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Bob Michaels Passes Away

Former Arbitron developer created Programmer’s Package

Radio World has received notice from Thom Mocarsky that Bob Michaels, formerly of Arbitron and most recently owner of MediaSense in Dallas, had passed away. He sent along a tribute from Michaels’ family:

With the passing Bob Michaels programmers, lost a friend.

Known at Arbitron as the father of software tools for programmers, Bob is credited with the development of Maximizer’s Programmer’s Package — the first software ever designed expressly for the PD. The road to Bob’s multiple high-profile career successes began with stints in York–Scranton, Pa. and the Virgin Islands where he served as research director, news director, sales person, GM and on-air talent.

While at WQXA(FM) in York during the early ’80s, Bob converted a tiny abandoned station studio into an informal one-stop research agency where sales people, programmers and clients would gather to better understand what ratings actually meant. With a degree from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa. and an M.B.A. from York College of Pennsylvania, Bob was uniquely qualified to transfer data into dollars for the reps. And he provided a clear programming edge to the PDs.

Bob went to Arbitron through Pierre Bouvard who, at the time, was the regional manager in Dallas. According to Bouvard: “I repped Bob when I had Pennsylvania and was always amazed with how he understood our data better than most of us. When we had an opening in Dallas, he was my first call.”

Bouvard and Michaels often discussed the need for and value of having software designed specifically for programmers. From those conversations, Programmers Package was hatched and Bob became Arbitron’s first ever ambassador to radio programmers. Further incarnations of this work led to the industry newsletter PD News along with PD Boot Camps and PD Advantage.

Bob was on the frontlines where he help usher in PPM and he worked with programmers to help them understand the merits of the new rating service.

While many understand that Bob’s innovations and contributions made our industry better, there was yet another side to Bob where his passions also benefitted others. Along with Cindy, his beloved wife of 22 years, Bob collected Garden Scale (LGB) Trains. And what started as a small backyard setup for personal enjoyment, turned into an annual Christmas display where the tens-of-thousands of onlookers would stop by to see their Carrollton, Texas house in full seasonal splendor. Bob and Cindy asked each spectator to drop off a canned good for the local food bank. During Christmas, on a weekly basis, huge truckloads of food were hauled from Bob and Cindy’s to the needy.

Bob would also head back to Pennsylvania where he would host a public television station’s fund drive — garnering hundreds of thousands of dollars for their programming. And as an avid scuba diver and owner of a dive quarry, Bob would teach anyone who would ask about the joys under the water.