DELRAY BEACH, FLA.—Eric Small, co-developer of the Optimod FM processor, founder of Modulation Sciences Inc., and holder of several patents, is dead at the age of 71.
On March 15, Small was leaving a Publix grocery store in Delray Beach FL around 5:09 p.m., when the driver of a car lost control and accelerated towards the store. The car struck Small first and then crashed into the Publix, according to the Palm Beach Sheriffs Office report. The driver and Small were transported to Delray Medical Center, where they both died from their injuries.
Small is survived by wife Roberta, sister Linda (Don) Sussman, children Gary Moskoff, Eric (Shannon) Moskoff and three grandchildren.
Small gained note for his pioneering work as chief engineer of WXLO in New York. Later, he partnered with Bob Orban, and the two developed the Optimod 8000, a radical departure from traditional FM audio processors.
In 1981, he founded Modulation Sciences Inc., where he is best remembered for designing the CP-803 composite processor and Sidekick SCA generator. Over the years, he wrote numerous white papers about audio engineering, and held several patents for the circuits that he developed.
According to a bio in the 10 edition of the NAB Engineering Handbook, to which he contributed, he also was an aerospace hardware and software designer for the visual portion of the F/A-18 combat flight simulator in the 1980s. In 1975, he authored the technical chapter in the CPB Handbook for setting up SCA-based Radio Reading Services for the blind. And when Multichannel Television Sound emerged, he was a voting member of the BTSC, the group that wrote the standard for stereo TV sound.
"Eric provided solutions for TV broadcasters as technology evolved, starting with his stereo encoders and continuing through monitoring and low latency IFB solutions for the digital transition," said Doug Lung, TV Technology contributor. "His legacy goes beyond the equipment. For example, as TV broadcasters worked non-stop at Alpine to restore over the air service after 9/11, Eric was on site with equipment and installation help for anyone that needed it."
Funeral service will be held March 20 at Riverside - Stanetsky Memorial Chapels in Delray Beach, Fla.
The story has been updated by the editor.
This story originally appeared on TVT's sister publication Radio World.