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Contributor Pro-File: Mike Kernen
Meet the professionals who write for Radio magazine.
This month: Field Report
Kernen's formative years were spent constructing a recording studio in his parents' basement from old WXYZ-AM studio parts. Rather than play games or sports, he and his friends ran a make-believe radio station -- complete with music, news and commercial breaks. He also spent time on weekends screening phone calls for his uncle Dick Kernen's radio talk show.
He graduated from Dearborn High School in 1983 with little idea what he would do, but he had a job as an electrician's helper and had more less decided that he would be an electrician. At the urging of his uncle Dick Kernen, he attended the Specs Howard School of Media Arts (nee Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts) where his uncle happens to be vice president. He is a two-time graduate of the school (at the time it offered an electronics and engineering program and the traditional radio and television course) and hase completed liberal arts courses at Schoolcraft College.
Seeing clear evidence that his talent leaned away from the creative side of broadcasting and more toward the technical, he pursued an internship with WJR/WHYT where he worked as a part-timer/intern in three departments at the same time, but mostly concentrated on engineering. After about a year, Capital Cities purchased ABC and its properties were instructed to discharge all part-time employees.
The next few months found him working as an engineering assistant at Ron Rose Productions in Southfield, MI, where he stayed for about a year, until he was offered a job with WRIF as an engineering assistant. That was January 1988.
Since then, he has made my way to chief engineer of WRIF and then to market chief engineer for Greater Media Detroit. He has participated in three station relocations, several transmitter replacements, a few total transmitter room rebuilds, the construction of a brand-new state-of-the-art studio and office facility, and countless smaller installs and projects -- not forgetting the honor working with many very talented people who have taught him a lot.
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