This doesn’t really apply to radio in general, but I thought it was interesting nonetheless.
I told you about my recent visit to Miami. There were two items that fit the trip very well. They seemed rather kismet at the time.
I told you that my visit to Miami was to talk to the students in the Music Engineering Technology program at the University of Miami. I studied through this program (so many years ago), and I like to return to talk to the current students about radio broadcasting. (As far as I know there is only one other graduate of this program who also went into radio engineering: William Blum, who works for Clear Channel in San Francisco.)
Both items that fit the trip occurred in my hotel. While I was there I stayed at the Hampton Inn in Coconut Grove. Hampton Inns have a decorated style that uses black and white photos throughout the hotel. Each room has a plaque with the room number and a small picture. The pictures are usually nostalgic in some way: a rusty mailbox, a wheel barrow, a child in a pond, an old road sign. What was the picture on my room? A close up of an AM radio dial from an Oldsmobile. How appropriate is that?
The other item? My room number. This one take a little longer to explain.
While in school, the curriculum included a series of specialized audio classes that brought together the electronics, acoustics, physics, business, music and other aspects of music engineering. These four classes were numbered 501, 502, 503 and 504. It was one of these classes that led to me coming to work for Radio magazine.
The 503 class had a final project assigned in the class. The project was to do something that can be put on a resume. At the time, this seemed like an obtuse assignment, but we all charged ahead and thought about what to do.
One suggestion was to write an article for a trade publication. A popular magazine among my fellow students was Mix magazine (another Penton Media title). Some students started thinking of topics to submit to the editor. I liked this idea, but I wanted to do something different.
My interest in radio was strong then, so I turned to the broadcast magazine that I liked to read: Broadcast Engineering. In 1986, Broadcast Engineering still covered radio and TV. (In 1994, the radio content was pulled out and Radio magazine was begun.) I considered some topics and decided to try my hand at a Field Report. I arranged to receive a piece of equipment as a demo, and then I called the radio editor or Broadcast Engineering, Brad Dick (who is now editorial director of the magazine), and offered him the Field Report. He accepted the idea, so I got to work writing.
The piece of equipment? The Pacific Recorders and Engineering Micromax cart machine. The article ran in the Sept. 1987 issue.
That first article led to other Field Reports and then short features. For the next 10 years, I continued writing for Broadcast Engineering and then Radio magazine when it was launched. Then one day in 1997 I was asked if I would like to work for the magazine full time as the editor. I took the job.
But back to the second item from my trip. The 503 class is what started my career in publishing. My room number at the Hampton Inn? 503.
It seems that trip was just meant to be.