James Malone, Founder of Total RF and a Wireless Visionary, Dies
James Malone, founder of Total RF and a global visionary in the field of live wireless video and audio systems, died unexpectedly on Jan. 25. He is is survived by his wife, Anna Malone; mother, Marie Malone Street; children Shannon, Erin, Justin, and Tara; and stepchildren Kasia Parker and Greg Buczkiewicz.
In 1991, Malone founded Total RF, one of the first companies offering TV stations and networks technology that gave them an unsurpassed ability to cover breaking news and sports. Considered a grand master of the application of wireless technology to the art of broadcast production, Malone, along with Total RF, was presented nine Emmy Awards for Technology Innovation and Production Excellence.
He was sought out by networks, national broadcasters, and global event organizations to help deliver live coverage of the largest and most complex events. His expertise was an integral part of much of the most watched television sports coverage of the past three decades, including all Olympics coverage since 1994, the New York and Boston Marathons, and countless PGA, NFL, NBA, MLB, and college-football events.
His energy, enthusiasm, dedication, and knowledge set the standard for use of these emerging technologies, and he recently rejoined CP Communications as director of technology, once again having a chance to work at the New York City Marathon. His commitment to innovation was again on display with the use of a private 4G network set up in Brooklyn. He had been working with local TV stations on similar projects, but the one in use at the Marathon is the first of its kind.
“We believe that bidirectional 4G technology in a private band has 100% quality of service because it is not impacted by people [using the network],” he said at the time of the 2017 Marathon. “The use of bonded cellular fills the holes on the course, and it’s a very good combination of technologies.”
Malone’s influence is readily apparent in how televised coverage is provided in many events but in particular the broadcast coverage of marathons, cycling, and golf. He was an early and vocal promoter of the use of digital systems in concert with the microwave transmission of video, and his life work and enthusiastic advocacy of this technology paved the way for the live HD sports broadcasts that are now the norm.
Malone graduated of from the University of Dayton in 1975 with a BSEE and found his passion working in the television-broadcast industry and with the microwave transmission equipment that facilitates live broadcasts of newsworthy events.
He began his career at KYW-TV Philadelphia and then spent 13 years at WCAU Philadelphia, where his entrepreneurial fervor ultimately took hold. A lifelong ham-radio enthusiast and operator, he was an important part of the national network of radio “first responders.”
In recent years, had pioneered development of software-defined radios and camera systems using cellular technology to deliver HD and UHD video.