If you were a radio announcer in the 1960-1970 era, you probably spent a lot of time sitting at a Gatesway Audio Control Console. Perhaps for many years.
Long before Bill Gates came to dominate the personal computer industry, Parker Gates (no relation) dominated the broadcast equipment industry. Parker S. Gates was president of Gates Radio Company. His parents started the business in Quincy, Illinois in 1922. Parker was 15 years old at the time, but active in the firm from day one. Parker and his parents started by making sound amplifiers for motion picture theaters. Eventually, Gates Radio became the premier supplier of technical equipment for broadcasting.
Gates Radio was perhaps best known for its studio control consoles, like the Gatesway shown above. Pretty much every radio station in North America had a Gatesway audio control console at some point in time. With big volume controls, mechanical switches and amplifier tubes, these were state of the art in the early 1960’s.
With twenty-seven switches and fifty-two switching functions, you could control a variety of microphones, turntables, tape players and remote connections. Early Gates control boards were very easy for broadcast engineers to configure and modify for their specific needs. We had such a modified Gates board on our main studio at CJOB for maybe twenty years.
Gatesway Audio Control – And More
You could probably build an entire radio station out of the Gates catalog. Gates also made a full line of transmitters. Take a look at their complete 1965 catalog.
The company growth benefited greatly from military contracts during WWII. In the 1950s, the company was purchased and then operated by Harris. Recently, the Gates brand has come back into the broadcasting business as GatesAir.
Parker S. Gates was also a ham radio operator, W9DZT, an interest he developed as a boy.