Bryan Stevens is one of the many remarkable volunteers who work behind the scenes to help KBOO succeed. For almost two years, he has been volunteering 20 to 40 hours per week in our Engineering Department.
How did we come to have an audio professional with years of radio, computer and electronics experience under his belt investing countless hours at the station? Bryan answers that, “I’m damned lucky to be here after two strokes and one heart attack. I stopped working in 2002, sat for three months, and had a heart attack. It was time to get off my keester and do something. John [Mackey, our Chief Engineer] was looking for help down here.”
Bryan continues by saying that his goal is, “keeping KBOO sounding like one of the top radio stations in Portland. One of the local broadcast engineers said that we are ‘one of the top three stations in Portland’ in terms of audio quality, and I took that as a compliment.” Working toward the goal of superior on-air sound and infrastructure, Bryan has rewired major portions of our studios, worked on the install of a digital studio-transmitter link and upgraded or replaced computers throughout the building. We often obtain computers and parts come from Free Geek, a local nonprofit computer recycling and training center, so we keep the costs low and work with sister organizations even in our information-technology arena.
Bryan’s KBOO story is typical in some ways in that he utilizes and builds his skill set, but also finds a great social experience at the station: “It gets me out of the house and helps me stay active; going to parties and getting drunk at 51 just doesn’t do it anymore.” Working in a diverse environment full of passionate people has offered an environment where Bryan has developed positive relationships with “people who we might not have hit it off at first, and I enjoy working with volunteers.”
His experience in radio goes back to KROQ “The Rock” in Los Angeles. “They had an old RCA transmitter with no lightening protection. When lightening hit, I had to go up and replace a capacitor each time. That led to studio repairs and other work.” Bryan also has run his own computer repair business, and that knowledge has been a blessing for KBOO.
One key to Bryan’s success at the station has been his excellent working relationship with our Chief Engineer, John
Mackey. “I’ve known John since 1989, my first year in Oregon. He showed up at the coast and needed a bunch of radios that needed fixed. Later on, I moved to Portland and John and I have been close friends ever since.” Working with John at KBOO, “I learn something new every day. What I don’t know he knows, and what he doesn’t know, I know. We compliment each other really well.”
Many people are surprised to learn that the engineering demands at KBOO are actually higher than at other stations. We have hundreds of volunteers using five studios 24/7/365. Other stations use a small paid staff and satellite feeds. This means that we have to have a more robust infrastructure and more training and support. Bryan Stevens has been critical to helping us achieve success in this area, and we say “Thank You” to Bryan!