting into the business, but delivering a less than first
class product. This is a partially scoped version of the
thanks to Jon Roher of We B
his Radio Arts "American Rock" demo.
Chris Edwards also described
the radio formats
produced by Radio
Arts. "American Rock" included a 2-thousand cut library,
10" was the adult contemporary format, "Encore" was similar to the
"Music of Your Life" format with MOR standards, and "The
Entertainers" contained several variations which could range from MOR
standards to an MOR/soft rock format." The voice of "The
Entertainers" was Ron Russ who was also working at KBIG.
Bierne was the voice of "American Rock" while working at KRTH, Jerry
Bishop of KFI/KGIL was the voice of "Sound 10" and Dick Sinclair who
also hosted the "Polka Parade" Show was the voice of "The Bright and
Easy Country" format. The company also offered unannounced
versions of their music reels, but also offered custom promos, time
announcements and other custom production elements for their clients.
The studios were located in Burbank, California at the end of the
southbound Pass Avenue off ramp on the 134 Freeway.
admits the company joke about some drunk failing to break and wind up
as part of the furniture in Studio B.
It's unknown how many stations the company serviced or for how long
during the era, or what happened to the company. As far as I
there were no central Illinois format clients, although local Danville,
Illinois AM station WITY ran the "Your Hit Parade" program
to Chris Edwards, Client
Services of Radio Arts for his
information about the company!!
Programming International, Inc.
was the successor of IGM's "International Good Music." IGM
the equipment and the formats to BPI. See History of WTIM-in
particular WTIM-FM for more on the IGM formats and how it
operated. IGM was known for "Concie's Carousel" and "Music
little else is known about this company.
Pictured is a
demo produced by the company called "Classic Rock" but it just
contained snipits of a few older Top 40 selections and a few which
weren't hits. The sample did not present a "format" demo.
The address was listed as:
Broadcast Progamming International, Inc.
PO Box 2027
Bellevue, Washington 98009
(206) 454-5010 Toll Free
Chuck Blore, was a former radio programmer from the L.A. area and was
part of the development of live and automated automated radio
formats. Other than that, I've been unable to find any other
information about this one-time popular radio format company.
This format was under consideration at WDBR in Springfield, but the
kick off automated format ultimately became Drake-Chenault.
This wasn't the case with WDZ and
stations utilized the "Olde Golde" format for a
unknown when WBNQ began it's experience with contemporary music
automated formats, even though even then it was an "oldie"
format. WDZ began around 1970 airing "Olde
Golde." I was totally new with automated radio at
and even though it got my attention with it's "canned" sound, the music
selection that was on WDZ included quite a few 50's songs which were
unfamiliar to me.
I liked the consistent ,
of the formatics and the custom jingles, as I had never heard anything
like it before. The format was later replaced by one of local
origination which ultimately was better than any automated format in
central Illinois for quite a few years. Check out details on
section of Area
WBNQ, on the other hand, left Draper-Blore in either 1973 or early 1974
and went with Drake-Chenault. Former WBNQ P.D. Denny Adkins,
years later, said the format change was made because of quality issues
and problems in getting programming updates on time. When and
where Draper-Blore appeared and disappeared to is unknown. If
anyone knows anything about this once prominent radio programming
company please e-mail me at dougquick @ dougquick.com.