Jeff Baker - 62WHEN Radio Chief Engineer
62 WHEN Radio - Syracuse, NY
"In His Own Words"
In 1976, I was working as chief engineer and on-air fill in at another Syracuse radio station where the entire on-air staff had just been fired. After a few bounced paychecks, I decided to look elsewhere. I was hired at WHEN by a GM whose name I do not recall because he did not tell me that his last day was the day before I started. When I arrived at the station (still on James Street) I was happy to find that Bob Carolin was the PD since we had worked together before. But when I went to the transmitter site in Liverpool, I found bulldozers rippling up part of the ground system for the antenna. In a panic, I called Bob who had me call the VP at Park Broadcasting, Roger Turner. Roger assured me that everything would be OK, but by the time he arrived the next morning, the area had been paved over. And that was the auspicious start of our new studio project on Old Liverpool Road. More about it is on the website in an article
I wrote for Broadcast/Management Engineering magazine. The rest of my four years at WHEN were not very interesting to tell about, but we did had a good time.
I left WHEN in 1980 to go back to do graduate work at the Newhouse School at SU, but within a month, I had a job offer I could not refuse and moved to Rochester as Chief Engineer of WBBF and Magic 92. It was a very different setup with a much larger staff. Three years later, I became Director of Engineering for Radio of parent company, LIN Broadcasting, with AM-FM stations in Philadelphia, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Houston and Rochester plus radio paging operations in the New York metro area and southern Texas. They were also in TV and publishing and were getting into this new mysterious communication system called cellular telephony. When LIN sold radio and paging, I took a similar job elsewhere, later worked for Harris Corporation´s Broadcast Products division, and finally went back to school and earned a Ph.D. in psychology which I now teach. I also do course design for online learning. Ironically, part of that work is writing short voice scripts similar to the radio copy I once wrote.
Today, my involvement with radio consists of listening to Bob Smith
(his "In Your Own Words" story is also here to read) and other programs on WXXI. I have seen many changes in radio over the years and it seems to be all business today. But back at WHEN, it used to be fun.
By the way, I still have my WHEN license plate ski cap.
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