The warmest meeting we had during the recent NAB Radio Show was with Ernie and DeLores Ankele. You read in RW recently that t he Ankeles had sold their majority ownership in console manufacturing company Autogram to Circuit Research Labs (which also owns Orban). Autogram production now moves from Plano , Texas , to Benton , Ark.
Autogram was founded in 1969 as part of packaging company Day Manufacturing. The Ankeles subsequently bought out that owner. Ernie Ankele told us two years ago that he and his wife were ready to retire and had hired a broker to help them sell their majority interest in the company; at that time he was 81, she was 75.
We’re happy for CRL, delighted that the brand name will be carried on and pleased for the Ankeles that they’ll have some well-earned relaxation time after decades in the console biz. But our feelings are bittersweet; and we can’t help but view the news as another departure among a generation of rock-ribbed, “old school” analog manufacturing companies whose products, it seems, lasted forever and whose owners were as much a part of each sale as the technology.
RW Editor in Chief Paul McLane says, “The affection and friendship that the Ankeles showed me year after year was a sustaining part of my experience at trade shows, dating to a convention in the mid-1980s when the couple took me out to dinner with no agenda other than to make sure I didn’t spend an evening away from home alone. They are kind, classy people, the best that Texas has to offer.”
We’ll miss them.