Before MTV launched in 1981 and changed the way people listened to music, radio was the primary mode of music discovery for consumers. If you were one of thousands of North Texans who listened to the radio in the late 1970s and early 1980s, you may have discovered some of the most formative artists in rock and pop history thanks to famed radio disc jockey George Gimarc, who will be hosting a live virtual event at Allen Public Library this week.
“George describes himself as an audio archaeologist,” said the library in a statement. “Learning that a building that formerly was the Sellers Recording Studio was [soon] to be demolished, George rushed to the location and rescued tapes that were destined for the dumpster. Samples of these tapes will be broadcast during this program.”
The Dallas-based recording studio, founded by revered sound engineer J.E. “Pops” Seller, first opened in 1924 and went on to be a stomping ground for country, classical and gospel musicians. According to the press release, “The voices of George Jones, Mickey Mantle, Jesse Owens, and Ron Chapman are detectable on these tapes.”
Gimarc was inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2019 for his extensive work in the AM/FM medium, which started in 1980 when he launched The Rock & Roll Alternative program. It was on this radio show that Gimarc introduced North Texans to then-burgeoning bands such as U2, R.E.M., The Clash, Talking Heads and The Police. His extensive knowledge of music history led him to publish books such as Punk Diary: 1970-1979, Post-Punk Diary: 1980-1982 and Hollywood Hi-Fi.