TUESDAY, APRIL 10, 2007,
By E
News-Post Staff
WALKERSVILLE — The earliest
recollection Fred Berney has of
radio is when he was 3 or 4 years old.
“I remember a friend of mine
telling me about a new radio show
called ‘Superman.’ That was in 1942
or 1943,” he said.
“As a small child I would place a
small radio next to my bed and lis-
ten to programs late at night when I
was supposed to be asleep,” Berney
said. If his parents wanted to punish
him, they would not allow him to lis-
ten to the radio.
At the age of 10, he would ride
two buses downtown in Miami to
watch the engineers at the local
radio station get it started at 6 a.m.
“Sometimes, he would even let me
cue up a record.”
By the time he was 13, Berney
was recording radio shows with a
tape recorder he received for his
birthday in 1952. He ended up
recording about 150 shows.
He later moved to professional
sound work as a stringer for NBC,
ABC, Metrotone News and United
Press International TV News.
“Around 1970, I noticed a classi-
fied ad in a magazine advertising old
time radio shows for sale. So I
placed a similar ad in the maga-
zine,” Berney said. He got a response
from someone who had 1,000 radio
shows and wanted to trade. He soon
found other collectors all over the
“I built up my collection from 150
shows to more than 3,000. Today, I
probably have close to 10,000 pro-
grams,” Berney said.
Berney tied his love and skills in
recording into a business while still
in high school. He launched
Satellite Media Productions, setting
up a recording studio for small
bands. He moved to film work a few
years later, initially shooting and
editing commercials for drive-ins.
In 1964, Berney produced a fea-
ture film, “Once Upon a Coffee
House,” which starred, among oth-
ers, Joan Rivers. In 1968, he pur-
chased a black and white video tape
recorder and began work in that
field, doing work for such clients as
Bank of America.
With his skill in multiple, but
connected, fields, Berney invented a
magnetic sound reader used in film
editing. His company sold more than
500 around the world. He also
invented an editing system for quar-
ter-inch audio tape.
Today, he and his wife, Ellen,
operate Satellite Media Productions
that not only includes video and
audio production, but duplication of
CDs and DVDs. His firm, most likely
the largest in Frederick, can pro-
duce 33 discs or 600 CDs per hour. It
isn’t unusual to get orders, he said,
for as many as 1,200 CDs a week.
His firm has four computerized
video editing systems. “The profes-
sional term is non-linear editing sys-
tems,” Berney said, adding that he
also has a Light Wave system that
can do animation.
The company also does film
transfers from 8mm, super 8mm,
16mm and 35mm slides to either
video tape or DVD. “The majority of
our work is transferring people’s old
home movies to DVD, but we also
transfer 16mm films for producers.”
“Ellen does all the graphics
work. She is self taught, but quite
an expert at working Photoshop and
After Effects,” he said.
Ellen Berney, 66, was a registered
nurse until she retired in 1985 and
began working with her husband.
“I bought her a computer and she
taught herself how to use it. We’ve
been married 43 years this past
February,” Berney said.
His love for old radio shows con-
tinues. Berney, 67, was honored with
the Cawelti Award by the
Metropolitan Washington Old Time
Radio Club.
The award exemplifies the quali-
ties of kindness, congeniality and
dedication by the late Stan Cawelti.
Since his death in 1989, the club has
honored a recipient with the Cawelti
Award with a traveling plaque and a
permanent inscribed silver cup.
Local man turned early passion for radio into career
Courtesy photo
Fred Berney, center, is shown with Maury Cagle, left, vice president, and Chuck Langdon,
past president, of the Metropolitan Washington Old Time Radio Club. Berney was present-
ed the Cawelti Award.
As a small child I would place a small radio next to my
bed and listen to programs late at night when I was
supposed to be asleep.
Satellite Media Productions
P. O. Box 638
Walkersville, MD 21793-0638
Phone: (800) 747-0856 • (301) 845-2737
FAX (301) 845-6765

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