Barry Mishkind - The Eclectic Engineer
Last update 10/1/18
Greg Ogonowski grew up in St. Clair Shores, MI, suburban Detroit, in the shadow of great radio stations like CKLW. His career then took him to Los Angeles, where he worked for KEZY, Anaheim, CA, KTNQ, KLVE, and KBIG, Los Angeles, CA. His efforts included "touching" most radio stations in the LA area.
No other single radio station has influenced the way the Gregg Laboratories processor sounded more than CKLW. That radio station had a sound that "meant business" and it enjoyed the success that came with it.
Finding that no station in LA had the "sound" that made CKLW stand out in his hometown market, Ogonowski decided to build his own processor. The 2540, a five-band AM processor with a novel third-order, time-aligned crossover, instantly got the attention of the engineering community for its smooth sound, especially on the low end, where many processors simply got "muddy" when doing more than minimal processing.
The 2540 was used on many major Top 40, MOR, and news stations, including, CKLW, WLS, WJR, WBZ, WHN, KFI, KTNQ, KFWB, KLAC, KOGO, KFMB, KOY, WMAQ, WCCO, WAPE, to name a few, except WABC (where the demo blew up the Harris MW-50 transmitter because of a transmitter capacitor failure). This processor produced huge loudness energy while continuing to sound good.
Most people do not know the untold story of how broadcast audio was shaped and molded broadcast audio forever by the influences included in the Gregg Laboratories processors. Of note: when WFAN was sold, the only piece of transmission equipment specified in the purchase agreement was the Gregg Laboratories audio processor.
Underfinanced due to an excursion into console construction, Gregg Labs itself closed in 1982. However, Ogonowski designed an overshoot and bandwidth controlled low-pass filter, and took the left-over parts to build the model 2550 FM processors.
The first unit made its radio debut on 94 Fox FM CFXX-FM/CKLW-FM. This processor helped take many other great radio stations to number 1, including KPWR Los Angeles, and Hot97 New York. The low-pass filter became the Orban Optimod-FM 8100 "0" Card. The crossover filter, AGC and compressor time-constants, and low-pass filter designs have been converted to DSP and used for the first time in the Orban Optimod-FM 8200, which made its radio debut on KBIG Los Angeles, and are still in use in all current Optimod products today. Much of Ogonowski's processor design led to many transmitter and STL improvements, because in order to transmit competitive audio, accurate transmission paths are very necessary.