Bernie Wise Dies, Age 87

Wise is shown accepting a recent award from the International Broadcasters Idea Bank for his contributions to the broadcasting industry and his longtime support of the Idea Bank.

Bernie Wise, founder of FM transmission supplier Energy-Onix, is dead. He was 87.

Radio World has confirmed Wise died on Dec. 13. A public celebration of his life will be announced later.

Wise is survived by his son Jack and Jack’s wife Mary Wise, three grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

His son Jack Wise told sources the company will continue to operate and that it is open five days a week, though will likely be on a holiday schedule soon.

Wise founded Energy-Onix in 1987, according to its website. The firm makes AM, FM and shortwave broadcast transmitters, STL gear, translators and other products.

According to the company site, Wise was credited with bringing the “Grounded Grid” design to FM broadcasting.

“Wise began designing transmitters as an engineer with RCA, where he worked on the design team for their first UHF TV transmitter,” the site states. “His frequency studies and spectrum analyses were used by the Federal Communications Commission to allocate the UHF TV band in the United States.”

According to the company history, Wise in 1962 founded CCA Electronics Corp. Inc. of Gloucester City, N.J.

“At CCA he designed, developed and introduced the Grounded Grid Transmitter to FM broadcasting.” That company was sold in 1974.

Wise was a fixture for years at the NAB convention and other shows. In the past decade he was, among other things, also an advocate of spread-spectrum STLs and a critic of the HD Radio system. He wrote in a letter to Radio World in 2010 that he had attended every NAB convention since 1957 but would miss the event that year as “an expression of ‘non-support’ for the HD Radio system promoted by the NAB, iBiquity, CBS and several of the large radio groups.”

In 2005, according to Radio World reporting at the time, Energy-Onix installed an encoder from Digital Radio Express at WBUZ(FM) in Nashville to demonstrate the multicasting ability of FMeXtra digital subcarrier technology.

Comment below with your memories of Bernie Wise.
“Thank You, Bernie” (Letter, 2010)
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Comment List:

Like many others, I spoke to Bernie many times but never met him. He loved to talk about his units, design and upkeep. He helped many small broadcasters who were strapped for cash but were trying to get on the air. I am sure there are others who know of at least one station where he shipped a new transmitter on nothing more than a verbal handshake on the phone. Many of us got started that way when banks laughed at us. He might be the last of the super engineer who is so passionate about the business and its equipment. Although his "baby" was FM, we enjoyed a good laugh on the phone about the noise generator called IBOC and how it would be the death of AM. I really miss him. He was a wealth of knowledge and experiance.
By Larry Langford WGTO on 1/14/2014
I met Bernie years ago when the NAB show was in Atlanta. I had secured a CP for a new FM in the Albany, NY market but was working with limited resources. Bernie wanted to get one of his new solid state transmitters into a substantial market that was close by to his factory in Hudson, NY. He offered to finance the transmitter on the spot and we shook hands on the deal. I went to the plant to pick it up and had it installed and running in short order. Bernie and I would then speak on a regular basis to discuss how the transmitter was performing -- which was rock solid. A wonderful person who was always there for me. I hadn't seen him in several years, but thought of him often. He will be missed.
By Bryan Jackson on 1/3/2014
Another pillar has left us. Always had time for questions. Answers came from an expert. Bernie will be missed at the conventions and in so many ways. RIP
By Bob Zellmer on 1/1/2014
I'll always regret having never had the chance to meet/speak with Bernie. He sounds like he was a true pioneer, and I'm certain that the industry is better for his having been such an integral part of it for these many years. Did he ever write any sort of autobiography or was one ever done with his cooperation/insight? I'd love to read it if there was...
By Rob on 12/26/2013
I am sad to hear of Bernie's passing. The industry has lost a great man. The conversations he and I had about engineering and radio in general were always a true pleasure and I was looking forward to working with him on a project this coming summer. You will be missed, my friend. My thoughts and best wishes to Jack and Mary.
By Paul Lyons on 12/18/2013
Another great one. I will miss Bernie.
By Ken Fine on 12/17/2013
I am very sorry to hear of Bernie's passing. He was a true radio guy and understood the business of transmitter manufacture very well. The Energy Onix facility is located close to me and I have stopped in there often over the years, sometimes just to chat.
By Paul Thurst on 12/17/2013
I am so saddened to hear of the passing of such an intelligent and extremely nice man as Mr. Bernie Wise. It has been my extreme pleasure over the years to call him a true gentleman and friend. He has been so very helpful over the years in troubleshooting difficulties with transmitters utilizing ground-grid tubes, even orphans and those of competitors.
By C. Michael Hurst on 12/17/2013
Our organization owns two Energy-Onix tube transmitters. I never met Bernie in person, but spent many hours on the phone with him over the years talking about transmitters. He always wanted to know how every aspect of the transmitter was working and loved to chat to about the industry. He will be missed.
By Rob Robbins on 12/16/2013
Bernie was a great guy in his later years and helped me a lot getting into radio sales. A truly pioneer in our business knowing Armstrong personally and setting up UHF televisions frequency layout for the FCC while at RCA. He will be missed.
By John on 12/16/2013
I'm saddened to hear of Bernie's passing. He was a great intellect and a boone to broadcasting. It was my honor to have known him for more than 25 years and I only wish I'd met him sooner. His wit and dry humor will be missed as will his presence at the NAB.
By Kyle Magrill on 12/16/2013

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