Comrex, You Don't Look 50!

Brett Moss is gear & technology editor.Comrex, known today for its codecs, turns 50 this year.Seeing a company stick around for five decades and even somewhat resemble what it started out as is unusual. Yet businesses and industries never stop
Publish date:

Brett Moss is gear & technology editor.

Comrex, known today for its codecs, turns 50 this year.

Seeing a company stick around for five decades and even somewhat resemble what it started out as is unusual. Yet businesses and industries never stop evolving. And neither did Comrex.

Image placeholder title

Team Comrex in the Devens office, wearing their distinctive Comrex wear.

Started in 1961 by engineer John Cheney to make newfangled doodads like wireless microphone systems, the company soon came up with a stream of broadcast- and radio-oriented products. Wireless microphones and other RF devices put bread on the table. Cheney kept Comrex on the leading edge of technology research and change (“Transistorization!”) and new uses for those technologies.

A killer app for Comrex came along in the later 1970s when it had success with frequency-extension devices for use with telephone-based transmission. It then built upon that technology and was able to package it into equipment such as all-in-one remote talk/sports radio packages, then expand its platform further into modern standalone codecs.

Cheney helmed the company until his death in 1998. His widow Lynn Cheney took over and kept the company focused and lean. It has avoided the stream of bankruptcies, buyouts and mergers that has erased or transformed almost every other electronics technology company that was around when Comrex started in the early 1960s. Eventually she morphed it into an employee-owned private company. Lynn Cheney retired in 2006. See Paul McLane’s excellent piece on Lynn Cheney for more on the life and times of the company. Comrex also has posted an interesting historical account here.

Comrex is still in Massachusetts, now on the grounds of a former army base, not far from where it was founded 50 years ago. It continues plowing ahead in remote audio technology, exploring how broadcasters can put smartphones and 3G/4G services to work. And it still sells modern iterations of some of its legacy products such as cue equipment. Happy anniversary guys. Where can we get one of those funk-ee shirts!?


Vegas Rooms for $22? If You Know Where to Look

Brett Moss is gear & technology editor.For prospective NAB Show attendees, “where to stay” is always an interesting question. Vets know that Las Vegas has a wide variety of hotels, at wildly varying levels of quality. There is also the

Image placeholder title

You Talk Into It … Here

Paul McLane is editor in chief of Radio World U.S.Nothing upsets an audio pro like seeing people use a microphone the wrong way.Retired radio production engineer Charles Pitts sent this image around make his point. I e mailed him to

Ruby Anniversary for Equipment Supplier

Brett Moss is gear & technology editor.It’s now known as, but for anyone in the radio TV broadcast business over the age of 35 or thereabouts, it will always be Crouse Kimzey.What started in the early 1970s in Fort

Frank, Who ... er, WHERE Are You?

By Gear & Technology Editor Brett MossWhile it might not entail deafeningly loud music, trashing hotel rooms, groupie trains or exotic pharmaceuticals, the Frank Foti 2010 World Tour is starting. Or maybe in the tradition of his idols The Who,

Phil Simon at the 2011 NAB Show

Video on the Radio Tuesday, April 12 The Comrex booth at NAB has always been a must stop for radio folks. Their usual excellent offering of ISDN, POTS, IP and wireless codecs have been staples for most stations for 50

Image placeholder title

Sweat Equity Helps Get Catholic Station on Air

Brett Moss is gear & technology editor.We at Radio World hear a lot of talk about “corporate” radio, “cookie cutter” radio, the “homogenization” of radio and the death of “community” radio. The mean big radio guys are always kicking the