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Full text of "Radio alphabet"


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From the collection of the 



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A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 



radio alphabet 



HASTINGS HOUSE, NEW YORK 1946 



radio alphabet 



EDITED BY Paul Kesten, Paul Hollister, Robert Strunsky, 
Douglas Coulter, William Lodge, William Gittinger, 
William Ackerman, John Churchill, Elmo Wilson, 
Gilbert Seldes, Howard Chinn, Earle McGill, Davidson 
Taylor, Lyman Bryson and several other modest people 
whose counsel is hereby gratefully acknowledged. 

COPYRIGHT, 1946 BY THE COLUMBIA BROADCAST- 
ING SYSTEM, INC. All rights reserved. 

This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced 

in any form without permission of the copyright owner. 

PUBLISHED BY HASTINGS HOUSE 

Printed in the United States of America 



ndex 



INTRODUCTION 1 

GLOSSARY 9 

RADIO'S SIGN LANGUAGE . 79 



n introductory 
program 



"The word RADIO was suggested for wireless telegrams by an interna- 
tional convention held in Berlin in 1906 and was extended to wireless 
broadcasts in the United States about 1920. . " 

H. L. MENCKEN, The American Language 

( fourth edition ) 



A VOICE : The word radio in America in its extended acceptance 
is now 25 years old. 

It is a common noun in the vocabulary of every American old 
enough to wonder about the sounds which come from nowhere 
out of a box. It is more commonly used to describe three things: 

( a ) The receiving apparatus through which the sound is heard. 
As: "I got Chungking on my radio" 

( b ) The broadcasting industry, science, art. As : "Jimmy Dur- 
ante is a radio comedian." 

(c) The social phenomenon. As: "Radio's influence on civiliza- 
tion is incalculable." 

Like every other industry, science, or art, radio has developed, 
even in its first generation, its own language. A good deal of it 



is picturesque. A lot of it is classroom definition. Because radio 
touches many phases of human activity it has borrowed its terms 
freely. Since it leans heavily upon the sciences much of its talk is 
technical. Since it is interwoven with the engineering and distribu- 
ting businesses it shares with them a common frame of reference. 
As a commercial enterprise it uses the language of commerce. And 
since its first loyalty is to the world of entertainment its working 
language draws on that of the arts, theatre, motion picture, music 
and literature. 

Not since Gutenberg's press has any instrument devised by man 
added more promise to the dimensions of man's mind, or more 
altered the shape of his thinking. The press enabled man to speak 
his mind to man through a code of letters on paper: radio enables 
man to speak his mind by living voice. This expansion, under the 
somewhat imperative tempo of the radio art, has forced up a new, 
raw, essential working vocabulary which is steadily spilling over 
into wider understanding and usage. 

Radio's new operating tongue speaks now and then with fresh 
if familiar economy and color. In the air a pilot on the beam is on 
his course; on the air an actor or director or conductor on the beam 
is making his most effective use of the microphone. Bite off, bend 
the needle, west of Denver, soap opera, dead air, old sexton... 
these are new and useful and happy twists of the infinitely flexible 
mother tongue. 

This collection doesn't pretend to include everything, nor intend 
to haggle. Complex definitions have been left to the textbooks 
where they belong. Terms popular in radio's infancy which have 



since withered will not be defined here: two such are crystal set 
and cat's whisker. The imaginative radio virtuoso may complain 
that this collection omits his own pet epithets and signals: okay, 
let him add them on the margins or the back pages. 

Here the terms are listed alphabetically. 

At the end of each definition you will see a letter inside ( ) ; this 
is a clue to the sense and the branch of broadcasting in which the 
term is usually used. So 

(p) means radio Production. 

( r ) means radio Research. 

(c) means radio's Commercial arm, its business language. 

(e) means radio Engineering. 

(t) means radio Television. 

( e.t. ) means radio's Electrical Transcriptions, or recording. 

( o ) names radio's Organizations. 

Each of the authorities who have helped to compile this glossary 
now has a few words to say about his respective domain. 

To speak briefly on the language of radio production, let us 
introduce first Mr. Douglas Coulter, a vice-president of the 
Columbia Broadcasting System. Mr. Coulter. . . 

MR. COULTER: Putting a radio program on the air involves a 
lot of differently trained people working to one finicky objective. 
Team together a supervisor, writers, directors, actors, musicians, 
technicians, and engineers, and they'll naturally speak in their own 
special languages. Sooner or later each one has to understand the 
others. That is why the language of radio production is one which 



draws on the original craft-sense of words and phrases in many and 
varied special pursuits and that is also why you will find many 
common radio expressions lifted out of their original meanings and 
plunked into the radio dictionary with new shadings. Sometimes 
they sound irreverent, perhaps but that is only because the 
achievement of perfection can be a rough business. That isn't all 
I could say, but it's all I'm going to. Thanks. 

THE VOICE: Thanking Mr. Coulter too, it might be well to hear 
now from the scientific department. Mr. William B. Lodge, CBS 
director of general engineering, upon whose words depend the 
clean audibility of the network's broadcasting by way of 150 
United States stations, another hundred in Latin America, and 
shortwave stations overseas, is our man. He says . . . 

MR. LODGE: The terms used in radio engineering are pretty 
technical. They deal with studio equipment, recording facilities, 
transmitters, antenna systems, and the general fields of electricity 
and physics. In many cases the terms may seem complicated. 
As a result simple words have been invented and substituted for 
them such as"blast,"" fry ing," "hashing "etc. The meaning of these 
words is generally understood by everyone working in the tech- 
nical and engineering fields of broadcasting. I hope it is to you, too, 
now. 

THE VOICE: Since American commerce, national and inter- 
national, is the economic cornerstone of the service which Amer- 
ican radio" supplies the listeners of the world, we may well now 
hear from Mr. William C. Gittinger, vice-president in charge of 



sales for CBS. For the terms of radio buying and selling are in this 
book. Mr. Gittinger . . . 

MR. GITTINGER: The growth of the American system of broad- 
casting has been fostered and supported by "sponsors" that is, by 
the concerns who pay wages to those who make and sell their 
goods and services to the American people by means of radio enter- 
tainment, instruction and inspiration. Their realistic support of 
radio has enabled the industry to provide many programs which 
are not sponsored in the broad fields of public service, religion, 
education and culture. The special language of radio's commer- 
cial arm is not a large or fancy vocabulary. Most of its terms are 
readily recognizable, not very colorful perhaps. But they are the 
negotiating terms of a simple and rather unusual transaction: 
unusual not only because it benefits the buyer and seller, but also 
the American people as a whole, to a degree that has never been 
exceeded by another advertising medium. 

THE VOICE: Thank you, Mr. Gittinger. May we call that the 
commercial? 

MR. GITTINGER: A good commercial is always sincere, sir. 

THE VOICE: Quite right. Now, Mr. William C. Ackerman...you 
are director of CBS' reference department. Through this book there 
are a lot of initials, referring to radio organizations, with a letter 
(o) after them. Is this list complete, definitive and absolute, Mr. 
Ackerman? 

MR. ACKERMAN: Not by a long shot. Broadcasting touches so 
many fields that a complete list of its tangent organizations would 
crowd the book. The initials of organizations in this book are simply 



the ones most often encountered and used in workaday dealing by 
folks throughout radio. I might add that useful as initials may be 
for swift allusion and reference, some of them read very funny. 

THE VOICE: You might add that, Mr. Ackerman, but nobody 
asked you to. Let us turn to graver matters. Let us turn to the 
language of research. Let us hear from Mr. Elmo C. Wilson, direc- 
tor of the research department which has made a certain network 
unique for refusing to offer a customer a pig in a poke. Mr. Wilson, 
how can you possibly translate the austere language of mathe- 
matical and psychological research into definitions which the aver- 
age listener can understand? 

MR. WILSON: From a statistical standpoint, nothing is abso- 
lute. Hence, from a spiritual standpoint, any definition is tenable. 
The terms used in radio research stem largely from three 
sources, marketing research, psychology or general radio termi- 
nology. The more common statistical terms are borrowed from the 
field in which they originated, while complex terminology has been 
expressed in simpler and more readily understandable popular 
terms. As in other branches of radio operation, there is also a 
marked tendency to use abbreviations or to coin a new word or 
phrase. Such items, however, do not compete with the colorful 
phrases of the theatrical side of radio. Research is concise, its own 
terminology reflects this precision. 

THE VOICE: That, Mr. Wilson, is a tour de force of accuracy. 

To go from records tabulated, to recordings cut on wax or glass 
or metal or plastic, let us hear about the language of recording from 
Howard A. Chinn, chief audio engineer for Columbia. Mr. Chinn . . . 

6 



MR. CHINN: The business of making phonograph records and 
electrical transcriptions has, of course, a talk of its own, with senti- 
ments like "Christmas tree pattern" "duping," "flutter" "hill and 
dale" "mother," "wow" Some are old to recording, others new; 
some are dry, some crisp and some jolly. This is the first time I know 
that most of them were ever put in print. I hope they are interesting. 

THE VOICE: So does the reader, Mr. Chinn. 

We turn the corner, now, to the area of television, which is just 
around it. Television should logically bring to the language of broad- 
casting new words, animated words with a third dimension, fine- 
grain quality, and even natural color, for those qualities compose 
the essence of Columbia's proposed live talking pictures on the 
screen of your own living room. Let us ask Mr. Gilbert Seldes, 
until recently director of CBS television programs, what he has 
to say about the meaning of the language of the new medium. 
Mr. Seldes . . . 

MR. SELDES: The strange words we use in television are like a 
bride's outfit something old, something new, something borrowed 
and I think I'd better stop there, because men, women and chil- 
dren are around a television studio, and we don't habitually use 
"blue" words. (See p. 17). We have borrowed from all of those arts 
which contribute to television. From the stage we have taken many 
of the words for our scenery; from the movies the directions we 
give to our "earner a" -men (ours are not really cameras, but "tele- 
visor" doesn't seem to stick); from radio we have taken a great many 
operating terms. Some of these words we have changed over. "Out 
of sync" in the early days of the talkies meant that sound and sight 



were out of harmony; with us it is a technical electronic term. 

As for new words, we are in the process of building a new form 
of communication, and new terms are coming up all the time. 

THE VOICE: Pretty austere for a live showman, Mr. Seldes. Now, 
to go from signs-verbal in visual broadcasting, to signs-manual- 
and-visual in regular broadcasting, let us ask Mr. Earle L. McGill, 
a notable radio director, to launch the section in the back of this 
book which translates the wig-wag language traded back and 
forth through the window of the control room while a program is 
in precarious progress. Mr. McGill without the use of your hands, 
please what have you to say as finale to this introductory program? 

