A Tribute To Radio Board Ops and Engineers of the Past

We are now living in an automated radio world where knowing the technology is more important that operating a radio board. Growing up in the sixties and seventies, I was dazzled by the sound of pop radio. The sound seemed to jump out at me. The timing of the DJ, jingles, music, sounders and commercials was impeccable! In the large markets, the board ops ran everything and the radio talent spoke on the air.

In 1971 I paid WABC in New York a visit during Harry Harrison's morning show. WABC was the top pop station in the city and probably in the country. I was amazed on how the engineer ran everything with an unbelievable sense of timing. Their coordination with the talent had to be flawless and indeed it was. It seemed like Harry and his engineer were acting as one. Back in a time there was no automation and a time when even a 2 second music segment had to manually generated, engineers had to work at lightning speed. This was not an easy job.

When I first started in radio, learning to operate the board and coordinate the show wasn't an easy skill. Since I ran both my own board and did my own show, it took some time to master this skill. I was always tired after each shift but it was a good kind of tired. The kind that felt as if I was doing what I loved and had really accomplished something in those five hours on the air.

Being a board op or engineer back in the 60s and 70s was truly a real talent and I just wanted to remember those radio greats who performed these tasks everyday!