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Richard Mertz Dies

Consulting engineer had pancreatic cancer; was with Cavell Mertz for 19 years

Broadcast consulting engineer Richard Mertz has died after a two-year fight with pancreatic cancer. He was 65.

The website of Cavell Mertz & Associates carries the news. The Virginia-based firm reported that Mertz passed away at home with his family; he’d been under hospice care.

According to a company biography, Mertz joined the firm in 1994 after already having worked for 25 years in broadcast engineering. His career spanned broadcast television and radio, cable television and communications. The company said he had recently become an authority on the TV “rebanding” rulemaking and in helping television clients with the transition to digital.

“Several projects of note involved field measurements to demonstrate that the FCC’s interference model overstated actual station coverage,” the website stated. “These measurements and experimental reports resulted in several high band VHF station being permitted to greatly exceed the maximum power cap in the Northeast providing an improvement with indoor reception.”

He wrote for Radio World and authored numerous technical papers presented at NAB and IBC conventions.

Mertz had worked in the Washington area as a staff engineer and project manager at Jules Cohen & Associates, P.C., as director of engineering for United Broadcasting Company Inc., and manger of technical operations for NBC’s WRC(AM).

“Prior to coming to Washington, Richard worked at several of the major-market Jefferson Pilot Broadcasting radios stations,” the company stated. “He was the technical operations manager at WBT(AM)/ WBCY(FM), and the Jeffersonics audio recording facility in Charlotte, N.C.” It said that under his guidance, WBT participated in testing AM stereo skywave performance, becoming the first station in the South to operate in AM stereo.

“Before WBT, Mr. Mertz was assistant chief engineer for Jefferson-Pilot Broadcasting’s WQXI(AM/FM) in Atlanta, Ga., where he designed and built studio and transmitter facilities. … He served on panels of industry groups covering subjects from AM stereo, multiple ownership and microprocessor systems, to RF exposure protection.”

According to a 2011 Radio Show conference bio, Mertz held a bachelor of science degree in math and physics from Oglethorpe University. He was former chapter chairman of SBE Washington Chapter 37 and a member of the Audio Engineering Society and IEEE. He held an FCC General Radiotelephone License and was a licensed radio amateur (N3QJF).

A memorial service is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 3, in Washington.