MR. McGILL: A special kind of studio race-wisdom grew out of 
the need for instant communication between the control room and 
studio floor. Patterns of expressive pantomime evolved. Placing the 
forefinger on the nose tells instantly a complete story from the 
control room to everybody in the studio concerned with the time 
problem. Some of the verbal descriptions of this pantomime, if not 
the gestures, have already become part of our ordinary speech. 
For instance, the phrase on the nose to indicate that a program is 
running on time or will finish on time has been commonly adopted 
by non-radio people. 

The signs and descriptions in this glossary would be understood 
in every studio in the land. I saw them used on the deck of USS 
Missouri at the surrender in Tokyo Bay. 

THE VOICE: Let us now get on to the book itself, and high time. 
8 



A GLOSSARY OF RAD7O TERMS 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 



a 



A A A A American Association of Advertising Agencies. Also: Asso- 
ciated Actors and Artistes of America. ( o ) 

ABIE Anyone who is sure fire.(p) 

ACA American Communications Association. ( o ) 

ACCOUNT Sales term for a buyer of radio time ( see SPONSOR ) . ( c ) 

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE-The individual in an advertising agency 
who administers the advertiser's account. (c) 

ACE Anyone who is at the top in ability among directors, assistant 
directors, producers and announcers. (p) 

ACETATE The term often erroneously used to describe cellulose- 
nitrate recording discs. ( See also LACQUER DISCS. ) ( e.t. ) 

ACROSS THE BOARD The manner of scheduling a radio program 
at the same time on at least five consecutive week-days, usually 
starting Monday. ( c ) 

ADENOID Any vocalist with a voice that is "tight". (p) 



RADIO ALPHABET 



ADJACENCIES The programs (on the same station) immediately 
preceding and following the one under consideration. ( r ) 

AD LIB To extemporize lines not written into the script, or in music 
to play parts not in the score. ( p ) 

ADVERTISER 1. NATIONAL ADVERTISER, whose radio advertising is 
nationwide. 2. REGIONAL ADVERTISER, whose radio advertising is 
confined to a regional area. 3. LOCAL ADVERTISER, whose radio 
advertising is confined to his local marketing area. ( c ) 

ADVERTISING AGENCY An independent business organization 
recognized by advertising media as qualified to give strategic 
counsel to advertisers, and to plan, prepare and place their 
advertising, (c) 

AER Association for Education by Radio. (o) 
AF A Advertising Federation of America. ( o ) 

AFFILIATE An independent radio station which carries, usually 
through contractual agreement, programs provided by a net- 
work. ( c ) 

AFM American Federation of Musicians. ( o ) 
AFRA American Federation of Radio Artists. ( o ) 

AGENCY An advertising, agency whose function is to assist the 
advertiser in the promotion of his goods or services. ( Not to be 
confused with AGENT. ) ( c ) 

AGENCY COMMISSION -The fee paid to recognized advertising 
agencies by broadcasters; the standard is 15% of the net billing 
for broadcasting placed by the agency. (c) 

AGENT A representative of performing artists who negotiates 
performances for his clients for a fee. ( c ) 

10 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 



AGMA American Guild of Musical Artists. (o) 
AMA American Marketing Association. ( o ) 
AMP Associated Music Publishers, Inc.(o) 

AMPLIFIER A device for increasing the power of the signal of a 
radio transmitter or receiver without appreciably altering its 
quality. ( e ) 

AMPLITUDE MODULATION -The "standard" method of transmit- 
ting a radio signal through the air which has been employed 
since the advent of broadcasting. Also called A.M. Cf. Fre- 
quency Modulation, also called F.M.(e) 

ANA Association of National Advertisers. ( o ) 

ANIMATOR A Goldberg contrivance of lights, mirrors and other 
mechanical devices used to animate scenes in television.(t) 




ANIMATOR 



ANNOUNCEMENT A short advertising message; STRAIGHT 
ANNOUNCEMENT usually about 100 words running about 1 
minute; SPOT ANNOUNCEMENT 50 to 75 words; STATION BREAK 



11 



RADIO ALPHABET 



10 to 30 word statements inserted into the pause between pro- 
grams; cur IN usually a local announcement inserted into a 
network program; PARTICIPATING ANNOUNCEMENT usually 100- 
150 words incorporated into a local entertainment or informa- 
tive program containing announcements of other participating 
advertisers. ( c ) 

ANNOUNCER 1. The host on a radio program. 2. The person 
who represents the advertiser and reads the commercial. 3. 
News announcer the person who reads the news report but 
doesn't necessarily write it. ( p ) 

APPLE POLISHER A person who habitually flatters his superior 
in an effort to ingratiate himself. A boot-licker, or snake-in- 
the-brass.(p) 

ARF Advertising Research Foundation. ( o ) 

ARN A Association of Radio News Analysts. (o) 

ARRL American Radio Relay League. (o) 

ARSENIC A disagreeable or boresome program, (p) 

ASA Acoustical Society of America. ( o ) 

ASCAP The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Pub- 
lishers. ( o ) 

ATMOSPHERIC Music or sound used to enhance the mood of the 
scene being enacted.(p) 

ATS American Television Society. (o) 

AUDIENCE BUILDER A good program; one which attracts a large 
audience.(c) 

AUDIENCE COMPOSITION -The number and kinds of people lis- 
tening to a given program, as to their age, sex, income, etc.(r) 

12 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 



AUDIENCE FLOW The statistical composition of the total audience 
of a specific program showing: the fractions of the whole (a) 
'inherited' from the same station's previous program, ( b ) trans- 
ferred from another station, ( c ) tuned in for the first time. The 
sources of listeners during the program and the destination of 
the various fractions at the end of the program. ( r ) 

AUDIENCE TURNOVER -The total number of different listeners to 
a given program over a specific number of consecutive broad- 
casts; or, the rate at which a program increases its audience of 
different listeners over a given span of performances. (r) 

A U DIMETER An electro-mechanical device attached to home radio 
receivers which accurately records set operation and station tun- 
ing. Its records supply the data for the Nielsen Radio Index.(r) 

AUDIO Of (or concerning) electric currents corresponding to 
normally audible sound waves. Audio frequencies are normally 
about 15 cycles to 20 thousand cycles per second. (e) 







ATMOSPHERIC 



13 



RADIO ALPHABET 



AUDIO EQUIPMENT The microphones, mixers, amplifiers and 
other apparatus which transmit the audio frequencies from the 
studio to the broadcasting transmitter. ( e ) 

AUDITION A try-out of artists or musicians or programs under 
broadcasting conditions. (p) 

AVAILABLE AUDIENCE The number of radio homes in which one 
or more members of the family are found to be at home and 
awake at a given period.(r) 

AVERAGE AUDIENCE-The percentage of radio homes tuned to a 
specific program during the average minute of the broadcast. ( r ) 




BACKGROUND A sound effect, musical or otherwise, used behind 
the dialogue for realistic or emotional effect. ( p ) 

BALANCE The placing of instruments, voices or sound effects in 
such positions with relation to each other and to the micro- 
phone as to produce the best tonal or dramatic effect. (p) 

BALOP Nickname for balopticon, which is a (B)ausch (a)nd 
(L)omb stere(opticon), or magic lantern, used in television to 

14 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 



project still pictures onto the mosaic element in the television 
camera.(t) 

BASIC NETWORK-That part of a nation-wide radio network 
embracing the more heavily populated northeastern area of the 
United States and thus saturating the more important markets 
in that area. ( c ) 

BASIC STATION A station on the basic network, the use of which 
is generally a welcome requirement on sponsored programs.(c) 

BBC British Broadcasting Corporation. ( o ) 

BBM Bureau of Broadcast Measurement ( Canada ).(o) 

BEARD An error in performance, more often words misread by an 
actor ( see FLUFF ) . ( p ) 

BELCHER A performer with a frog in his throat. (p) 

BEND THE NEEDLE To use so much volume so suddenly that the 
needle on the engineer's volume indicator leaps past its normal 
range, (p) 

BIG ANNIE Nickname for a mass Program Analyzer which totals 
the reactions of approval, disapproval or indifference of as 
many as 100 listeners, second-by-second as the program mate- 
rial is heard. ( See PROGRAM ANALYZER ) . ( r ) 

BILLBOARD The announcement at the beginning of a broadcast 
which lists the people starred or featured. ( p ) 

BILLING Name credit on the air in order of importance. ( p ) 

15 



RADIO ALPHABET 



BIRDIE The "tweet-tweet" sound sometimes heard on transmitting 
and receiving equipment. ( e ) 

BIT A small part in a dramatic program; this is a "bit" part and the 
performer who plays it is referred to as a "bit player". ( p ) 




BITE OFF 

BITE OFF To cut off a line, a cue, or a musical number while the 
show is on the air. ( p ) 

BLANK GROOVE A groove on a record upon which no sound is 
inscribed. ( e.t. ) 

BLANKET CONTRACT A contract with a sponsor covering a group 
of individual advertising campaigns.(c) 

BLAST A momentary overloading of equipment which causes 
severe distortion of sound and ear-distress to all.(e) 

16 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 



BLINKER The signal light operated from control room to attract 
the attention of the people in the studio. ( e ) 

BLOCK A set of consecutive time periods; or, a strip of the same 
time on several days.(c) 

BLOCKED-OUT TIME -Time which is withheld from sale voluntarily 
by the station or network for non-commercial programs. (c) 

BLUE A slang term for the American Broadcasting Company, 
formerly known as The Blue Network. ( p ) 

BLUE GAG An off -color joke in a broadcasting script, which earns 
a blue pencil. A joke that has no place on the air and so 
doesn't get one. ( p ) 

BLURB A statement handed out for publicity .( p ) 
8MB Broadcast Measurement Bureau. ( o ) 
BMI Broadcast Music, Inc.(o) 

BOARD The technician's control panel located in the studio con- 
trol room which provides for mixing ( balancing ) , fading, and 
switching, of the program material. ( e ) 

BOARD FADE A fade-away in a program, accomplished manually 
on the board by the technician. ( e ) 

BOOM The stand to which a microphone is attached in order to 
elevate and extend it. Commonly used to pick up the sounds of 
an orchestra or chorus.(e) 

BOOSTER An amplifier used to compensate for the loss of program 
volume which occurs in transmission. See REPEATER. ( e ) 

