Engineering Spotlight: Michael Kernen, Greater Media (Detroit)
Michael Kernen is Chief Engineer for Greater Media in Detroit and oversees radio stations WCSX-FM, WRIF-FM, and WMGC-FM. He started at WRIF 28 years ago, the last 23 under Greater Media’s ownership after they acquired the station.
Brief Engineering Resume:
Michael: My love for music lead to an interest in radio. My uncle is Dick Kernen (V.P. Specs Howard School of Media Arts) and I would frequently get up a 5am on Sunday mornings to go with him to help with his Sunday morning live radio talk show. My cousin Bob Kernen (V.P. and C.O.O. at Jacobs Media) and I would screen the phone calls and a few times I even ran the board. Radio hooked me and with my uncle’s connections I got an old Gates console from a WXYZ-AM junk trailer and Bob and I used it to build an “FM control room” in my parent’s basement when we were 14.
I took all 6 semesters of electronics at Dearborn High School, as well as every media class and computer class offered and uncle Dick convinced me to attend the then Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts where I took everything they offered at the time – TV/Radio & Broadcast Electronics. I worked as an electrician during that time.
My first real broadcasting job was at WHYT and WJR doing whatever they’d let me do –programming board-op, promotions assistant, engineering assistant, running ballgames, and running Paul Harvey. I took a full-time job at Ron Rose Productions for about a year and then moved to WRIF where I’ve been since 1988.
Q: How did you get started in broadcast engineering?
Michael: The part-time job at WHYT and WJR as an engineering assistant.
Tell us something about yourself that very few people know…
Michael: I have a titanium plate in my head!
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Michael: From my uncle Dick “quit driving around in a van with ladders on the roof! Call Hal Buttermore!” (Then CE of WHYT)