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Ray Topp, Publisher of Radio Guide, Dies

Magazine served radio engineers for 35 years

Ray Topp, wearing a cowboy hat, in an undated photoRay Topp, the longtime publisher of trade magazine Radio Guide, has died.

According to an email to associates from Acting Publisher Rita Topp, he passed away suddenly in early January.

“Ray considered all his colleagues he partnered with on Radio Guide and Media Magazine his friends and spoke warmly about everyone,” she wrote. “He worked tirelessly for nearly 40 years on his publications and enjoyed meeting and working with those that shared his passion for radio and broadcasting.

“As I look to the future and considered so many options for Radio Guide, I have made the difficult decision to dissolve Ray’s company.”

She said a memorial for Ray Topp would be held in coming months. “As a family we request that instead of flowers, those who wish to send money please know we will be donating to one of Ray’s passions, a local Mission in Cottonwood, Ariz., that support the homeless and those in need of shelter.”

According to his obituary, Topp developed a passion for radio in Trimont, Minn., where his grandfather, an owner of a radio repair shop, introduced him to electronics.

Ray would work in his grandfather’s radio shop, starting at the age of 11, learning how to rebuild small equipment and eventually radios. As he became a young adult his passion deepened for radio, Ray served for 6 years in the U.S. Navy as a Petty Officer First Class stationed in Guam. He served as an electrical engineer defending our country during the Vietnam War.”

He moved to Rochester, Minn., and worked for several radio stations as an electrical engineer. He eventually became a contract engineer, working for clients in southeast Minnesota and surrounding states. During this time, Ray and Rita owned KYBA(FM) for two years.

Radio Guide launched as “Rochester Radio Guide” in 1988 and was based at the time in Rochester, Minn.

Topp wrote in that issue: “For as long as I can remember, there has been no forum for the exchange of real-world radio technical information.”

“The goal of Rochester Radio Guide is to simply provide a forum for the exchange of radio technical information between all of us. … Much of what appears in the Radio Guide will at first seem to be basic technical information. You won’t find out how to design nine-tower DAs here. What you will find is the information needed to maintain that array. You will probably find that if you don’t learn something new, you will at least have reinforced what you already knew. I have a feeling that each article will contain a bit of both.”

According to his obituary, “Ray started his publication business in the late 1980s where he began the first of eight publications. He worked tirelessly for nearly 40 years on his publications and enjoyed meeting and working with those who shared his passion for radio and broadcasting.”

The first issue can be viewed at