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An Innovator Remembered

Eric Small was good for the industry, as a broadcast engineer, and product developer, Frank Foti remembers

The passing of Eric Small is heartbreaking in so many ways. Most of us know of him through his broadcast engineering ability and his company Modulation Sciences. The CP-803 Composite Processor is legend! That product gave many FM stations the needed competitive edge when crafting their signature sound. I know this from experience while “Serving the Universe from the Top of the Empire State Building!”

I was very fortunate to have known Eric on a broader scale. He was truly an innovator, but I really admired his “hootspa.” He was well read, and educated on many levels. 

[Read: Eric Small Dies in Florida Accident]

I recall being in an NRSC subcommittee meeting, many, many years ago, where the topic of composite clipping was up for debate. This was in the very early days of my own journey into business. I sat with awe, as Eric single-handedly took on all who tried to block the use of the tech. He was not to be denied…and I knew he was right regarding the topic at hand! Afterwards, he invited me out for a bite, and just laughed off the efforts of those who tried to derail him. He just “knew” what was right, and wasn’t going to back down. I learned something that day, and have never forgotten it, in my own ventures.

I can recall numerous times where Eric, Steve Church and I would get together just to discuss our views of the industry, technology, and whatever might be ‘cool’ to chat about. Since both Eric and Steve were very academic, those conversations could get a bit “heated” at times, but always done so with incredible mutual respect for all involved. He was a good friend, and since he got into business long before Steve and I, he was always in our corner, and at times was almost like a big brother to these two “radio-rat” engineers trying to build their own company.

He was good for our industry, as a broadcast engineer, and product developer. He is already missed. I’m sure he’s reconnected with Steve, and soon should you see or hear any thunder and lightning…well, it’ll be Eric and Steve in yet another wonderful debate. May you rest easy, my friend.

Ràdio World is gathering reader comments about the career of Eric Small, who died last week. Email to [email protected]