And now...listen to sounds of the station, requires Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer!
The best way to tell the story of WQMR/WGAY's music... since I can't play entire songs - is to listen to this series of nine "backtitles" captured in 1968, announcer Bob Falcon. While Bob Chandler chopped away the "hourly thematic material" reducing all 24 hours of the day to "The Sound of Music," each portion of the day had it's own previously, e.g., "Morning Overture, "Gaslight Previews," etc. Thomas DeBray, WQMR/WGAY announcer, engineer, and architect of the grand move to the World Building (all them wires and things!) found a tape with a set of Carousel intros for each hour, plus quarter hour treatments, and some great station ID's with the golden Barry Clark voice proudly announcing W Q M R (and WGAY), as I have always said from memory, in the early 60's WQMR was everything, the "new" format, the "new" identity. WGAY came along for the ride but FM for commercial radio was really the domain of the classical music stations at that point.
From the early 60's, an important time for WQMR, Tom DeBray brings us some genuine sounds from the station from that era - we begin with some station ID's, news intros, weather, and returns to music; some of them are heard introduced by Mr. DeBray. Many thanks to him for finding and sharing this bit of the "golden age of WQMR" with all of us!
Station ID, First Hour of CAROUSEL
15 Minutes Past The Hour, including weather theme, then return to Carousel
30 Minutes Past The Hour, News Intro, Cluster, Return To Carousel
45 Minutes past the hour cluster
Carousel Returns, second hour
3rd hour missing
Carousel Returns, fourth hour
final hour Carousel return music (Limelight to follow)
First Hour Limelight intro after news
- many of these sequences are introduced by Tom DeBray as he committed them to tape. Program intros and station ID's are by the "voice of the station" Barry Clark.
Here's an hour or so of music, some station ID's, and harps 'tween every selection, circa 1966 - relax, sit a spell; this is "beautiful music" radio in Washington - live turntables, of course, and cartmasters at the ready with station ID's and harps between each selection, as was done since the inception of "Quality Music Radio" (WQMR). Backtitling must have started shortly after (within months?) the move to the World Building. Perhaps because my brain has gone bye-bye, I can't identify many of the tracks; please write and tell me the artists and titles.
An Hour Of Quality Music
Let it stream and enjoy!!!
Set the wayback machine ahead to 1966 and click here to hear a few hourly intros/return to music segments in <<<stereo>>> from the collection of Mark Rockman
"The Sound Of Music" backtitles, announcer Bob Falcon
The real music sounds of WGAY circa 1968 (I captured them 4/1968 but they could well have been put "in the can" a few months prior.) This is the music the station played circa 1967/1968; I taped these segments on my trusty, long deceased Sony 650-D-4 at 7 1/2 ips, these are from the same tape as the backtitles above (now you'll hear some of them with the music announced). This was a long time ago; I was in 10th grade; I am now retired! I cheated a little, these are actually the maintenance tapes that all the announcers took part in creating - the station stayed on the air during station maintenance from 12 midnight Sunday to 6am Monday (sometimes every week, sometimes once a month, I dunno). But there were no commercials, just the great music. The recordings were actually made in the auxiliary studio that had full on-air capabilities but was usually pressed into service for production activities. The station used a lot of compression; anyone remember optimod? I don't think it was, but at any rate, VU meters were pegged a lot and high volume was clipped and low volume raised, all in order to, as we might say now in the 21st century, "get maximum value from station operations" (thank gawd terms like this were not in fashion back then). But you got used to it. Though it doesn't sound hi-fi now, it seemed pretty good back then. The very first track is "Gone With The Wind" by David Rose - and I found the very same album with the very same scratches in the late 90's in a used book store where WGAY's records were sold at $1 apiece. Now we have Rush, talk-hate radio, no discernable music, and traffic and weather on the 8's. You'll hear scratches on some records, the station tried to keep on top of that but in the late 60's the catalogs were cutting out the very music the station played. Sometimes the stylus assembly seemed to be carrying a lot of "fuzz" and guess they just "flicked