The Engineering department bitch-o-gram

I was cleaning out the engineering room at WBEC in Pittsfield, MA today. The previous engineer, Ken Jones, passed away last July and we have been hired to do the engineering work. Part of that job is knowing where key information and parts are, thus the clean-up.

Whilst in the middle of that fun, I found a sheaf of papers consisting of this:

That is the classic engineering department bitch-o-gram, typed out on a typewriter.  There were no fewer than eight memos to Ron (Stratton), who appears to be General Manager, from Don Coleman, the lowly engineer.  Since WBEC was a directional AM station, the engineers had to walk out to the towers every day and take a set of base current readings to confirm that the antenna sample system was working properly.  A rule is no longer in effect.  Like many AM stations, WBEC is located in a low, swampy area.  You will notice that this engineer had given the swamp a name and one wonders what the significance of that name is.

Back in the day of typewriters, sending off memos was no easy task.  After the document was typed, a copier had to be found, copies made, and distributed to all parties.  Oftentimes, distribution consisted of handing a copy directly to the person and waiting for a response.  It was a way to put things in writing and to create a paper trail if needed in the future.

Here is another one:

In this memo, our hero references all of his previous memos on the same topic.  Obviously, this engineer was very concerned about tower access and not breaking his or anyone else’s leg.  I like the invitation for a walk out to the tower.  The studios and general manager’s office are located at the WBEC transmitter site, so it would not have been a long walk.

These are fairly mundane, I can remember typing a few memos to the programming department on asbestos paper to keep them from bursting into flames.  Ahhh, those were the days.

Anyway, it is a lost art, one of many.

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3 thoughts on “The Engineering department bitch-o-gram”

  1. Wasn’t “Ajax” one of those brands of extendable ham radio towers, so the gag is that the AM antennas will sink into the muck “like turning a crank?”

  2. Yes, Ron Stratton was the GM of WBEC! He is unfortunately in hospice care right now and our family hopes to get the EAGLE to write an obituary covering his many involvements in Pittsfield including his years at WBEC.

    -Barbara Stratton

  3. Barbara, I am sorry to hear of your husband’s situation. Of course, I did not know Ron, as my involvement with WBEC was only over the last year. Still, Radio is a small business and I am sure that many people in that area do know and remember Ron.

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