BREAK A scheduled or unscheduled interruption of a program, 
or a recess in rehearsal schedule.(p) 

17 



RADIO ALPHABET 



BRIDGE A definite music or sound effect cue linking two dramatic 
scenes. ( p ) 




BRIDGE 



BRING IT UP A signal or order for increase in the volume level 
of speech, sound, or music. ( p ) 

BROADCASTER The owner or operator of a radio station or a net- 
work. ( c ) 

BUGS Cause of trouble in equipment which is working im- 
perfectly .( p ) 

BUILD-UP Technique used to increase the popularity of a pro- 
gram, a personality or a product. ( c ) 

BUILD-UP ANNOUNCEMENTS-Radio announcements used prior 
to the first broadcast of a new program, designed to start it off 
with a hearty and eager "first-night" audience. ( c ) 

BURP An interloping noise on transmitting or receiving circuits, 
(e) 

18 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 



BYE BYE The script line beginning: "We now leave our studio,' 
or "We take you now to" or "We return now to" etc. ( p ) 



C 



CAB Cooperative Analysis of Broadcasting(o); also Canadian 
Association of Broadcasters. (o) 

CALL LETTERS Initials assigned by the Federal Communications 
Commission to identify a station, like WABC, or KNX. ( p ) 

CAMPAIGN A series of related programs or announcements 
planned to achieve a given objective. (c) 

CANARIES Singers (often coloratura sopranos ).( p ) 
CANNED MUSIC-Recorded music. (p) 

CANS Headphones worn by directors or actors to control pro- 
gram quality and timing. (p) 

CARBON MICROPHONE -The earliest type of microphone used in 
broadcasting, now obsolete for such applications but still 
widely used in other communications services (such as the 
regular telephone ).( e ) 

CAST The performers in a radio program; (v) to select the per- 
formers for a radio program.(p) 

19 



RADIO ALPHABET 



CBC Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. (o) 
CBS Columbia Broadcasting System. (o) 

CHANNEL A band of frequencies in the spectrum assigned to a 
given radio station or stations (see FREQUENCY ).(e) 

CLEAR CHANNEL One reserved for nighttime operation of a 
single high-powered station. 

REGIONAL CHANNEL A channel shared by 5 to 15 stations so 
located geographically as to minimize interference with each 
other. 

LOCAL CHANNEL A channel occupied by 50 or more low-pow- 
ered stations separated, in some cases, by as little as 100 miles. 

CHARACTER A casting term referring to an individual dramatic 
role. Also currently, a term used as the French use type. ( p ) 

CHIP The waste material removed from the surface of a recording 
disc by the recording stylus in cutting the groove. ( e.t. ) 

CHIZ BIZ Dubious practices suggesting bribery, special rates 
secretly made, etc. Short for chiseling business. (p) 

CHRISTMAS TREE PATTERN -The pattern on a recording which is 
seen when the surface of a record is illuminated by a beam of 
parallel light. (e.t.) 

CIRCUIT A complete electrical system used for transmission of 
radio or television programs from voice and microphone or 
iconoscope to faraway points. (e) 

20 



A GLOSSARY OF RAD7O TERMS 



CIRCULATION Generally assumed in radio to be the number of 
radio families who listen to a station or network of stations 
during some definite span of time (usually one or more times 
during the broadcast cycle of one week).(r) 

CLAMBAKE A shapeless program filled with uncertainties; re- 
hearsals marked by errors, changes and failures, likely to result 
in a bad performance. Sometimes called CLAMAROO. ( p ) 




CLEAN IT UP To make changes in a program during rehearsals 
so as to assure a satisfactory performance. ( p ) 

CLEAR A NUMBER To obtain legal permission from responsible 
sources to use a certain musical selection. ( p ) 

CLEAR TIME To arrange with a station to provide time usually for 
a commercial program. (c) 

CLIENT An actual or potential advertiser (see ACCOUNT, SPONSOR). 



c) 



21 



RADIO ALPHABET 




CLIFF HANGER 



CLIFF HANGER A serial dramatic program played at a high pitch 
of excitement on a strong note of suspense. ( p ) 

CLOSE THE RIGHTS -To check the musical and literary copyrights. 

(P) 
CNYT- Current New York Time.(p) 

COACH A vocal or dramatic instructor. ( p ) 

COAXIAL CABLE A complex electrical cable suitable for convey- 
ing television pictures from cameras to transmitters or from 
city to city, (t) 

COINCIDENTAL A method of measurement of the size of a pro- 
gram's audience by telephone calls to listeners and non-listeners 
during the progress of the actual program's broadcast, i.e. coin- 
cidentally. ( r ) 

COLD DRAMATICS A dramatic sketch without music. (p) 

COMING ON COLD How the first program of the day goes on the 
air.(p) 

22 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 



COMING UP A warning cue given by the director or engineer of a 
program to the cast that in 10 seconds the program will go on 
the air.(p) 

COMMERCIAL (a) A program sponsored by an advertiser; (b) 
the advertising message on a given program or announcement. 

(p) 

COMMERCIAL CREDIT Specific mention of the sponsor or his 
product on the program; also specific acknowledgement to those 
to whom he may be indebted for elements in his program. ( p ) 

COMMISSION A percentage or fixed sum payable on a radio con- 
tract. On a talent contract it may be paid for engagements or 
rights provided; see e.g. AGENCY COMMISSION, AGENT. A form of 
compensation for services rendered which is figured on the total 
cost of the services. ( c ) 

COMPETITION The program(s) broadcast over other station(s) 
parallel to one's own program. ( c ) 

CONFLICT Two (or more) rehearsals or performances scheduled 
for the same performer at the same time. See SCHIZOPHRENIC. 

(P) 




CONFLICT 

23 



RADIO ALPHABET 



CONTINUITY The written form of a radio program. (c) 

CONTROL ROOM A sound proof windowed booth adjacent to the 
broadcasting studio wherefrom the directors and technicians 
may control the program. (p) 

COOPERATIVE PROGRAM A network program sponsored in each 
station area by a local advertiser who usually pays for the time 
at local rates and shares the cost of talent pro rata.(c) 

CORN Unsophisticated program treatment. Simple and obvious 
musical or dialogue arrangement. ( p ) 

CORNFIELD A studio setup employing a number of standing micro- 
phones^ p) 

CORN-ON-THE-COB-A harmonica. ( p ) 

CORNY Unsophisticated. Simple, ingenuous, pure, innocent, gen- 
uine. ( p ) 

CO-SPONSOR An advertiser who shares the cost of a program 
with other advertisers. See also COOPERATIVE PROGRAM and PAR- 
TICIPATING PROGRAM, (c) 

COST PER THOUSAND-The cost in radio time and talent of a 
given radio program in reaching an average 1,000 of its 
listeners. ( c ) 

COURTESY ANNOUNCEMENT -An announcement crediting the 
advertiser whose time is "recaptured" by the broadcaster for 
use for a special program. ( c ) 

COVERAGE The area in which a station or network of stations 
can be heard according to engineering standards. ( e ) 

24 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 



COVER SHOT A wide angle television picture to alternate (for 
contrast) with a confined close-up. ( t ) 

COW-CATCHER An isolated commercial announcement at the 
beginning of a program, which advertises a "secondary" prod- 
uct of the sponsor not mentioned in the program itself. ( p ) 

CRA WK An animal imitator. ( p ) 

CRC Columbia Recording Corporation. (o) 




CRAWK 



CREDIT Commercial passages in the playing script which men- 
tion the advertiser or his product, or acknowledge sources and 
ownership of program material. See COMMERCIAL CREDIT.(P) 

CREDIT WRITER One who writes the credit, q.v.(p) 

CREEPER A performer who inches close to the microphone dur- 
ing the broadcast. ( p ) 

CROSS-FADE To fade in sound from one source while sound from 
another source is faded out.(e) 

CROSSLEY A program's audience measurement rating; a generic 

25 



RADIO ALPHABET 



term derived from Archibald M. Crossley, one of the early re- 
searchers in measuring radio audience. ( r ) 

CROSS-TALK Interfering conversation on the broadcasting circuit 
originating at a point other than that of the program. ( p ) 

CROWD NOISES The sound of a crowd produced by a number of 
people in the cast, or by a recording. ( p ) 

CST-Central Standard Time.(p) 

CUE A signal to start or stop any element of a broadcast. ( p ) 

CUE BITE To speak before the previous actor has finished. (p) 

CUE SHEET An orderly tabulation of program routine containing 
all the cues.(p) 

CUFFO An adverb or adjective applied to speculative or donated 
work without pay, or on the cuff. ( p ) 

CUSHION Dialogue, music or sound of variable length inserted 
in a broadcast to enable the director to end the broadcast on 
time. ( p ) 

CUT To stop abruptly the transmission of a program.(e) 
CUT A RECORD, DISC OR PLATTER -To make a recording. ( e ) 

CUTTER A device which uses electrical energy modulated by 
sound to drive a tool to cut the grooves in the blank "platter" or 
disc which most people call a "record". ( e.t. ) 

CUTTING STYLUS The cutting tool itself: a sharp, fine, exquisite 
chisel or gouge which cuts the grooves in the surface of the 
record and moves according to the volume of sound it has to 
record. ( e.t. ) 

26 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 



CUTS Those portions of the program-script which are to be elimi- 
nated before (or even during) the performance. ( p ) 

CVC The chorus, verse and chorus of a musical selection. (p) 

CYC Nickname for CYCLORAMA, a canvas backdrop usually used 
on the stage or in the television studio to simulate broad reaches 
of distance.(t) 

CYCLE A measure of audio or radio f requency . ( e ) 




DAKOTA A dialogue sketch about Dakota leading into a song 
called "Dakota". . .where the geography of the dialogue "plants" 
the locale of the ensuing and almost inescapable song title. 
For DAKOTA read Alabammy through Wyoming. (p) 

DAMPEN THE STUDIO -To introduce sound-absorbent devices like 
rugs, draperies and human bodies ( live ) into the studio to per- 
fect the quality of the program's sound; also, to apply fixed 
sound absorbents (not human bodies) to walls, floor, ceiling. 

