Thursday, January 19, 2017
AFRTS Record labels - part three
Your blog readers may be interested in a little more Record Label history, courtesy of the "AFRTS corporate memory" of Don Browne, an AFRTS associate from 1969 to 2001.
The lettering system on the discs changed from time to time (RCF, RU, RP, RL, RPL), but the numbering system was consistent. From about 1946 to 1976 (30 years), the fiscal year began on the first week of July with consecutive weeks numbered 1 to 52. Example: The first week of July 1955 was coded 1-6 (for Fiscal Year 1956); The first week of July 1965 was coded 1-6 (for Fiscal Year 1966); The first week of July 1975 was coded 1-6 (for Fiscal Year 1976). Since the numbers repeated every ten years, the AFRTS Record Label had to change at least every ten years. The Fiscal Year designation changed during the bicentennial year (1976); The Fiscal Year now began the first week of January 1976 instead of the traditional first week of July 1976. A new number coding was employed from January 1976 to July 1976; 1-76 to 26-76. Then the numbering system resumed with 27-6 the first week of July 1976. The numbers still repeated every ten years so the AFRTS Record Labels had to change as before!
Top Pops #1 was issued on 23 October 1962 on Side One only of the 12-Inch disc numbered RCF 17-3.
Top Pops #24 was issued on 31 March 1963 on Side One and Side Two for the first time. The 12-Inch disc was numbered RCF 40-3.
"Date With Chris" starring Chris Noel first aired on 12 December 1966. The program was a response to the Vietnam War and was programmed 5 days a week, 55 minutes in length (5-55). A "fast-track" system for disc pressing, reserved for the Top Pops releases, was expanded to the P-series and to "Date With Chris" only. The RCF designator was changed to RPL (Radio Priority/Library) and "Date With Chris" was labeled RP 23-7.
How Was Programming Produced at AFRTS-LA?
It was recorded in the studios on North McCadden Place or mailed to them by off-site contractors. The numbering system was designed to be the date received at the overseas AFRTS site. For Example: Roger Carroll RU 23-9 was aimed at the 23rd week of Fiscal Year 1969 (translated to December 1968). RU took seven weeks from October 1968 recording, post-production, disc pressing at K-Disc, label printing and gluing at K-Disc, quality control review and auditioning back at AFRTS-LA, and boxing and shipping from AFRTS-LA. Then mailing FOUTH CLASS MAIL took at least one week. The RU box was scheduled to arrive, say at FEN, the middle week of December 1968. Then, FEN and all networks except AFVN held the shipment on the floor for three weeks and aired it on the fourth week! So an RU program took eleven weeks from recording to air. As an FEN example, RU 23-9 was aired in Japan on the first week of January 1969.
The RPL ("Date With Chris") and RL (Top Pops and P-series) numbering system was also designed to be the date received at the overseas AFRTS site. . .but faster. For Example: "Date With Chris" RPL 23-9 was also aimed at the 23rd week of Fiscal Year 1969, but took four weeks from the November 1968 recording, post-production, disc pressing at K-Disc, label printing and gluing at K-Disc, quality control review, boxing, and shipping FIRST CLASS MAIL to the overseas network. Then "Date With Chris" and the RL was aired immediately. So an RP and RL took four weeks from recording to air!