You may have never seen a teletype machine but you've certainly heard them. In today's 50 Memories in 50 Days, WOBM Chief Engineer Tom Trembly looks back on how WOBM gathered news in 1968 as compared to today's lightning fast Internet!

Equipment Then & Now:  News Teletype

WOBM has always had a local news staff.  But back in 1968, WOBM got its national and international news from this news teletype machine:

WOBM Archives
WOBM Archives

Teletype machines predated even the earliest dot matrix printers, so they were essentially a large typewriter without a keyboard, controlled from afar over a special phone line.  These machines also used a system of bells to indicate breaking news, and had a reputation for being VERY LOUD.

Like many stations, WOBM’s teletype machine was installed in a closet with soundproofing material to cut down on the noise.  (You may hear the rapid “tick-tick-tick” sound of a teletype machine in the background on some all-news radio stations… but today it’s just a sound effects loop.)


Teletype machines also required a continuous supply of paper.  Having the paper run out (or get stuck, causing all of the news to print on one line) was something just short of tragedy.

Over time, teletype printers were supplanted by early computers, often fed from a satellite dish.

In today’s WOBM newsroom, news is delivered straight to computer screens and printed out on a laser printer if needed. 

Today's news gather system is much faster, and quieter!
"iNews" - today's news gathering system is much faster, and quieter!

The companywide computer network allows instantaneous sharing of stories produced across New Jersey, and external news content is delivered over the internet direct from the AP.  Quite an advancement in technology since 1968!

Do you have a piece of WOBM history that you'd like to share? Just fill out the form below to send it to us!

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