Do you ever hear an oldies radio tune that brings back memories of your teenage days? What if you could hear some of the former Utah DJs who were on local radio during your younger years?
Ira Menacker of Roy has a huge collection of airchecks that dates back to the early 1960s in Utah radio.
He said airchecks are simply "a snapshot of a radio station on the air." And he has two types of these recordings scoped, which contain only live breaks, news and commercials, and unscoped, which contains everything that was on the air, including music.
"I've been collecting 25 years now," he said.
Menacker's basement is full of such recordings including samples of such legendary Utah DJs as Lynn Lehmann, "Straight Arrow," "Skinny Johnny Mitchell," Ray Graham and many more.
He said hasn't found many recordings before the 1960s in Utah airchecks. He used to think he had a lot of exclusive airchecks, but has found others who had more. Some trade and share the recordings.
"Not many people are interested in airchecks," he said. "You have to really love radio."
Menacker grew up in New York, the nation's largest radio market, where he said, "I heard some darn good radio." He came to Utah in 1969 and started his collecting career in about 1983.
He had a part-time Utah radio career of his own, too. He was "The Rabbit," a DJ at one time on KSVN, KXOL and Utah's "WKRP." (His day job was at Hill Air Force Base.)
Menacker described himself as a "minimal talent" on the air but says his strongest asset was in musical knowledge. Most of his recordings are on cassette, because, for him, they're handier and store easily.
He stressed that airchecks aren't the novelty they once were. That's because the Internet makes many available on certain sites, some free, some not, and because "streaming" over the Net means you can hear many distant stations outside your market.
Still, they're very much a "time capsule," he said.
Some out-of-state radio museums have extensive collections of airchecks, some of which let you listen to them.
Menacker describes most of today's radio as "boring and thin," making the airchecks all that more valuable to him. In the old days, he said, radio stations tried to be full service and serve a wider audience. Today he believes, everything is fractured and too specialized.
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