As this is the month for Thanksgiving, I wanted to take time to mention a few people (through good net links) who we’re thankful for their work.
Thanks to PBS for this whole program on the multitalented Nikola Tesla. Most of us know of his work, plus the fact he’s probably one of the least known inventors (outside the engineering circles), though he made some of the most significant contributions. If you’ve read the stories about him and Edison, you also may have a different opinion about Edison and his work. So thank you, Mr. Tesla!
Mr. FM Radio
One of the more tragic stories in radio history may come from Edwin Armstrong, the man who I think most may agree was the inventor of FM radio. You can find some historical programs about him as well as some excellent books. As you read about his interactions with David Sarnoff and NBC, you probably will become upset and sad over what happened and how things ended for Mr. Armstrong. But here we can learn about former Columbia U. alum Edwin Armstrong and be thankful for his contribution to our technology.
Mr. Rock n’ Roll
I will share a couple of small things with Alan Freed. I’m a former radio DJ. I was hired by the same guy who hired Freed at WAKR(AM) in Akron, Ohio, though I was with sister FM, WONE. Freed wasn’t an inventor like Tesla or Armstrong, his innovation and impact came in programming. We know he went through a whole lot on taking “pay to play” (payola), but maybe by today’s standards (where former FCC commissioners allow a major purchase of a major broadcaster, then resign and go to work for that same company) his crime was fairly small. But we can take the time to be thankful for his “hip broadcast style” and for giving us (or at least giving us the phrase) … “Rock n’ Roll!”
Those who have served in the U.S. military overseas since the 1940s are familiar with AFRTS, or the American Forces Radio & Television Service. It began around WWII with radio providing “a touch of home” to the military members serving their country away from home. TV was added about the time of Vietnam (though the TV part was not addressed in the movie “Good Morning Vietnam”). Those of us who served overseas can add being thankful for that little touch of home through AFRTS (including those of us who were fortunate enough to work for that wonderful organization). If you aren’t familiar with AFRTS, I’d invite you to do some “Googling” on the subject. Though I’ve provided this link a long time ago, the web site is always in growth mode thanks to former AFRTS alum Thom Whetston. You can always reach out to Thom if you have any questions as well. His email is on the web site.
Lesser Known Inventors
As someone who appreciates inventors and people who make a difference, I’m always interested in people who aren’t as well known, yet who have made contributions to society through major developments or even seeing a different use in something else. I’ve always said my favorite invention comes from Michael Nesmith’s mom, Bette. Nesmith was the Texan Monkee from the pop group/TV show. Nesmith’s mom was a secretary in the 1950s and 1960s and made a mistake typing and pulled out some white fingernail polish to cover the typo. And that was the beginning of “Liquid Paper.” Here are other inventors you may not have heard of but have almost certainly used their inventions.
And finally …
Election day is almost here. Remember the only wasted vote is the one that was never cast … so get out and vote! Make your voice heard.
To end with a laugh, here’s a look at some funny yard signs.
If you stumble across a good or unusual web site that might be of interest, please don’t hesitate to send me the link and any info you might have about it. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.