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George Petersen is SVC's Senior Consulting Editor. He grew up in Italy, where he performed in rock bands, opening for acts such as The Searchers. Returning to America for...more

Another Great Idea

cigarette vending machine

Recycle, reuse: A great new life for an old vending machine

ONCE UPON A TIME, THEY WERE EVERYWHERE, but these days, about the only place you’ll see a cigarette vending machine is in a bar, strip club or other business that restricts admission to minors. Other than those few exceptions, I occasionally run across old cigarette machines—usually rusting away in backroom storage areas and basements of clubs and older movie theaters.

Recently I was amused by a photo sent to me by my friend Steve Savanyu, who’s the Director of Educational Services for audio manufacturer Audio-Technica. Steve’s also an adjunct professor at Kent State University’s school of journalism/mass communication. He’s a smart guy and whenever he has something to say, it’s worth hearing.

Back to our story… A while ago, Steve was backstage at the Blossom Music Center, a large, state-of-the-art performing arts complex in Cuyahoga Falls Ohio. He forwarded me this intriguing photo, that showed where some enterprising individual converted an old, obsolete (50-cent/pack) cigarette machine to a new functionality: Selling disposable foam earplugs to stagehands and crew members who may have forgotten to bring their own plugs to setups and soundchecks. At $0.50/pair, there’s no huge profit potential here, but as a public service, the idea’s brilliant and has a lot of merit.

With the very real risk of hearing loss to patrons (as well as crews) at today’s way-too-loud shows and performances, maybe other people could pick up on this great notion—and place these in prominent public areas at venues. But either way, a pack of earplugs is definitely more healthy than a pack of smokes. Definitely.

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About

George Petersen is an internationally recognized expert on audio production; he has written five books and more than 1,000 articles and lectured worldwide; he has been a writer and editor for SVC for 10 years and a leading voice at Mix since 1981. As an IATSE Journeyman, he has done sound reinforcement, 35/70mm motion picture projection, Dolby Stereo theater installs and film/video production. He also operates a record label, ASCAP publishing company, 24-track recording studio, and performs with the Bay Area rock ensemble ARIEL.
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