it off" those old Stantons and Pickerings now and then. Enjoy. This was relaxing beautiful music! Yes, there's lots of distortion of various kinds (FM stereo wasn't - er - all that - er - great in many ways, but the music was beautiful and in stereo!). Also these segments were taped using ancient Gates equipment including turntables with tonearms that looked to weigh in at POUNDS (no, they were light enough but still had a LOT of mass, and the station had tonearms installed with "fluid damping" - it was impossible (kind of) to drop a needle from several inches down to an Lp and damage it; soft landings always but I always wondered what that did to tracking accuracy! WGAY-FM used some kind of compression (a lot of compression to be honest) and it did give the station a distinctive sound. Compression? Just listen and on a quiet passage you'll hear the volume climb, and you'll hear sudden loud noises (like cymbal crashes or a sudden loud passage - severely held down in amplitude, which took a few seconds to start the upward climb. The main "fishbowl" studio had the latest and greatest equipment, like EMT/Gotham turntables. Sadly record companies were in a mad rush to obliterate late 1950's/early 1960's titles - so when you hear a Really Worn track that's simply because it couldn't be replaced. Bob Chandler was serious about this (finding new copies of worn out Lp's) and I even found a few albums for the station; sadly 25 years later I found the very albums I had sold to Chandler in a Rockville used record store, but found many treasures as well! It was sad to realize the station had abandoned its record collection; I had tried to buy it in one transaction (dunno how I'd get them home or where I'd put them, though) but the first person rumored to have bought the collection would not take my phone calls. Nice.
MUSIC FROM WGAY SEGMENT 1
MUSIC FROM WGAY SEGMENT 2
MUSIC FROM WGAY SEGMENT 3
MUSIC FROM WGAY SEGMENT 4
MUSIC FROM WGAY SEGMENT 5
Escape to Beautiful Music 1 - Bob Chandler 1968
Escape to Beautiful Music 2 - Bob Chandler 1968
From The Top Of The World Building - Bob Chandler 1968
it would be retro-fun to hear commercials/psa's/id's (other than those legally mandated from cartmasters) but I fear there is little of this and I have long sought out "air checks" and received a few heavily edited that don't let you hear more of "the magic format" than I did capturing them in 1968 on a Sony open reel, and several miles away Mark Rockman captured some more on open reel. It's very sad. I remember one day when the station was promoting it's "Birthday" (they counted all the time from 1947 on) I suggested that Bob Chandler might put together a 5 or 10 minute little program about the history with some musical excerpts. He looked at me as if I had lost my mind. I had. It's something that could have been run several times especially at night but there just wasn't the self-respect, stations such as WQMR/WGAY saw themselves as very successful, but a commodity built on careful programming and a great album selection... but little in the way of self-respect.
Harp 1 1966 (the NEW HARP sequences complete with L-R tape delay for S T E R E O)
Harp 2 1966
Harp 3 (music fade) 1966
Harp 4 (music fade) 1966
1960 Original Harps : 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 These date from the very beginning of the format and were taken from 10" Lp's from a production company in Texas (I think).
The handwriting on these acetate records wasn't something I could - well - read. They sound terrible because - they are acetate, not vinyl (and probably have been in a landfill for 25+ years) and they were "beat to hell" with usage. Some of the thematic material sounds "kind of clean" - not sure why but I believe there could be two reasons - they were saved to tape before they were too terrible, and they were run through some kind of "noise leveling/removal" machine, I even had an SAE for "pops" - which didn't live up to it's brochure capabilities; it was supposed to remove the pop and magically fill the resulting "space" with a few microseconds before and a few after the POP. Maybe more expensive versions did; but the one I bought at Audio Associates... didn't. It did remove the terrific "spike" of the pop but the end result was just kind of strange; better but not by a lot. In later years we've had click 'n pop removers, best used manually, takes hours to "restore" an album. There are settings to do it "automagically" and I find myself preferring clicks 'n pops. Other noise removers would affect higher bands in a isolated fashion, if turned up a bit too much you could badly mess up brass sounds. Might have been the SAE!
