We’re pleased to begin a new spotlight series featuring the hardworking engineers at our stations. To nominate an engineer for a spotlight, please email Alisha Clack at [email protected].
CPBE, Chief Engineer, Cumulus Media, Grand Rapids. Approaching 4 years, but this is his second time working for WLAV; was the CE for WLAV-AM/FN from 1986 to 1993.
Brief Engineering Resume:
Dave: My first radio job was screening calls for a sports talk show on WKBZ-AM (Muskegon). From there I started running Tiger games and eventually got a job as an on-air announcer at WLRQ-AM in Whitehall. (side note, WLRQ, currently WKLQ, is now owned by the Cumulus Muskegon cluster!) From there, I went next door to the FM station owned by Regional Broadcasting at the time. It was automated, so that left time to tinker with equipment. I became more interested in engineering, and started helping the regional engineer whenever anything needed repair.
I have been really fortunate to have had a couple of great engineering mentors over the years, and opportunities to work with them on a contract basis for a lot of different stations early in my career. This gave me a very broad education on repairing and troubleshooting a myriad of different types and brands of equipment. After that, I went to my first real full-time engineering job in Florida, and spent two years at two different stations before returning to be the Chief Engineer for Liggett Broadcasting. After that, I went to WLAV and spent seven years before the station was sold. I then decided a change would do me good and went into telecom working for a small local competitive telephone company. They were bought and sold many times before eventually becoming part of Verizon. All the while I kept a couple contract stations, I just couldn’t get radio out of my system.
I spent fifteen years in telecom, with the last two years working in Baghdad under contract with the U.S. government. After that ended, I began looking for full-time work again and eventually landed at Cumulus.
Q: How did you get started in broadcast engineering?
Dave: I love music and grew up listening to the Big 89, WLS. Around age 13, my family moved to Muskegon and we lived near the WTRU-AM studios and transmitter site. I rarely could tune in WLS at home, so WTRU became my station. I listened to that station a lot, and originally was more interested in being an announcer. Eventually I would be an announcer for WTRU, but as it turns out, I didn’t much care for it. Engineering had already taken hold.
Tell us something about yourself that very few people know…
Dave: My on-air moniker was Dave Lee.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Dave: Always treat people well, you never know when you might end up working for them. Karma is everywhere.