(P) 

DAWN PATROL-The engineers, announcers and others who open 
the studio and put on the early morning programs. (p) 

27 



RAD7O ALPHABET 



DAYTIME STATION One which leaves the air at sundown. (c) 
DEAD AIR Silence, either deliberate or accidental. ( p ) 



DEAD AIR 

DEAD BOOK The file of program material which has been used 
on the air.(p) 

DEAD END Portion of a studio in which sound-absorbent char- 
acteristics are so high as to mute the sound. ( p ) 

DEAD MIKE A microphone which is disconnected. ( e ) 

DEAD PAN To read a line without emphasizing it by any expres- 
sion. ( p ) 

DEAD SPOT A location within the normal service area of a radio 
station where its signal is weaker than at other points in the 
same general location. (e) 

DELAYED BROADCAST Postponed airing of a program by means 
of an instantaneous recording made from the network lines 
during the original broadcast. ( c ) 

DIALLINGS The number of telephone interviews attempted dur- 
ing a coincidental measurement of audience. ( r ) 

28 



A GLOSSARY OF RADZO TERMS 



DIARY METHOD A technique of radio audience-measurement in 
which the radio family or individual listener keeps a diary- 
record of stations and programs listened-to, and keeps it while 
the listening is going on.(r) 

DIRECTIONAL ANTENNA An antenna designed to concentrate a 
station's signal in certain directions, reduce it in others. ( e ) 

DIRECTIVE A government wartime appeal carried free on a pro- 
gram.(p) 

DIRECTOR The person who writes or rewrites, then casts and 
rehearses, a radio program, and directs the actual air perform- 
ance. ( p ) 




DISC JOCKEY 



DISC (K) A thin wafer of suitable material ranging in diameter 
from 8 to 16 inches, on which is electrically and mechanically 
recorded all manner of sound, and which may be played on a 
suitable machine so as to produce the effect of the original. See 

RECORDING. ( C.t. ) 

DISC JOCKEY The master of ceremonies of a program of tran- 
scribed music ( records. ) He turns them over. ( p ) 



29 



RADIO ALPHABET 



DISCOUNT A percentage reduction in the cost of radio time which 
may be granted from such economies as total of time, size of 
network, frequency of broadcasts, prompt payment, etc.(c) 

DISCREPANCIES Changes or aberrations from the script, made in 
the studio, and noted on the station log ( q.v, ) . ( p ) 

DISSECTOR TUBE A type of cathode ray tube ofteri used in pro- 
jecting motion picture film for television.(t) 

DISSOLVE The overlap of two images as one fades in and the 
other fades out.(t) 

DOG An obsolete or mediocre musical number, or a hackneyed 
piece of writing or program. Not man's best friend. ( p ) 

DOG HOUSE Early morning announcing duties. Not disgrace. (p) 
DOG WATCH The 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. shift for an announcer. ( p ) 

DOLLY The movable platform or crane of the television camera, 
which requires a man (or motor) to move it.(t) 

DOUBLE An actor performing more than one part.(p) 

DOWN-AND-UNDER- A direction given to a musician or sound 
effects man playing solo to quiet down from his present playing 
level, and to sneak under the lines of dialogue which follow. ( p ) 

DOWN IN THE MUD Music, speech or sound effect extremely 
low in volume. (p) 

DRESS The final complete program rehearsal. ( p ) 

DRESSING THE PROGRAM -Adding the finishing touches to a 
radio program.(p) 

30 



A GLOSSARY OF KADIO TERMS 





DOWN IN THE MUD 
DROOLING -Unimportant talk.(p) 

DUBBING Recording made by re-recording from one or more 
records. ( e.t. ) 

DUPING Making duplicates by re-recording. ( e.t. ) 

DUPLICATED AUDIENCE The audience common to two or more 

programs. ( r ) 

DYNAMIC A moving-coil type of microphone of particularly 
rugged construction. ( e ) 



e 



ECCENTRIC CIRCLE A blank locked groove on a recording whose 
center is not that of the grooves of the sound-record, and whose 
purpose is to operate the automatic record changer. ( e.t. ) 



31 



RAD7O ALPHABET 



ECHO CHAMBER A reverberant space through which sound and 
voices are channeled to give them an echo-like or faraway 
quality. ( p ) 

EIGHT-BALL A particular type of dynamic microphone, shaped 
like a black ball, with non-directional characteristics^ e) 

"802"-The New York local of the AFM.(o) 

EIGHTY- EIGHT A piano; derived from the number of piano keys. 

(P) 

ELECTRICAL TRANSCRIPTION-A form of high-fidelity recording 
made especially for broadcasting and allied purposes; its sur- 
face noise is very low. ( e.t. ) 

EQUALIZE To balance a program channel so as to assure equal 
transmission over the entire frequency range. (e) 

EST- Eastern Standard Time.(p) 

ETHRITUS A hardening and inflammation of the ear drums due to 
continued listening to the loud speaker in the home or station 
when run at an excessively high level.(p) 

EXTENSION (a) The telephone wires or radio circuit which con- 
nect a remote originating-point with a tributary originating- 
point on the same premises. E.g.: the program originates from 
the headquarters of Boulder Dam; the extension connects this 
point with a point at the centre of the dam-apron from which 
the scene is described, (b) The wires and other facilities 
which link an established terminating-station to a new termi- 
nating-station either temporary or permanent. ( e ) 

32 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 



FACILITIES A general term describing the technical equipment 
of a radio station or a network. Also, the stations of a network. 

(e) 

FACSIMILE BROADCASTING -A process of transmitting and receiv- 
ing, by radio, graphic material such as pictures and printed 
matter. ( e ) 

FADING The diminishing of volume. (e) FADER A device used to 
increase or diminish volume. ( e ) 

FAIRY GODMOTHER An unimaginative musical director.(p) 
FAKE To improvise. See AD LIB. ( p ) 

FANFARE A few bars of music usually employing plenty of trum- 
pets to herald an entrance or announcement. ( p ) 




FANFARE 



33 



RAD7O ALPHABET 



FAST SPIRAL A blank spiral groove cut into a disc, record or 
platter, the pitch whereof is greater than the pitch of the 
grooves on the record which capture the actual sound. Or much 
ado about nothing except good recording. ( e.t. ) 

FCC Federal Communications Commission. ( o ) 

FEED To transmit a program to stations or groups of stations. (e) 

FEED BACK The squeal or howl which can result from accidentally 
closing the inbound and outbound ends of an electrical circuit. 
Theyprotest(e) 

FIELD STRENGTH The measured intensity of the radio wave of a 
station at various points in its coverage area.(e) 

FIGHT THE MUSIC To struggle in singing; ( said of an actor ) to be 
disturbed in speaking lines above a musical background. ( p ) 

FILL A program used to fill out a period of otherwise-planned time, 
(c) 

FILL IN To stand by to perform, in case a program change has to 
be made immediately (see STAND BY).(p) 

FILM RECORDER A machine which photographs sound grooves on 
strip film instead of cutting them on a platter or cylinder. ( e ) 

FILTER A "thinning" device used to change the tone quality of the 
voice, music or sound effect by eliminating frequencies.(e) 

FISH BOWL The clients' observation booth overlooking the acting 
studio. ( p ) 

FLACK-A publicity writer. ( p ) 

FLATS Flat vertical sections of television scenery.(t) 

34 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 



FLOOD The floodlight used to illuminate a general area.(t) 

FLOOR MAN AGER-The official on the floor of the television studio 
who, under the eye of the director, supervises production 
while a program is broadcast. ( t ) 

FLUFF A mistake in reading (see BEARD ).(p) 

FLUORESCENT BANKS-A type of "cold" light used in the television 
studio, (t) 

FLUTTER A light querulous whimper sometimes heard on a record- 
ing, caused by variations in groove velocity. ( e.t. ) 

FM Please see Frequency Modulation not far down.(e) 

FRAME One complete picture of a series. 30 frames are shown in 
1 second on a black and white television screen. (t) 

FRAMING Including objects or persons within the area of a 

single frame. ( t ) 
FREC Federal Radio Education Committee. ( o ) 

FREE LANCE Personnel not regularly employed, but working on 
special assignments.(p) 

FREQUENCY The number of vibrations or cycles per second in a 
given unit; also loosely used as a synonym for CHANNEL.(e) 

FREQUENCY MODULATION -A method of broadcasting to provide 
reception comparatively free of interference day and night to a 
service area now believed to be limited to about twice the 
radius to the horizon from the transmitter. Usually called FM. 
(e) 

FROM HUNGER Epithet of dubious appraisal of program ade- 
quacy, as: "It is a trite make-shift device" or "It doesn't look 
strong." (p) 

35 



RADIO ALPHABET 



FRYING A hissing sound caused by defective equipment. ( e ) 
FTC Federal Trade Commission. ( o ) 
FULL NET A program fed to all stations of a network. (p) 
FULL-TIME STATION-One licensed to operate 24 hours a day.(c) 

FUN-IN-THE-STUDIO Self-conscious use, in the playing script, of 
behind-the-scenes shop talk in broadcasting; for example: "It 
says here", "Who wrote that?" Character thus steps out-of- 
character, loses character. ( p ) 

FUZZY An adjective used to deplore vocal or instrumental music 
which is lacking in both clarity and definition. ( p ) 




GAFFOON A sound man who does two or three effects at the same 
time. ( p ) 

GAG A joke, or comedy device. (p) 

GAIN 1. The amplification or increase of the volume of sound 
put out by the performance. 2. The equivalent power increase 
of a radio signal obtained by use of a directional antenna. ( e ) 

GELATINE A tenor with a thin, quavering voice. (p) 
GET HOT Ad lib musical improvisation. The equivalent of "Jazz 
It Up-.(p) 

36 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 



GHOST An unwanted image appearing in a television picture, as 
a result, for example, of signal reflection. (t) 

GIMMICK A planned characteristic or "quirk" in a program which 
distinguishes it from other similar programs. Also, ( v ) to impro- 
vise. ( p ) 

GOBO (a) A shield to keep direct light out of the television 
camera(t); (b) or to shield microphones from extraneous 
sounds, (e) 

GODBOX-An organ. (p) 

GO-HUNTING Turning the television camera man loose to find 
good pictures on a spontaneous program. ( t ) 

GOOSENECK A microphone hung from a gallows-support for use 
over tables when the broadcaster is seated. Sometimes called 
a gallows mike.(p) 

GRIEF Program trouble. Or any other trouble. (p) 
GRIP Studio or scenic carpenter. ( t ) 
GROAN BOX- An accordion. ( p ) 




GROAN BOX 



37 



RADIO ALPHABET 



GROUPING Non- uniform spacing between the grooves of a 
recording. It isn't good. ( e.t. ) 

