Tape Trading Standards
Mark Time is the author of many articles and
three books on radio hobby topics, including Aircheck Arcade (which
may still be available from the DecalcoMania, if that club still exists?).
Please contact the author should
you have any questions, or are interested in trading and collecting radio
"The biggest challenge in swapping tapes, besides
finding someone to record the stations or programs you want, is to negotiate
a compromise between two differing styles of trading and collecting.
Each person has their own way of recording, packaging and mailing tapes,
yet too many people assume that what they like and prefer is automatically
standard amongst everyone, or at least is acceptable to everyone.
Much of the following is based on postings on the Yahoo 'Airchecks
R Us' message board, in turn from over 25 years of personal experiences
(not all of them pleasant).
"I would have to agree [to comments
by AirchecksRUs message-poster 'bobonradio'] that if someone has
particular wants, they should let them be known in advance. Perhaps we
(this group as a whole?) should come up with a set of standards, and then
only have to mention any deviations from or additions to those norms?
For example (just something to chew on...it's lunch-time here, ha):"
Some online radio and/or trading references to consider:
Tapes - normal-bias, new major-brand C-90 (90-minute) cassette tapes
only unless otherwise noted and agreed-upon. Re-using the tape I
sent you previously will mean, of course, that you are sending me a used
tape! Never mind that this always means I wind up having to supply
all the tapes for what is supposed to be a trade!
When 2 stations are requested to go on one cassette, this usually means
the person wants one of the stations to go on one side, and another to
go on the other.
Contents - please send only what has been requested. Suggestions
for FUTURE tapes are very welcome, but please do not make substitutions
for a current swap. [Arrangements CAN be made for "surprise me"
tape packages, but this only works when mutually agreeable and with some
knowledge of each others' preferences, both likes and dislikes]
Where no specific program, personality or music had been requested, safe
bet is to roll tape at some average time...avoid morning drive, specialty
or syndicated shows, sporting events, talk shows or live remotes, unless
that's what the other trader wanted.
Play it safe...have an alternate request or two handy, especially when
the primary want is too specific to be recorded quickly.
No Editing, please! Always "unscoped", one full side or full tape
per station, except for archival tapes already listed as being edited.
Leave in all commercials, news-casts and legal IDs, if any.
Do not pop the "erase-proof" tabs (even on videotapes)...the receiver can
do it for themselves if they want to keep the tape contents
Please label each tape! One label for a full tape, except for when
there is something different on side B. All I need is the correct
call-sign and date. I personally prefer minimum label clutter, especially
as it saves room on the label for any info I want to add while or
after listening, if I'm keeping the tape that is!
Tape in stereo where available; Agree in advance if you have to record
in mono to record at all.
No cassette cases will be accepted or returned. [I would be another
one of those in the 'No Cases' column. The waste of postage would be one
reason, plus they mean having to use larger envelopes, they break in the
mail very easily (more fragile than the cassettes themselves!), and anyway
I have plenty of empty cases already (thanks to old tapes breaking, and
tapes stolen by too many past crooked tape 'traders').]
In a related note, I rarely want or can make more than one or two tapes
at a time. It is difficult to keep up with my local radio if I'm
spending all my listening time on airchecks, never mind that (more so that
ever) there is more to life than just radio.
"I will be updating this page as other information comes
in. Input, opinions, and suggested Web sites are all welcome,
Stations I can record are on their own
list. Please notice the "signal strength" code, especially those
of "B-" grade or less, as not all stations can be recorded in stereo, or
even at certain times or seasons. I have noticed some folks are under
the mistaken assumption (a double negative?) that I live in Los Angeles,
and then make requests without regards to reality. It is extremely
to have a complete station-taping list handy for trading purposes, though
not if it descriminates against any stations? You know the ones,
lists lacking any stations below 92.1 MHz, and even then only including
stations the list creator listens to, or assumes "everyone else wants".
To avoid confusion, my full-market list is in a separate
place. Actually, it's really a full southern California list,
including markets such as Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Palm Springs
and Santa Barbara. This one does not get updated very often, due
to time and travel constraints. The same could be said for making
any requests based on the list...you'll have to wait until I get to those
places, and then there will be limits on how much I can record and on what
day and time.
In another room you'll find a list of individual
programs. This is a general southern California list, too, so
many of these will not be recordable every day/week, either.
Good ideas on the kinds of recordings I'm looking for can be found on a
list. I never, ever seek out any "Formats". I do however go
for certain specific and general kinds of MUSIC, shows, DJs, etc.
And I can not overemphasize that the market list is only for seeking TAPE
TRADERS in those markets. Because of the types of stations I prefer,
it will rarely help me to send a short list of tapes you recorded on a
trip there, or that you live only just close enough to get maybe 5 or 6
of the strongest FM signals. Now, if you happen to have a tape that
matches something on my wanted music, program or DJ list, yes please do
A portion of my tape
collection list is online. Please note that the list is incomplete,
though is a good guide to the types of stations, DJs, and music I prefer
to collect. Thanks to space, time and equipment-wear limitations,
I use my collection only to supplement my more preferred trading (current
airchecks), and as such the list is only updated when I have a lot of free
time (once a year, MAYBE). The list is organized by city-of-license,
and station, so when using Edit/Find In Page, make sure you get the city
or call-sign correct [For example, there is NO "WBZS-AM", "KFOG(FM)",
or "CKAC-730", as there are no such call signs of either type, and careful
with commonly misspelled cities like Berkeley, Cincinnati, San Bernardino,
A good place to swap information and ideas, and also to find potential
tape traders, is an online message board like Airchecks
R Us. There may also be a more traditional radio or DX club,
though I have been "out of the tape loop" so long I wouldn't know what
is still around. Please send
me any current information!