Friends and Family of Arne W. Skoog: It’s my privilege to be here today to honor the memory of my good friend, my buddy, and my colleague of the past 13 years. Arne was in the process of moving 5 very busy radio stations into new facilities on Dexter Ave in 1999 when I met him and his tired and stretched thin crew of engineers, many of whom are here today. As all of us know too well, building new facilities and moving groups of radio stations can literally take a few years off the lives of the engineers. Lisa Decker invited me come out to Seattle to help Arne lead the CBS Radio engineering enterprise forward during what we now look back on as an incredibly intense, fast paced, rapidly changing and extraordinarily successful period for our industry.
Arne was perhaps the most gifted engineer I’ve had the pleasure of working with who was blessed with very special electro-mechanical skills few others in our craft possess. He could fix just about anything. But even more impressively, he went about his work with a quiet, unassuming and friendly confidence everyone admired. Arne was always more than willing to help anyone, no matter how trivial or complicated the problem, from opening a locked car door without a key, fixing a cranky computer or restoring normal operations for the radio stations after a bad storm and power outage. Arne was The Man.
Arne had just built a new transmitter plant on Tiger Mtn when I came out to Seattle from DC. His facility has really become the standard of excellence for all broadcast engineers to admire and emulate. Arne built Tiger Mtn with a tremendous amount of personal care with many unique features and qualities only Arne could create that will be his lasting legacy. Lisa warned me that whenever I accompanied Arne up to the Tiger Mtn site, not to let myself get “Skooged”. Arne would assure us he only needed an hour or so to handle a few minor issues. In reality, we’d end up staying up there many hours, sometimes well into the night as Arne insisted on making everything as perfect as he could before leaving the site. It was just Arne’s nature. He would stick with anything he tackled until he made it the best it could be and would never say no to any challenge.
Arne’s last big project was installing a state of the art FM HD Radio combiner and new SS tx for KMPS at his beloved Tiger Mtn site. He worked tirelessly for 3 solid months often putting in 12 and 14 hour days to get the project done before winter weather and Christmas arrived. But in hindsight, Arne should have been more attentive to the growing pain he was enduring that he finally got evaluated during his Christmas vacation. Arne has taught many valuable lessons and has been a mentor to many, but the one vitally important lesson we all need to take from Arne’s passing much too early in his life is to listen carefully to what your own body is telling you. Don’t let your job or career take priority over your health and well being. Get regular screenings and checkup exams to make sure everything is running properly. Afterall, our bodies are really only another kind of electro-mechanical device to maintain. And as mom lovingly told all of us over and over, get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, eat your vegetables and just say no to stress.
Perhaps Arne’s most poignant statement he made to his bride Deb and to me when he was still in the hospital but knew his time was short, was, “I sure hope I won’t be forgotten.” Everyone here and all of his friends everywhere know that will never happen. We’ve decided to memorialize Arne’s contributions to our enterprise with 2 plaques to be permanently installed where everyone who follows him will remember. One will go on the door of the Tiger Mtn transmitter bldg and the other on the door of our studio technical operations center also known as the rackroom. They will read:
Arne Skoog, CBS Radio Seattle Chief Engineer, 1994-2013. Arne built and maintained this facility with the highest engineering standards and an abundance of loving care. Whatever you may do here, please follow his most excellent example.
When I last visited Arne at his home last weekend, he looked up at me shook my hand and whispered., “Time is Short”. We are all here on mother earth for only a very brief time. Ladies and Gentlemen, every day is a special gift. Use each and every one wisely.