Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame
At its 10th annual Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame awards ceremony held on October 20, 2009 in Phoenix, 13 prominent industry leaders were inducted, including ListenUp’s Walt Stinson. Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CEA, praised the inductees for their contributions to the growth of the industry. “The CE Hall of Fame gives us the opportunity to showcase the people in our industry that offer creative solutions. Their ideas have changed the way consumers live,” he said.
In his acceptance speech Walt talked about his boyhood love of electronics and how he could not have predicted what the future held. He said he was grateful to be included in the Hall of Fame that contains some of his heroes. “Paul Klipsch and Jerry Kalov [2004 inductees] were two of my mentors that spent a great deal of time with me. It is an honor to be in the Hall of Fame with them.”
Walt co-founded ListenUp in 1972 along with college friend Steven Weiner. Their purpose was to provide the very best in sound reproduction, and over the years that goal has expanded to include categories such as high-definition video and total control of all a home’s electronics. Walt’s radio and electronics background launched the company into high gear when he began engineering live radio broadcasts from a legendary Denver nightclub (Ebbets Field) in return for free advertising. ListenUp also designed the sound system and recording set-up for the Rainbow Music Hall, and between the two venues Walt and company recorded hundreds of shows with such musical legends as Muddy Waters, Miles Davis, and Bob Dylan.
In 1979, Walt helped form the Professional Audio-Video Retailers Association (PARA). He served as the group’s first vice-president and then as president from 1980-83. He was PARA’s chairman from 1983-85 and general advisor to the board from 1996- 2002, and in 1999 he received the inaugural PARA Founders Award. Five years later Walt co-founded Assured Systems, a dealer-owned distribution and marketing company. Assured merged with AudioVideo Independent Dealers (AVID) in 2002 to create Home Entertainment Source (HES), a division of the $4 billion AVB/Brand Source buying group.
Walt earned his MBA from the University of Colorado, and since 2004 he has served at various times as vice-president and secretary/treasurer of the Progressive Retailers Organization (PRO Group).
In the 1990s and 2000s ListenUp was consistently lauded by AudioVideo International magazine. We were named one of the “Top-10 Retailers of the Year” almost every year, and we also won “Best Custom Installer” on numerous occasions.
Throughout the 2000s, ListenUp consistently received the “Top of the Rocky” award. Here’s an excerpt from one of our write-ups:
“How long has Walt Stinson been on the leading edge of consumer electronics? The ListenUp president once told us about the day in 1983 when he was stopped by airport customs agents because of contraband in his luggage. . .compact discs. Stinson and his company were ahead then and remain ahead, offering great solutions for sound systems and home theaters of all stripes. They do big jobs too: the scoreboard and sound system at CU’s Folsom Field, for example. And they’re still in the neighborhood, too, in West Washington Park.”
In recognition of its contribution to the arts in Colorado, ListenUp received the 1999 Colorado Business in the Arts Award. In 2000, ListenUp received an Honorable Mention in the Medium Business Category for its contribution to the arts in Colorado from the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts..
Denver Chamber of Commerce
Each year since 1983, the Denver Chamber of Commerce has recognized an outstanding small business for its entrepreneurial achievements and contributions to the community. In 1986, they gave the award to ListenUp.
“To call ListenUp just another audio retailer is to call Fred Astaire just another dancer. ListenUp was selected as one of the Top Ten Audio Retailers in an industry poll in 1982, 1983 and 1984. In 1985 they were selected to the industry’s Golden Circle, one of only five firms to be so designated. They were also selected as a Video Retailer of the Year for 1985. The firm was the first in Denver with professional and consumer divisions, first to market compact discs, first with a compact disc record store and first with Home Video Theater. Staying ahead of industry trends, innovative marketing and quality service has made ListenUp a leader in Denver retailing.”