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I Remember Bob Schroeder

Ham, First Phone, EAS expert, organist, Mason and friend

Paul McLane is editor in chief.

I’m grieved to note the passing of my friend and radio colleague Bob Schroeder, right.

According to the New Jersey Broadcasters Association, Bob died at age 62 in late October; somehow I’d missed that news until now. I knew he’d been ill but not how seriously. Bob told me earlier this year that he’d also been involved in caring for his elderly and ailing mother; an obituary published by Planet Princeton stated that she passed away two days before he did.

I met Bob years ago when we both attended SBE chapter meetings in Philadelphia; he was diligent about keeping in touch through our respective career moves. You may recall seeing his letters and comments in Radio World, often on the topic of EAS, about which he knew much because he was communications and warning officer for the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management.

Here’s a short bio from NJBA: “Born in Trenton, he was a lifelong area resident and retired from the New Jersey State Police. Bob, N2HX, was the current president of the Delaware Valley Radio Association (W2ZQ) and was currently serving as its repeater director. He also held a FCC lifetime (formerly First Phone) commercial radio/telephone license. He was a member of the ARRL and IEEE. Bob retired as communications and warning officer for New Jersey Office of Emergency Management in West Trenton, and as trustee of the NJ2EM 224.32 MHz repeater. Bob formerly worked for NJN Channel 52 as an audio engineer.”

When Bob retired in 2011 I wrote more about him. He was on the air doing top 40 radio in Columbia, S.C., in 1970, before he’d turned 21, and received a journalism award from the broadcasting society Alpha Epsilon Rho. “Doing radio wasn’t a job, it was a dream,” he told me in 2011. “Growing up in Trenton put me between two awesome markets.”

I asked him how he got into the biz.“I’m older than dirt,” he emailed. “I own a turntable. I’ve used a Gates Sta Level. I was friends with the great Art Silver and Paul Godley. I worshipped Dan Ingram.”

He worked as a studio engineer for New Jersey Public Television from 1979 to 1982. “Amusing anecdote: When NJPTV first went on the air, they built their studios in the old Sherbrook Lanes bowling alley where I used to bowl when I was a kid growing up in Ewing.”

In 1983 he was hired by the state Office of Emergency Management as a radio tech and in 1995 became the state communications and warning officer. “All that radio and TV background made it easy to interface with the EAS side of the profession because I was once ‘one of them.’”

Bob earned his FCC Second class phone around 1974 and then his First in 1978. “I say ‘earned’ because I had to take the tests in front of the indefatigable Joe Welch down at 5th and Arch,” he wrote.

Below are two articles written by Bob that give you a sense of the man. What they don’t capture was his warmth and determination. Earlier this year he told me that his retirement had been “temporarily interrupted” by his illness but said firmly “it’s only temporary and I’ll beat the damn thing,” as he had an earlier bout of illness in the 1980s.

The last time we emailed, he said he had finished reading Skip Pizzi and Graham Jones’ new book “A Broadcast Engineering Tutorial for Non-Engineers,” which I’d mentioned in print; he liked it a lot. And Bob ended his email to me as he always did, ever since he and I first met over dinner at those long-ago SBE chapter meetings: “Viva la chicken Maryland!”

Related, by Bob Schroeder:
Public Warning: Treat This Alliance Seriously (2010)

EAS Conference Call Setup Was a Bad Idea (2011)