ARU employees Don Arbuckle and Mark Zeboski purchase 20-year old ARU from founder Mike King

It was business as usual Dec. 12 for ARU’s longtime sound engineers Don Arbuckle and Mark Zeboski. The difference this day was that they were no longer ARU employees, having become the studio’s new owners.

They purchased the recording studio from ARU founders/owners Susan and Mike King who said “it was time to make some changes” after 20 years running their own shop

Purchase discussions were initiated several months ago, said King. “And with the company staying within the family, so to speak, negotiations proceeded quickly.”

The new owners are equal 50-50 partners, or managing members, in what corporately is now ARU LLC. While terms weren’t disclosed, the purchase is a five-year buyout from the Kings.

Justifiably excited by the challenges and responsibilities ahead, the partners agreed the timing was fortuitous.

“Mike had been looking to hang it up for some time,” said Arbuckle, ARU’s first employee who always had been considered the heir apparent. “For me,” he said, acquiring the business “was a natural progression.”

The ARU staff remains the same: Studio manager and scheduler Betty Rake, ARU’s second oldest employee; sound designers Bob Bennett and Bill Kovack; engineers D. J. Barraca and Josiah (Joe) Murphy; scheduler Lynn Rondeau; music specialist/library and website and assistant engineer Jessie LaBelle and accountant Mary Smith.

Broadcast sound specialists serving an impressive national advertiser list, ARU (which stands for Audio Recording Unlimited) has advanced from King’s original two rooms to its present five state-of-the-art studios over four floors in the south tower of the Wrigley Building.

The studio also boasts one of the sound industry’s most massive libraries of music and sound effects on hard disk, 300,000 music themes and more than 100,000 sound effects tracks?many hundreds custom-created by ARU.

New owners have the right stuff to carry on the ARU tradition

Arbuckle’s lineage reaches back to some of Chicago’s biggest and most famous sound studios of the day. One was River North Recorders, which had been managed by Joe Thomas, the present owner of HD Ready mobile facilities in St. Charles.