My Personal Pages, Allan Freedman
1965 to the Present
My NASA Days - Goddard & Canary Islands
My WTCI & PACSAT Days
My Doyle Technology - ESPN Days
My Advanced Broadcast Solutions Days
My Freelance MSNBC Days
My Freelance Bates College Days
My Activate Days
As a freelancer, I was contracted to move & re-install
MSNBC's TV Master Control. Location: MICROSOFT Campus, Redmond WA.
KCPQ contracted me to de-install old analog systems and install new digital & HDTV systems multiple stations controlled from their "ROC" Regional Operations Control, left and below. They could control up to 4 separate TV channels from one Master Control.
After leaving PACSAT, I jumped right into systems integration with Doyle Technology Consultants. Greg Doyle was a colleague in the TV remote business with NMT & he started his own consulting company. I called him & he almost hired me on the spot.
While with Doyle Technology Consultants,one of the biggest projects I worked on with a crew, was to build, from the ground up in a new structure, ESPN's new Digital Facility in Bristol CT. Studios, Control Rooms & Satellite facililties.
My Life In Communications & Broadcasting
I worked in the Goddard Spaceflight Center's Communications Center, supporting the NST, Operations and NASCOM, preparing & sending teletype messages around the world, originating and updating mission documents for Apollo, Skylab & many other missions.
Later, at the Canary Islands tracking station, I was assigned to the NASCOM Communications Center, not only handling teletype traffic but testing and maintaining all circuits in and out of the station, for teletpye, data & voice communications. During Apollo, real-time voice & data was passed thru the station between the spacecraft , lunar surface & Houston Mission Control.
Canary Islands, like many other Apollo stations, had at least one main tracking antenna. A 30 foot USB antenna, shown here, was typical. It could track spacecraft in high or low orbit, with a fast slew rate as well as tracking scientific packages on the lunar surface.
The Canary Islands was no stranger to visiting ships in port and near the station. Russia had several tracking ships which lurked around. The Yuri Gagarin, the Korolev and others visited routinely during Apollo missions. The ships were immense & just cool to see.
After Bendix/NASA, I transitioned into radio broadcasting, first at NPR for nearly 6 years & later moving to commercial radio with Mutual Broadcasting, for 4 more years.
After I moved to Seattle (1987) I went to work for National Mobile TV, running their satellite uplink truck in Hawaii for basketball, golf & football. That lasted for about 2 years after which I was hired by Western Tele-Communications to run their Ku-Satellite truck for the Goodwil Games (1990). Sortly thereafter WTCI sold all their satellite trucks to PACSAT. I went along with the truck. Mostly west coast gigs, I stayed with PACSAT until 1999. Same truck, just a different paint job & logos.
Even though I was living in Seattle, my work took me all over the western part of the United States & Canada. I have been as far north as Whistler Mountain in British Columbia, Canada; as far south as San Diego; southwest to Roswell NM; east to Billings, Montana & west to the coast. I had been involved in
providing services for The White House Press Pool, ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, Turner Sports, ABC Sports, NBC Sports, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, American Journal, Hard Copy, Montel Williams Show, Oprah Winfrey Show, Geraldo!, CNBC & MSNBC Programming, Fox News & Sports, HBO & hosts of local television stations around the country.
A former uplink operator/friend of mine became Chief Engineer at the Bates College TV station, and he hired me to help them move their operation from the campus into a newly acquired building for the TV & Radio station & later to upgrade to digital & HDTV. Bates College purchased the vacant building which used to house KSTW, Channel 11, after they moved to Seattle. We started over the summer and finished the move in time for Election Night coverage, which was our goal.
My NPR & Mutual Radio Network Days
In the early '70s, I was Ground Communications Coordinator for the NASA Communications Network (NASCOM) during the days of Apollo and Skylab missions. I was stationed at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), near Washington DC for a while, and the Canary Islands for a couple of years, tracking spacecraft for missions and scientific packages on the moon, as well as Apollo and Skylab, and sending their data back to GSFC. On occasion, we had "visitors" near the islands, keeping an eye on what we were doing during the manned space missions. Several Russian ships, like the Yuri Gagarin Tracking ship, lurked just a few miles from the Canary Apollo station. We would often see its crew in port, at the local pubs, cafes and restaurants. After the missions, of course!
