Our industry is chock-full of professionals who stumbled into the sound reinforcement business from a pure love of music and took that interest and molded it into a successful endeavor. This career path holds true for the co-owners of one of the busiest local sound providers in the Houston area, Bayou City Sound (Tomball, Texas; www.bayoucitysound.com). Tom Bohacek and Scott Powers first crossed paths 15 years ago while working freelance production for a local radio station, but their journeys to that moment couldn't be more different.
At an early age, Bohacek studied in a vocational electronics training course, finding a love for all things electronic and audio design. From there, he worked in the technical department for Maxim Sound and later started his first company, North Start Productions, where his duties included designing, servicing and installing sound and lighting systems. While there, he signed on with major Houston radio station KILT-FM, providing live sound and production services for county fairs, rodeos, amphitheaters, cruise lines and the 1992 Super Bowl after-party, as well as providing engineering and production services for Vince Gill, Diamond Rio, Willie Nelson and the Houston Pops Orchestra. With these credentials under his belt, Bohacek began collecting and maintaining equipment to produce his own shows.
Powers joined the music world at the age of three, when he was singing in the children's — and later adult — choir. However, his vocal stylings were more of an enjoyment, so after high school, Powers began working for an insurance company, adjusting claims and cases, followed by marriage and family life — and a move to Houston in 1979 — all the while maintaining a love for music. Years later, a friend of Powers suggested that he help with their live show production, hiring him on as stage manager and monitor engineer. Powers also created a side gig with KILT-FM, performing many of the same duties as Bohacek.
Today, Bayou City Sound handles a broad range of events and services. “Outside of the corporate market, which is growing rapidly for us,” Bohacek says, “a good portion of our business is with various ethnic groups. We stay active in houses of worship, fairs, festivals and benefits. Houston's music [scene] has become much more diverse and has lost a number of small and mid-sized venues we were working with. To grow as a company, we had to become diversified.” BCS is contracted for local and national touring acts, and can be found providing SR expertise in churches, conventions, golf tournaments and whatever else comes through the Houston scene.
Supporting these events is an extensive equipment inventory, including a recently purchased Turbosound Aspect loudspeaker system, and 56- and 48-input Midas Verona boards. In mid-June, the company also purchased an arsenal of JBL 712M stage monitors to outfit a new monitor system and has its eye set on the Dolby Lake Processor. BCS' racks are full of gear from the likes of Crown Audio, Yamaha, Lexicon, dbx and Klark Teknik, while clients can request AKG, Sennheiser, Shure, Electro-Voice and Beyerdynamic mics. Wrangling all this gear is done by six employees and “an unlimited labor pool of individuals that share a similar passion for the industry,” Bohacek enthuses. “Two of our main guys are Robert Bronner and Jade Fontenot. Robert is on every show — great tech and extremely devoted to us. He approached us five years ago to learn more about sound to support his video passion. Jade is a fantastic FOH and monitor engineer and always gives 110 percent toward excellence.
“BCS has always concentrated on customer service and what we offer on a personal level,” Bohacek continues. “We have taken time with musicians and clients to gain a better understanding of what they wanted for their performance or event, which is where we feel we have excelled in the local market. It has helped us grow when our equipment was not as ‘rider-friendly’ as it is now.” And BCS will now have one more perk to offer its customers: Bayou City Video (www.bayoucityvideo.com), a full video production division offering projection systems, camera operation, editing and A/D transfer of media. In addition, Bohacek reveals that they have something on the drawing board that is “exciting and unique to our industry,” but cannot comment further until plans are set for a hopeful 2007 launch.
Sarah Benzuly is Mix's managing editor.