SOUND STATION STORY
Kevin McGuire and the Sound Station Story
I’ve always had a love for music and audio electronics and came from a family that embraced it. At the age of four, I played vinyl records on my first turntable, I had not learned to wink but I could spin records! My first of many. In junior high I played the drums and recorded 8-track tapes off of my LP’s. I built my first component home stereo system consisting of a BSR turntable, La Fayette preamp, Dynaco 120 tube amp and Sony speakers. At 15, I built my first pair of 3 way home speakers with 12″ woofers in shop class (and made an “A” I might add). In 1975 I was working at a car audio store by day and by night in an x-ray lab while studying radiology at Tulsa Junior College.
At the hospital everyone complained about their job while people around me were dying! At the stereo store everyone loved their job and only the radios were dying. It didn’t take long to find the “radio” in RADIOlogy. I started playing guitar and proceeded to take my Beatles Vox Guitar Amplifier apart and install it in my Chevy van along with an Audiovox 8-track and a Craig Power Play Amplifier (top of the line back then). I gained more knowledge while working at other car audio stores and then opened my own business in 1977. I had a partner, and we worked out of my van in Tulsa. Life was simple. My grandparents owned a vintage 1930’s Phillips 66 service station in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and when they offered me the opportunity to open my own store, I took it! In October, 1978 “The Sound Station” was born. I thank my father for the name.
During the early years I was fortunate enough to stay very busy working on some fun projects. I installed stereos for many car dealers, and one Tulsa BMW/Mercedes dealer brought me many exotic cars: Rolls Royce, Bentley, Porsche, Panterra, and many others. I savored the challenge of something new. I designed custom stereo systems for businesses, boats, semis, airplanes and even a hot air balloon. I once installed a system in a big red tool box—custom-designed for a surgeon to house his stereo and play music while performing surgeries. It was fully automated, of course!
In 1985 we held the first of many car audio contests in the region with Fosgate and Pioneer. The early Alpine IASCA contests taught us much about the business of high-quality car audio. We won 1st in Oklahoma, Dallas and Chicago with my Mercedes, which qualified us for the first IASCA World Finals in 1987 in San Diego, CA. We were highlighted in magazines, video training tapes, and as a special honor, a full-page article with photo in Rolling Stone Magazine. The next year we took several cars to the world finals and I finished 2nd in the world in my class.
We even entered the customized sound system we installed in the semi cab that hauled the cars to the show. Those were great days—when it was all about the sound and installation quality. In 1989 I won all seven qualifiers in the region and was invited back to the IASCA world finals in Tempe, Arizona. I took 1st in the world competition in my class. That was enough.
In the midst of IASCA I had turned the living areas of the old station, where my grandparents had once lived, into a new showroom for The Sound Station’s Home Audio and Video Departments. Transitioning into the world of home audio was a natural progression and we tried everything: satellite, cellular, surround sound, and even a custom division for new home pre-wires. In the end it all came down to the essential thing: I just love music. I eventually discontinued everything that wasn’t fun for me. I want to always do what I love, and do it well. And now, I just do hi-fi.
I’ve always pushed technology, design and myself to the maximum levels. I have embraced hi-fi and home theater with the same enthusiasm and intensity I felt as a kid…every day is Christmas! There is always a new box to open and a new technology to discover. When I travel, often with my lovely wife Rhonda, l meet the voices at the other end of the phone— folks I’ve worked with for years and already count as friends.
I can’t wait to see what the future holds in this exciting field. I look forward to the many new clients and rekindled friendships I’ll have along the way. I just hope that I’m able to do this for another 40 years…“knock on wood.”
Steps in The Sound Station Journey…
- 29 years of attending annual Consumer Electronic Shows and CEDIA training
- KEF factory training in Maidstone England 1987
- Paradigm factory training in Toronto Canada 1989, 1991
- Symbol Technologies manufacturing New York, NY 1990
- Martin Logan factory training Lawrence, KS 1991, 1995, 2002
- Montana Loudspeaker factory training in San Diego, CA 1996 and 2005
Enjoy the Music!