The Association of Public Radio Engineers has announced Bruce Wahl as the 2018 APRE Engineering Achievement Award honoree. The award will be presented April 6 at the Public Radio Engineers Conference Dinner in Las Vegas.
Wahl broke into the radio industry by serving as the American Forces Vietnam Network as officer in charge of the AM, FM and TV detachment in Pleiku for the U.S. Army.
He was hired in March 1971 as National Public Radio’s 18th employee. He is now senior solutions architect for NPR’s distribution division, but has had a variety of roles in and out of public radio throughout his career.
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Wahl’s initial work at NPR was to assist in building the organization’s first broadcast facility. After completing a temporary home near the White House, a more complete facility was built about six blocks away at 2025 M Street which went on the air in 1972.
He later became the technical plant supervisor. As NPR transitioned to satellite delivery of programming, Wahl became the manager for the new Satellite Operating Support System.
In 1984 Wahl left NPR to create systems as a subcontractor for McCurdy, including one project for the ABC Radio Networks and another for the Mutual Broadcasting System. Other projects included systems integration for Sirius Satellite Radio.
In late 2003, Wahl returned to NPR as the deputy director for distribution information systems. In 2008, he was promoted to his current position. He has recently collaborated with member stations on the “Tornado Alley” project.
“Since the 1970s, Bruce Wahl has been a major contributor to public radio engineering and is highly respected in our field,” said APRE Board President Steve Johnston.
Wahl is also active in community service and politics. In 1989, he was appointed to fill a vacant seat on the Chesapeake Beach Town Council, a position he held until 2008, when he ran for mayor and served in that role for eight years. In 2013, Wahl ran for the office of president-elect of the Maryland Municipal League, the organization of all 157 municipalities in the state. In 2014, he became the league’s president and completed his year with the theme of “Civility in Government.”
Previous APRE Engineering Achievement Award recipients include:
- Dan Mansergh KQED
- Ralph Hogan, past founding president of APRE
- Ralph Woods, NPR
- Bud Aiello, NPR
- Gray Frierson Haertig, Consulting Engineer
- Michael LeClair, chief engineer for WBUR(FM)
- Mike Starling, former vice president of Technology Research Center and NPR Labs
- Roger Karwoski, Assistant Manager and Director of Engineering for KBIA
- Donald Creighton, VP of Technology for Minnesota Public Radio and APM
- Richard Cassidy, Director of IT and New Media for WAMU(FM), Washington
- Wayne Hetrich, one of NPR’s 30 original employees
- Chuck Leavens, Director of Engineering and IT management for WDUQ, Pittsburgh
- Marty Bloss, former Director of Technology at NPR
- Don Danko, Vice President for Engineering, Cincinnati Public Radio
- John Kean of NPR Labs, part of NPR Distribution’s Technology Research Center
- Jim McEachern of NPR
- Mike Pappas of KUVO in Denver
- Doug Vernier of V-Soft Communications