Erica Ehm Exposed!


Remember This Stuff from the Early Days of MuchMusic?

Leading Edge Tech That's now Obsolete

by: Erica Ehm
MuchMusic Studio in the 80's

It's hard - no, SHOCKING - to think this year marks the 30th anniversary of my on-air start at MuchMusic. At the time, the gang behind the scenes at Much was considered cutting edge - and we were! We created revolutionary live, unscripted satellite TV that changed the way music was consumed.

As technologically advanced as MuchMusic was back then, compared to today, we were living in prehistoric times. I may be dating myself, but I bet you remember most of this stuff too.

Fax Machine

It was my responsibility to prepare for my daily shift on Much every day. In order to do so, I had to get a copy of the show rundown. Since there was no such thing as mainstream internet back then, I would have my show faxed to me every day. It was my umbilical cord to the Much team. I went through three fax machines during my tenure on air, with each new machine appearing a little bit smaller and less expensive than its predecessor. Disclaimer: I still have a fax machine, although I use it infrequently now that I've discovered the CudaSign App.

Push Button Telephones

Do you remember when we had to memorize phone numbers? Now we just touch someone's name on screen and we're taken right to their ear! Those older phones seemed to be made to last forever, where today's crappy wireless home phones break after four months. 

Answering Machine

In the 80s and 90s, the first thing I'd do when I got home was rewind the tape to listen to my answering machine messages. I even remember when they went digital - what a breakthrough! Now most home phones come with built in answering machines, with nary a tape of memory card to be seen. Yet even those will become part of tech history in the very near future as more and more of us are ditching our land lines. 

Cell Phone

I was an early cell phone adopter, purchasing my first one in 1986. I bought one of those really early cell phones that looked like a shoe box and had to be installed into my car with actual tools. I'd drive my little red Nissan Pulsar all over Ontario hosting MuchMusic Dance Parties. Because I had to make my way home late at night from these small town events, it wasn't safe for me to be on the highway alone. I loved my phone back then, even though it just let me do one thing... talk. I felt safer knowing I had it with me. I've probably owned 18 phones since then, each a little smaller, faster, and smarter. The iPhone 6 is my latest tech companion. Have you stopped to count how many phones you've gone through? Can you recall where you were in your life with each phone?

Word Processor

In the evolution of writing, my word processor was the critical link between typewriter and new-fangled computer. That trusty word processor allowed me to type and then MOVE PARTS AROUND ON A PAGE! That was revolutionary. I still can't fathom how authors typed entire novels without being able to cut and paste or save! It seriously boggles my mind.

Google Search

Ummm...nope. That was a trick question. What was a "Google?" Even if Google existed in some incarnation back then, it was far from mainstream and I didn't have access to it. There was no way to quickly access facts or stories about bands on a computer. Instead, every day I would literally schlep big bags of all the major glossy rock magazines home and peruse them for useful music tidbits and tales to share every day. Where was the internet when I needed it?


My VCR was an important tech tool for me. Being able to record my Much shows on my VCR was useful to be able to watch my interviews with bands. It's how I learned to improve my on air skills. Eventually I got lazy and stopped recording my shows. Today I have one small box of VHS tapes from when I was TV, but no VCR to watch them on. It broke years ago and I gave up fixing it.

DVD Player

Even these have become obsolete. Now I have a closet full of videos I never watch. Note to self: Need to purge.

CD Player

I still have mine, but I rarely use it. I'm holding on to a bunch of CDs that formed the soundtrack to my days at MuchMusic and I'm not ready to give them  up yet. I still have my turntable and about 10 boxes of albums from back in my DJ'ing days. They're safe from Spring cleaning urges and purges because my teen son listens to them, and I couldn't be happier about that tie to my past.

These are just a few examples of dead and dying technological dinsoaurs, and I could go on and on. The speed at which technology is being reinvented these days takes my breath away. By the time I research and buy a new gadget, there's another on the market that can out perform it for less money. Obsolescence is the New Black. It's hard to resist the latest and greatest gear, but my basement is becoming a graveyard of electronics: outdated videogame consoles, broken digital cameras, ipods, Blackberrys, printers, wireless speakers - they're all just junk to me now.

So what should you do with your old electronics?

How much electronic stuff have you gone through over the years? If you're a sucker for the latest tech toys like me and care about the environment, you'll be relieved to know we can now recycle our old electronics really easily — and do something great for the environment at the same time. Sure, recycling your old stuff frees up space in your house, but it also gives materials like plastic, copper and the gold inside most electronics a second life.

This is why you need to know about They accept 44 different types of electronics you can drop off for free. They dismantle each device, deal with all the different materials appropriately, and reuse the steel, aluminum, copper and plastic for new products. Recycled plastic, for example, is used to produce everything from irrigation piping to outdoor furniture to toys.

Here's where you can find all the drop off locations near you in Ontario.

Which tech are you still holding on to? Is it time to let it go?

Photo credit: Thanks to my friend Dana Lee for letting me use this shot from his personal archive of old Much tech.