Shaping radio today and tomorrow

June 1, 2003


Do you remember?

The first Western Electric Transview FM transmitter to go on the air was at station WELL-FM, Battle Creek, MI. The 1kW 503B-3 transmitter was shipped to the station directly from the Fall 1946 NAB convention. In the photo are Chief Engineer Earl Stone (left) and General Manager D.E. Jayne.

This transmitter was one of a series designed for Western Electric by industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss. Dreyfuss used lucite doors to make the components visible to meet the public's desire to “watch the wheels go around.” Photo courtesy of Mike Dorrough.


That was then

In 1985, Broadcast Engineering formed a panel of 10 judges to tour the convention hall and make its selections for the first-ever Pick Hits of the show. The Pick Hits award winners of NAB 1985 set the trend for future award winners, and it's a tradition that continues today. To see this year's award winners, see page 34.

The basic guidelines used that year are the same as those used today when picking the winners: items must be new products, products must have some positive impact on the everyday work of the user, products must offer an improvement in current technology, prices of products must be within reach of their intended users, and the products must be available for purchase.

The radio Pick Hits awards winners from NAB 1985 were (in alphabetical order):

  1. Audio Precision System One. A computer-controlled audio test measurement system for use in maintenance and quality control applications.

  2. Benchmark Media Systems DIA-1 and DOA-1A amplifiers. A product line of differential input and output amplifiers to interface between semi-pro/consumer equipment and broadcast equipment.

  3. Gentner Engineering EFT-1000. A telephone interface system that improves the quality of remote broadcasts through single-line bandwidth expansion of the high and low frequency spectrum.

  4. Harris Phase Fixer. An audio time-base corrector system designed to eliminate audible phasing errors on stereo cartridges and reel-to-reel tapes.

  5. Harris SX-5A AM transmitter. An improved version of the company's solid-state SX-5 5kW transmitter featuring the Sunwatch power control system.

  6. Nautel Ampfet 50 transmitter. The first totally solid-state 50kW AM broadcast transmitter to be be produced for commercial radio.

  7. Philips LDM 1239 transmitter. A completely solid-state FM transmitter that featured multiple amplifier modules and duplicate power supplies for protection against system failure.

  8. Russco Electronics Telemote T-321. A portable two-channel remote audio mixer for use with a dial-up telephone line.

  9. RPG Diffuser Systems acoustical diffuser. A reflection phase-grating acoustical diffuser for on-air and recording studios that back-scatters sound over a broad range of frequencies with wide-angle coverage.

  10. Sony APT-5000 series recorder. A ¼-inch analog tape recorder with microprocessor-managed alignment and reference adjustments.


Sample and Hold

Current trends in radio broadcasting
NAB Convention Attendance Continues to Decline

Source: NAB
*Anticipated figure; official attendance has not yet been announced.



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