Miami Herald Covers the Neil Rogers Audio Recovery Project

Yesterday, I was interviewed by Jose Lambiet for a story about this website and the YouTube channel we created as a tribute to Neil Rogers.

Miami Herald Neil 2018

Talk host Neil Rogers is dead, but his radio archive lives on

It is a good article and I hope it attracts new fans and maybe new audio will be recovered.

Side note: If you know someone that works inside Yahoo!, read #5 on the Support page

There were a few minor errors, which are probably to blame on my cell phone, which cut out several times during the interview.

  • John Baker had his own personal collection of NEIL from the late 1980s. The audio we recovered before then and during the WIOD era (as well as the 1998 shows), were sent to him to restore, remaster, and convert to digital. (see Tribute to John Baker for more details)
  • I don’t recall saying John was in Boca, but he might have lived there in the 1980s. John lived in Gainsville.
  • I also don’t know if Nick Abbot ever played Neil bits on his show. I do know Neil was an influence, which you can see on his Wikipedia page or his Twitter feed.
  • Typo: “I moved to D.C. and I couldn’t a radio signal in my office.” It should have read “I moved to D.C. and I couldn’t get a radio signal in my office.” Again, my cell phone was breaking up during the interview.
  • Neil was born in Rochester, NY not Canada.
  • The archives aren’t mine. They belong to all the fans.

Here are some additional notes on the timeline of the project:

June 12, 2009 – The last Neil Rogers Show
December 24, 2010 – Neil Rogers dies
2011 – Eric Harold (Neil’s web guy dies)
2011 – I start sharing audio via a Google Sites page
2012 – YouTube channel beings
2012 – John Baker partners with me and we begin to build out the archive.
2012 – NeilRogers.org starts
2017 – John Baker dies

The archive has almost 1,900 shows. Over 2,000 if you count other shows besides NEIL. This is 5,000 hours of commercial free audio.

My Tribute to Radio’s Neil Rogers – Blog post on the early history of the project

John Baker was the NEIL expert. Much more than me. I was the technical guy. When Eric Harold died, I stepped in to help out, because I have a background in programming, databases, and creating websites in general.

Thank you for supporting the Neil Rogers Audio project. Besides this blog, you can learn more here:

Tribute to John Baker

Yesterday morning I received word that my friend John Baker had died. I do not know the cause of death, but I was aware he had been battling a sickness for a week that left him very tired.

For the past five years, John was my partner on the Neil Rogers Audio Restoration project. We communicated via Facebook Messenger on a near daily basis and occasionally we would chat on the phone. We both shared a common goal, which was to recover as much audio from the Neil Rogers Show as we could and make those recordings accessible to his fans.

Here is a snippet from an article about the project titled Rogers still the talk of S. Florida Radio that appeared in both the Miami Herald and Sun Sentinel in January 2014.

John Baker

John was able to convert any analog format into digital from cassettes to videotapes to reel-to-reel recorders. Almost every recovered show prior to January 1999 went through his hands. He was not only able to transfer audio to digital he had an amazing ability to be able to date a show by just listening to a few minutes.

There were a few times when John would receive a box of tapes in the mail without dates or incorrect dates and weeks later every clip of audio would be dated in the right sequence and handed off to me to add to our digital archives.

If there was a sound drop that we didn’t know who to credit, John would start sending out messages. He might spend a few hours trying to identify a 2-second clip. That is dedication.

In 2013, John produced and hosted this show of Neil Rogers tributes.

Out of his own pocket, John paid for whatever equipment he needed to complete a task. He paid for postage and even took road trips to meet up with other fans of Neil with audio to share.

He was a tremendous asset and without him, we would not have nearly as much audio as we were able to find. In addition to audio, John recovered numerous news stories related to Neil Rogers and South Florida radio and added them to this website. And over 1,000 photos too.

With John’s passing, Neil fans have lost a true historian. The upside is John was able to share much of his knowledge before he went. As of today, we have recovered over 5,000 hours of audio from Neil Rogers and other South Florida radio. Without John, a lot of that audio would have been lost forever.

He will be greatly missed. RIP John.

John Baker

I never met John face to face, as I live in Seattle, so I know him best from this image he used for his Facebook profile. 

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.

eric-harold-photo

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

neil-rogers-show

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

neil-rogers-poll

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.