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By Paul McLane 5/29/2012 11:42 AM

He was a kind and supportive industry veteran

By Paul McLane 5/25/2012 11:34 AM

Former VOA official worries about changes in Smith-Mundt Act

By Paul McLane 5/11/2012 12:03 PM

Company offers some goodies

By Paul McLane with Paul Shinn 5/3/2012 1:31 PM
Paul Shinn wants to get something off his chest.

A broadcast engineer for 27 years, he shares some thoughts with me that I thought I’d pass along for your comments.

“I’m no fan of computers and similar consumer-grade electronics at a radio...
By Paul McLane 5/1/2012 2:24 PM
Paul McLane is Radio World U.S. editor in chief.

So Harris has put its broadcast communications operation up for sale. Look for lots of speculation about who will take that business on, as well as questions about what the sale says about the industry.

...

5/29/2012 3:42:00 PM

He was a kind and supportive industry veteran

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5/25/2012 3:34:00 PM

Former VOA official worries about changes in Smith-Mundt Act

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5/11/2012 4:03:00 PM

Company offers some goodies

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5/3/2012 5:31:00 PM

Paul Shinn wants to get something off his chest.

A broadcast engineer for 27 years, he shares some thoughts with me that I thought I’d pass along for your comments.

“I’m no fan of computers and similar consumer-grade electronics at a radio station,” he begins.

“Back when I got started, stations were turntables and cart machines. One station had a MacKenzie machine (it pre-dates carts). There were consumer-grade turntables, and then there were broadcast-grade turntables. The difference was night and day.

“As for carts, there were broadcast-quality cart machines, and there were consumer grade 4-track machines (which used the same tapes). Again, difference was night and day. You could drop a cart machine on the concrete and it still worked. You could subject it to disc jockeys, and they still worked (the machines, that is).

“I remember when we brought in the first CD players at KWG/B101. Although they were high-end consumer machines at nearly $2K each, they were damaged by disc jockeys. CD players had the ‘start’ buttons smashed through them, decks dislodged, optics damaged, you name it. Meanwhile, the broadcast-quality cart machines outlived every CD player that ever went through the place,” Paul continues.

“Now, I do live in the real world, and I know that all the old stuff is horribly obsolete. However, I have seen computers that were built for military and industrial uses, and I see the consumer-grade junk that passes for a ‘broadcast-quality’ computer today. Junk!

“Here’s my personal rule: If any of the parts for the ‘broadcast’ computer can be found at Best Buy, then it is NOT broadcast-quality. Period. No way

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5/1/2012 6:24:00 PM

Paul McLane is Radio World U.S. editor in chief.

So Harris has put its broadcast communications operation up for sale. Look for lots of speculation about who will take that business on, as well as questions about what the sale says about the industry.

Who will step up to buy? What price will Harris get? We’ll see. But certainly, given the deep roots of Harris in the broadcast community, this marks the end of a chapter in broadcast technology. As the company says on its website, “Turn on a television or a radio almost anywhere in the world. Chances are excellent that the signal you receive is being broadcast with hardware from Harris Corp.’s Broadcast Communications Division.”

While I can’t say I saw the decision to sell coming at this time, I was not really taken aback. Anyone in broadcast tech who has been paying attention knows that the big parent company had many priorities and that broadcast seemed to take a lower profile than in the past. Harris sold off its distributor business (the old Allied part of the company) five years ago, and in 2011 it realigned its structure so that broadcast became part of something called Integrated Network Solutions.

From my perspective, reading Harris quarterly financial reports and talking to industry insiders, the company — hungering as all public compan

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