“This is AVNation” is a pronouncement that’s been repeating in AV professionals’ ears for 10 years now. Tim Albright, the man behind the mic, has become the most recognizable voice in AV.
Watch the video below to learn more about Tim Albright.
Albright’s love of broadcast began when he was young. “Growing up in St. Louis gives you an overly acute awareness of radio and media. Between Jack Buck, the Hall of Fame Cardinals announcer, and KMOX, one of a handful of super powerful AM stations, we had some great examples. I was drawn to the creative, production, and connections broadcasting gives you.”
Albright was drawn to the field of broadcasting because it allowed him to communicate his thoughts from behind a microphone, where he felt he could be himself. “People invite you into their homes, into their cars, and it’s a very personal way to communicate. As a natural introvert, it was a way for me to feel less weird.”
Albright—who studied radio and television at Lewis & Clark Community College and then received a B.S. in organization leadership from Greenville University—began his radio career on morning shows. When his first child was born, however, he decided a 4:30 a.m. start time wasn’t conducive to his role as a father. Albright joined alma mater Lewis & Clark Community College as the manager of media electronics. Part of his responsibilities included replacing the school’s projectors each summer. “That evolved into me learning to program control systems, and to design, deploy, and maintain almost 300 spaces for our community college system,” he said. “I fell in love with all the aspects of AV.”
While working as a tech manager, Albright was an avid podcast listener. “To me, it’s the next evolution of broadcasting. And broadcasting gets in your blood, much like AV.”
In 2011, he was looking for “the AV version of Leo Laporte’s This Week in Tech podcast.” Unable to find what he was searching for, Albright “ended up on a Google Hangout with Bradford Benn (opens in new tab) and Rich Fregosa, just talking about AV stuff.” He described the group as, “a guy from Harman [Benn’s former employer], a control programmer [Fregosa], and some dumb kid from Illinois.” Ever the braggart, the last bit is how he described himself.
While on the Hangout, Albright realized that everything he had been looking for, including the technology, was right in front of him, and AVNation was born.
“I put a call out on Twitter saying, ‘Hey, I want to do this thing. Anyone want to join me?’ and had a number of people jump on,” he recalled. “George Tucker, Linda Seid Frembes, and Michael Drainer were my first guests. We recorded the first show on a Friday at the end of July 2011 and have recorded or produced one every week since.”
For the first four and a half years, Albright worked full time while hosting, producing, and running AVNation. When his employer, a programming firm, was acquired and the owner was discussing a role for him at the new company, Albright decided to go full time at AVNation. “It was time to see if I could make a living doing this,” he said.
“It was the right time. Through some really rough patches, and some great ones, it’s proven the right decision so far.”
Today, AVNation is a pro AV media powerhouse, putting out 14 shows a week—not including the occasional special—with three full-time employees and a solid team of freelancers. Albright’s guests are drawn from a broad range of roles—from installers to AV marketers to tech managers—and diverse voices. Diversity, Albright says, is critical to AVNation’s success. “There is a power to media, regardless of the medium. How we see each other and ourselves represented in the media we consume has an impact on our worldview. Making the decision to include others who don’t look like me, a white man, is important because then someone who doesn’t look like me will see themselves and see an opportunity they may not have imagined,” Albright explained. “Being able to provide that brings me immense joy and is one of my career highlights.”
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