As news began to circulate on Tuesday morning of SBE “Member #1” John Battison’s death at age 96, colleagues remembered fondly the broadcast engineering vet’s contributions to the industry over the last seven decades.
This afternoon, Radio World spoke with SBE President Ralph Hogan, also director of engineering at KJZZ(FM) in Phoenix, for his thoughts on the legendary Battison.
Did you know Mr. Battison personally?
RH: He was not only the founder of the society, but I considered him to be a cherished friend. He attended national meetings when he could during his later years, and he was always very much a gentleman and an excellent engineer, always excited about talking about engineering and training and how to form our membership. He gave me some guidance.
What are your favorite memories of him?
RH: Just sitting in a meeting room with various other engineers around and he and I talking and reminiscing about some of the old days. About how the industry has changed over time, and how consolidation has affected the industry.
How did the rest of the SBE react when they knew he would be attending a meeting?
RH: He didn’t attend regularly, because of his health, but when he did attend, there was always a level of excitement within the membership. Not only him being Member #1, but the conversation he would bring to the group.
Just recently, the society renamed the SBE lifetime achievement award the John Battison Lifetime Achievement Award. This recognizes and pays tribute to individuals for their dedication, lifelong achievement and outstanding contributions … and that I think sums up John (and) some of those values that he brought to the industry. His wealth of knowledge that he disseminated to the broadcast community will be missed.
More reaction and remembrances will be posted online in the coming week. Feel free to share memories of Battison in the comments section here.