GUARD CIRCLE An inner concentric groove on a record to pre- 
vent the needle and reproducer from damage by being thrown 
to the center of the record. ( e.t. ) 

GUIDE SHEET A schedule to outline the routine of a program. ( p ) 




HAM An amateur broadcaster. Also a really bad actor. ( p ) 
H AMBON E An unconvincing blackface dialectician. ( p ) 
HAM-FEST A group of actors discussing a broadcast. ( p ) 
HAM IT To over-act for emphasis to bluster.(p) 

HASHING A jumbling of signals from two stations on the same 
or adjacent frequencies.(e) 

HASH SESSION A meeting of the production director and talent 
after the dress rehearsal, and before the broadcast to discuss 
final changes in program. ( p ) 

HAYWIRE Temporary or extemporized equipment, or equipment 
in poor condition. ( p ) 

38 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 



HEARTBREAKER A commercial audition made on speculation. ( p ) 
HEP The state of being acutely aware.(p) 

HIATUS A summer period, usually eight weeks, during which a 
sponsor may discontinue his program but thereafter resume his 
time period on the air. ( c ) 

HILL AND DALE RECORDING-See VERTICAL RECORDING. ( e.t. ) 
HILLBILLY A quasi-musical interpreter of regional folk-lore. ( p ) 

HIT A light, momentary crash on a wire line caused by outside 
disturbances lightning, birds, slingshots, etc.(e) 

HITCH-HIKE An isolated commercial for a secondary product (not 
advertised in the main body of the program ) which is given a 
free ride by the sponsor after the end of the program proper. ( p ) 

HOE-DOWN A type of hillbilly dance music peculiar to the 
Ozarks. ( p ) 

HOG CALLING CONTEST A strenuous commercial audition for 
announcers possessed of pear-shaped tones of voice. (p) 

HOLD IT DOWN An order for the studio engineer to reduce the 
volume of he program. ( p ) 




HOLD IT DOWN 

VJ 

39 



RADIO ALPHABET 



HOOK A program device used to attract tangible response from 
the audience; e.g., an offer, a contest, etc.(c) 

HOOK-UP Two or more stations or two or more control points con- 
nected by wires. (e) 

HOOPERATING A generic term for a program's audience-rating 
as determined by the C. E. Hooper, Inc. quantitative audience- 
measurement service, (r) 

HOT CANARY A high soprano; an excellent female singer. (p) 

HOT SWITCH The rapid transfer of a program from one orig- 
inating point to another. ( e ) 

HYPO To add vitality to a program by changing its format, cast, 
agency, producer or writer. Or, sometimes, its sponsor. ( p ) 





I 



I ATSE International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employes. (o) 
IBEW-International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.(o) 

IDENTIFICATION The voice that periodically says who's talking 
-as: This is Station WABC, New York, or This is CBS . . . the 
Columbia Broadcasting System.(p) 

IER Institute for Education by Radio. (o) 
40 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 



IKE The iconoscope, a tube in the television camera in which the 
light image is converted into an electrical signal.(t) 

INDEPENDENT STATION -Of the 938 licensed stations operating 
or building in July 1945, only 17 are owned by networks. The 
balance of 921 are independent stations, of which 746 are affili- 
ated with networks. ( c ) 

INGENUE A female performer with a youthful, pleasant voice.(p) 

INHERITED AUDIENCE The portion of a program's audience which 
listened to the preceding program on the same station.(r) 

INSTANTANEOUS RECORDING-A recording which may be played 
without further processing. ( e.t. ) 

INSTITUTIONAL A program designed primarily to build good will, 
and confidence in the sponsor; secondarily, to build sales. (c) 

INTERFERENCE Anything which interferes with proper reception 
of a station's signal, e.g.: static from near or far storms, local 
electrical disturbances (elevators, power lines, household 
appliances, etc.), other stations'signals.(e) 

INTERPOLATION A musical phrase or chorus inserted for pur- 
poses of contrast, tuneliness, or elaboration of a theme. ( p ) 

IN THE BEAM Within effective directional range of the micro- 
phone or the loudspeaker. ( p ) 




RAD7O ALPHABET 



IRAC Interdepartmental Radio Advisory Committee. ( o ) 
IRE Institute of Radio Engineers. ( o ) 



JAM SESSION Spirited instrumental ad lib renditions of popular 
tunes, (p) 

JUVENILE A performer whose voice suggests youth. (p) 




KEY STATION The point at which a network's principal programs 
originate. There may be several. ( c ) 

KICK BACK Any form of secret rebate on rates or talent. Tabu. ( p ) 
KILL To omit a part or all of a broadcast. (p) 

42 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 



KILL THE MIKE To disconnect the microphone circuit. (e) 

KILOCYCLE -1000 cycles, q.v.(e) 

KILOWATT A measure of power equal to 1000 watts. See WATT. ( e ) 

KIN E Kinescope, the television tube which transposes the elec- 
trical signal into a light image in your receiver. ( t ) 

KLINKER An incorrectly played note.(p) 



LACQUER DISC (K) A disc, usually of metal, glass, or paper, coated 
with a lacquer compound ( often containing cellulose nitrate ) 
and used either for "instantaneous" recordings or lacquer 
original. ( e.t. ) 

LACQUER ORIGINAL An original recording on a lacquer disc 
which is intended to be used for the making of a metal "master" 
(sometimes improperly called Lacquer Master). (e.t.) 

LADY MACBETH A superannuated tragedienne. ( p ) 

LAMINATED RECORD -A record composed of several layers of 
material. Usually three-plyone thin face on each side of a 
core; currently made exclusively by CRC. ( e.t. ) 

LATERAL RECORDING -One in which the sound groove causes the 
reproducing needle to move sideways. ( e.t. ) 

43 



RADIO ALPHABET 



LAUGH IT UP An order to the cast to laugh at their own lines. ( p ) 




LAUGH IT UP 



LAY AN EGG A performance of a program, or part of a program, 
or gag, resulting in a total failure. ( p ) 

LEAD The most important male or female role in a dramatic pro- 
gram, (p) 

LEAD-IN SPIRAL A blank, spiral groove at the beginning of a record 
to guide the reproducing needle into the sound grooves. ( e.t. ) 

LEAVING HERE O.K. An engineering phrase meaning satisfac- 
tory transmission from an originating or intermediate-repeater 
or booster point. ( e ) 

LEG A wire circuit which branches off the main line.(e) 

LEVEL The amount of electrical program energy being trans- 
mitted.^) 

44 



A GLOSSARY OF RADJO TERMS 



LICK An ad lib musical phrase which deviates from the score. 
Usually "hot".(p) 

LIGHT AND SHADE Variations in musical tone-color from calm- 
ness to tension, from whispering to shouting, to avoid mon- 
otony. ( p ) 

LINES The special land wires or circuits linking as many as 150 
or more stations to form a network. These lines distribute a 
program to the individual stations who broadcast it to their 
areas by radio. ( e ) 

LISTENING AREA The area in which a station or network of sta- 
tions is listened to by a measured number of families.(r) 

LIVE A program actually performed by people in contrast to a 
recording of a previous live performance. ( p ) 




LEG 



45 



RADIO ALPHABET 



LIVE CAMPAIGN A series of programs or announcements by liv- 
ing performers as contrasted to recordings. ( c ) 

LIVE MIKE Also HOT MIKE A microphone that is connected to 
the circuit. It transmits what you say, no matter what.(e) 




LIVE MIKE 



LIVE STUDIO A studio with high reverberation. ( e ) 

LOCAL A program originating in a local station ( as more than half 
of most stations' programs do originate), or in the town in 
which the station is located as contrasted to a network pro- 
gram, (c) 

LOCKED GROOVE A concentric blank groove on a record, at the 
end of modulated grooves, whose function is to prevent further 
travel of the reproducer; a sort of bumpless bumper. ( e.t. ) 

LOCK JAW The affliction unsympathetically ascribed to a tired 
or lifeless singer.(p) 

46 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 



LOG A record kept by stations and networks of every minute of 
broadcasting, including errors; it is furnished to the FCC.(p) 

LONG HAIR 1. A term often applied to serious music; 2. A term 
used to describe the critical attitude of "art for art's sake."(p) 

LONG UNDERWEAR - Sheet music.(p) 

LOOP A local telephone circuit between any two points. (e) 

LOSS The opposite of gain. (See GAIN).(C) 



111 



MADAME CADENZA-A flighty female vocalist. (p) 

MADAME LA ZONGA A performer who dances nervously in front 
of a microphone. ( p ) 

MAGNETIC RECORDER A machine, portable or fixed, which re- 
cords sound on a reel of wire or tape.(e) 

MAKE-GOOD An offer to an advertiser of comparable facilities as 
a substitute for a program or announcement cancelled because 
of an emergency. Also, the credit extended in case comparable 
facilities are not available. ( c ) 

47 



RADIO ALPHABET 



MAKE LOCAL To identify the local station by broadcasting its 
call letters.(p) 

MAKE SYSTEM To announce the network by name as a warning 
cue to the wire-line company, to prepare the next hook-up of 
lines and as a reminder to the radio audience.(p) 

MARK THE PARK To use colored crayons, or any other means, by 
which an actor can more easily identify his lines in the script. 

(p) 

MASTER The negative impression taken from an original sound 
recording which serves as the die from which further positives 
may be taken. ( e.t. ) 

MASTER CONTROL The focal point joining all studios in a station 
whence programs are relayed for transmission. ( p ) 

MASTER STAMPER A master recording, used as a stamp to make 
disc record copies, or pressings. (e.t.) 

MATRIX The negative from which duplicate records are molded. 



