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John Burtle Dies, Worked in Radio Tech

Had product roles at ATC and BE

John Burtle image Hansen-Spear Funeral Home
(Hansen-Spear Funeral Home)

This story contains additional information since its original posting.

John Burtle has died. His career included stints at technology companies Automatic Tape Control (ATC) and Broadcast Electronics, where he once held the position of VP of product development.

He was 80, according to an obituary on the website of Hansen-Spear Funeral Home in Quincy, Ill.

“He was the force behind the BE automation products including the Control 16,” wrote his friend Chuck Kelly of BE on social media.

Burtle served in the U.S. Air Force and graduated from Chicago DeVry Tech School. After graduating he worked at KOKX in Keokuk, Iowa, as an engineer and night-time DJ. He later became chief engineer of KCRC in Enid, Okla., where he also did college sports play by play.

The family moved to Bloomington, Ill., in 1969 when Burtle took a job with ATC, working with Andy Rector until that company was bought out by Gates Radio; and the Burtles moved with the company from Bloomington to Quincy, Ill., in 1970.

A few years later, “John followed Larry Cervon when he purchased Broadcast Electronics and was instrumental in moving the BE operation [in 1977] from the Washington, D.C., area to Quincy,” Rector recalled.

Burtle became VP of BE’s product development and held that role until the early 1990s, when the company was sold and new owners replaced its upper management.

Changing direction and not wanted to leave Quincy while his daughter was in school, he took a training job with ComputerLand, teaching computer skills.

His son Ron Burtle told Radio World, “He became sought out by many groups and companies to train their employees as he provided quality training, no matter of the participant’s initial skill level. He would always review the materials the night before each class — for hours, even though he knew the material well.”

Burtle retired from ComputerLand about 2005 and remained in Quincy.

“We are very proud of his work,” Ron Burtle said. “He believed in doing things right the first time, no matter how long it took or how hard it was.”

Rector called John Burtle “a good friend and a fellow conservative,” Rector said. “He helped me put together a history of the broadcast tape cartridge machine which we presented to the Madison Broadcasters Clinic in 2008, the 50th anniversary of that device.”