Last Backtitle and Signoff (Barry Clark on signoff) 1966, Barry Clark signoff sequence recorded in 1960 (used for many years, and really should have been re-recorded once WGAY went stereo, but I'm glad it wasn't as it gives us this one opportunity to hear the station's original "voice" from the very early 60's. As I recall, he did ALL station ID's, station promos, and some commercials. His great, sophisticated voice would a bit out of place now on your typical adult contemptible radio station, no? As a kid I had a tape of lots of the sounds of the early 60's but open reel tape was expensive and the tape was re-used for something else, I was only about 10 or 11 years old! (Me and my trusty Wollensak durable T-1515 (I think) that featured a stereo "lower channel" preamp - and very microphonic tubes. I thought I could simply re-do that tape and never (gulp) did. While I thought this station was great, way back then, I got into other things and never re-created the tape. I've asked on the internet for several years now, and no-one has volunteered any truly early 60's material. So please: I'd really like to have air checks from WQMR/WGAY circa 4/59 through 4/66 if you have any! Thanks!
Matinee at One promo and STAGEDOOR Intro 1966
Station ID - Bob Chandler 1968
From The Top Of The World Building - Bob Chandler 1968
The Sound of Music hourly program intro 1966
Forecast FM Commercial 1966
LaGondola Italian Restaurant - Bob Falcon - 1966
WQMR Concerto on guitar used for promos and PSA's 1960
Guitar theme used extensively for promos and PSA's 1960
Luxury Listening - Bill Doty 1966
News Headlines plus car commercial November 25, 1966*
ad for The Washington Star*
*1969 Thanks to Mark Ogden for the precise dates
Time Breaker 1966
Vibe Sequence played on FM while WQMR am signed on at sunrise 1966
Vibe sequence for promos and PSA's 1960
Voice Of Government Reports 1966
Themes for MUSIC IN THE AIR (year unknown, thanks to Art McDougall for the music!)
This program predated the beautiful music format ushered in by Connie B. Gay, the program brought "high brow" music to Washington perhaps as early as 1947??? At any rate it played through the 50's, 60's, 70's, and early 80's (I think). Not a fan of the show, I called it "Commercials In The Air" - live commercials meant to occupy 30 or 60 second slots but with really nothing to say. I guess the pace of the show was not right for me, and I was relieved every Sunday when it was over! Many apologies to the show's supporters whose cards and letters obviously kept it going for decades. The host was Chuck DuLane in the 50's. I'm not sure if it was Chuck who did the programming. I just remember the Sunday programs complete with the thematic material, mono because it was recorded that way, and put on Cartmaster cartridges; the music after 1966 was all stereo, but I remember older names being in the programming lineup, such as George Melachrino and the like. I also can't remember if they "backtitled" the music after the 1/4 hour segments were up; I don't actually have any recordings of the show itself. Art McDougall who had been at the station in the 1940's and 1950's didn't have any recorded actual segments of the program, that's why I have no MUSIC IN THE AIR segments. I am told it brought some sophisticated orchestral music pre-WQMR (when it was WGAY-1050am) and Bob Chandler touted it as the station's longest running program.
Music In The Air - Intro (presented here in its entirety)
Music In The Air - Exit Music (presented here in its entirety)
WMAL! TOM GAUGER! ED WALKER!
Here are a few snippets of WMAL of long ago, yes, I admit it, there was another great radio station along with the dependable "relaxing sounds" of WQMR/WGAY - specifically, a station that was brimming with talent and an exciting sound, with announcers who knew about and loved the music they played, and brought us a LOT of the "theater of the mind" aspect of radio. When you hear Tom and Ed together, it's often during Harden and Weaver's two-week vacations. They were great shows. The hunt continues for more airchecks! First, THE MUSIC SCENE, rarely heard, that was used as the "closing bed" for Tom Gauger's daily program.
