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Au Revoir, Mr. Profit

Tom Profit to retire from Specs school

After 37 years, Operations Manager Tom Profit is winding up his time at the Specs Howard School of Media Arts, officially on April 30th.

Known for a long time as the Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts, it has for more than 40 years in the Detroit area been one of the leading schools teaching broadcasting, including the technical side (back in the day). It has lately expanded into graphic arts.

As times and technology changed, so too did the school. One of its earliest was its move to its present location in a suburb north of Detroit. In the mid-1990s, Tom was instrumental in planning the two-story facility in Southfield, Mich. That campus now includes 21 digitally equipped “practice” studios, four on-campus stations, two Internet stations, a fully-equipped television/video studio, and a graphic arts and film curriculum. There has been further expansion to a satellite location in nearby Farmington Hills, Mich.

Tom hired me in June of 1999. During that interview, Tom was especially interested in comparing radio war stories and talking about music. Tom made me feel immediately at home and I quickly got busy with the incredible task of taking the school into the digital age (sometimes kicking and screaming). But I always had Tom’s backing and encouragement 100% during the next 14 years; including keeping me involved as a contract worker. My experiences compelled me to write about many of my Specs adventures for various trade publications, including Radio World.

Tom claims that part of his success is his knack for hiring people “smarter” than him that made him look good. I have however, seen students’ reviews of the classes he has taught. His suitability for the job goes far deeper than just hiring good people. His wit, dry humor and sarcastic nature is only part of what made him ranked among the most beloved and effective instructors teaching at Specs, alongside Specs himself, Dick Kernen, Bob Palmateer and Jim Bell, to name a few.

Tom didn’t like being referred to as a “boss,” but instead earned our respect in Operations and throughout the staff simply by setting an example of being the class act he is.

I have been lucky to have worked for and learned from some of the finest managers, engineers and operators in the broadcast business. Mr. Profit will always have a place near the top of that list.

Thank you, Tom, for letting me “do my thing” for so many years, while growing and changing my life for the better in the process. Of course, I am envious of your retirement status and wish you much leisure and happiness in the years ahead. I hope to continue remaining involved with Specs Howard School in the years ahead. For anything I do in the future at Specs, you can assured for my caliber of work, that I will always thinking, “Would this have been good enough for Tom?”

Bob Burnham is an engineering consultant and formerly chief engineer of the Specs Howard School of Media Arts in Southfield, Mich.