Reunions and Recollections
A Means to an End
by Bob Burnham

Fall of 2010 will go down in my personal history book as the time I hung with lots and lots of people who’ve known me or at least OF me for at least 30 years.

It seems 30+ years ago was a milestone in many of our lives. We got started with common interests related to radio, and those interests never went away.

I have already written about the Friends of Old-time Radio conventions.

One of the first stations that broadcast “old-time” programming that I had an association with (I was overnight Air Talent), was WSHJ, Southfield, Michigan’s  “public” station with a format that competed directly with commercial stations in the Detroit area.

A recent WSHJ Reunion brought to mind a few things:  We were all older, much wiser, but we still hadn’t forgotten those years nor lost our passion for what brought us together in the first place. 

The same is absolutely true of the “old-time” radio conventions, of which I’ve been to many.  I know how to “do radio” the way I do wearing either “hat” only because I’ve constantly compared notes with those involved.

You can’t survive doing what we do without having that network of people.  Along the way, I’ve been lucky enough to be associated with some of the absolute best in the business – both technically as well as programming.  It helped, because I wanted to be the best I could be.

None of us “hard core” people do what we do to make a lot of money.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite in that all of us have actually made personal sacrifices of time and money in pursuit of those interests.   Some of us were also actually clever enough to have found related niches with which we can earn a living sharing our knowledge, skills or acquired resources.

I am essentially a product developer and technical service provider to the broadcast industry as well as people interested in its history and its programming.

I am also an audio perfectionist!  I can make a radio station with a minimal budget sound better to the general public, but I can also take recordings made with primitive technology before I was born – sound like they were broadcast yesterday.   

Yet I also know programming and what it takes to put it together!  I have worked deep in the “trenches” of various radio stations in many capacities.  The past is in the past, but having that background has given me much insight as to where its going.

But remember, I didn’t develop this “stuff” in my mind overnight.

This “radio thing” and I go back 30 years.  I've "dated" RADIO longer than anyone else. Just ask any of the people who were there with me near the beginning.  

It’s true, I can (and have) physically built broadcast facilities from the ground up – but I can also assemble a complete “day of broadcast” on a modern broadcast automation system.   

Next, I’ll turn around and assemble a collection of “old-time” programs then layout a brochure using Adobe In-Design that markets it  (I’m not really “good” at In-Design, but know enough to be fairly dangerous marketing my own stuff).  

All of this to me, is merely a means to an end.  I originally built radio stations because I just wanted to BE ON THE RADIO.  

Today and back then, basically, I just wanted “do” radio (not merely "date" it!), and perhaps celebrate the way it USED TO BE before my existence was even thought of.

Next month marks the 35th Annual Friends of Old-time Radio Convention.  Through some quirky twist of fate, unless I get run over by a bus, I’ll be there.  

Just look for the kid from Detroit with a newly-assembled-digitally-restored package of “old-time” shows – that originated from Detroit.

 -Bob Burnham
   September 26, 2010