A Chat With Ron Mitchell
Supply Side is a series of occasional interviews with industry suppliers – here, Ron Mitchell, president of RAM Broadcast Systems.
How did RAM come to be?
I went to Ryerson, now a university, in Toronto, studying engineering/electronics. In the evenings I worked as a DJ at CHFI Radio, Rogers Communications.
I started in the business in 1965 with McCurdy Radio, located in Toronto. Over the span of 10 years I was involved in manufacturing, test, engineering and sales. In 1975 I was promoted to vice president of McCurdy Radio Industries Inc., given ownership shares of the company and transferred to Chicago.
InfoRAM Broadcast Systems
950 North Rand Road
Wauconda, IL 60084
In Chicago we built integrated systems for all the major broadcast groups. Our clients included ABC, CBS, Haftel, NBC, RKO, Westinghouse, etc.
In 1983 George McCurdy sold the company. I sold my shares as well, and started RAM Broadcast Systems as a systems integrator, equipment supplier and broadcast furniture manufacturer.
How has the competitive landscape changed?
Most of my competitors have either retired or died.
I think we are one of the few independent integrators in the field that build our own furniture and related wiring technologies. It was hard for me to transition from shielded grounded systems to utilizing Cat-5 wiring techniques. Now we do it every day, no problem.
What are some typical contracts?
Most of our contracts are multi-studio packages. Recently we have built multi-studio packages for the Journal Broadcast Group in Omaha and Emmis Communications in Chicago. We are in the process of building 10 large studios for Spanish Broadcasting System in Miami, which includes a TOC. The entire facility will be built in our factory, then shipped to Miami. Installation time, four weeks.
We also work with Motorola’s engineering team at their headquarters in Schaumberg, Ill., and build test beds and RF trays for cell phone test areas.
Lately we have been contacted by a country in Africa to design and construct a satellite uplink with multiple downlinks including FM transmitters at each downlink site.
Describe your business operation.
We’re based in Wauconda, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. We have four full-time and six part-time employees; and a pool of contractors as needed.
We utilize 12,000 square feet of space – 6,000 square feet for woodworking and 6,000 for assembly and warehouse. Our custom woodshop manufactures both solid and laminated tops. We manufacture our own leg supports and desk top options.