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Carl E. Lee Award

The Carl E. Lee Broadcast Engineering Excellence Award

The Carl E. Lee Broadcast Engineering Excellence Awards was named after Carl E. Lee, a prominent Michigan broadcast engineer and station owner, who was known for his innovation and recognition of opportunity.  Broadcast engineers work diligently to ensure the integrity of our airwaves. For those who have exercised their skills and innovations for the advancement of technology, this is our opportunity to say “you’re outstanding”.

Two awards may be given each year – one to a radio engineer and one to a television engineer.  In 2023, the awards were presented during Beer & Bull at the Great Lakes Media Show, in Lansing, March 14-15.

Candidates for the Carl E. Lee Broadcast Engineering Excellence Award must have been an employee, officer, or owner of any company, subsidiary or division whose primary business is broadcasting, or is directly in support of radio or television station in Michigan. The size of the organization with which each candidate is affiliated is not a determining factor. The merits of the contributions to broadcast engineering are the sole factors to be taken into account.

Candidates for the Awards shall have made contributions in one or more of the following categories:

  • Development of new technologies
  • Dissemination of technical knowledge and literature
  • Leadership in broadcast engineering affairs
  • Mentoring or coaching in the engineering field outside of the workplace
  • Inventions
  • Any outstanding contribution which warrants consideration

About Carl E. Lee:  Lee began his broadcast career as an engineer after graduation from the Michigan Academy of Radio Science in 1939. He rose through the ranks of management and in 1985 acquired ownership of Fetzer Broadcasting Services Inc. At that time Fetzer Broadcasting was comprised of WKZO Radio – Kalamazoo, WJFM – Grand Rapids, WKJF-AM/FM – Cadillac and Muzitronic Services, Inc.

Lee was presented with the MAB’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990.  He passed away February 22, 2015 at age 96.

2024 Radio Recipient

Dave Grant

Dave Grant
Director of Engineering, Cumulus Media (Grand Rapids)

This year's Carl E. Lee Engineering Excellence Award for radio is presented to Dave Grant. Dave's radio career began in 1977 as a board operator at WKBZ in Muskegon running Detroit Tigers baseball games and eventually moved up to a phone screener position. In 1979 Dave began working in Whitehall at 1490 WLRQ as an on‐air personality and started getting into engineering by repairing equipment around the facility while working with their engineer. After a series of other chief engineering roles, in 2012 Grant became chief engineer for Cumulus Media Grand Rapids. He maintains six AM/FM radio broadcast facilities and assists with four additional stations in Muskegon.

2024 TV Recipient

David _Madison

David Madison
IT/Maintenance Engineer (Retired), WGVU Public Media
(Grand Rapids)

This year's Carl E. Lee Engineering Excellence Award for television goes to David Madison, the former, longtime IT/maintenance engineer for WGVU Public Media in Grand Rapids, Mich. Now retired after 35 years with the company, his nomination reads: “[Madison’s] legacy of keeping WGVU on the air for so long needs to be honored. He will be greatly missed in retirement and his engineering talents can’t be replaced.”  Madison originally began his career at WKZO-TV (now WWMT) (Kalamazoo), working under the legendary Carl E. Lee.

Previous Recipients of the Carl E. Lee Broadcast Engineering Award:

1997...Larry Estlack

2001...John F.X. Browne

2002...Carl W. Onken

2003...Eugene “Gene” Wiczak

2004...Edwin Buterbaugh

2005...Helge Blucher

2006...Michael Bradford (R)

2006...Marcus Williams (TV)

2007...Del Reynolds (R)

2007...Michael Doback (TV)

2008...Jerry L. Martin (R)

2008...Lowell Shore (TV)

2009...Greg Urbiel (R)

2009...Dale Scholten (TV)

2010...Ed Trombley (R)

2010...John Grover (TV)

2011...Ralph Haines (R)

2011...Michael Laemers (TV)

2012...David E. Gale (R)

2012...Michael E. Winsky (TV)

2013...Bob Lumbert (R)

2013...Chris Arnaut (TV)

2014...Geary S. Morrill (R)

2014...Gary Blievernicht (TV)

2015...Robert L. Friedle (R)

2015...Chuck Mikowski (TV)

2016...Don Missad (R)

2016...Wayne Henderson (TV)

2017...Craig Bowman (R)

2017...David Oliver (TV)

2018...Tom Bosscher (R)

2019...Richard Paul Grzebik (R-TV)

2019...Gary Harding (R)

2020...Coral Howe (R)

2020...Frank Maynard (TV)

2021...Keith Bosworth (R)

2021...Darel Vanderhoof (TV)

2022...Mark Wittkoski (R)

2022...Brian Kusch (TV)

2023...Walker Sisson (R)

2023...John Azar (TV)

2024...Dave Grant (R)

2024...David Maidson (TV)

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