As the 60's ended and WTVT entered the "Me" decade of the 70's, it was the end of the road for the TK-42s. "We were extremely pleased to get rid of the TK-42s," admits Adrian, "and the station donated them to the local PBS affiliate, WEDU. Because we had a track record with the G.E.s, we bought four new P.E. 400's for the studio around late 1970. We thought we'd died and gone to heaven."
The engineering department saw the departure of Lawton Melcalfe and Jack King, who both went to work for the University of South Florida. "Jack's true love was weather, and he went to work at USF with a department that built special weather projects, recalls Adrian. "Lawton died in the early 70's. At the time we hired Frank Rankel, a former WEDU engineer who was working at Florida Atlantic College on the east coast. Frank became a WTVT engineer, then a remote supervisor, and later Chief Engineer, and later a salesman for Sony."
Adrian left WTVT for Lykes Electronics, where he installed closed-circuit cameras in race tracks and Hi Alai frontons. He then worked for a company that televised horse racing. The chief engineer of WFLA called Adrian back to work in the mid-70s. After automating the Channel 8 transmitter, former WTVT chief photographer Billy Bowles offered him a position with GTE's downtown Tampa production studio, which meant regular hours and weekends off. Adrian was engineer for the studio and worked with former WTVT employees Paul Koenig and Dave Rosenblatt . Adrian was with the GTE TV studio until deregulation took away the engineering budget and he opted to move to the fiber optic transmission area, where he retired in 1993. These days Adrian enjoys keeping up with technology through trade journals. His hobby is flying R.C. aircraft, and spending time with his teenage son.
Looking back, Adrian says it was a great ride and an interesting time to be in television. "I was extremely fortunate to have been able to participate in a technology that was changing so rapidly. In 1958, television was just starting to become a national force. To have been in television and experience the changes like black and white to colorfrom a mechanical, 5 button switcher to the Grass Valley 1600 we had at the phone company. Satellites, video tape, disc recorders, camcorders etc. From '58 to '80, to see what happened to the technology was absolutely amazing. I don't think we'll see such technology leaps againgoing from the dark ages to the high-tech stuff. I still keep up with the trade journals. And eventually, I will own a high definition set."
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