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Letter: This Is Retirement?

I shoulda taken a job at RadioShack, assuming I could find a RadioShack

Michael Baldauf in studioThe idea of a broadcast engineer totally retiring does not seem to be working out for me.

I tell everyone I am semi-retired. The theory is to be able to find a few small side jobs to just make a little “mad money” using the skills acquired through a decades-long career. 

But the last few months have demonstrated how this theory never seems to quite work out. 

I live in rural Colorado, about 15 minutes from a four-station FM transmitter site. For them, the nearest unretired engineer is over an hour away.

I’ve just finished installing two transmitters there for K-LOVE/Air1. In the process I learned that fluid-cooled transmitters are not just for huge markets and installed on skyscrapers. This was one of the most complex installs that I have worked on, and the finished project seems like a new level of quality — 35 kW and 10 kW, so clean and quiet they seem unreal.

Just as I was completing the transmitter project and thinking of relaxing again, I got a text from the manager of a college radio station where I have a support contract. Turns out they got funding and had taken delivery of two Wheatstone control surfaces, blades and Cisco switches.

My experience is with small stations that owned good control boards, but nothing IP-based. So it looks like have some learning to do, as this next project gets underway.

If I really wanted to enjoy being semi-retired I guess I should have just gone back and taken a part-time job where I worked in college. Too bad there aren’t many RadioShacks left; that would have been the retirement job for me. 

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