Actually, there WAS automation back then. Way ahead of its time was the WINGS system, developed by the HCJB Engineering Center. I believe the first version went on line around 1989 or so. Originally running on DOS 5.1, it had a basic GUI for user interface. Designed to work with the Comstream ABR200 satellite receiver, it could be configured to work with other receivers with a serial control interface. WINGS could change satellite receiver channels and record to hard drive audio from the satellite. The system was capable of switching audio paths, playing live from the satellite, or playing from a playlist of audio on the hard drive. You could develop schedules, then send them to a remote station over the ancillary data channel of the satellite feed. WINGS was originally designed to run small unattended stations. Everything could be sent over the satellite and the station could play its own local ID and spots. There was even a rudimentary music scheduling system built in. WINGS was updated to work with Windows 3.1, then Windows 95/97. Networking was introduced with the upgrade to Windows 2000, but it was still essentially a stand alone system. The networking allowed for the transfer of music and schedules between machines.
While WINGS was a wonderful system in its day, its capabilities could not keep up with other multi-user systems. Although HCJB tried to develop a new networked automation system, it really didn't work out. The majority of WINGS users, to my knowledge, migrated to Rivendell. WINGS was commercially distributed for a short time under the brand name Air Force, but did not gain wide spread acceptance.
I began working with WINGS in 1997 and still had many stations using it through 2006. I continued providing support for WINGS and assisting with migrations to Rivendell through 2008.