George "Harold" Utter     Biography
WELE    WPUL    WZIP    WYND    WXVQ    WPUL    WEDG    WGNE    

Thanks to Robert George Harold for this bio of his dad, one of the unsung heroes (the engineers) of radio. 
Harold began his career in the U.S. Army Radio Corps. between 1957 and 1960. In 1961 he became a licensed journeyman electrician and a member of the I.B.E.W. (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers). Between 1961 and the late 1980's he was an electrician as well as engineer for two AM transmitting sites and sometimes more. He also was responsible for WELE-FM 105.9. He maintained the (WPUL-AM) 1590 site after WELE-FM changed ownership. There was an old, I would say, World War II era Collins 1 kilowatt transmitter with vacuum tubes as big as your head. He affectionately named it "Maude". (You haven't lived in the radio world unless you've seen the power up procedure for one of these machines). Right around 1975, the transmitting site was moved from where the La Paloma Lanes bowling alley used to be on US1 to roughly the corner of Reed Canal and Nova roads. If you're at that intersection and look in a northwesterly direction you can still view the tower. A new transmitter affectionately named "CJ" and was installed and "Maude" was relegated to a backup transmitter. So there was a low risk for "dead air", both transmitters were up and running at the time of his death. There was a complete parts transmitter for "Maude", as well as head sized vacuum tubes still in their original boxes at his home to keep "Maude" going for another 50 years. I personally saw that site undergo many changes. In the WZIP(-AM 1590) days it was live operated for a while and then it went to a fully automated format. I can still see this big machine with 3 rotary cart players that held about 50 carts each and phone lines that gave it orders to carry out, with the DJ actually in California. I understand the new owners from up north who bought Martin's Junkyard, just behind the site, bought it, gutted it and "murdered" "Maude" and "CJ". That particular site started the love affair with broadcast engineering for my father. It even ended my parents marriage. In the late 80's he started Beacon Engineering. "98 FROG" (WGNE-FM 98.1) was his main gig where he basically operated during typical business hours. He visited "Maude" and "CJ" often on his way home. In that era he also tended to WYND(-AM 1310), WXVQ(-AM 1490) and WPUL(-AM 1590) ("Maude" and "CJ"), (WEDG-FM) 93.1, "Gold FM", "98 FROG" (WGNE FM 98.1) on your FM dial. I think in his mind it was his crowning achievement. He was pretty much given free reign over design and equipment purchasing and was state of the art, with paper clips and bubble gum thrown in for good measure. Because that was just his style. He built allot of things from scratch rather than buy them because he believed his was better in operation and in price. Being his son was an absolutely astonishing ride to watch him operate. That is why the company he worked for abandoned the site shortly after his death. I can just see some young guy not just out of school but not around as long, and without the same understanding, He's automatically walking to a gunfight with a knife and with only a two inch blade at that. I can just see that guy; I'm sure he'll run across this if published, Sorry fellow, you followed a brilliant mind. And that one wire you cut that just made that 100 kilowatt monster crash, don't be discouraged, you just followed a mind monster and they unfortunately broke the mold. 
George "Harold" Utter, Jr. Beloved Father and friend we love you Dad...Ronald, Susan and Robert.

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