James Edward Parcell - Broadcasting Engineer

Ed Parcell spent 32 years on the local broadcasting and recording scene and lived at the WSLS TV transmitter site for five years in the 1950's. He was one of the best engineers in radio and television at the time.

Ed was the engineering force in KA Recording studio, a studio started in sixties by Roanoke Radio personality, King Edward (Smith) IV and Roanoke lawyer Arthur B. Crush, Jr.

The studio filled a need for musicians from Southwest Virginia who couldn't afford the $350 hourly rate being charged in Nashville. The KA Studio rate was a mere $60.00 per hour and that included King Edward's Knights as the house band and the talents of Ed Parcell at the controls. The studio boasted being able to record eight independent tracks. According to Parcell, the term "track" denotes the number of times a song or message can be recorded on a single tape. By combining separate tracks for the final product, a vocal quintet can be made to sound like a choir of 40. Or a singer can dub his voice on a pre-recorded instrumental arrangement, without having to worry about following the musicians as well as the words. This method really caught on twenty years later with the advent of karaoke where anyone could be a singing star.

Pictured above is Ed Parcell at the controls of the audio equipment at the. Ed was proud of the talent he was able to work with during the theater's heyday in the late 60's. One of the most memorable productions was the world premiere of "Yankee Doodle", a loud vivacious musical. Scenes pictured below were from the third act "Pearl Harbor to the Rioting Sixties"

Ed Parcell also operated Associated Recording Service and was a member of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers.


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