The Dr. Demento Show through the eyes of a disc jockey

The Dr. Demento Show started in October, 1970, but was not syndicated nationally until July, 1974. In the beginning it was distributed by Dr. Demento Productions on reel-to-reel tape. It was produced by Gordon/Casady Inc.

The first four shows were distributed on a single 10.5" reel each, running at a tape speed of 7.5 ips. (The first show also included a separate 5" reel with a letters/T-shirt spot, personalized for each station.) The next four shows were distributed on two 7" reels each, also running at 7.5 ips. All of these first eight shows were an hour long. (It's possible that some stations started receiving the show on two 7" reels as early as show #3, and vaguely possible that some continued to receive it on a 10.5" reel as late as show #6.)

Starting with show #9, the show was expanded to two hours, and there were four 7" tape reels per show, with a tape speed of 7 1/2 ips. The tape boxes were white, or sometimes black, with a sticker in the upper right-hand corner. Hand-written on the sticker or tape box were the show number and reel letter (A through D). Through show #102, the return address was listed as Sunset Boulevard, but with show #103 it was changed to Doheny Drive. (Some copies of later shows still list the Sunset address, because old tapes and tape boxes were reused.)

For the 26 shows #44 - #69 (May 4, 1975 - November 23, 1975; a few weeks in June/July were skipped), the show was distributed on LP. During that time, the records looked like this:

Shows #70 - #74 were reruns of previous LP shows in the above range. Instead of pressing copies with the new show numbers, old copies were reused and the new number was written on the labels in pen. Then for show #75 through the end of the Gordon/Casady era with show #131, the show was again distributed on reel-to-reel.

In January, 1977, national syndication ended, though the live show continued in Los Angeles. Then, in February, 1978, Westwood One began distributing the show. Again, distribution began on reel-to-reel tape. This time there were two 7" tape reels per show, but the tape speed was still 7 1/2 ips (just more tape per reel). In the beginning, the tape boxes were plain white, with the show name, number, and reel number typed on a label that was affixed to the upper left-hand corner. They started using custom printed boxes with show 79-27, and this lasted through show 81-41. The logo on the box changed with show 81-16. Starting with show 83-07, the tape box and reel were changed to include the "weekend of" date rather than the show number.

During the second half of 1980, there were often "A" and "B" versions of the same show, the only difference being the Chewels commercials. In the "B" version Chewels was announced as a new product, whereas in the "A" version it was not. (Presumably Chewels had been regionally distributed prior to this, and the "A" versions went to regions of the country already familiar with the product.) This happened on shows 80-27 through 80-34, 80-37 through 80-41, 80-44 through 80-46, and 80-52.

Starting with show #84-06 (February 5, 1984) and continuing until Westwood One dropped the show (#92-35, August 30, 1992), it was again distributed on LP. The label changed slightly from year to year, but here is how it began and ended:

(86-18 was the first show where they printed the show number instead of the broadcast dates on the labels.)
From around 1985 until August, 1992, the show was also sent out on satellite (Satcom 1-R, transponder 3, 10a-12n Thursdays; later Satcom C5, transponder 15, 8p-10p Thursdays).

Starting with show #92-36 (September 6, 1992) and continuing until #00-46 (November 12, 2000), the show was distributed on CD by On The Radio Broadcasting.

There have been some minor changes over the years, mainly the switch from a reflective surface on top, housed in a custom sleeve (#92-36 through #93-19), to a purple surface, housed in clear plastic sleeves (#93-20 to #98-07). Then, starting with #98-08, the show switched from pressed CDs to burned CD-Rs. These started out gold with black printing (#98-08 to #98-40) then switched to silver with black printing (#98-41 to #06-34). Starting with #06-35 and continuing until the present, the show has been sent on CD-Rs with two printed labels (top and bottom) giving the show number and other information.

He was then syndicated on CD-Rs by Talonian Productions (#00-47 to #10-39, but ending at #10-23 in most markets), and now is available online with no physical distribution to radio stations since 2010.

The earlier pressed discs came in custom paper sleeves, but those were eventually phased out in favor of generic plastic ones. The shade of purple also varied somewhat. The CD-Rs come in plastic-lined paper sleeves.

There have also been other short (one track) shows by Dr. Demento distributed to radio stations on a weekly basis. The first was Dr. Demento's Pick Of The Week. This was available to stations on reel-to-reel tape in 1983. Show #1 was for the week of April 11, 1983 and show #18 (the final show) was for the week of August 8, 1983.

A decade later, the concept was tried again, but this time on a daily basis. Dr. Demento's Daily Dose Of Dementia was five episodes per week, and was included on the CDs of The Dr. Demento Show distributed by On The Radio Broadcasting. It began with show 93-03 and ended with show 94-02. Normally the track from each episode was also included separately on the disc in the clear, in case stations wanted to air it separate from the show.

More recently, there was a very similar show called Dr. Demento's Shot Of The Day. It was available to any station, whether or not they carried the full-length show. It was distributed on separate CDs, with ten episodes apiece (two weeks' worth). It began with the disc for 01-32/33 (starting August 6, 2001) and ended with the disc for 02-38/39 (ending September 27, 2002). Also generally included were four alternate Shots per two weeks, which were to be substituted at the station's discretion, since they were edgier material.

Back to the list of demented pictures