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by Bob Burnham
I guess you have to be "older" to start figuring stuff like this out.

As I say over and over, I've been doing what I do “for a very long time.”

I have knowledge and skills in a wide variety of areas broadcasting; some I'm better at than others, but none of it came overnight.

All those audio studios (and there's a lot of them!) at Specs Howard are my "babies," especially the ones with digital consoles (again, there's 25 of 'em!).  Over the years they get a little beat up, but they are still something that came out of cartons and became reality because of my work.  They are also works in progress.

I am grateful to TOM PROFIT who has trusted my judgement at Specs from day 1. I do have my "methods" but they are *MY* variations of what I picked up from the best in the business, and based on years of experience. As a result, I RARELY get a support call on any of the studios.  If anything, it's usually computer-related or a CD player that just died. 

I've come to realize it boils down to three people over the years whom I've crossed paths with, worked for or with at one time or another.  There's lots of other GOOD people whom I work with, but these are the top guys.

BOB SNEDDON...  was one of the earliest.  You never realize how important people like this are going to be at the time you're working with them.  For a few years before and after my commercial radio career began, Sneddon was the GM at WSHJ, where I spent endless hours hosting programs, at all hours of the night.  The format was tight hit radio and album rock.  My "Third Phone Endorsed" FCC operator license (required at that time) hung at WSHJ until I took it elsewhere.  Even after I got hired by a commercial station, I would still get calls from WSHJ:  "we're in a jam, can you do midnight to 6?"  It was such a cool station, I never said no...even AFTER I got off the air elsewhere working 6:00-10:00!  That wouldn't have happened without Sneddon. He lit the fire in me that still burns.

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JACK HOOD...  the late great programmer worked all over central Michigan and had a stop at WJR before he arrived as Operations Manager at WAAM in Ann Arbor.  Thanks to my years at WSHJ and elsewhere I fit in to his air staff like a glove, and was named Production Director within a year of being hired.  Jack took me under his wing, gave me some encouragement and a nudge:  "I think you can do this Bobby!"  And I never stopped.  At the same time, their Chief Engineer tapped into my help to install new consoles and set up remotes (while also being the on-air dude every night).  On our first meeting, we listened to a few minutes of my demo in his office together. Jack didnt say much, but hired me on the spot.   Under Jack Hood, WAAM was known as "WJR WEST."

BILL MULLEN…
  was our local consultant at WCAR many years later.  Bill is by far, one of the best engineers in the Detroit area. WCAR took me on a series of adventures over a 10 year period I'll remember for a lifetime.

Bill and I would frequently go over the facility with a fine tooth comb, not just for reliability issues but for FCC compliance. I quickly became a walking version of FCC Rules book!  WCAR had a "surprise" FCC inspection and to this day, I fully credit Bill's help for for us passing that FCC visit with "flying colors."  Bill also took me on adventures and projects at other stations and I took on many on my own. He has hung his hat at at Channel 4, WDIV for many years.

Mullen's standards, like Sneddon and Hood were uncompromising.  In later years as I undertook massive projects at Specs Howard and elsewhere, I would ask myself "Would this be good enough for Mullen?"  If it wasn't, it wasn't good enough for me.  Of those I’ve worked with, Bill was the Gold Standard as far as studio design and construction.

These became the standards which I require of any Operations Interns who work under my direction today.  There is no room for sloppy work in my world, yet at the same time, have a pleasant demeanor!

Not everyone has been as "lucky" as I, but it's really much more than just luck:  If you build a good life, good people will come. 

Thanks to everyone mentioned.

-Bob B


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