When John Battison began forming the Society of Broadcast Engineers, one of his goals was to provide practical information to the members. With his interest in writing and trade publishing, he launched what became his favorite pet project of the society, the “SBE Journal.”
Volume 1 Issue 1 of the “Journal” was released in June 1964. The issue included introductory information about the fledgling society, a salutation from then FCC Chairman E. William Henry, and several technical articles with topics that included modulation meters for stereo and SCAs, FM stereo, a way to determine transistor parameters, and sine-squared wave tests. The issue also included a list of the sustaining members and a membership application.
The first meeting of what became the first chapter of the society was held on June 30, 1964. Chapter 1 in Binghamton, NY, was organized by Charile Hallinan, who would be the second president of the society.
Nine people attended the meeting. The main order of business for the group was to elect chapter officers. Those elected were Charles Hallinan as chairman, Gino Ricciardelli as vice chairman, and Louveer Stantz as secretary/treasurer.
The Society of Broadcast Engineers began as an effort by one and then a few individuals dedicated to the interests of station engineers. For the first few years, maintaining membership records and conducting society business was an informal and simple process. But as the SBE grew and evolved, the volunteer leadership realized there was more work and record-keeping required than they were able to handle.
By June 1975, the organization decided to hire a full-time secretary. The officers authorized the position, and Michael Flanders, son of fifth SBE President Robert Flanders. Michael Flanders set up an office in his home.
1975 also brought a computer into the management of SBE member records. Until then, member records were first a loose system of cards and papers, which later became more formalized.
By hiring Flanders as the society''s secretary, the stage was also set for another staff hire that would happen later in 1975 when a part-time secretary was hired to help with administration of the SBE Program of Certification.
Historical sources: “The History of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, 1964 - 1981,” by Bradley L. Dick, CPBE.
Scherer is a contract engineer and recording engineer in Kansas City, and former editor of Radio magazine.