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The Early Years - Scheduling Music Before Computers
In the early ’50’s things changed quickly. Television took away all the radio stars; the comedy shows, the dramas and the game-shows. Advertising revenue followed it. Some observers were predicting the ‘end’ of radio. Indeed it was the end of radio-as-we-knew-it. In Omaha, young radio station owner Todd Storz noticed his station’s DJ show was produced his stations highest rated hours. He hired a few more announcers and created the Top 40 Format.
In the early years, most DJ’s had total freedom to play anything they wanted so long as it was Rock n’ Roll, Rhythm ‘n Blues or Country. Moving into the ’60s, the first young program directors were becoming veteran programmers, developing techniques to better control the music, to put some discipline and consistency into station formatting. In the six minute video below Steve Warren gives a brief history about the early days and how he learned to format music with numbers on the records and those numbers entered into hour-schedule grids.