The Retiring Terry Timms

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The Retiring Terry Timms

Postby jon » Thu Nov 14, 2013 1:15 pm

"The Retiring Terry Timms" - OK, maybe that is a bit of an inside joke from those who have known him over the years. I got along fine with Terry at CHQM, and he with me, but he was certainly anything but retiring when I knew him. Especially when it came to the on-air sound of CHQM, in terms of technical sound quality and operation. At that time, it wasn't his responsibility, but he felt, and management encouraged it, that he was just another set of ears trying to make the Q in CHQM stand for Quality.

From this morning's Broadcast Dialogue: "Terry Timms, after 52 years in radio, will retire at year’s end. Timms, now in ad sales with EZ Rock Salmon Arm, worked as the operations manager/production manager at CHQM Vancouver and was with CFMS Victoria before he and his wife moved to the Shuswap where he joined EZ Rock, then under Standard Radio ownership. In 2006, Timms was one of just three account execs within the Standard chain who earned a President’s Ring for knocking his budget out of the park."

In my year at QM, 1971-72, Terry did Production, and operated for Maurice Foisy on the fairly difficult mid-day show on CHQM-FM. For that show, Terry had to create tapes for most of the voice-tracked programming, "in real time", from the music aired on the program. Including the insertion of stop tones, timing and typing a table of contents for the 10 1/2" tape, with hand cues for Maurice, so he wouldn't do his extros until the tape had stopped recording.

The late John Zwolak was Terry's backup for all of that, spending the rest of his time as lead Operator for the voice-tracked programming during the daytime, as well as recording music tapes beyond what could be aired mid-days on QM-FM.
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Re: The Retiring Terry Timms

Postby DonovanTildesley » Thu Nov 14, 2013 1:52 pm

I met Terry on a tour of CHQM-AM in January of 1993. A friend of mine's grandfather was Cecil Brian Sharp (Scharph?), who organized the chance for us two then-eight-year-old kids to come and tour the station. Not sure if he was still in Production at that time, but Terry patiently stood by while us two boys recorded commercials, and was happy to insert sound-effects of our choosing!
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Re: The Retiring Terry Timms

Postby tuned » Thu Nov 14, 2013 2:06 pm

I did a very short stint at QM as a bored op working for Terry. He was a bit of a hardass. There production studios had Neve consoles which was pretty over the top for a radio station. They also had a very cool ultrasonic recording cleaning machine to keep all those 1001 Strings tunes snap, crackle and pop free. I remember catching heck for crossfading records too tightly. Apparently the audience wanted to hear every last note of Percy Faith. You also had to keep an eye on the background music set-up. In the interest of political correctness I won't repeat what the call letters were to referred to among the ops.
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Re: The Retiring Terry Timms

Postby jon » Thu Nov 14, 2013 3:06 pm

Not sure exactly what years you are referring to, but, as Program Director, Maurice Foisy called a meeting for all operators -- he was our boss' boss -- and told us he wanted it tight, tight, tight and more tight. Including timing the voice tracks and the start of the music so they hit the vocal or musical flourish that ended the intro in an instrumental.

Soon after that meeting, the playing of vinyl was eliminated from all voice-tracked programming, except specialty programming: classical, jazz, etc. So that segues could be controlled.

With vinyl, I was considered "King of the Segue", having learned my trade by listening to CKLG-FM, where the goal of the Underground format was to make it impossible to determine when one piece ended and the next began. QM Management, likely based on listener complaints, did not like endings of pieces cut off, faded out, or faded down. I started the next piece of the QM standard 3 song sets to hit the beginning of the natural fade of the previous piece, and let the previous piece fully play out under the beginning of the next piece. Likewise, with the voice-tracked extros, the voice started over the natural fade of the last piece of music.

However, I stopped trying to "hit the post" with the voice track after a listener complaint. From my father! Yes, even out of the News. Instead I had the voice track start as the Newsman's last syllable began to fade, and the music start as the last syllable of the voice track began to fade. Even though they lacked a Stop Tone sensor, the stereo Ampex model tape drive that sat upright on the desktop were fabulous for instant start, especially when you had to force a break between two words in a voice track. Better than a cart machine in terms of instant start.

The ultrasonic record cleaner was still in use when I was there, but the dryer was always left open and often just used to hang records so they would drip dry without heat, once Dynaflex vinyl started being used. Those babies warped if you breathed on them with hot breath.
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Re: The Retiring Terry Timms

Postby DonovanTildesley » Fri Nov 15, 2013 1:38 pm

Interesting point re: fades. On my visit to CHQM (Memory Music 1320 AM) in ’93, I recall the machines used were different than ones I had ever come across before. Terry Bell who was on-air at the time had me start a song. I waited until the previous song had faded down, and then pressed the button. An audible “click” was heard, followed by a half-second of dead air, and then the next song began. pardon my ignorance, but could someone (Jon?) enlighten me as to what device was being used – carts or the tape drive referred to in the previous post
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Re: The Retiring Terry Timms

