John LaBounty, 79, 40 years at WGBH as Engineer, Supervisor

Jay CollierFrom Gail Martin — 3/30/2007

We have received the sad news that longtime WGBH engineer John LaBounty died yesterday at Emerson Hospital in his hometown of Concord, MA.  We learned John had had a massive stroke last week.  I have included the URL detailing service & funeral arrangements.  Please forward this to others who should be included that I may have missed.

Visiting Hours will be at the Dee Funeral Home, 27 Bedford Street, Concord Center this Sunday April 1st from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.  It is requested that contributions in his memory be made to the WGBH Educational Foundation or to Emerson Hospital — the particulars for donations are contained in the announcement.

John  joined WGBH, then just radio, in January of 1952 … He made the move to TV shortly thereafter and served as Video Tape Supervisor and Maintenance Supervisor in his career that spanned 40 years.  Joe Pugliesi, recalls that “in the 1970’s, John assisted in the development of open captioning for the ABC Evening News and then the line 21 closed captioning that we use today”  and that “John worked on the original French Chef series with Julia Child.”

Gordy Mehlman remembered John’s instrumental work on the layout and redesign of the new Master Control at Western Ave. in the 1980’s.  Gordy said “after service in the Coast Guard in WWII John began his long and dedicated career at WGBH… He was a really good maintenance engineer and a really good guy”.

Fortuitously, John was at WGBH in studio A within the last year and his memories of working at the Foundation were recorded by Fred Barzyk for the oral history project.

His many WGBH friends and colleagues remember him fondly as we mourn his passing.

Ampex Video Simulcasting (1970)

From Joe Pugliesi

According to Benny Krol, who worked this system, this newsletter is from late 69 or early 70.

Boston’s WGBH, first to use videotape recording for educational broadcasting, is probably also the first station to broadcast stereophonic FM sound synchronized with a video presentation…

The Foundation established itself as a technological leader in 1958, when it acquired  an Ampex VR-1000A and became the first NET member to use videotape recording techniques.

The Secrets of Simulcasting (1970s)

From Joe Pugliesi

WGBH in the old days must have been a marvelous place. I came in 1974 at the tail end of those glory days as a master control engineer (picture attached), hired by Fran Abramowicz (circa 1962-1977). I had watched your work as an adolescent and marveled at the production quality, frequently saying to myself “How did they do that?” I enjoy the history of this place.

Among other equipment, I’ve maintained the old quad videotape machines for about 25 years, since 1981. I’ve inherited and scrounged much of the old documentation from the likes of John LaBounty (1952-1991) and Dave Hutton, aka Michigan Fats, (circa 1967-1981). The Ampex note was in Huttons’ stuff, as he was pictured and was a great fan of engineering director Tom Keller (circa 1962-1979).

Related resource