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Former NPR Audio Engineer Bill Deputy Dies At 58

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Sound is at the heart of what we do. And we've lost a colleague who personified the art of gathering it.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BILL DEPUTY: I was hoping we could do some ambience here.

GREENE: Bill Deputy was an audio engineer, one of NPR's finest for almost 20 years. That's him there collecting some background ambience during one of his many field assignments for NPR. Bill Deputy died this week after a long battle with lung cancer.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

He understood how sound can create pictures - pictures as vivid as any painting, as clear as any photo. Here's Bill's recording of a steam locomotive in West Virginia.

(SOUNDBITE OF STEAM LOCOMOTIVE)

MONTAGNE: Bill knew how to capture the drama of a moment, like this one, where he followed cops on the beat in Baltimore.

(SOUNDBITE OF POLICE INTERROGATION)

UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER: Did you hit her?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yeah, she hit me so I hit her.

UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER: Did you hit her?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: No, I didn't hit her.

UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER: You didn't hit her?

GREENE: He also recognized the subtle beauty of a rainstorm in coastal Alabama.

(SOUNDBITE OF RAINSTORM)

GREENE: Bill loved to record music as well. This is a group performing an old style of choir music called shape-note singing.

(SOUNDBITE OF SHAPE-NOTE SINGING)

MONTAGNE: Bill was soft-spoken, kind and demanding. His love for audio helped shape this network. Most recently, he was technical director for the public radio program American Roots. Bill Deputy died yesterday in New Orleans. He was 58 years old. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.