FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): In 1943, a 18-year-old man from Hammond, Indiana would join WOWO Radio and later revolutionize the industry.
Paul Schafer developed equipment that would allow radio stations to manage their transmitter sites from remote locations as well as invent the first radio automation system. We’re now learning that he has passed away at the age of 90.
“I started at WOWO, I’m going to say, in 1943. After a while I went into the Army and went back and worked again after World War II, and went back to WOWO in 1946 until mid 1948,” said Paul. “The chance to go to Indiana’s most powerful radio station at the time, WOWO at 10,000 watts, felt pretty good.”
“It was a very, very pleasant experience working with Jay (Gould) and Bob (Seivers).” He also worked as the engineer of the national coast-to-coast broadcast of The Hoosier Hop, which originated at WOWO and was fed to ABC Radio through a phone line.
Paul also launched W49FW, which was Fort Wayne’s first FM radio station. At the time, the station primarily playing classical music from a transcription service.
Afterwords he would work for WANE radio in Fort Wayne and eventually moved to California to work for NBC in Hollywood.
Paul would be one of the first engineers to develop equipment for remote control transmitters. Through Schafer Electronics, he developed the first radio automation system that would allow stations to remain on the air through the overnight without having a person present. “We did a million dollars one year, and two million the next. It would have been ’67 and ’68 the peak years,” said Schafer.
“I was not popular among radio announcers who thought they might lose their job.”
In 2002, Paul would be honored by the National Association of Broadcasters with an Engineering Achievement Award.
We’re learning that Paul passed away on February 23rd in Bonita, California. He was 90 years old.
Audio and interviews in tribute courtesy of Randy Meyer and the historyofwowo.com