This is the Gates Radio Section of
The Broadcast Archive

Maintained by:
Barry Mishkind - The Eclectic Engineer
Last Update 12/20/10

Gates ST-101

Commercial spot player

The ST-101 was the first of the machines to replace individual reel to reel playback for commercials.  Using an 11 inch wide tape belt, there were 101 tracks, reached by manually moving a level along to the desired track.

Only one spot at a time could be played, and the system then had to rewind.


Paul Michal provided these pictures. Perhaps you have more?


This ST-101 is on display at the Pavek Museum in St. Louis Park, MN.  On the right, you can see the tape roll - 13 inches wide.

Bill Jaker recalls:

Oof, do I remember the Gates ST-101! The only one I ever worked with was during the early days (mine and the station's) at WLIR-FM in Garden City, LI. This was before 'LIR became a progressive rock station; it was crammed into the basement of the Garden City Hotel and played "music with dignity".

You couldn't segue between spots because it was necessary to rewind the foot-wide tape -- and that couldn't be done near an open mic because the rewind sounded like a washing machine going into spin cycle. I was very proud to create a sounder to open the nightly stock market report by recording a stock-ticker sound on the track adjacent to the commercial that always preceded the report and then quickly sliding the knob over.

One morning I came in to put the station on the air and found that the tape belt was completely wrapped around the take-up roller. Seems the guy who'd signed WLIR off the night before had shut everything down as the belt was rewinding and thus disabled the electric eye that recued the ST-101. It took some careful unwrapping and a piece of Scotch tape to get it back in order.

I once asked the station owner what we'd do if we had more commercials than would fit on the limited tracks of the belt tape. He smiled and said, "Then we'd have enough money to buy a second ST-101." Fortunately, the cart machine soon made its appearance on the market.