In the December 1961 issue of Broadcast Engineering, John Battison, then the editor, wrote of his dismay that while the focus the Institute of Radio Engineers was important, that focus had shifted away from the needs and interests of the regular station engineer. He cited the proceedings from a recent convention were too sophisticated for station engineers. He proposed forming a new group to serve the needs of the station engineer, and the seeds of what would become the Society of Broadcast Engineers were sewn.
This is Battison's article from that issue. Broadcast Engineering has graciously allowed us to reprint this in its entirety for its historical value.
The Engineer's Cue Line
By John Battison
The Eleventh Annual Broadcast Symposium of the Professional Group on Broadcasting of the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) has just been held in Washington, DC. Approximately 300 top engineers attended from all over the country. As a result, many good ideas and new concepts were exchanged.
When the IRE was first founded it was composed mainly of radio men, engineers and technicians, who were actively engaged in the art and science of communications per se, which ultimately led to radio and television broadcasting as we know it today. But in the many years that have passed since IRE's birthday the picture has changed, and today radio broadcasting plays a very minor part in the activities of the Institute. The steering committee of the IRE became cognizant of this, and some years ago in an effort to retain members whose interests were broadcast engineering only, formed the Professional Group on Broadcasting. This is now one of nearly 20 other so-called professional groups of the IRE. But even with this sop to the original aims and composition of the IRE, more and more broadcasters are not finding what they want in the IRE. The Proceedings is far too sophisticated for the average radio engineer, and even for the many of the engineers who hold higher degrees. So what is left for the station man? The irregularly produced issues of the papers of the various Professional Group meetings! These fill a very small part of the vacuum left by the lack of broadcast meat in the IRE menu.
Possibly a new institute is needed for broadcast engineers, one started in just the same way as the IRE was originally? Perhaps it should be called the IBE, Institue of Broadcast Engineers, and be presided over by one of the great broadcast engineers of a few years ago? How many years is it since a broadcast engineer was president of the IRE?
We leave you that thought this month. Your comments addressed to the Editor will be welcome.