Today, it seems hard to believe, but when I was growing up, the ultimate in high technology was audio. How I managed to get interested in the field is a mystery to me, as it certainly was to my family -- my parents thought they had spawned some kind of alien.
Nevertheless, I was interested in audio from earliest childhood. Actually, my prime focus was on radio, but in order to understand the workings of a broadcast studio, I had to acquire some knowledge of audio basics. This was largely gained through poring over various electronics magazine, which wasn't all that satisfactory, as they were mostly interested in short-wave radio and remote-controlled model airplanes, rather than audio.
Author Ian G. Masters in his home studio -- with treasured microphone -- in 1960
Eventually, however, I cobbled together enough knowledge to put together my own basement "radio" studio. It was primitive by today's standards (in fact it was primitive be the standards of those days as well), but it allowed me to immerse myself in audio throughout my youth. My parents were always dismayed when my wish-lists for Christmas and birthdays usually included a microphone or some tape-manipulating device (I still have my first splicer! And microphone).
Video came in 1968, when I won a gargantuan open-reel video tape recorder in a contest sponsored by a U.S. electronics magazine. I have been flirting with what we now call "home theater" since those days.
I don't suppose I ever really expected to be able to make a career out of my interest in electronics, and I did spend some post-university years in accounting and investments. Big mistake.
Eventually, I stumbled upon a help-wanted ad looking for an assistant editor for a Canadian electronics magazine. The publication was in the process of converting itself into an audio magazine -- that's where the ad bucks were in those days -- and it needed an in-house audio nut to help make the transition. The editor-in-chief reasoned that he could teach any reasonably literate person to edit, but not to be manic about audio. He looked at my covering letter, my (otherwise useless) degree in English, and my long-standing fascination with audio and video, and hired me, in spite of my total lack of knowledge of publishing.
That magazine and its editor are long gone, but here I am, still working the same corner.
-Ian G. Masters