Take one average kid from the suburbs…
Raise him a few hundred yards from three AM directional arrays…
Immerse him in the history of broadcasting…
Hire him at stations like WCAP in Lowell, R News in Rochester, and, oh yeah, WBZ in Boston….
Give him a column that covers everything there is to report about radio and TV in the Northeast…
Drive him to thousands of radio and TV towers and studios from coast to coast…
…and look what happens!
Scott Fybush lives, breathes, sleeps and eats North American radio and television. It’s not always a very nutritious diet, to be sure. But for the last decade and then some, it’s been his project to learn everything there is to know about the media – and then to try to make it better.
“It all began at a little 5,000 watt radio station in Lowell, Massachusetts…”
That’s where the paid portion of the resume begins: WCAP, Talkradio 980, up there on the second floor of Cappy’s Copper Kettle bar in scenic downtown Lowell. I worked there for two years, anchoring weekend and fill-in newscasts, covering Lowell School Committee, and admiring the 1950s-era radio equipment still stored in the back room. (Transcription lathe, anyone?)
But while WCAP may have been my first radio paycheck, it was hardly my first brush with media excitement. From home-published “newspapers” in elementary school to the high school paper to a not-quite-licensed 10-watt FM station at Deep Springs College in California (the statute of limitations has expired by now, right?) to Brandeis University’s WBRS in Waltham, Mass. (where I somehow managed to emerge with a BA, cum laude, in history nonetheless), the bug bit early and deep.
“Group W, a Westinghouse Broadcasting Station…”
The road from Lowell led to Boston, where I spent five years learning the craft of radio news and production from some of the best in the business at WBZ NewsRadio 1030. While there, I wrote and edited for the top-rated morning and afternoon news blocks, assembled awards entries that garnered two national Murrows and a whole slew of regional RTNDA and AP awards, and produced the station’s 75th anniversary celebration in 1996.
“All ours, all hours…”
The visual medium beckoned, and so did the chance to return home to upstate New York, which led to five years at Time Warner Communications’ R News, the 24-hour cable news source for Rochester and the Finger Lakes. While there, I won the first-ever Murrow for TV writing, small-market category; did more live shots than I can count; covered everything from Sunday church services to Presidential campaigns – and learned that I don’t want to spend my life as a TV reporter.
“A Web site about radio towers?!?!?…”
In the midst of all the paid work, the obsession with the history and lore of the business just kept growing. The advent of Usenet and eventually the Web led to the discovery that I wasn’t alone – and in 1994, I began chronicling the changes in Boston radio in a little column called “New England Radio Watch.” NERW went weekly in 1997, when the acronym changed to “NorthEast Radio Watch” and the coverage area expanded to the entire northeast and eastern Canada.
Today, NERW is the authoritative source for news about broadcasting in the region. Through the fybush.com Web site (launched in 2000, crafted by hand by yours truly and now logging more than 200,000 hits weekly), it reaches thousands of radio and TV people, from top group heads to weekend jocks, and has been praised as “insightful and informative” by no less than the Boston Globe.
In the summer of 2002, I took over from Chip Kelley as editor of 100000watts.com, the most comprehensive on-line directory of North American radio and TV. Five years later, I became editor of The Radio Journal, formerly M Street Journal, a weekly digest of news from the FCC, CRTC and the broadcast engineering world.
From 1999 until 2007, I was a regular contributor and columnist for Radio World, covering radio technology, management and history. My work has also appeared in the NAB Daily News and Monitoring Times.
Over the past decade and a half, I’ve logged tens of thousands of miles on the road and in the air, visiting tower sites and studios all over the U.S., Canada and beyond. (You can see a weekly sample of my travels on Tower Site of the Week, a weekly feature of fybush.com; a monthly sampling is also offered in the annual Tower Site Calendar.)
What started as a hobby has become a serious pursuit – creating a knowledge base of radio facilities and programming that’s hard to equal. (Only one person has managed to best me at a game of “name that callsign,” and he worked in a big office in Covington, Kentucky…)
And you can’t spend all that time learning about radio and TV today without becoming fascinated with the history of the medium. In 1995, Garrett Wollman and I launched the Boston Radio Archives, believed to be the first regional radio history site on the Web. My radio history collection now includes hundreds of Broadcasting Yearbooks, Vane Jones logs and White’s logs; thousands of news clippings, bumper stickers and other radio ephemera; and pieces of the WSM Blaw-Knox tower, the Conrad Garage and the CBL transmitter.
I am currently collaborating with Peter Kanze and Frank Sulek on an FM sequel to The Airwaves of New York (McFarland), the standard reference for New York City radio history.
And since 2004, I’ve been the a part-time program host and news reporter at my local public radio station, WXXI 1370 Rochester, N.Y., where Rachel Ward and I produce the weekly “Mixed Media” segment, covering all aspects of media and technology. It’s heard Wednesdays at 5:44 during our local All Things Considered broadcast, and any time via WXXI’s podcast service.
Since the fall of 2000, I’ve been doing all this as a freelancer. And that means you can take advantage of this depth and breadth of media knowledge, at rates that put those big-city consultants to shame. (And when was the last time any of those guys stopped in at WHAW in Weston, West Virginia, anyway? I was just there in February…)
Whether it’s creating a station history, voicing a promo, solving a signal problem or training a newsroom, you can put this wealth of broadcast expertise to work for you, right now.
Give me a call, drop me an e-mail, or just lean out the window and shout the next time I’m taking a picture of your towers…
What can I do for you ?