Kinsley Jones at a station in the Pacific Northwest in the early 1970s.
Credit: Photo courtesy John Terry DALLAS-FT. WORTH — Kinsley Jones was hardly alone in getting hooked on radio in the 1960s. As a young man, he worked his way “town to town, up and down the dial” as an itinerant DJ in the Pacific Northwest, starting in his hometown of Yakima, Wash. But unlike so many jocks of the era, Jones segued into broadcast engineering and then into equipment sales. It’s in that role that he’s being fondly remembered after his death Aug. 20.
“He was just a real pro. He understood the business and was in it for a long time,” said Bill Harland, vice president of marketing at ERI, where Jones held the same position from 2002 until 2007.
Most recently, Jones was a partner in the consulting firm ChurchillTerry, where principal John Terry recalled him as a “brilliant salesperson, but not the Herb Tarlek type. “Kin genuinely liked people,” Jones said. “He liked customers, he liked solving problems, and I think every company he ever worked with saw an increase in sales when he was there.”
Jones died a few days short of his 64th birthday, according to Terry in an email.
There were plenty of companies on Jones’ résumé, according to his LinkedIn profile: He worked in sales for Harris from 1975–1980, moved to the now-defunct transmitter manufacturer McMartin, then to Moseley, Townsend (later merged into today’s Larcan-TTC), Omega Industries, Andrew and Comark-Thales before arriving at ERI. At ChurchillTerry, one of Jones’ major consulting clients was Myat Inc., the New Jersey-based manufacturer of transmission system components.
At Andrew, Jones was instrumental in landing a big order from NBC for satellite gear to outfit its new affiliate uplink center in Charlotte, N.C., according to Harland. “That was a big project. Scientific-Atlanta was the big supplier at that point, and that really put Andrew on the map.”
During his ERI years, Jones played a key role in master FM and TV antenna projects at 4 Times Square in New York City and at the Senior Road tower site in Houston.
“Kin was incredibly smart,” Terry said. “People would present him with a problem, whether it was an engineering problem or a business problem. Kinsley had this ability to very quickly analyze the situation, analyze the people and come up with a solution. He was an absolutely brilliant negotiator. Any time we had any sort of negotiation, I’d hand it over to Kin.”
Away from the negotiating table, where Jones had earned a business certification from Southern Methodist University in 2012, friends remember Jones as a man of many interests.
“He had a collection of antique radios he worked on, but his big passion was antique cars,” Terry said. “His dad was in the auto parts business, and he had probably six or eight cars. He had a place up in Missouri where he kept them. He told me a story about going to Oregon to get a car, and he and his son were driving back across the country when the vacuum pump went out, so no windshield wipers.”
When it started raining, Terry said, Jones and his son Brian stopped and bought a ball of twine that they passed through the wiper arms and into the front windows on each side of the car. “Whenever they needed the wipers, Kin would pull on one end and Brian would pull on the other to move the wipers back and forth!”
Earlier in his career, Jones had also been a recording engineer who’d worked on sessions with the Carpenters during his days in Los Angeles, where his day job in the early 1970s was as chief engineer of KIQQ(FM), according to Terry.
Jones was especially notable for his commitment to boosting the careers of women, even as far back as the 1970s.
“There are any number of women who would stand up and say Kin helped advance their careers,” Terry said.
Jones was diagnosed with cancer in late January. “When he was first diagnosed,” Terry said, “I asked him what he wanted to do, and he said I want to keep working for as long as I can, and he literally did. He was meeting with clients two weeks before he passed away, and was e-mailing me” the night before he was taken to the hospital. “I hope I live my life half as well as Kin lived his,” Terry said.
Jones is survived by his wife, Barbara; by two daughters and two sons from two marriages; and by several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.