Washington - Oct 29, 2013 - Richard Mertz, a consulting engineer and partner of the firm Cavell Mertz and Associates, died on Oct. 29 at his home. He was under hospice care for his two-year fight with pancreatic cancer.
Mertz joined the firm in 1994 after already having 25 years of broadcast engineering experience behind him. Several projects of note involved field measurements to demonstrate that the FCC's interference model overstated actual station coverage. These measurements and experimental reports resulted in several high band VHF stations being permitted to greatly exceed the maximum power cap in the Northeast providing an improvement with indoor reception.
His engineering career in the Washington, DC, area spanned several decades and included tours as a staff engineer and project manager at Jules Cohen and Associates, director of engineering for United Broadcasting Company, and manger of technical operations for NBC's WRC-AM. Prior to coming to Washington, Mertz worked at several of the major-market Jefferson Pilot Broadcasting radios stations. He was the technical operations manager at WBT-AM/ WBCY-FM, and the Jeffersonics audio recording facility in Charlotte, NC. Under Mertz's guidance, WBT participated in testing AM stereo skywave performance, becoming the first station in the South to operate in AM stereo.
Before WBT, Mertz was assistant chief engineer for Jefferson-Pilot Broadcasting's WQXI-AM/FM in Atlanta, where he designed and built studio and transmitter facilities.
He was a nationally recognized expert in broadcast technical matters. He presented technical papers at NAB and IBC conventions. He served on panels of industry groups covering subjects from AM stereo, multiple ownership and microprocessor systems, to RF exposure protection. He was a columnist for Radio World, and was a contributor to one of the NAB's publications on station multiple ownership and consolidation of facilities.
His memorial service will be Nov. 3, 2013, at 1 p.m. at Joseph Gawler's Sons, 5130 Wisconsin Ave., Washington, DC 20016.
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