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Radio Loses Broadcast Engineering Stalwart

Barry Thomas excelled in field for over 30 years

Barry Thomas took on cancer bravely for a decade. Sadly his fight is over. Thomas, recipient of Radio World’s Excellence in Engineering award in 2011, passed away December 6. He was 56.

Thomas spent more than 35 years working in radio technical operations, building radio facilities and serving his industry on a variety of national technical organizations. He most recently was director of engineering KSE Radio in Denver. He previously served as DOE at Wilks Broadcasting and was VP of Engineering for Lincoln Financial.

[Read: Barry Thomas to Receive Radio World “Excellence in Engineering” Award]

Thomas was a fellow in the Society of Broadcast Engineers and served two terms as SBE president. He is the former chairman of the NAB Radio Technology Committee, past chairman of the NRSC RBDS Subcommittee and continued to participate in the NRSC serving on a number of subcommittees, according to his LinkedIn profile.

On Thomas’ passing, SBE President Jim Leifer, CPBE, said, “Barry served the SBE in many capacities and has been a voice for many engineers in our industry for decades. After hearing this news, I remembered so many occasions where Barry spent time developing younger engineers and being that mentor so many of us talk about. He was a devoted father, son, brother and fellow engineer who will be sorely missed by all.”

SBE notes that Thomas was co-author of five U.S. technology patents and SBE-Certified as a Professional Broadcast Engineer (CPBE), a Digital Radio Broadcast specialist (DRB) and a Broadcast Networking Engineer (CBNE).

Thomas, who hailed from Columbia, S.C., was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2008 and underwent surgery on his spine to remove a tumor. He told Radio World in 2011 was proud of the fact that he could “continue to work full-time and be a father.”

[Read: Exploit Change, Don’t Impede It]

He also previously worked as VP of engineering for Westwood One and for years ran a contract engineering firm, Thomas Media Systems & Design. Thomas earned a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts from the University of South Carolina in 1985.

Funeral arrangements for Thomas are tentative at this time. A funeral service is expected to be held at North Star Christian Center, 711 Longtown Road, Columbia, S.C. It is tentatively scheduled for Friday, Dec. 21. Visitation is scheduled from 10:15 –11:00 a.m. with a service to follow. Friends say celebration of life is scheduled to be held in Denver on Jan. 19, 2019.

Radio World is planning to share remembrances from some of Thomas’ friends and colleagues with an in depth appreciation story on his life.

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