Dick Record is a long-time Wisconsin news broadcaster, as news director at Madison radio station WISM from 1966-1971, and then general manager at LaCrosse radio station WIZM from 1971 until the present time. He started in news when reporters carried reel to reel recorders on field reporting assignments.
Uher tape recorder
I remember well my Uher tape recorder. I used one in Madison which means they were popular from about '66 to '71 and probably thereafter. It was smaller than tape recorders before it. And easier to carry. And easy to operate. It used a five inch reel but had several speeds including, I believe, 15/16ths ips. That meant I could tape a whole county board or city council meetings and get audio cuts from it later for air use. There was a dial on it, so if you marked down where the dial was when a good audio cut was recorded it was easier to find later. And you didn't have to listen to the whole thing again to find the audio cuts.
I remember one night in Madison, there was a county board committee meeting that had some interesting news in it. But they were going to close it (executive session), an enemy of a good newsperson. I was livid because I knew whatever they were going to discuss was something I could use on the air that my competitors surely would not have, not even the newspapers. So, I went to the courthouse early, before the meeting and put the Uher tape recorder in the room where no one could see it. I started the tape at the very slow speed and left. I returned after the meeting. Got my recorder, listened to the whole secret meeting and had a great report for the next morning. And no one else had the story. That's why I became close to my Uher.
I have no way of knowing for sure, but I think I'd moved to La Crosse before cassette recorders were in use. That was 1971. I think that's true because I found a Uher recorder up here also. Later we started using cassettes and they were pretty good. The machines were lighter and smaller. Cassettes were pretty reliable so we entered that new era. I suspect there are still some cassette-users....probably those who hate new technology and don't like transitioning to the new way. I often think how simple it was when we had the Uhers, but I don't do much reporting anymore so I haven't touched any of the machines for a lot of years.