BRC BROADCAST SERVICES
P.O. BOX 158

DEARBORN HEIGHTS, MI 48127-0158

This of course, is  Bob’s BRC BROADCAST update!
My world consists of everything broadcasting and audio, past and present.

PRESENT DAY RADIO…

I remain an Engineer at Specs Howard School in Southfield (now part time).   A lot of details of my life have changed as a result of this status.  For example, I’ve become more active with Southfield Public Schools’ WSHJ-FM, where I am the designated Chief Engineer, and there’s a small resurgence of my “old-time” radio interests.

Picture
THIS BLOG SITE WILL CONTINUE IN A LIMITED CAPACITY.

My former co-worker, and former Marketing Manager at Specs Howard, Shelly Maki was mostly to blame for setting this up and giving me the first nudge for creating some content.   Shelly was a bright spot at Specs and a creative dynamo!  So thanks Shelly for that “nudge” and for being who you are. You are missed.

If I’m half-way-decent at what I do, I always attribute my best work to the people who I’ve been lucky enough to work with.  They don’t necessarily have to TEACH me anything – sometimes just a 
 

hint of encouragement is all it takes.  Or if they have an idea or particular style I like, I will sometimes borrow it and try to make it even better.   This list of people for me has gotten too long to list.  Sometimes they come back from the past to re-visit.  That continues to happen.  When it happens, I realize how important they were and perhaps still are. 

TOPICS TOPICS TOPICS!
You gotta have topics for a radio show or a blog site.  I’ve been in radio in some form for all my adult life, but I have a lot of opinions and thoughts on other more mainstream stuff as well.  I’m not sure what my next hot topic we’ll be.  Perhaps readers can suggest one.

SUPPLEMENT #3 (old-time radio) FOR 2012 IS READY.  Copies are available from my Facebook site:  Facebook.com/bobdoesradio   It includes Kraft Music Hall with Al Jolson, Suspense, Sherlock Holmes, Jack Benny and others. All shows are recently re-mastered to digital formats.  

HISTORY: BRC was begun as a mail order business by Bob Burnham in about 1976. We originally offered reel to reel and cassette tapes of old-time radio shows to the general public.  The logo, in use for over 20 years, resembles a fully restored 1936 Atwater-Kent model 356 “tombstone” style radio which is in our office.  I’m is also a broadcast engineer “at large” based in Detroit.

NAME CHANGE: BRC PRODUCTIONS is now BRC BROADCAST SERVICES!  This applies to ordering all old-time radio or nostalgia products and services.  This became effective June 2012.

OLD WEBSITES TAKEN DOWN:  All past websites are No Longer Active. This includes both brcradio and brcproductions.

CURRENT DOMAIN:  Still active is brcbroadcast however, there is NOT yet a website behind the e-mail.

E-MAIL CONTACT:  You may contact us at bob@brcbroadcast.com.

NO FAX OR VOICE:  We have also discontinued past fax and business office numbers.

MAILING LIST:  We snail mail printed old-time radio supplements about four times per year.  We can also e-mail via .pdf format.  There is no cost, however, we appreciate an occasional order.

FREE SHOWS:  BRC Broadcast maintains a free public dropbox from which free shows or other special audio can be obtained.  Although complete shows may be included, these are intended as samples to our CD or mp3 products.

DROPBOX:         Links will be provided as they are added. There is no cost or obligation to playing or downloading any of these shows.  Click on any link to access.

Some of the free audio currently available is:

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/19032620/Suspense%20excerpt.mp3

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/19032620/AU_REVOIR_SHOW_CLOSE_Ben_Bernie.mp3

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/19032620/SUSPENSE_301_08-05-1948_An_Honest_Man_Charles_Laughton.mp3

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/19032620/SUSPENSE_741_03-09-1958_The_Chain.mp3

CONVENTIONS:  Periodically, we make product available at a reduced price at selected conventions.  Those conventions are determined on an individual basis and may change from year to year.  This will be announced in our supplements.   

SPECIAL REQUESTS:            Although we maintain an archive of over 15,000 of the most popular (and not so popular) shows, we do not generally do custom recording.  This is due to the multi-step digital restoration process that all shows are given before they are made available. 
 
Picture
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.

Picture
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


 
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.

WHO THE HECK AM I?
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