MBS Mutual Broadcasting System. (o) 

MC Master of Ceremonies. Sometimes written "emcee" and even 
used as a verb.(p) 

MEDIAN The middle item in a numerical list (of, say, program 
ratings, etc. ) in which half the items are larger successively and 
half successively smaller than the median. ( r ) 

MEDIUM A communication channel through which messages may 
reach the public in substantial proportions at one time from a 
single point. ( c ) 

48 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 

' 

MERC A mercury vapor lamp used for studio light in television. 
It is water-cooled. ( t ) 

METAL MASTER A metal negative produced directly from an 
original recording. ( e.t. ) 

MIDDLE BREAKS Station identification by an announcer in or 
near the middle of a program. (p) 

MIKE Short for microphone, the thing you talk and play to. It picks 
up all sound and passes it along to the audience and posterity, 
(e) 

MIKE-BOOM The microphone suspended from a long boom which 
is extended or retracted, raised or lowered during the course of 
a program as action moves around the stage.(t) 

MIKE HOG A performer who elbows fellow performers away from 
the microphone. ( p ) 

MIKE MUGGER A performer who persists in working too close 
to the microphone. ( p ) 

MIKE TECHNIQUE-The performer's ability at the microphone to 
secure the most effective results. (p) 

MIKE WISE Skillful in microphone technique. ( p ) 

MIXER The technician's panel of switches and dials for controlling 
and blending sounds.(e) 

MIXING The process of blending sound ( i.e., voices, music, sound 
effects ).(e) 

MOBILE UNIT A truck or trailer equipped with transmitting appa- 
ratus used to relay programs from remote points to the 
studio. ( e ) 

49 



RADIO ALPHABET 



MOB SCENE A group of performers serving as a crowd back- 
ground, to say hobble-gobble or "No, no!" or "Yes, yes!"(p) 




MOB SCENE 

MONEY-GIVE-AWAY A program which offers money or other 
premiums to persons who report listening to it at the moment 
of proof -of -listening. ( c ) 

MONITOR A loudspeaker and its associated amplifier used in the 
control room to listen to the program being transmitted. Also 
( v. ) to stand vigil on a program as it is broadcast to see what 
it says, does, or sounds like. ( e ) 

MOOD MUSIC Background music to establish or intensify the 
mood of a dramatic scene. ( p ) 

MORE WAX A suggestion to please sing more softly, please.(p) 

MOSAIC A photo-sensitive plate mounted in the television icono- 
scope. The image hits it and is scanned by an electron gun. ( t ) 

MOTHER A positive recording produced directly from the metal 
master or negative record. ( e.t. ) 

MOVING AVERAGE -A statistical method used to highlight the 
trend in a chronological series and to lessen chance fluctuations. 

50 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 



This often refers to the averaging of a current program rating 
with its next earlier rating. ( r ) 

MPPA Music Publishers Protective Association. ( o ) 
MST Mountain Standard Time.(p) 

MUSHY "The orchestra's all right, but what the microphones pick 
up from it sounds slovenly."(p) 

MUSICAL CLOCK A type of musical program, live or recorded, 
interspersed with time signals and commercials. ( c ) 

MUSICAL CURTAIN -The music used at the end of a scene or a 
play as finale or curtain. ( p ) 



n 



NAB National Association of Broadcasters. ( o ) 

N ABET National Association of Broadcast Engineers and Tech- 
nicians, (o) 

NAEB National Association of Educational Broadcasters. (o) 
NAP A National Association of Performing Artists, (o) 
NBC National Broadcasting Company. (o) 
NEEDLE FORCE The effective weight of the reproducer on a record 

51 



RADIO ALPHABET 



player or the vertical force when the needle is on the record. 



NEEDLE PRESSURE-A misnomer for needle force. (e.t.) 

NEMO A broadcast picked up from a point remote from the studio, 
or from "Nemo", or from "No one". ( e ) 

NETWORK Multiple radio stations linked by land (wire) lines. 
[1.] COAST-TO-COAST NETWORK A group of stations covering the 
whole or greater part of the U. S. [2.] REGIONAL NETWORK One 
covering a definite segment of the country. [3.] SPLIT NETWORK 
Selected stations of a network used to meet specific distribu- 
tion problems.(c) 

NETWORK TIME Broadcasting time on an affiliated station avail- 
able for network programs. (c) 

NEUTRAL Theme music used under verbal announcements. (p) 

NEWS ANALYST A person who interprets the meaning of the news 
as opposed to a news announcer who merely reports it. ( p ) 

NICK 'EM A musical request to play it staccato. ( p ) 

NIELSEN RADIO INDEX A reporting service for broadcasters and 
advertisers based on the use of the Audimeter. Operated by the 
A. C. Nielsen Co., this service regularly reports program ratings, 
trends, and the amount and distribution of radio listening by 
periods of the day. ( r ) 

NOODLING The tuning up of musical instruments with practice 
runs, trills, scales, etc.(p) 

52 



A GLOSSARY OF RAD7O TERMS 







OFF MIKE The position of a performer a little removed from the 
microphone. ( p ) 

OFFSIDE An off -color comedy line. A "blue gag". Tabu on the 
air.(p) 

O. HENRY The crucial final line or "tag" in a broadcast story script. 

(p) 

OLD COW HAND An experienced staff member called upon to 
escort important guests about the studios. ( p ) 

OLD SEXTON A bass soloist with dark vocal quality.(p) 




OLD SEXTON 



53 



RADIO ALPHABET 



ONE AND ONE Instructions to an orchestra to play one verse and 
one chorus of a song.(p) 

ONE AND TWO Instructions to the orchestra or soloists to play 
or sing one verse and two choruses of a song. ( p ) 

ONE SHOT A single program which is not one of a series. (p) 

ON THE AIR The actual period during which a broadcast is being 
transmitted. Also (of a program or performer) actually broad- 
casting. ( p ) 

ON THE BEACH -Unemployed. At liberty. Not working, (p) 

ON THE BOARD -The engineer on the control board, (p) 

ON THE BUTTON A program which ends exactly on time. ON 

THE NOSE.(p) 

ON THE CUFF- See CUFFO.(P) 

ON THE HEAD The program starts exactly on scheduled time.(p) 

ON THE LOG An entry in the studio record. (p) 

ON THE NOSE The program has concluded exactly on the planned 
second. ( Hurrah. )(p) 

OPEN COLD To open a radio program without theme, or musical 
introduction or background, or even without rehearsal. ( p ) 

ORIGINATE 1. To emanate a broadcast from a specific location. 
2. To create a program. ( c ) and ( p ) 

OUT IN THE ALLEY-Out of the range of the microphone, woefully 
inaudible. ( p ) 

OUTLET A radio station which puts the program on the air.(c) 
54 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 




ON THE NOSE 



OVERBOARD 1. A program which exceeds its allotted time. 2. An 
excessive characterization. Overcut, overacted, or, in music, 
overintensified. In short, too much. ( p ) 




P. A. "Public address" an intra-mural loudspeaker wire system, 
used in studios, halls, battleships, parks, airports, and industrial 
plants, (e) 

PACKAGE A special program or series of programs bought by an 
advertiser (usually for a lump sum), which includes all com- 
ponents, all ready -to-broadcast, (c) 

55 



RADIO ALPHABET 



PAD To add material, musical or verbal, to fill the requisite 
time.(p) 

PAN The instruction to swing the television camera in any direc- 
tion in a horizontal or vertical plane, from "panorama".(t) 

PANCAKE TURNER A technician who controls the playing of 
double faced records. (p) 




PACKAGE 



PANEL A radio control board.(e) 

PARTICIPATING PROGRAM A single program sponsored by more 
than one advertiser.(c) 

PART-TIME STATION One which is licensed to broadcast only at 
certain hours. (c) 

PATCH IN To tie together pieces of apparatus to form a circuit. ( e ) 

PAY OFF The tag line of a gag or witticism. It provokes the laugh, 
or the tear, or else. ( p ) 

PEAK The highest amplitude reached by an audio sound, which 
means 'all the ear can comfortably take/(e) 

PEDAL PUSHER The organist who makes incidental music. (p) 
56 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 



PEDESTAL A television camera-mount which can be moved by the 
cameraman without assistance.(t) 

PERSPECTIVE AUDIO The relation of volume of speech-sound to 
the size of a speaker in the television picture; VIDEO The depth 
of the image itself. ( t ) 

PESTS What some performers call radio fans who rally around 
for the autographs of some performers. (p) 

PICK IT UP Instruction to musicians or actors to speed up their 
delivery. ( p ) 

PICKUP 1. The origination point of a broadcast. ( c ) 2. The quality 
of the radio transmission of a given sequence or group in a pro- 
gram, as, "The orchestra pickup is superbly balanced". ( p ) 3. 
The electrical device which picks up sound from a disc. ( e ) 4. 
To pick up a scene by a television camera and transmit the 
images by radio or wire. ( t ) 

PICK UP A CUE To be prompt in speaking a line immediately 
after the preceding speaker has finished his.(p) 




PEDAL PUSHER 



57 



RADIO ALPHABET 



PIPE To send a program from one point to another over a wire, 
(e) 

P.I- Private line. Like your phone, if yours isn't a party line. ( p ) 
PLANT MEN Members of an operating or maintenance crew. ( e ) 
PLATTER A phonograph record, or transcription. (p) 

PLAYBACK The playing of a recording for audition or reference 
purposes immediately after it is made. ( p ) 

PLAY OFF The "exit" music used at the end of comedy or dramatic 
routines. ( p ) 

PLAY ON Music used to bring the radio performers "onstage." ( p ) 

PLOPS The over-accented pronunciation of the letters B and P 
resulting in sound distortion. ( p ) 

PLUG The mention of a name or program or advertised product. 
Also ( loosely ) the commercial announcement. ( c ) 

POPS A series of heavy crashes on a line or transmitter caused by 
any of several outside disturbances. (e) 

PREEMPTION Recapture by the broadcaster of an advertiser's 
time in order to substitute a special program of emergent value, 
(c) 

PRESSING A record produced in a record molding machine from 
a matrix or stamper. ( e.t. ) 

PREVIEW The picture or program rehearsed before it is on the 
air; also, a dress rehearsal with audience. ( p ) 

PRODUCER The individual, or impresario, or sponsor, or broad- 
caster, originating and presenting a program. (p) 

58 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 



PRODUCTION The building, organizing and presenting of a radio 
program, (p) 

PRODUCTION DIRECTOR -The individual in the studio in charge 
of a program. (p) 

PRODUCT-USE STUDY-A statistical measurement of the use of a 

sponsor's products among listeners and non-listeners to his 
program. ( r ) 

PROFILE OF LISTENER REACTIONS-A chart showing the average 
percent of the listeners expressing approval, disapproval or 
indifference, as recorded second-by-second by a Program Ana- 
lyzer during the progress of a program. ( r ) 

PROGRAM 1. COMMERCIAL PROGRAM one paid for by the adver- 
tiser. 2. SUSTAINING PROGRAM one supported wholly by the 
network or station and offered gratuitously in the public serv- 
ice by the station or network. ( c ) 

PROGRAM ANALYZER -A device with which listeners indicate by 
means of a pair of push-buttons, their second-by-second reac- 
tions of approval, disapproval or indifference to program mate- 
rial as they listen to it. 

