The SBE’s Local Chapter 14 recently recognized Mike C. Rice’s contributions to the organization and the broadcast engineering community.
As chairman of the board of Nutmeg Broadcasting Co., Rice oversaw operation of the company while active in the Connecticut Broadcasters Association, where he has served as president in the past, and as president of the Idea Bank, an association of small market radio stations.
According to John Ramsey, Rice — who is currently CBA’s vice president — feels strongly that the engineers were the unsung heroes of the broadcasting industry.
Said SBE Chapter 14 Chairman Fred Krampits, “We are very happy to honor Mike for all of his efforts helping SBE Connecticut Valley Chapter 14. He has been a strong advocate with the Connecticut Broadcasters Association for recognizing the role that engineers play.
“Mike has arranged for technical presentations at the CBA’s annual convention, which is of great benefit to many engineers who may not have the opportunity to travel to a national convention,” Krampits continued. “Through him, the CBA has funded various engineering events for professional development.”
Additionally, Ramsey said that as president of the CBA, Rice “has been the driving force behind the successful implementation of an upgraded Emergency Activation Network, which now can be directly accessed by the governor, the State Police and civil preparedness. He has helped implement the Amber Alert System and the Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program Volunteer Inspection Program.”
Born into a broadcasting family, Rice is the son of Herbert Colin and Ethel Ann, who met while working at legacy station WKBW Buffalo, N.Y., and went on to purchase WILI of Willimantic, Conn. The company later added WINY (WPCT) of Putnam, Conn. Rice earned his First Class license, attended Notre Dame and earned an electrical engineering degree.
Rice worked as a research engineer with Electro Motive Manufacturing Company in Willimantic, Conn., while simultaneously providing engineering backup for WILI(AM). In 1964, he became chief operator of WILI and began working at the station full-time in 1966.
In 1970, with the assistance of radio engineer/consultant Hillis W. Holt, Rice engineered and built WNTY(AM) in Southington, Conn. In 1975, Rice assumed the operation of Nutmeg Broadcasting, licensee of three radio stations, WILI, WINY and WNTY; and in 1979, Nutmeg purchased WLIS in Old Saybrook, Conn. After the sale of WNTY, Rice and Holt combined talents to design and build a 5 kW AM directional operation in Old Saybrook on1420 kHz. WINY was then sold to family operators Rice and Kathy Gerardi, and WLIS was also later sold.
In 2005, Nutmeg Broadcasting Co. was purchased by Hall Communications, creating a pod of six stations in southeastern Connecticut.
Rice is shown at left in the accompanying photo, taken by John Ramsey.