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Readers Reminisce and Comment on Translators

Letters explore a variety of topics


This photo was taken in 1968 in the first control room where Steven Warren worked; KOTN in Pine Bluff, Ark. The station was owned by Buddy Deane. He was one of the founders of Top 40 radio.

Present-day Steve Warren.

I actually hit my 50 years in the biz in 2014, as my first DJ gig came in the summer of ’64. But as I move into a new programming/formatting venture this year, I noticed it was 50 years ago (1967) that I first was given the title and responsibility of program director, to choose the music and set the flow of the station.

And here I am now, at it again. I realize I have been exceptionally lucky as one of the guys who’s made a career out of something he loves doing.

Steve Warren
The New Country Tradition


Responding to “Are Broadcasters ‘Gaming’ The Translator Rules,” RW May 10 issue:

Good article exploring FM translator issues, thank you.

What you hinted at needs to be stated more bluntly: FM translators were gaming the system from Day One. In reality, they are a broadcasting service in their own right, not just a supplementary adjunct to the main station. They elbow their way into an already overcrowded FM radio dial.

FM translators have become the must-have prestige bauble to keep up with the Joneses to aggrandize radio property value. Full-service FM stations which complain about fringe contour interference from a translator are baring the fiction held out to their advertisers of exaggerated coverage claims. Average listeners don’t attempt to listen to a station that can’t keep receiver capture.

On the AM side, the notion that FM translators support AM revitalization is the oxymoron of the century. Clear FM reception seduces listeners away from the noisy AM band, thus directly subverting rather than enhancing the AM radio service. Let’s quit the winking and nodding about FM translators.

As the boy in the crowd observed: “Hey! The Emperor isn’t wearing any clothes!” A genuine improvement to the AM radio service would be to pull in the contour protections of Class A and B stations to allow lower-class AM stations to up their power, same day as night, and sunset their FM translators. That would be AM revitalization!

James B. Potter, K3NSW
Cutting Edge Engineering
The Little Spot Shop
Kimberling City, Mo.


Responding to “Entertainment Reporter Tells Story of His Life,” May 24 issue:

As a former broadcaster, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the memoirs of my peers, especially about the successful, diverse career of Bill Diehl.

There is a common denominator about the veterans of the field: We began our early “career” on a real play station — a turntable, an amplifier, speakers and a microphone hooked up in our basement. And oh, 45 rpm records. I used the Yellow Pages to ad lib spots.

I digitally recorded a pair of interviews with two late radio broadcasters: Dr. Edgar Willis, former chair of the School of Communications at the University of Michigan, and Bill Stegath, a legendary UM alumnus and sportscaster for the U of M. They found broadcasting attractive at an early age. The interviews are available on my Ann Arbor YouTube page:

One wish: a book about the grand old announcers of ABC Radio news, Art Van Horn, John Cameron and the like. I would buy it!

Dale R. Leslie
Ann Arbor, Mich.