E. Glynn Walden
One of U.S. commercial radio’s most well-known engineers has left full-time employment at CBS, though he’s not leaving the radio business.
Radio World learned last week that Glynn Walden had been telling co-workers he’ll be leaving CBS Radio; and Friday was his last day. He is senior vice president of engineering, overseeing some 117 radio stations, and is on his second tour of duty at the company, having returned in 2004.
In addition to having been chief engineer of Philadelphia station KYW(AM) and having managed numerous corporate projects for CBS over the years, Walden is considered to be one of the “godfathers” of in-band, on-channel digital radio technology and is probably the most visible and long-tenured, taking an active role in it since at least 1989.
He was a founder of IBOC proponent USA Digital Radio — which was co-founded by CBS, Westinghouse and Gannett — where he worked on IBOC specs and designs. From 1996 to 2003 he was VP of broadcast engineering of USADR successor iBiquity Digital Corp.; there he directed broadcast industry-related activities associated with HD Radio tech development and regulatory approvals.
“I feel very lucky that I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, a chance to make a change in broadcasting. … I’m surprised it took this long to get into cars, but I think the rollout is going very well now,” he told Radio World in a phone call.
Walden, center, speaks about AM digital radio during the 2014 Radio Show in Indianapolis; he is flanked by Greg Borgen and Andy Skotdal. Photo by Jim Peck.
But he acknowledges that the consumer perception of radio has changed — “People don’t buy radios anymore. They get radios, but they don’t buy radios. They go to the store to buy a CD player and it comes with a radio; radio is a part of other devices.”
Walden received the NAB Radio Engineering Achievement Award in 2004.
He will be doing consulting work for CBS on a contract basis, and he voiced an interest in other special industry projects.
How did Walden, who grew up in Florida, get into radio in the first place? He started in the business circa 1966. “It was Field Day weekend, in ham radio terms — I had to skip part of Field Day because I had to work at WEDR in Miami! … Mostly I was self-taught, I didn’t have a degree yet,” he told us last week. “I’d been going to college but hadn’t graduated yet.” He was hired to run the FM of an AM/FM combo owned by Rivers Broadcasting and Georgia Gov. Ed Rivers.
Walden is 71. He is based and will remain in the Philadelphia area, with his wife and family.
Below is the text of Walden’s email to colleagues today:
CBS Engineering Friends:
Today is my last day as a fulltime CBS employee; however, CBS has asked me to stay on as a contractor for corporate projects.
I have had a tremendous 34 year run with Westinghouse, Group W, USA Digital Radio, iBiquity, Infinity and CBS. My career allowed me to be the chief engineers of one of the truly great radio stations, KYW, create a concept for existing analog radio to transition to a future digital world, develop the HD Radio system, and nurture its rollout within CBS and the radio industry. I am truly fortunate to have had these opportunities to work with the great engineers in these companies.
I have too many people to thanks for my success; however, I will name one, my wife, Christine, as she tolerated my love of radio and supported me especially during those intense five years where we were developing HD Radio.
I want to wish you all well and please don’t look at this as a goodbye as I hope to remain involved in a meaningful way in the continuum of developing and introducing new broadcast radio technologies. I will still be on CBS mail so if I can ever be of any help to you, please feel free to give me a call or send an e-mail.