The Music Scene (a great Pat Williams theme song that WMAL's Tom Gauger had a LOT of fun with; it seems to have been released only on a promotional monophonic 45, to my ears (!) it's Pat Williams but never was put out on an album, speaking of which Shades/Think would make a perfect 2-fer CD reissue but I don't know that ever happened, Pat Williams is a brilliant arranger-composer-conductor who seemed to have a upbeat but very rich "stage band" kind of sound on his Verve albums. He appeared at the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall in the spring of 1974, about 3 weeks before Percy Faith guest appeared; Williams was right at home with a brass-based orchestra... Faith was without his strings. Honestly, that didn't work out well but it was a great effort on Faith's part with the help of 6 or 7 others changing the string parts into flute and clarinet parts. The same thing had to be done in the spring of 1975, but this time Percy used a couple of tracks that were brass-dominated anyway (Kaluha got a standing ovation). I did learn how Pat Williams "bent chime pitch" during his performance of "The Witch" - not electronically but with real chimes carefully dipped into buckets of water. WMAL's Bill Trumbull was a great Pat Williams fan, and the "story" is that he got in trouble playing too many tracks from Pat Williams' albums - but again here was a station that KNEW the musicians and always wanted to hear/learn more.
Next, Tom with the voice of fun in radio itself - Ed Walker - and listen to his Dundalk (Md.) Debonnaires routine
The Dundalk Debonnaires - Tom Gauger and Ed Walker
Next, Tom and Ed - who is "speech coach Mark Gallant"
Mark Gallant - Tom Gauger and Ed Walker
A snippet of one of Tom's fast-paced show endings (with The Music Scene, of course) and the file was sent named "Springer" who must be Herb Springer who was no doubt running the board (and juggling those cart tapes)
Show Closing - Play Those Cart Tapes!
Here is a nostalgic, and beautiful theme, presented vocally and instrumentally, and familiar to those of us in the Washington, DC area a few decades ago - "We Like To Be... in Washington, D.C." (THESE ARE .MP3 files)
WQMR/WGAY's coverage of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, November 22, 1963. The following tracks let us hear the emotions and incredible talent that represented a dependable part of the radio dial; as a station that was formatted to play music and rip 'n read news, you will hear and relive the haunting sounds from over 40 years ago, emotional coverage of a quality that goes way beyond what you might expect from a 1kw daytimer... proof that radio of today's corporate world bears no resemblance to what we once had. Hear, for yourself, why I think "Washington's Quality Music Radio" was a very important part of our lives. Yes, it was edited and produced into the form of an Lp but the emotions and local station sounds are the real station personnel.
As with all clips and sounds on this site, these are provided as a part of radio history and are not for profit and I would ask that they remain a part of this website as part of the tribute to the station. This tradegy to our country happend right about the time of AMERICAN SERENADE was released (released in late 1963), a beautiful album featuring the best parts and best arrangements of Percy Faith, and maybe it helped just a bit to make jangled nerves settle down a bit. I finally found a copy of this Capitol album but it was one of those "play it and it will automatically destroy the stylus assembly for you" copies that had deep digs and scratches. Fortunately a web watcher/listener in Germantown, Maryland let me borrow his almost mint copy that he found in his late Aunt's console stereo and I borrowed it but have lost the artwork (it has to be somewhere???). It was pretty amazing to see the names of the WQMR era-before-FM took off - Ed Winton, Ted Dorf, many others. So the artwork eludes me, but I hope this glimpse into history through the eyes and ears of a great but not-yet-huge 1KW daytimer, the quality is all there. Years later a lady in outstate Maryland, I don't remember where, sold me her copy - cover and album in very good condition!
FOUR DARK DAYS IN NOVEMBER PART 1
FOUR DARK DAYS IN NOVEMBER PART 2
FOUR DARK DAYS IN NOVEMBER PART 3
FOUR DARK DAYS IN NOVEMBER PART 4
FOUR DARK DAYS IN NOVEMBER PART 5
All of the material on this site is in Windows Media format. I have lost the Captain Dan movie during one of the site republishings, which always screws up something, and this is ancient Frontpage and the links and all that are just in my head, figments of my imagination (and some real memories of a wonderful "emphasis on popular instrumental/orchestral music" (oh so long ago). This site is about radio history of these AM and FM "beautiful music" pioneers, no profit is made here, it's HISTORY! If something is copyrighted and you own said copyright, let me know and I'll delete the copyrighted segments. For now, sit back and listen to what we had in the 1960's and early 1970's for "Washington's Quality Music Radio!" Enjoy! I will look through DVD's to see if I can find the Captain Dan films, sadly labeling and keeping CD's and DVD's has been a difficult thing moving several times over the decades.