GOLDEN GIFT Our thanks to Jerry Clegg for his contribution of these classic production elements used by the Harold Thoms station chain.

PLAY Downbeat! Doo Doo Wah - The Thoms Stations (1:26)

. . . On we go with our musical show, music on Down Beat beat beat . . .

The Thoms chain, owned by the late Harold Thoms, thrived in Virginia and North Carolina in the early 60's. His group included WEAM (Arlington VA), WAYS (Charlotte NC), WCOG (Greensboro, NC), WKLM, (Wilmington NC) and WISE (Asheville NC). At one time or another, all of these stations featured Thoms Downbeat programming. "Downbeat" was the latest Top 40 hits without "personalities". "Announcers" operated the equipment and delivered NewsBeat and the Weathercast at Half Past. In some markets, portions of "Downbeat" were presented with primitive homebrew automation.

Jerry Clegg recalls, "At NEW WAYS, there were announcers running the board. The turntables started with the program switch on the Collins console, and the recorded spots were on 3 inch reels that hung on a 4X8 piece of plywood with nails in it. They were played on Magnecorder PT6 machines. The 'downbeat..beat..beat' was done on a Berlant reel-to-reel, because it had provisions for moving the playback head..."

In this short composite, a number of production elements are combined. First, you'll hear hang on for more Downbeat! - this was used just before the bottom and top of hour breaks.

Then, you'll hear the most verbose of all hour openers - used EVERY HOUR, on "New WAYS" in 1963: On we go with our musical show - at that time, followed with 60 seconds of the Ray Conniff Singers doing S'Wonderful. Here, it's presented in a 1999 mix that includes the openers for The Weathercast at Half Past and News Beat. (Just before the finale, some creative license is taken and cheap digital effects are used to hit the post.)

So, even though all the ingredients are authentic, this is not necessarily an accurate historical representation. But it is certain to jog some memories for the many who listened to "Down Beat beat beat" on a Thoms station.


Return to the Repository


Reel Top 40 Radio Repository ©1996-2014 REELRADIO, Inc.