Engineering Spotlight: Del Reynolds

Nominate an engineer you know!  Email Dan Kelley at dkelley@michmab.com.

Del_Reynolds_300Del Reynolds is owner of Northern Star Broadcasting and a broadcast engineer. He has been affiliated with the same group of Northern Star Radio stations since 1989.

He is also engineer for TV 4 (WTOM-TV) in Cheboygan, TV 8 in (WGTQ-TV) in Goetzville, the 4 stations of the Northern Christian Radio Station Group and their two translators, Interlochen Public Radio stations in Mackinaw City and Harbor Springs, plus WBLW-FM in Gaylord and helps with projects for Strong Tower Radio.

Q: Please share with us a brief engineering resume.
Del:  
Most of my electronics have been self taught, as well as knowledge gleaned from other qualified broadcast engineers that I have had the privilege to know and work with over the years and the NAB Engineering handbook. I obtained my General Radio Telephone Operators License (GROL) and also have my Amateur Extra Ham Radio license as well.

I was also honored with the Carl E. Lee Broadcast Engineering Excellence Award from the MAB in 2007.

Q: How did you get started in broadcast engineering?
Del:  When I was 13 years old I built a radio station in my attic at home in Cheboygan and capacitor coupled my Lafayette AM phono oscillator to the phone lines and transmitted to the neighbors on 740 kHz. I called it “WRFN Wireless Radio of the Frozen North.”

Then when I was 15, I tested for my 3rd Class Restricted Radio Operators License, when disc jockeys needed to be licensed, and began as a Disc Jockey for WCBY-AM 1240 in Cheboygan. I was fascinated with all aspects of radio and tagged along with Walt Reingahns, the station engineer and also credit my early days to engineer Marvin Veurink for mentoring me as well. I began doing the studio maintenance at WCBY AM/FM and slowly worked into understanding AM and FM broadcast transmitters and moved into that arena where I continued to learn.

I also enjoyed programming and became the program director at 21 and eventually the GM of WCBY AM/FM at 23.

Q: Tell us something about yourself that very few people know…
Del:  I am a Licensed Airport Manager and Chairman of the Cheboygan Airport Authority. I am a private pilot and own a Mooney M20F. I’ve also been a church organist and keyboard player. I told my parents that I was going to own WCBY someday and as it turns out, I did, twice. The first time at 32 and then I sold it and 8 other stations I owned in 1998 and then bought it and the rest of the group back in 2013.

The first station I owned was at 27 years old and it was WLXX in Sault Ste. Marie and I changed the call sign to WYSS and called it YES-FM. WLXX was a pretty eclectic mix of programming so I launched the first Top 40 station on FM in the Sault. We went from worst to first in 9 months in Sault Cananda. The AM top 40 stations CFYN and CKCY eventually turned in their licenses to the CRDC and abandoned competing for the Top 40 CHR audience.

Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Del:   “It’s all in the presentation.” If you communicate respectfully, honestly and with regard to how people may receive your advice or request, you will have better results in every area of your life.

5 thoughts on “Engineering Spotlight: Del Reynolds”

  1. I worked with Del at JML in the 80s–he was the best then, and still is with his on-air morning shows at his “EZ” stations.

  2. I have known Del all his life. Probably because he is my brother! He was always a smart little fart and loved to play tricks on anyone he had the chance. I am proud of his success. He and Mary made an excellent team when it comes to radio business. I din’t think I know of anyone who has more talents than that guy. Not much he can’t do. Did I tell you he is my brother? 🙂

  3. I have know Del for many years and consider him a good friend. I can’t tell you how many times he has helped me out on engineering problems! He has even performed some MacGyver type situations! When it comes to engineering and radio station ownership it doesn’t get any better. I could always count on Del…Heck I still do!

  4. I’ve only met Del a few times, as we basically grew up on opposite ends of US23 stretching from WTOM to Alpena! I remember his being a member of MAB, and knew many of his employees, and always admired these radio guys that could do it all, and Del sure could! We basically did it all when we built WBKB-TV….Tom Disinger in engineering, Curt Smith in Sports and Pete Neumann in News & Public Affairs. By all, I mean designing the building on our kitchen table, filing ALL the FCC paperwork ourselves, using DC legal counsel only for approval of our pleadings, physically making all the cables, soldering the connections, hooking everything up, aligning the STL, etc etc etc. In retirement I often think of the design work we did on the joint UHF antenna at Kalkaska that now serves four separate full power stations, and also the custom Dielectric antenna at Goetzville. Working with VERY limited funds – remember, we were self-funded – we had Larcan literally cut our 44Kw analog transmitter in half and leave one half at Goetzville and the other half at our Marquette/Ishpeming station. Del, I know you’ll do a great job keeping “The Ghosts of Goetzville” at bay!! Be well, good friend!

  5. Del is one of the genuine class acts in radio. I first heard his voice when doing mornings for WMKC-FM (then owned by Doc Benson) in 1982. In addition to his stellar engineering chops, Del happens to be blessed with a set of pipes that rumbled the woofers back then, and have just improved with age and wisdom. It’s a pleasure to know him, and an honor to work in the same field.

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