This Vinyl Snob's story...
As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a radio DJ. Growing up, our local shopping center was also home to a radio station. They had a big picture window through which you could watch the DJ on the air. I had found my goal in life.
My big brother Jerry was also drawn to that window. He didn’t dream of being the DJ like I did, he wanted to be the engineer who built the radio station.
Within a couple of years we (mostly Jerry) were building a radio studio in the carport at our house. We had a professional Sparta 10 channel radio console, two turntables and three tape machines. It was the late 60s and a home studio at that time was unheard of. It turned out to be a great partnership. Jerry wanted to build it but had no desire to DJ. I was dangerous with a soldering iron and power tools (12 years old) but I loved rock and roll and only wanted to DJ… and so I did in
my own private radio studio. That lead to DJ-ing dances in High School and by the time I was 19, DJ-ing at a real radio station.
K-108 was a mellow rock format, lots of Barry Manilow and Paul Anka. Within a year, I landed a gig at the hip rock station in town, Earth Radio 102, where DJ’s picked their own music. No more Anka and Manilow! Bring on The Stones, Zeppelin and a whole lot of rock I’d never been exposed to. The library was over two thousand records and you could play whatever you wanted, the way radio was meant to be. It was definitely the golden age of rock radio. Unfortunately, it only lasted about another ten years.
After moving around to a couple of stations in the Bay Area and Sacramento, by the mid-80s the wall of records was replaced by a playlist telling you what songs to play and in what order. This is where I cut out.
When a job at a Sacramento recording studio opened up for an engineer and producer to make radio commercials and audio sound tracks, I jumped at it. I padded my resume as far as experience in multitrack recording and mixing was concerned and landed the job. I quickly got a handle on it and within a year I was studio manager. After two years of making car commercials, I heard about a new studio opening in town big enough to record bands. Being as I always wanted to be the guy sitting behind the big studio console in the album jacket photos, I figured it was time for a move. After 14 years at that studio, with bands then able to record at home on their computers, once again, it was time for a move.
I had been approached to design, build and operate a post production audio studio for a video production house. The money was good and they said I could build whatever kind of studio I wanted as long as it was the best in town. How do you say no to that? The new studio was a hit and after 12 years with the parent company, refining its business model, I was given the opportunity to operate the studio as my own. I jumped at the chance and when an office space in the hallway next door to my studio became available, I grabbed it too. The Vinyl Snob podcast and offshoots had been bouncing around my head for a while so I decided to build a dedicated podcast studio in the new space.
Re-enter my brother Jerry, now a respected design engineer with a passion for restoring vintage electronics. He found a 1971 Gates Radio console, spent over a year rebuilding it and we installed it in the new podcast studio in the winter of 2018.
So here I am, decades later, having come full circle. Operating out of a new radio studio built by my brother. He lets me use power tools but the soldering iron is still off limits.