Known as the Lazarsfeld-Stanton Program Analyzer, this device 
registers the reactions of the individual listener on a moving 
tape synchronized with the program. ( r ) 

PROGRAM BALANCE The proper arrangement of musical, dra- 
matic and other elements in a program. (p) 

PROJECTING To use the voice so as to be heard more clearly 
at increasing distance. ( p ) 

59 



RADIO ALPHABET 



PROPS Furniture, and hand properties, used by the actors, or to 
dress a stage set. In radio negligible. In television useful, if not 
essential. ( t ) 

PROVISIONAL CUT A cut in a program planned conditionally in 
case of possible need. ( p ) 

PST-Pacific Standard Time.(p) 
PUNCH To speak a line with extra force. (p) 
PUNCH THE MIKE-To press the switch turning the microphone 
on or off. ( p ) 

PUTTY BLOWER- A trombone. (p) 




QST A teletype message sent to a group of radio stations; derived 
from the amateur term "query station time."(c) 

QUONKING Disturbing side-line chatter by persons not on the 
program. It sounds like that. ( p ) 



r 



RACKED UP Radio equipment placed permanently on racks. (p) 
60 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 



RADAR An electronic method of determining direction and dis- 
tance to objects both visible and invisible to the eye; derived 
from Radio, Direction, And Range. (e) 

RADIO FAMILY-One of the 33,100,000 families among the 36,- 
783,000 in the United States who own one or more of the 
59,000,000 U.S. receiving sets (1945). The term is used inter- 
changeably with RADIO HOME, and is applied to the average 
family known to consist of 2.2 adults, 1.3 children under 18, 
and to be listeners to their radio(s) for more than 4 hours on 
the average day.(r) 

RATES The time costs set up by a station or network, in terms of 
quarter-hour, half -hour, and hour and other periods, night- 
time and daytime periods, and number of stations used. GROSS 
RATE The pre-discount rate. NET RATE The post-discount rate. 

PACKAGE RATE See PACKAGE. ( C ) 

RATING The percentage of a statistical sample of radio families 
interviewed who report hearing a specific program.(r) 

RDG-Radio Directors Guild. (o) 

READING HIGH HAT- Reading a script in a lofty manner.(p) 

READ-Y Pronounced reedy. An actor or announcer who sounds as 
though he were reading instead of talking. ( p ) 

REBROADCAST-See REPEAT.(P) 
REC- Radio Executives Club.(o) 

RECALL-A method of measurement of the number of people who 
remember listening to a program after the broadcast. ( r ) 

61 



RAD/0 ALPHABET 



RECORDING Making a permanent sound track of a program on a 
disc, film or wire, for historical or critical purposes. ( e.t. ) 

REFERENCE RECORDING A recording made primarily for refer- 
ence and verification. ( e.t. ) 

RELAY STATIONS A series of low power highly directional stations 
separated by approximately thirty miles, connecting two widely 
separated points, used to pass a television program over a 
greater distance than can be covered by one station, even a high 
powered one. ( t ) 

REMOTE PICKUP A broadcast originating outside the studio, viz., 
hotel ballroom, football field, etc. See NEMO. ( e ) 

REPEAT The second presentation of a regular studio program for 
those stations not served by the original broadcast, usually due 
to time differences. ( p ) 

REPEATER An amplifier used by the telephone company to com- 
pensate for the loss of program level in telephone lines. See 
BOOSTER. ( e ) 

REPRODUCING NEEDLE -The "needle", or jewel, which is placed in 
the record groove, to trace the sound track. ( e.t. ) 

RE-RECORDING A recording made from the reproduction of a 
recording. ( e.t. ) 

RETURNS The amount of mail received as a result of a premium 
offer or other stimulus on a program. ( c ) 

REVERSAL Changing the direction of flow of transmission in a 
program transmission channel. In plain words, reversing the 
flow Los Angeles N. Y. to N. Y. Los Angeles. (e) 

62 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 



RIBBON A high-velocity microphone. ( p ) 

RIDE GAIN To keep the program volume constantly adjusted for 
proper transmission. ( e ) 

RIDE IT To command the swing instruments to ad lib. ( p ) 
RM A Radio Manufacturers Association. ( o ) 

ROSTER-STUDY A radio audience survey which helps the inter- 
viewed listener's recollection by showing him a list of programs 
he could have heard at a particular time.(r) 




ROSTER-STUDY 



ROUND ROBIN A radio program circuit on the wires, forming a 
complete electrical loop, which permits instantaneous switch- 
ing between major points of origination without using extra 
facilities. ( e ) 

RRC Radio Research Council. (o) 

63 



RADIO ALPHABET 



RTPB Radio Technical Planning Board.(o) 

RUMBLE A low-frequency vibration mechanically transmitted to 
a recording or reproducing turntable and superimposed on 
the reproduction. It sounds just like a rumble. ( e.t. ) 

RUNOVER The program has overrun its allotted time, and that 
is not neat. ( p ) 

RWG - Radio Writers Guild. ( o ) 



S 



SAFETY A second recording (original), usually made simultane- 
ously with the original, to be used for duplication should the 
original be damaged. ( e.t. ) 

SAMPLE Usually used in radio to denote a segment of radio fam- 
ilies or listeners, whose opinions, habits, and tastes are taken 
as representative of all such families or listeners in the area 
selected for examination.(r) 

SCAN The television process of changing a light image into ar 
electrical signal, or vice-versa or magic.(t) 

SCHEDULE 1. A program time table. 2. A plan for broadcasting 
3. A radio campaign.(c) 

64 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 



SCHIZOPHRENIC A performer with two or more rehearsals sched- 
uled at the same time. From Greek phreno, meaning midriff, 
heart or mind, and schizo, meaning split. See CONFLICT. ( p ) 

SCHMALZ A super-sentimental rendition of a musical number or 

scene. ( p ) 

SCOOP To open a mike after the performer has begun, thus los- 
ing the start of his music or talk. ( p ) 

SCRATCHES Rasping caused by faulty equipment. ( p ) 

SCRIPT The pages of paper, usually typewritten, held by each per- 
former, director, and technician producing a program; on the 
pages is the sequence of the talk, music and sound. ( p ) 

SCRIPT SHOW A program, essentially a dramatic broadcast, 
chiefly containing talk. ( p ) 

SEGUE Pronounced seg-way. The transition from one musical 
theme to another without a break or announcements.(p) 

SERIAL Any series of radio programs telling a continued story. ( c ) 

SERVICE FEATURES -The use of the station's facilities to offer the 
public regular human-routine services such as news, weather 
reports, time signals, etc.(c) 

SERVICE THE SCRIPT-To cast, rehearse and present the material 
set down in the manuscript. ( p ) 

SES AC Society of European Stage Authors and Composers. ( o ) 

SETS-IN-USE The percent of all radio families whose radios are 
turned on at a specific time. ( r ) 

65 



RADIO ALPHABET 



SET UP The arrangement of musicians, performers and sound 
effects in a studio contrived for the best acoustical effect, (p) 

SHARE-OF-AUDIENCE-The percent of listeners tuned to a given 
station ( or program ) based on the total of sets-in-use. ( r ) 

SHORT VOICE A voice with a limited range. (p) 

SHOW A radio program, or broadcast. The term is also sometimes 
used to describe a conceited performer. ( p ) 

SIGNAL When you can hear a given station, you're hearing its 
signal. When you can see a station's television picture, you're 
seeing its signal. ( e ) 

SIGNAL STRENGTH The measured strength of a radio signal at a 
given distance from the transmitter. ( e ) 

SIGNATURE The musical number or sound effect which regularly 
identifies a program. ( p ) 

SKIP DISTANCE The region where shortwave signals are not audi- 
ble because of having "skipped" over. ( e ) 




SKIP DISTANCE 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 



SLAP BASS To play a bass violin by slapping the strings. (p) 

SMPE Society of Motion Picture Engineers. (o) 

SNEAK IN To bring music in softly, behind the dialogue. (p) 

SNOW A flickering of small lights and dark particles giving the 
effect of a snow fall on the picture ( the light effect in television 
which compares with the noise effect in radio). Not good.(t) 

SOAP OPERA A patronizing term loosely applied to popular day- 
time dramatic serial programs because the early sponsors of 
these programs were soap manufacturers^ p) 

SOCK IT To speak a word or line very forcibly. ( p ) 

SONG PLUGGER A music publisher's representative who promotes 
his firm's songs with more or less zeal. ( p ) 

SOUND EFFECTS Various ingenious and highly credible devices 
or recordings used to produce realistic sound. ( p ) 

SOUND MAN The studio technician who produces, either manu- 
ally or by recordings, the desired sound effects. (p) 

SOUND TABLE A movable table for sound effect devices. (p) 

SOUND TRACK A graphic record of sound produced on film, or on 
sensitized paper, or on wire. ( p ) 

SOUR An off-pitch voice or instrument, automatically awful.(p) 

SPELL A LINE To read a line in the script, carefully accenting... 
every... word and e-nun-ci-a-ting clear-ly.(p) 

SPIELER A radio commentator. Also (loosely) an announcer. ( p ) 

SPLIT CHANNEL Two or more sections of a network transmitting 
different programs at the same time.(e) 

67 



RADIO ALPHABET 



SPLIT-FOCUS A television picture of two or more objects in which 
none is sharply focused at the expense of the others. (t) 

SPLIT NETWORK A network divided into two or more practical 
market-sections. ( e ) 

SPLIT SET-UP A method of arranging the instruments of an orches- 
tra so as to take full advantage of the bi( two ) directional pick- 
up characteristic of a microphone. ( p ) 

SPONSOR One of the 50,000 or more advertisers in America who 
use radio to sell their products and services. ( c ) 

SPOT The individual television spotlight directed on a restricted 
stage area.(t) 

SPOT BROADCASTING Programs or announcements broadcast 
independently by individual radio stations. (c) 

SPOTS The time locations selected for spot broadcasting. ( c ) 

SPREAD To stretch any part of a broadcast for the purpose of 
filling the full allotted time of the program, (p) 

SQUEAK STICK-A clarinet.(p) 

STAMPER A negative recording (generally made of metal) from 
which the finished transcription pressings are molded. ( e.t. ) 

STAND BY A substitute program ready "in the wings" to go on the 
air in any emergency. Or, a command to performers to get 
ready to take the air. ( p ) 

STAND BY GROUP The performers engaged to take part in a 
"stand by" program. ( p ) 

68 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 



STATION A complete radio-broadcasting unit. One of more than 
900 independent transmitting and producing organizations in 
the U.S. equipped to produce and broadcast programs serving 
their sectional areas of population. ( e ) 

