Michigan Broadcasters Recognize Engineering Achievements for 2011


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Lansing, MI - Mar 11, 2011 - The Michigan Association of Broadcasters has recognized a radio and a TV engineer for their outstanding efforts in their work. Candidates for the Carl E. Lee Broadcast Engineering Excellence Award must have been an employee, officer, or owner of any company, subsidiary or division whose primary business is broadcasting, or is directly in support of radio or television station in Michigan. The size of the organization with which each candidate is affiliated is not a determining factor. The merits of the contributions to broadcast engineering are the sole factors to be taken into account.

Candidates for the Awards shall have made contributions in one or more of the following categories:

  • Development of new technologies
  • Dissemination of technical knowledge and literature
  • Leadership in broadcast engineering affairs
  • Mentoring or coaching in the engineering field outside of the workplace
  • Any outstanding contribution that warrants consideration workplace

    Ralph Haines III

    2011 Radio Recipient: Ralph Haines III, WGDN-AM/FM, Gladwin


    Ralph Haines began his radio career in 1968, while he was still in high school, taking courses in electronics after hours at Everett High School. He was hired as a part time engineers assistant at WITL located at the Michigan National Bank tower in downtown Lansing, where he helped with the construction of the "WITL white house" in 1970. After high school, Haines moved to Chicago and attended the DeVry Institute to get his first-class license.

    In 1972, he briefly left the broadcast industry when he got married and took a job at IBM as a customer engineer. While with IBM, he was transferred back to Lansing where he returned to broadcasting and resumed working for WITL as an assistant engineer.

    In 1978, he was offered a job with Family Life Radio WUNN in Mason as a part-time announcer and engineer. While at FLR he heard about an AM-FM station in Gladwin that was for sale. Haines became co-owner of WGDN and was the engineer and weekend radio host. In 1993, WGDN needed a facelift and Haines led the charge building a new tower and in 1999 a new studio building. In the mid 80's, he began picking up extra engineering jobs with other stations.

    In late September 2003, Haines retired from IBM and planned for a life of leisure, but once word got around that he had some free time, several stations contacted him to do engineering work. Haines answered the call and in January 2004 Broadcast Engineer Services (BES) was incorporated.

    Haines is still going strong with his work at WGDN and BES and has no current plans to retire from broadcasting industry.

    Television Recipient: Michael Laemers, WOOD/WOTV/WXSP-TV, Grand Rapids


    Mike Laemers is the Director of Engineering at WOOD/WOTV/ WXSP television stations. He has more than 35 years experience in broadcast engineering and has been a vital component in developing the television market in the Grand Rapids DMA. He received a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering technology from Western Michigan University.

    His many accomplishments in of television engineering include building one of the first television LMA and hub operations in the country. During the mid-'90s, Laemers and other colleagues took on the task of building a virtual television station. The virtual station became WXSP.

    In 1997 he headed WOOD-TV's transition to digital where he made WOOD-TV the technical leader in the market with the first all digital facility, including a state-of-the-art digital control room designed that he designed. On WOOD-TV's 50th anniversary, he engineered a live HD presentation from Grand Rapids' Van Andle Museum to inaugurate the official sign-on of WOOD-DT.

    His many years in the business also include other areas of television station management. Laemer's experience in program buying, traffic operations and labor relations have rounded his career in television management. He has served as a member of the board of directors of Channel 41 and has past memberships in the IEEE, SMPTE, Broadcast Pioneers, and The Michigan Association of Broadcaster's Engineering Committee.




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