So that got me thinking... did anyone use the second channel for storage?
Well yes, everyone - They simply used the same signals for both channels. But that was obviously not your question.
You simply could not assume everyone had a stereo recorder. While it might seem "normal" today, it wasn't in the 80ies
Coding and decoding one channel already max out a ...
What's the difference between Kansas City tape standard and CUTS?
Computer User Tape System (not Standard) was what Mr. Felsenstein and Mr. Marsh of Processor Technology developed for their SOL systems (*1) and proposed as future standard at the Byte sponsored meeting in Kansas City. It got agreed on as common format regarding encoding and hardware needs.
I can imagine that machines that used normal user-supplied decks might
have mono input, but surely even then one could find a suitable portable device with > stereo in, or even use a nice Akai or something.
Yes, almost all consumer tape recorders (except for expensive component stereo decks) had mono inputs.
The only reason for using cassette tape was ...
Does anyone have some insight here?
Preface: Since it hasn't been done, everything that follows is of course only a list of possible reasons. Each may have been overcome at some point, so there is no reason to pile possible solutions to the points called here.
This is basically two questions in one:
Why weren't not both channels used?
There are several ...
Two channel cassettes were quite common in the minicomputer and data acquisition fields. These “streamer cassettes” were single-sided, with data being recorded in mono on one full track and the other track (side 2 if the tape were flipped) contained an index timing track. The drives were servo-controlled, and could seek fairly quickly to read and write ...