That was then
The September 1969 cover of Broadcast Engineering magazine depicted Radio Free Europe's (RFE) master control room, which channeled the many program inputs for transmission to countries behind the Iron Curtain. Radio Free Europe was known to most Americans as a big radio station that broadcasted to eastern Europe. It grew much like many U.S. broadcasting organizations.
In 1965, the organization built a new master control system at a low cost of $12,000. The new system all but eliminated jack fields, which was a significant step at the time. The only jack field left was for metering all transmitter feed lines.
Four years later, RFE had grown from a single 7.5kW transmitter in a truck to a 32-transmitter system broadcasting from three sites with a total power of 2.245MW. All the systems were linked and fed from the main operations center in Munich, Germany. A separate audio feed in five languages was sent to select transmitters from Munich, making it necessary to control five separate programs in the studios at one time. The master control system provided centralized audio and switching control.