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Breakfast With Gary

A sad but fond memory of our late friend Gary Kline

When Gary Kline died at age 58 in January, Radio World lost a friend as well as a colleague. You can read his obituary at; but I want to share a more personal memory.

Gary wanted to meet with Radio World Publisher John Casey and me at every spring NAB Show. His enthusiastic email asking to set up our appointment was typically my marker that convention planning had started.

We’d meet over breakfast and the formula was consistent: Gary would arrive hurriedly while looking at his phone, plop down and say that he wanted to pick our brains about what was going on around the industry. I wouldn’t even have gotten up to the buffet yet. I’d mention one topic. And then he was off. 

The man’s energy and way of thinking were amazing. His mind raced. Ideas would tumble out, usually in the form of questions: “Oh! And virtualization! That’s another thing! I was talking to a potential client just yesterday about this. It sounds great and I think he should do it; but I asked him: ‘Have you thought about this? Have you thought about that? What about the impact on this other part of your operation?’ Hey Paul! You should do a story about stuff they need to know to virtualize a studio. Which reminds me! Have you thought about a feature on affordable PTZ cameras? …”

I’d keep a reporter’s notebook at my elbow because I didn’t want to lose his many story ideas. I don’t know how he managed to eat, because he practically never stopped talking. And not just suggesting good topics, but providing good contacts. “I’m consulting to this company that’s doing a cool project in Florida, and one of the studios looks into a giant fish tank! I’ll put you in touch with them! Hey wouldn’t it be great if you did a sidebar with tips about how to work with aquatic environments?”

Gary Kline in a 2008 photo.

Then after 90 minutes or so, I’d look at my phone and say, “Gary I have to be on the show floor in 10 minutes. I gotta run.” And he’d say “Oh, no! I haven’t even had a chance to hear what YOU guys are hearing out there in the world!” It was true, and I loved it.

I have many good memories of Gary. But those conversations — er, listening sessions — are a treasured one. 

When we named Gary the recipient of the Radio World Excellence in Engineering Award in 2009, I wrote that he was not only a forward-looking technical talent but that he understood how to communicate engineering concepts to C-level executives in a way that supported their business goals. And that was true.

But perhaps the quote that captures him most came from another colleague. He told Gary: “You are one of the radio guys who always is ‘on it’ 24 x 7 x 365.”

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