A Salute To Alabama Broadcasters … and Larry Wilkins


By Ken Benner

TUCSON — Over the past 50 years and thousands of station visits, I have encountered the best and worst among the broadcasting industry. I have written several columns over the years saluting the best in engineering, brokerage, management, sales, talent, pride, and most importantly, professional dedication.

Past columns were focused on the premise that the most professional individual at the top of this list is one willing to share unselfishly his talent and experience with his/her colleagues.

I suspect I have found the individual at the top of this list.

That would be Larry Wilkins, in partnership with the Alabama Broadcasters Association. He holds the highest certification possible with the Society of Broadcast Engineers, a CPBE (Certified Professional Broadcast Engineer).

Wilkins, working closely with the ABA, developed the ABA Engineering Academy in Hoover, Alabama.

For the first of this year’s training programs, Mr. Wilkins and the ABA are offering Radio Engineering 101, a five-day program for the week of February 17 covering Basic Electronics with tube and solid-state operation; analog and digital operations using an on-site digital recording studio; covering both AM and transmitter operation along with basic antenna theory; FCC Rules and Regulations; and the administration of a SBE Certification exam.

Also on his future training schedule for the week of March 23: Television Engineering 101.

At this point in preparing this column, I enjoyed one of the most informative conversations in my life by telephone with Wilkins. His explanation for covering the very basics of the learning process really impressed me.

“If you don’t understand the basics of a subject, the additional items covered will not be comprehended,” he explained. “Look around your operation … we are sure there are those that would be interested in learning about the technical side of broadcasting. We are aware that one week in this class cannot make someone a chief engineer. However, this could create a helpful backup for your engineering staff.”

Prior technical knowledge is not required, he says. “With all the new technology arriving almost every day, this class is also a valuable training tool for your staff engineer. We encourage you to take advantage of this great educational opportunity.”

There is no charge to attend.

Wilkins will be attending the upcoming NAB Show in Las Vegas this April. I feel this is an opportunity to meet the man I believe is the most professionally dedicated individual in the history of American Broadcasting.

In the meantime I urge every Broadcast Manager, Licensee and Engineer to sign on to the most comprehensive source of basic through professional information ever offered to the Broadcasting Industry at [email protected] or contact Wilkins at 334-303-2525.

His weekly “Monday Morning Coffee Technical Notes” is excellent!



Ken Benner is an independent Alternative FCC Compliance Certification Inspector and a research analyst for the Coalition for Transparency, Clarification and Simplification of Regulations pertaining to American Broadcasting. Benner has more than 55 years of experience providing service to the broadcast industry.

The views expressed by Media Information Bureau columnists are those of the writer only and not of the editorial board of the Radio + Television Business Report or its parent, Streamline Publishing.

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