Sunday, July 10, 2016

Tribute to Lou Josephs - Media Visionary and great friend

Lou Josephs
Very sad to learn that my colleague and friend, Lou Josephs, has passed away much too soon. He died after a short illness at 6:13 am Sunday July 10th 2016 at a house on Merritt Island, Florida close to his beloved Cape Canaveral. He was 65. My condolences to his life-long partner Susan Koonin who was by his side. There will be funeral in Washington DC on Wednesday July 13th. 

Jim Cutler in NY, Vasily Strelnikov in Moscow and I put together this 60 minute audio tribute to a great guy.

Lou was one of the first Media Network listeners in the 1980's to step forward and help us develop the programme into a serious media magazine on Radio Netherlands. He made hundreds of contributions to the programme over a period of 15 years, including this great portrait of commercial international broadcaster WNYW, New York. That documentary is one of the most popular editions in the current archive.

I think you'll agree that was Lou at his finest. Some of the other recollections about WNYW are also still online.

From Radio Specialist to Internet Expert

I first got to know Lou when he worked as a programme director at music station WROR in Boston. He was using very advanced audience research methods to understand the music mix that his audience wanted - and it made the station a market leader in an era when FM stations had big breakfast talent (Joe and Andy I seem to recall). Lou was always ahead of the game, got out of radio when automation took over, and then moved to Washington DC to work for one of the first US Internet companies. But he never lost his interest in broadcasting - championing on-line listening.

As others have pointed out, the Media Network programme in 1992 was actually a remake of a profile Lou originally made in 1985. As a kid living in New York, Lou got a Saturday job working at WNYW, Radio New York Worldwide and (thankfully) made some unique off the air studio recordings,


Lou's first love was space - he was an authority on all the missions and found ways to follow launches from the early days. He was delighted at the success of the NASA Juno Jupiter mission and was hoping to witness the SpaceX launch this week.

Lou's second love was radio and in my Skype conversations with him over the last few days,  I've been reminiscing about how his predictions about digital AM, on-line audio and satellite television were spot on. I know of few other people who were so well read on the global media, yet willing to share their knowledge and expertise with friends and colleagues around the world. And he competed with our Australian propagation specialist Mike Bird knowing his California wines like no other.

Lou was not on Facebook or other social media platforms. But over the last few days, I did manage to pass on greetings from those who reacted to an earlier post on FB. Susan says those thoughts made him so happy. So long, Lou, and thanks for your being a great friend to many people around the world.

Other tributes from former MN contributors:

Many best wishes came in over the last few days, all of which were read to him by Susan. This included: 

Victor Goonetilleke in Sri Lanka writes: I enjoyed the clever jingles he made but also the many contributions to Media Network on changes to digital radio. I was happy to meet him in Washington DC after an SWLFEST and Lou helped me fulfill a teenage DX dream as I listened to VOA and JFKs final rites in 1963; To visit the Eternal Flame at Arlington National Cemetery. Lou took me there and then gave me a fantastic tour of DC. We always remember great friends like that with great affection. It is friends like Lou who make the hobby (?) of DXing, SWLing so fine..the highlight is not only in the signals that come through sitting alone in your shack. Take care Lou and all the very best my friend.

Tom Sundstrom in New Jersey: I am very sorry to hear of Lou's illness and I hope he recovers quickly. Lou and I often exchanged phone calls and notes while we were both associated with MN. The MN work was fun and interesting. I can't believe so many years have intervened. Space interests me too; the JUNO precision orbit insertion was bloody amazing!

Richard Cuff: I remember Lou joining us for an SWL Fest in Pennsylvania in the mid-2000s, where he presented a great retrospective on WRUL / WNYW, the commercial shortwave station with its heyday in the 1960s. And, of course, I remember him very well from Media Network. Lou, hope you get well soon!

John Figliozzi: Lou, I too recall with great fondness the presentation you gave at the Winter SWL Fest now several years ago about WNYW--Radio New York Worldwide. It was one of the first shortwave stations I tuned in on my then brand new Heathkit GR-54 receiver. I listened to the station regularly and it was great to experience such a thorough history and background of the station that only you were able to provide. It was clear that we shared a love for that broadcaster. It was great to meet you then and to link a face with a voice that I heard regularly on Radio Netherlands' Media Network. I am sorry to hear of your health issues and hope that this small message of support can help in some tiny but significant and ultimately successful way. Godspeed.

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