Paul McLane is U.S. editor in chief.
I'm been shaking my head trying to get rid of the stunned, emotional feeling that has taken hold since I heard the news that Art Constantine had died.
Many people are just learning about the Saturday motorcycle accident that took Art's life and that of his passenger and spouse Lisa Schub.
It's often said that radio can feel like a familial business. Even in this post-consolidation era, or maybe especially now, the circle of people who make up our industry can seem small. That's even more so of the radio equipment sales sector, where "everyone knows everyone"; where visits with friends in convention exhibit booths year to year are a comforting ritual; where salespeople joke that they don't advance in their careers, they just bounce around from company to company.
Especially in such a tight-knit community, someone with Art's personality was bound to stand out. Once, when our contributor Tom Osenkowsky called Art for comment in a story, Constantine picked up the phone and said, "Holy s**t! It’s Tom Osenkowsky!" That was Art, jovial, earthy, with pure comic timing. I might visit him in a booth in Las Vegas; he'd see me coming, wearing a distinctive, head-down mischievous look on his face; and within a sentence of conversation he'd have me laughing.
His upbeat demeanor and clever wit would be memorable anyway; combine that with Avery Schreiber-doppleganger looks, and you were not likely to forget him.
To note only his sense of humor would be to underestimate him. He knew his stuff. He was a careful reader of our publication, too, and quick to let me know if he thought we had slipped up somewhere. It was obvious that he was a hard worker and loyal to his employers.
But it's his smiling disposition that I'm going to miss, come NAB time in a few weeks. And I'm not going to be alone.
My thoughts, and those of many industry colleagues, are with Lisa and Art and their families.