New York, NY
— The Empire State Building is not only one of the most iconic
buildings in the world, it’s capped by one of the most significant
technological innovations in broadcasting – the Alford antenna, the
master FM antenna that was erected nearly 50 years ago to serve the
area’s broadcast market – the largest in the United States by audience
As the Audio Engineering Society recognizes this
milestone with a special 50th Anniversary celebration at the Building on
October 29, a rare honor will in turn be bestowed on the AES, as the
building is lit in the signature AES blue and white to acknowledge the
opening of the 139th International AES Convention and its remarkable
members, engineers and audio experts who continue to innovate.
Thursday, October 29, from 6:30 – 9:30 pm, the special celebration will
take place in the Empire State Building’s 67th Floor conference room,
jointly produced by the AES and the Society of Broadcast Engineers
(SBE). David Bialik, chairman of the 139th AES Convention broadcast and
streaming program, and Scott Fybush, Broadcast Tower aficionado and an
expert on the site, will host a presentation covering the technology
behind the Alford antenna and moderate a broadcast industry all-star
panel of innovators, engineers and radio station personnel who serve the
millions of listeners in the New York Tri-State region. The
presentations will focus on the Empire State Building's Master FM
antenna from design concept with Andy Alford and Kear and Kennedy
through to today's remarkable FM Empire State Buiding systems that now
include 19 FM stations.
“The installation of the Alford antenna
in 1965 was one of the most significant milestones in broadcasting
history, and we are proud to present this distinguished panel and to be
honored with the lighting of the Empire State Building on October 29 in
the emblematic blue and white AES colors also commemorating the start of
the 139th Audio Engineering Society Convention,” said David Bialik,
Broadcast and Streaming Media Track Chair.
Before the Alford
antenna ringing the Empire State Building’s 102nd floor observation
gallery went into service on December 9, 1965, only one station at a
time could broadcast from one antenna at a time. The invention of the
combined master antenna system embodied in the Alford antenna allowed
multiple radio stations to broadcast from a single antenna array, saving
space and cost and marking a revolution in FM broadcast technology.
Today’s combining systems have improved over the last 50 years and now
accomplish superior propagation of radio signals to the largest
listening audience in the US.
The Alford antenna was the model
for subsequent master antenna sites in Toronto, St. Louis, Houston and
Minneapolis-St. Paul, and eventually even back at the Empire State
Building, where a new master antenna system was commissioned in the
1980s. The original 1965 Alford antenna continues to serve as a backup
and was pressed into service after 9/11 to provide emergency replacement
antenna capacity for stations that were displaced from their World
Trade Center sites. Today, the new Master FM antenna systems reach the
most listeners anywhere in the world, and is the largest sophisticated
FM combiner in the western hemisphere.
Because of space
limitations, reservations to the event are required and will be on a
first-come, first-served basis. Tickets will be available for registered
AES attendees on Wednesday, October 28 (3:00 – 7:00 pm), and Thursday,
October 29 (8:00 am – 1:00 pm), only on-siteat the Tech Tours desk at the 139th AES Convention in the Jacob Javits Center.
information about the 50th Anniversary event honoring the master FM
antenna at the Empire State Building is available at http://www.aes.org/events/139/specialevents/?ID=4629.
For the latest information on the AES 139 Convention in New York City and how to register for your FREE Exhibits-Plus or premium All Access badge, visit http://www.aes.org/events/139/.
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