Tribute to Eric Harold

Eric Harold was Neil’s web guy. He coded, hosted and maintained the NeilRogers.com website. Throughout the WQAM years and even before – Eric made sure that the fans of the Neil Rogers Show could listen to the show live or download shows via the archives.

Unfortunately, Eric Harold passed away at the age of 48 in March of 2011. This was just months after Neil Rogers, who passed away on December 24, 2010. Eric was a one man operation, so when no one was left to continue hosting and maintaining the NeilRogers.com website, it went offline in late 2011.

During the very early days of the Neil Rogers audio restoration project, I started an email to Eric introducing myself and how I could volunteer the shows I recovered from 1999 to a much larger project. Half way through the email is when I discovered I was too late and that he had passed away.

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If you are interested in seeing the old website, the site archive.org took numerous snapshots going back to late 1998.

https://web.archive.org/web/*/neilrogers.com

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Eric was also responsible for making sure the Daily Polls that became such an important part of the show were working.

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Neil Rogers Daily Poll from June 2004

During the late 1990s and early 2000s, most radio shows did not have a website of the caliber created by Eric. These days we take for granted that we can listen live or download shows we missed from the archives. Back then it was rare. Being one of the first to both stream live and host archives extended the popularity of Neil Rogers nationally and internationally.

Joe Castello who worked with Neil Rogers at WQAM said this recently about Eric.

One of the best human beings that has walked the Earth.

Eric resided in Orlando and away from the Miami market. I’d love to update this post if someone that was close to him comes forward with more information to share. It is also possible that many years of old Neil Rogers Shows reside on one of his servers or backup media.

I would like to thank Eric Harold for making the Neil Rogers Show accessible to me. I never lived in Miami or even heard the show live, but thanks to Eric became a fan via the audio archives on the NeilRogers.com website.

Interview with Radio Ink (January 2014)

** MAS was interviewed by Radio Ink in January 2014 regarding the NEIL Audio Restoration Project. The interview was never published and the “reporter” never returned his follow up emails. Here is the interview assembled from that email thread. **

RI: Who’s behind keeping the memory of Neal alive? Why?
MAS: FYI it is spelled NEIL, not Neal.

The community of those of us keeping the memories of Neil Rogers alive are on the The Neil Rogers Facebook group. Members of the group not only include fans that listened to Neil throughout his 33 year career in Miami, but the group also includes people that worked with Neil.

The audio restoration project was a result of a few things. First was when Neil’s webmaster Eric Harold died. He ran the NeilRogers.com site by himself. I knew that it was just a matter of time before the site would go dark, so I collected all the audio I could from the site. I also used archive.org to grab as many shows as possible from different snapshots taken of the site going back 10 years.

Once we had this audio, at first it was placed on a file sharing site for download. Others stepped forward with more audio to share. Then YouTube announced it would not longer cap uploads to 15 minutes. At that point all the shows went up in their entirety. That attracted more fans, several of which had more audio to share.

The project started with 60 shows from 1999 and now has over 1,700 shows going back to 1987. As more people find the shows, I expect more audio will be located and shared.

RI: What have you put together? A website? FB page, etc.
MAS: We have a website (NeilRogers.org), YouTube channel, a Facebook Group, Twitter, Flickr for photos, Google+ and even Pinterest.

RI: How many people engage in all of this?
MAS: On an average month the videos on YouTube get 15,000 views. In 2013, over 2.5 million minutes were listened to just on YouTube. This doesn’t include MP3 downloads. The Facebook group has over 1,600 members.

RI: What feedback do you get?
MAS: People love discovering old Neil Rogers shows that were assumed to have been lost forever. I myself can listen to shows broadcasted years before I discovered the show.

RI: In addition to those who believed Neal was a great broadcaster, there were many others who say he was the meanest person they ever met. What are your thoughts on that?
MAS: I never met NEIL, so I can’t answer that question.

RI: How long do you plan to keep this going?
MAS: When Eric Harold died there was no backup procedure in place. I also saw how the Bob Lassiter fans were left hanging when the Airchecks site lost all their audio. I made sure that wouldn’t happen with the Neil Rogers Audio Restoration Project. We have a document shared to core individuals with accounts, passwords and detailed instructions on what to do should any of us ever step away away from the project. Also all the shows are backed up in at least 5 places – not counting downloads – so there is almost zero risk of audio loss.

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