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How the Cassette Changed The World
It came out in 1983 and did change things, indeed. For the first time, we had a small, light, very portable recording system. The quality was crappy by pro standards, but listenable. Soon cars had cassette players in the dash. If you loved the Eagles album and the radio wouldn't play "Desperado", you could now carry the song with you in the car. That little box of magnetic tape could hold 90 minutes of music in its 'fast' mode, twice that in 'slow'. It didn't take much brain to figure out how to copy your Michael Jackson vinyl album to the tape. And you copied only your favorite songs from the album. The "mix tape" became something of a Valentine gift-thing; "Here, baby. These tunes'll tell you how much I love you!" As a music radio program director, I had a thing about listening to new songs a bunch of times before putting them on the air. If I couldn't listen to a song ten times within a week or two and still look forward to hearing it again, I figured chanes were pretty good that listeners wouldn't crave it, either. For a while, I'd copy the best new singles to a cassette and carry it in the car
The cassette also revolutionized radio news gathering (Yes, little ones, Radio used to broadcast a LOT of News. Every station did; had to by FCC license.) And it was instrumental in a national revolution. Here's a little history lesson for us radio/audio geeks.