Haskey: A Gentle, Dedicated Engineer

Richard Haskey, owner and president of Western Wireless Works of Mesa, Ariz. died June 10 after a long illness. He was 64.
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Richard Haskey, owner and president of Western Wireless Works of Mesa, Ariz. died June 10 after a long illness. He was 64.

His company closed after his death and letters were sent to clients thanking them for their business and loyalty.

Long on experience

Haskey began his engineering career in the telecommunications and broadcast consulting business in the 1960s in Oxnard, Calif. He bought and sold new and used equipment of all sorts. In his early years, friends said, Haskey did just about everything from building towers to designing studios to serving as a morning disk jockey on KUDU(AM) in Ventura.

He discovered that he could help his radio clients by developing a turnkey broadcast installation, not a widespread concept at that time. Because he was knowledgeable about construction and installation, Haskey was one of the first to provide this service.

Another area of expertise was precision RF and audio measurement equipment, which Haskey designed, fabricated and installed.

In 1976 he took a job at Harris Broadcast in Quincy, Ill., where he worked with stations in this country and abroad. In 1982 he left the company and moved to Arizona to start his own firm, while continuing to consult for Harris.

His U.S. broadcast and telecommunications clients included Motorola C&E, Sprint Broadband, Lotus Communications, Clear Channel, Citadel Communications and Hispanic Broadcasting.

Over the span of his long career, Haskey also worked for a variety of companies in some pretty unlikely venues. He built high -- powered medium -- wave facilities in Third World countries such as Nigeria, Libya and the Island of Zanzibar.

Friends remember

Chester Coleman, president of American Radio Brokers in San Francisco, served as spokesman for the family after Haskey passed away.

"Richard Haskey was one of the last people to be able to start and finish any construction project from conception to FCC licensing," he said. "There are only about five others like Richard left in the U.S. He was the best."

Peter Costantino, a technician and sole employee of Western Wireless Works at the time of Haskey's death, said that his boss had a big heart and was a gentle person.

Mike Thomas is the former owner/general manager of a cluster of stations in Ventura. He said that if there were a hall of fame for radio-TV engineering, Haskey would have been nominated and voted in on the first ballot.

"He was the one that got me started in the business," said Richard Wiglesworth, owner of Comcell/Arizona Tower Service of Kingman, Ariz. "I worked for him about seven years ago and he was a really funny man, and devoted to building towers and radio in general."

When Wiglesworth went to work for Haskey, the former had no experience.

"He didn't pay me much to start, but once I showed him what I could do, he gave me a raise and an opportunity that no one else would. I used to watch him and sometimes he would spend too much money on a job just because he liked doing it. It was never just about the dollars with him," said Wiglesworth.

Haskey is survived by his wife Trish, their son Willard and another son Paul from a previous marriage. His family requests that any donations be made to The Nature Conservancy (www.tnc.org) or charity of the donor's choice. A tribute to Richard Haskey can be found in the history section of www.westernwirelessworks.com.

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