Broadcasting in one form or another has been my career for more than 45 years and in that time I have had the pleasure and honor of working with and around many great and interesting people. Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton; Charleton Heston; Robert Redford; W. Averell Harriman; Ginger Rogers; Bing Crosby; Robert Guillaume; Stan Freberg; Willard Scott; Michael Jordan; Astronauts Owen Garriott and Walter Schirra; Dan Rather; Peter Jennings; Woodward and Bernstein (of Watergate fame); Larry King; Anwar Sadat; Dick Clark; Tony Orlando; Carl Sagan; Bob Hope; Howard Stern; Don Imus; Magic Johnson; Ahmad Rahshad; Bill Cosby; Jay Leno; Johnny Carson; Steve Allen; my very best friend Ed Walker and so many more.
"Uncle Sam" grabbed me fresh out of high school (actually in the fall of 1965). While in the Navy, I acquired a considerable amount of the knowledge I have about satellite communications, working with then "state of the art" digital voice and teletype links to military bases around the world and even ships at sea. It was a new and interesting field back then. During the "Vietnam War", technology for military communications was taking incredible leaps forward....
Throughout this whole period of time, I worked as an audio engineer for one of my very best friends, Washington DC broadcaster, Ed Walker, who was contracted by various establishments in the DC area to perform live "disco style" dance parties, but in the Big Band genre. I designed and built the remote equipment that we needed to peform these events; I would setup the equipment, select and cue the music and Ed would announce, "disc jockey style" . In this same time frame, Ed and I had the pleasure and honor to co-produce almost 2 dozen radio programs for NPR's "Options" series; again in the Big Band genre, highlighting famed performers like Bing Crosby, Glenn Miller and many others. Ed Walker and I had become the best of friends over these years. He had remained my truest, best friend until his passing in October 2015.
In 2009, I was invited to attend his induction into the Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago. I was honored to be in the company of Ed & his family on this auspicious occasion..
Meticulous wiring & installation techniques were a paramount issue. Nothing short of perfection was expected of every wire technician on the job.
The latest Grass Valley Routers & Switchers, and other manufacturers of broadcast equipment for High Definition (HDTV) was procured by ESPN for this installation.
Activate was installed in the basement of a building which holds historic landmark status in Seattle. It is unfortunate that the company has gone into bankruptcy and no longer exists.
While employed with Doyle Technology Consultants, I supervised a crew to build a massive video/audio streaming house called Activate. It was located in Seattle.
Activate's Master Control was a work of art and it bore the name "Grand Central".
KCPQ Master Control, known as the ROC was designed so that one operator could handle most of the day-to-day operations. During the day and at peak news hours, there is more than one, but overnights & weekends can easily be done by a single operator.
KCPQ Equipment room for the ROC was built from scratch and can house enough equipment to run 4 independent digital HD stations. It was a wiring nightmare.
KCPQ Master Control, or ROC, looking at the Supevisor position, when there is one. In the racks behind, there is EAS, monitoring & recording equipment for each station.
MSNBC-TV originated its online news service from this location
On the left, MSNBC-TV's New Master Control
MSNBC-TV Machine room with video, audio switching, recording equipment & satellite receivers
On the right, another view of the
MSNBC-TV new Master Control
Wiring shown is for the vast digital intercom system in the building
My satellite truck featured dual 300-watt transmitters and could be configured for two separate paths if needed.
Artists have installed the SC - SportsCenter Sign on the set.
Earvin "Magic" Johnson
Once finished at Bates College, I was hired by my friend Mark Siegel at Advanced Broadcast Solutions, continuing my work as a wiring technician for TV and radio facilities, installing high-end digital broadcast systems, such as at Safeco field for the Mariners Baseball team.
My KCPQ Days
I am also a member of local Chapter 16 of the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE).
I provide the photographs for The Waveguide, the chapter's online publication.