STATION BREAK The interval between programs usually at the 
hour, 14, l /2t %, used for station identification. Also, the 
announcement broadcast during such an interval. (c) 

STATION REPRESENTATIVE -An organization or individual em- 
ployed on a fee or percentage basis to sell a station's time to 
national advertisers. ( c ) 

STEP IT UP Increase the volume.(p) 

STICK A PIN IN IT A director's term, meaning, "The final rehearsal 
is perfect; there will be no changes before the air show."(p) 

STICK WAVER -An orchestra leader, (p) 

STOP The size of the iris in the television camera lens, adjustable 
to admit more or less light. ( t ) 

STRAIGHT READING Reading material naturally, without undue 
emphasis or characterization. ( p ) 

STRETCH To slow up the playing of musical numbers or the read- 



STRETCH 



RADIO ALPHABET 



ing of script so that the show will finish exactly on time. ( p ) 
STRIP SHOW A serial program, after "strip," or serial cartoons. (p) 

STUDIO A room especially constructed for the production of radio 
programs, which in its construction embodies acoustical ele- 
ments, and is suitably equipped with microphones and an 
associated control room. ( e ) 

STUDIO MOTHERS Mothers of juvenile performers. Like stage 
mothers, only sometimes perhaps more so. ( p ) 

STUDIO PROGRAM One which originates in a studio of a radio 
station, not outside, or "remote."(c) 

SUPERIMPOSED A photographic condition under which two 
images are visible at the same time.(t) 

SUPPLEMENTARY STATION-One not included in the network's 
basic group. ( c ) 

SURFACE NOISE Noise, not usually agreeable, caused by the 
needle passing in the groove of a record. (p) 

SUSTAINER-See PROGRAM.(C) 

SWEEP Curved pieces of television scenery. (t) 

SWITCH To transfer a station or line from one source of program 
service to another; the switch is made either in a station's master 
control room, or on the telephone company's test board, q.v. ( e ) 

SWITCHER The electronic technician who sets the brightness and 
70 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 



contrast of television pictures, and under the production direc- 
tor cuts, fades, or dissolves, from one picture to another.(t) 

SYNC Slang for the synchronization of two or more stations to one 
wave length, or the simultaneous ending of several programs so 
that all sections of a network are ready to take the next forth- 
coming program ( e ) ; also when both the horizontal and vertical 
scanning at the receiver is in step with the scanning at the 
pick up camera.(t) 

SYNC-GENERATOR -The device for properly timing the process of 
scanning a television image.(t) 




RADIO ALPHABET 



TAG LINE The last and most important line of a joke or a scene. 

(p) 

TAKE A director's instruction to his switcher to feed a given pic- 
ture-channel to the transmitter, so as to put the picture on the 

air.(t) 

TAKE IT (AWAY) The go-ahead cue from a studio engineer to the 
engineer of a succeeding program or from actor to actor.(p) 

TAKE TIMINGS To time each unit in the program with a stop- 
watch, (p) 

TAKING A BALANCE Preliminary testing of various sounds in a 
program to determine their relation to one another. ( p ) 

TALENT COST The production cost ( for music, actors, etc. ) of a 
program aside from the time charge. (c) 

TALK BACK 1. A loudspeaking device between the studio control 
room and the studio enabling the producer to give directions 
to the cast of a production during rehearsals. 2. A telephone 
facility used to permit a remote originating point to hear pre- 
determined cues and thus enable switches to be performed. ( e ) 

TALKING DOWN Condescension by a radio speaker to his audi- 
ence; an offense in good broadcasting. ( p ) 

72 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 



TALKING IN HIS BEARD -Speaking in a muffled voice, (p) 

TAPE RECORDER See MAGNETIC RECORDER. (e) 

TBA Television Broadcasters Association. ( o ) 

TEAR JERKER A radio script with a sad or pathetic appeal. (p) 

TELECINE General term used in operations involving transmission 
of film in television. TELECINE-ROOM: The special room in which 
the film is filed or fixed or projected. ( t ) 

TELETYPE To communicate from one point to another by tele- 
typewriter circuit, (c) 

TELEVISOR -The television camera.(t) 

TEST BOARD The telephone company's control room, similar to a 

station's master control room, where testing, amplifying and 

switching operations are performed. ( e ) 

TEST PATTERN A geometric design used to test the quality of 
picture transmission; also used for station identification. ( t ) 

THEME See SIGNATURE. ( p ) 

THICK The individual instruments in an orchestra are not dis- 
tinguishable. They are thick. (p) 

"THIRTY" A sign-off signal used in early radio to signify the end of 
a program; derived from the classic telegrapher's sign-off.(p) 

THROW A CUE A director points at a performer to begin. (p) 

THROW IT AWAY The director tells performers or engineers to 
fade the dialogue no matter what the script says.(p) 

TIGHT SHOW A program timed accurately in rehearsal to fit its 
allotted period like a glove. ( p ) 

TIME The period on the air available for a given program. ( c ) 

73 



RADIO ALPHABET 



TIME BUYER 1. The officer of an advertising agency responsible 
for making the proper selection of radio coverage to meet the 
requirements of the advertiser; 2. A buyer of radio time. ( c ) 




TIME BUYER 



TIME CHECK A command synchronization of all the watches of all 
concerned in a broadcast. A vital rite. ( p ) 

TIME HOLDER A program sometimes substituted during the vaca- 
tions of regular performers. ( c ) 

TIME SIGNAL Where he says "The time is now so-and-so", and 
mighty handy this service is. ( p ) 

TONGUE The tongue of the crane on the television camera dolly 
which controls the angle and height. Also a verb. ( t ) 

TOTAL AUDIENCE The percentage of radio homes tuned to a 
specific program at some time during the broadcast. ( r ) 

TOWN CRIER A vocalist who sings too loudly. (p) 
TRANSCRIPTION A recording of the highest quality especially 
made for broadcast purposes. ( e.t. ) 

TRANSITION The transition music, sound, or silence, used to 
change from one dramatic scene to another. (p) 

74 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 



TRANSMISSION 1. A program; 2. Emissions from audio or radio 

transmitting equipment. ( e ) 
TRANSMITTER The electrical apparatus which transforms the 

audio frequencies to radio frequencies and then radiates them 

into the air for everybody to hear. ( e ) 

TRAVELLER A loose scene curtain, adjustable on pulleys.(t) 
TRUCK Instruction to the cameraman to move the television 

camera dolly or pedestal backwards or forwards.(t) 
TURKEY- A flop, or failure. (p) 

TURN OVER To relinquish control at the close of one program to 
the engineers of the succeeding program. ( p ) 

TURN TABLE The rotating platform on which records are spun to 
play.(e.t) 

TURN-TABLE TOM A director who is more interested in his sound 

effects than in his actors, though both are essential. ( p ) 
TWO IN HANDS Programs involving two characters. (p) 
TYING IN A station or part of a network picking up a program 
already in progress. ( e ) 



U 



UNDER A program which does not use all its allotted time.(p) 
UNILATERAL MICROPHONE A microphone sensitive only on one 
side.(e) 

75 



RADIO ALPHABET 



V 



VELOCITY-MICROPHONE-A ribbon type of microphone. ( ej 

VERTICAL RECORDING One wherein the sound groove causes the 
reproducing needle to move up and down or vertically. ( e.t. ) 

VIDEO Of (or concerning) electric currents or equipment asso- 
ciated with transmitting television pictures. Loosely used to 
refer to television. ( e ) 

VISUAL SHOW A radio program which is also being presented 
before an actual audience called "live."(p) 

VOLUME INDICATOR A meter in the control room which registers 
the program volume, thus enabling the technician to "see" the 
amount of sound. V.I. for short. (e) 



W 



WALLA WALLA An ad lib mumble in crowd scenes to sound like 
a mob. Say it several times.(p) 

76 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 



WARM UP The 3 or 5-minute period immediately preceding a 
broadcast in which the announcer or star puts the studio audi- 
ence in a receptive mood by amiably introducing the cast of 
the program, or discussing its problems.(p) 

WATT A measure of transmitting power. ( e ) 

WAX A blend of waxes with metallic soaps used for original disc 
recordings, (e.t.) 

WAX ORIGINAL An original sound recording on a wax surface, for 
the purpose of making a metal master record. ( e.t. ) 

WEAVER A performer who moves about nervously in front of the 
microphone. ( p ) 

WEB- A slang headline term for network, like"net".(c) 

WEST OF DENVER -Technical troubles which can't be located.(e) 

WHODUNIT A mystery program. (p) 

WIRE RECORDER See MAGNETIC RECORDER.(e) 

WNRC Women's National Radio Committee. ( o ) 

WOOD PILE A xylophone, or a xylophonist. ( p ) 

WOOD SHED (a) A radio actor is said to be "woodshedding" 
when he privately rehearses his part outside the studio; (b) 
A musical director is said to "woodshed" when he makes an ad 
lib arrangement of a number during rehearsal by verbal rather 
than written instructions to his orchestra or singers. (p) 

WOOF A word spoken by engineers into the microphone to check 
amplitude and/or timing of sound, e.g.: "l-2-3-4-wooF!"(e) 

77 



RADIO ALPHABET 



WOW Unpleasing sound caused by a variance from normal speed 
of a turntable being used to reproduce a transcribed or recorded 
program. ( e.t. ) 



Z 



ZAMPA A florid musical passage, with plenty of brass, blown big 
and bitten off sharp. ( p ) 

ZILCH The standard name used to describe anyone who walks 
into the studio and whose name is not known. (p) 



78 




ign language 




( 1 ) Stretch it out; or ( 2 ) Slow up. 









Bring up the volume. Lower the volume. 



79 



RADIO ALPHABET 





Fade out. 




How is the balance? 




Move closer to the microphone. 

80 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 




Move away from the microphone. 




Cut. 




Okay. 




Is the program running on schedule? 

81 



RADIO ALPHABET 





Watch me for the cue. 



Proceeding on schedule, on the nose. 




A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 





Start the theme. 



Play the fanfare. 




"This is 
WABC. 




Repeat. 



Make local. 



83 



RADIO ALPHABET 





Slow up. 



How does it sound? 





Use first ending, repeat chorus. Play the entire arrangement. 

84 



A GLOSSARY OF RADIO TERMS 





Speed up. 



Start at beginning of musical number. 





Use the second ending and conclude. Board Fade. 





Cue to Start. 



85 






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AT