Postby tuned » Fri Nov 15, 2013 1:43 pm

I think the crossfading had to do with a program that I had to pre-record for FM. Steve Bucek, later of BCTV fame was still at QM back then. There was also an op by the name of David Alan Grierson who went on to have a great career with the CBC. He had a big lunch box with DAG painted on the end.
I understand he passed away a few years ago.
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Re: The Retiring Terry Timms

Postby jon » Fri Nov 15, 2013 4:54 pm

DonovanTildesley wrote:Interesting point re: fades. On my visit to CHQM (Memory Music 1320 AM) in ’93, I recall the machines used were different than ones I had ever come across before. Terry Bell who was on-air at the time had me start a song. I waited until the previous song had faded down, and then pressed the button. An audible “click” was heard, followed by a half-second of dead air, and then the next song began. pardon my ignorance, but could someone (Jon?) enlighten me as to what device was being used – carts or the tape drive referred to in the previous post

I'm kind of skeptical that the same equipment would be in place 21 years later, but the only thing we had that was that slow, besides turntables, were the "Stan Davis Specials" 10 1/2" open reel tape drives in the automation machine that had originally been bought for CJQM in Winnipeg. Especially if you started them by hand triggering the automation machine to go to the next event. Part of the delay was because you had to back cue them a bit as they took a moment to come up to speed.

Just after I left, at the end of April 1972, CHQM-AM began using carts for music, mostly for Currents during "Single Disc" shows, where songs were played back to back. FM was still using the big open reel music tapes, usually on the automation machine, but occasionally in the FM control room.

So, I really don't know of any device that would fit your description, Donovan. Terry Bell is still around, and very responsive to even people like me who he knew, and treated well, as a lowly part-time Operator, so it is worth asking him the question.

It sounds like some sort of jukebox, but Bill Bellman and Maurice Foisy would never have let something that "ugly" on the premises when I was there. For example, when I first arrived, the FM control room had a single stereo cart machine that was built like a tank. Tough to operate with just one cart machine, but it sure beat having a pair of crappy mono cart machines that you had to hand load with a stick shift-like control, like I saw at some other stations.
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Re: The Retiring Terry Timms

Postby tuned » Fri Nov 15, 2013 5:03 pm

Just don't get two pegs in the same row...
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Re: The Retiring Terry Timms

Postby jon » Fri Nov 15, 2013 5:10 pm

As I said before, worse than two pegs in the same row was hitting the power switch instead of the silence alarm switch, which were side by side. Power it back on and it would jump forward two to three events.
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Re: The Retiring Terry Timms

Postby radiofan » Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:34 pm

tuned wrote:Just don't get two pegs in the same row...


CFMI's "Fat Albert" ran off a peg board also ... white and red pins.

The time announce with the 7" Fidelapak cartridge was fun too!
Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who couldn't hear the music.
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Re: The Retiring Terry Timms

Postby tuned » Fri Nov 15, 2013 11:14 pm

Now that you mention it Jon I do remember the power switch and the alarm switch being close together. Wasn't there a big red light? I think Bucek warned me about mixing them up. My short career as an op at QM ended when I got a steady gig up the street at WX.
Fidelipacs were why Aristocarts were invented.
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Re: The Retiring Terry Timms

Postby radiofan » Sat Nov 16, 2013 8:24 am

tuned wrote:Fidelipacs were why Aristocarts were invented.


I guess there wasn't a lot of demand for the large sized carts, so Aristocart didn't bother making them.

Also, the cart player that played the time announce was mono, so no phasing problems like tehre was with music.
Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who couldn't hear the music.
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Re: The Retiring Terry Timms

Postby tuned » Sun Nov 17, 2013 1:47 pm

I had forgotten about the "large" fidelipacs. I found a pic online that showed three different sizes. The longer ones were probably program length but then you'd have to dub the program onto the cart which seems kind of inefficient. I guess "time announce" was one of the few uses for the large beasts. My first job at NW was to dub 45s onto carts under the careful supervision of Paul Preston.
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Re: The Retiring Terry Timms

Postby radiofan » Sun Nov 17, 2013 1:59 pm

tuned wrote: My first job at NW was to dub 45s onto carts under the careful supervision of Paul Preston.


Tuned .. .you were likely recording the stereo library for when NW switched to a new McCurdy Stereo board in anticipation of AM Stereo. Other than some operating, my first job at NW was winding
and recording the original early 1970's cart library, which was close to 1500 titles.

Once the new stereo carts were in place, we actually sold the old cart library (2,000 plus songs) to NL in Kamloops. I wonder if The Morning Mayor still plays any of the old NW carts??
Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who couldn't hear the music.
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Re: The Retiring Terry Timms

Postby tuned » Sun Nov 17, 2013 2:42 pm

It was pre stereo board in the NW control room. It was still the McCurdy with two rows of rotary pots. I liked the Voice of the Theater Altec in Production 3. A ridiculously large speaker for such a small room. I hated winding carts although I did a little of it. The fact that NW got into the cart business in the first place says a lot about where the radio business was at that time.
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