(By Buzz Knight) One of the privileges of the business we are in is making friends with some unbelievable partners we encounter over the years. In most instances, this connection is immediate and lasts a lifetime. Sometimes they are cut short in an untimely manner. We’ve lost Jim Barry, the great spokesman from the Consumer Technology Association, and his passing leaves our hearts broken for his family and those of us who enjoyed his friendship over the years.
I first met Jim after one of his many visits as a guest on the Loren and Wally morning show on WROR in Boston, and his boundless energy and passion for technology made him an incredible infusion of content for the show. According to Loren Owens, “Jim was the consummate pro and a true gentlemen. We would talk briefly before cracking the mic where the break would go and he would execute it perfectly.” From Wally Brine: “Jim was not only great for the show but I so looked forward to seeing him in person because he was such a special guy.”
JB loved the Loren and Wally show as a fan because he lived here in the Boston market, so that made his visits and his relationship that much more special.
All across the country, on radio and TV stations, Jim Barry “The Digital Answer Man,” “The Gadget Guy,” was the pied piper of technology for listeners and viewers. You can search on-line and find his many visits chronicled for timely holiday moments like Father’s Day or Christmas, and each showcased his wit, knowledge, and flawless delivery. According to Gary Shapiro, the President and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, “Jim was a passionate industry advocate, who introduced so many people to technology, and will be dearly missed.”
One of the moments I looked forward to each year with Jim, was the annual Consumer Electronics Show Convention in Las Vegas. JB would graciously give me the pre-show lowdown on what was hot and trending, and then at the show itself add the extra color live as it was happening. I’d be certain to introduce JB to each of my radio cohorts that made the pilgrimage to the show, and with each of them he would make that “patented Jim Barry impression.” Jim was the gold standard!
Fred Jacobs was one of them and according to him “Jim was our CES Sherpa. He knew all the latest and greatest innovations at CES and was the industry’s tour guide. Jim was great on the radio, delivering concise and compelling interviews about CES for stations all over the globe. He will be missed.”
Jim was a total professional when he took to the air with his craft. Always right on target and easy to understand. In fact, he was a dream guest because he was always prepared and knew how to make what could be a complicated topic easy to understand. He never talked down to the audience and he always made it entertaining and fun.
Jim’s qualities as a caring person added to his specialness. As he was going through his sickness, it intersected around the timing of my own career uncertainties, and he was always concerned and caring for how things were going for me. I’m honored to have known Jim Barry and I will forever be grateful for his friendship and for the passion he instilled in me for technology.
Buzz Knight is the Vice President of Programming for Beasley Media Group. He can be reached at [email protected]
Radio Ink Note: The CES Website states: “The Consumer Technology Association mourns the loss of its dear friend Jim Barry who passed away Friday night at the age of 71. Following a distinguished career in journalism, Barry served as CTA’s Digital Answerman for the past 22 years, showcasing and explaining technology products to consumers via television and radio appearances along with newspaper interviews across the country.”