“E.T.” the Engineer!


When Jim Carlyle was told about WION and came to Ionia for the first time, the question was, “Will this old transmitter actually fire up?”  Well, it took some help….and that’s where E.T. Comes in.  Yes, it fired up…back in August of 2004 after sitting dead for nearly a year…but….

Jim was warned by ET that “anything” could happen.  As the transmitter warmed up and dried out,  it slowly burned through a piece of cardboard put in place to bypass a safety device by a previous owner’s engineer…and…all of a sudden….

….The High voltage jumped…..and so did Jim.  In fact, as he tells the story, he had to go home and change his drawers!  After the big BANG….the old transmitter ran fine, til WION was hit by lightning and it was toasted, replaced by our modern (no tubes) STEREO A.M. transmitter which gives you the great sound you enjoy today both on the air and online.

Jim Credits E.T. with WION having now two FM signals, as having “coffee with the engineer’ sometimes yields the best ideas for bettering a radio station.

E.T. is a collector of microphones, vintage radio equipment and can often be found at Hamfests throughout Michigan with an audience around his selling table…all drinking in his great stories of engineering for radio and TV.  Everyone should hear these stories…and we keep telling E.T. to write a book!


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