Thursday, March 02, 2006

More Elevator Music

When I think abot Soft AC radio stations I always think of Muzak. I recently read a little more history about the easy listening movement of the 1960s. The Seeburg turns out to be older than Muzak and thus this radio jukebox is the great granddaddy of Muzak.

Soft stations liek WJJO and KQED-FM used the Seeburg to fill in airtime. KQED actually had an actual Seeburg Selectomatic Music Hour each day.

They produced a background music system appropriately called the Background Music System. It used mono 9" records with big 2" center holes that spun at an ungainly 16-2/3 RPMs. They look like big black vinyl doughnuts. These machines were usedprimarily in the 1960s. The player was oversized, easily larger than the a tower server. They were rigged like a jukebox to play a stack of 28 records. It worked out to 40 hours of music. It automatically recycled the stack for continuous play.

The records were issued and owned (C&P) by Seeburg and manufactured by RCA. The instructions on the record boxes say they were to be played for 3 months then returned to Seeburg to be destroyed. That's probably why the records are so rare.

This guy here has a whole collection of Seeburg brochures.

Seeburg also made a whole array of retail juke boxes and some very collectible bakelite radios. Some models are so populat that reproductions are made overseas for import in America. JP Seeburg was of the man behind the Seeburg Corporation. In the 1960s Seeburg was known internationally as a jukebox manufacturer on par with Wurlitzer. each regularly taking out full page ads in magazines like Billboard. Strangely enough in the UK they were more well-known for their pinball machines.

Brilliant site here;