2015 MAPB Public Media Impact Award For Professionals:
Former General Manager, Delta College Quality Public Broadcasting (University Center)
Barry Baker has known that he wanted to be in broadcasting since he was in 10th grade and has never looked back.
“If I do it, I’m going to be serious about it,” is what he says his younger self thought. So the young Baker enrolled in the Summer Communication Arts Institute of Michigan State University for two summers - between his sophomore and junior years of high school and between his junior and senior years.
After graduating from high school, Baker did not return to MSU but instead went right to work. At the time, he says, Detroit Public Television was owned by Wayne State University so he was able to work for them and also for WXYZ ABC. Between working both jobs, Baker was able to finish school, graduating from Wayne State University in 1969.
Upon graduation, he went to work for the Canadian Broadcasting Company for a year and then received an unexpected call from a former professor who wanted Baker to go work at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois to both produce programs and teach.
After working in Illinois for four and a half years, Baker moved to New Hampshire to work for New Hampshire Public Television Network as the Director of Production and Operations for the state network.
During that time, Baker got involved working as a freelancer in the White House helping produce film of the President’s speeches that would then be distributed to regional networks.
"That’s a picture of me working with Ford,” Baker says nonchalantly as he points to a photo of himself in the Oval Office with the former President. Baker also worked with Jimmy Carter during his presidency but got out before President Reagan because he was off to work in Minnesota.
“I wanted to build a station,” he says. So after seeing an ad in a broadcasting magazine for a person to go build a station in southern Minnesota, that’s where he went. In his 20 years working there, Baker built not one but two stations.
Still wanting to do more with his career, Baker decided it was time to move on. So in 1997, he came to Bay City to work for Quality Public Broadcasting at Delta College. Baker helped get the station moving towards being able to go completely digital by 2003 as was mandated by the FCC.
“It was some nervous moments,” he says. “But the FCC had a mandate and we made it.” While the station may have made it, the rest of the country wasn’t quite ready yet so the station had to broadcast in both digital and analog until 2009 when everything finally went completely digital.
“Now 49 years later from the time that I started working full-time for ABC, I’ve basically said ‘enough,’” says Baker.
Baker says he has a certain passion for theater. He’s even been involved in productions with the Bay City Players and Midland Center for the Arts. In 2013, he was the priest in the Bay City Player’s production of Les Miserables. So with his free time, Baker says he will try to stay involved in his community and possible take up some freelance work.
“I’m not done. You’re not done until you’re dead. I will never be DONE done,” he says.
2015 MAPB Public Media Impact Award For Volunteers:
Volunteer, CMU Public Broadcasting Network (Mt Pleasant)
Barclay first became involved with CMU Public Radio as a volunteer co-host of “Homespun,” a 3-hour folk music program on Saturday evenings in 1981.
In April 1985, he became the volunteer producer and host of “The Juke Joint,” spinning blues and soul music for three hours on Sunday evenings. The 30th anniversary of “The Juke Joint” was celebrated last April. Barclay is thankful it has been a popular program with generous listeners when it comes to fundraising.
The Blues Foundation in Memphis, Tennessee, an international blues organization that provides promotional and educational support of blues music and its history, presents the “Keeping the Blues Alive Awards” to individuals that have made significant contributions to the blues world. In the radio category each year, one award is presented to a commercial radio host and one award is presented to a non-commercial radio host. Barclay received the 2004 “Keeping the Blues Alive Award” for “The Juke Joint” broadcast at CMU Public Radio.
Professionally, Barclay was the Director of Photography in the University Communications office at Central Michigan University from 1980 until he retired in July 2013. CMU President George E. Ross and the CMU Board of Trustees granted Barclay emeritus status in December 2013.
Prior to his years at CMU, Barclay worked as the staff photographer for the University of Southern California in Los Angeles (1976-77) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC (1977-79).
Barclay graduated from Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California with a Bachelor of Arts degree in photography.
He has been married to Peggy Brisbane for 39 years and she is a retired professional photographer for Central Michigan University. They have a son and two grandchildren.