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ME.Si,.ii 3E3 MI 412) 01::»31EIC
Revised Edition
Revised Edition
Copyright, © 1963, 1956, by Robert S. Oringel
All rights reserved. This book, or parts
thereof, may not be reproduced in any
form without permission of the
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 56-7002
Published simultaneously in Canada by
S. J. Reginald Saunders, Publishers, Toronto
Printed in the United States
of America
To Beverly, Susan, and Patti
Revised Edition
The advancing state of the broadcasting art has required certain
revisions in this book. Since its first publication, important changes
have been made in new control equipment and in microphones that are
manufactured for use in broadcast stations. This edition reflects
those changes.
We wish to express thanks to these additional manufacturers who
permitted use of photographs of their equipment in this revised edition.
Gotham Audio Corporation of New York; Aerovox Corporation,
Cinema Engineering Division; Electro -Voice Company.
Washington, D.C.
August, 1963
Radio and television broadcasting art has reached the point where
personnel without technical training are employed in studio operation.
These functions were formerly performed almost exclusively by broadcast engineers. One such task is that of the operator of the audio
equipment in a radio or television control room and studio.
The audio operator must be adequately trained for this creative
job, however. He must have a thorough knowledge of all operating
features of the equipment under his control, even though he may not
have the technical background necessary to understand the electronic
operation of audio equipment.
To the achievement of that end, this text is dedicated.
Despite the adage that "one picture conveys more information
than a thousand words," good quality audio is considered by many
authorities to be fully as important as good picture quality on a television program. The listening and viewing public is becoming increasingly interested in high fidelity sound or Hi-Fi, as it is called.
The manufacturers of television receivers are incorporating Hi-Fi
sound systems into their sets, and the television broadcaster must
respond with equally good sound quality.
Thus the audio operator in the television control room must be as
well versed in the art of sound reproduction and control as his counterpart in the radio control room.
This is not a technical book. It is rather, a "how to" manual.
Little space is devoted to the purely technical factors of the design,
the construction, or the maintenance of the audio equipment mentioned
here. Instead we have concentrated on the operating features of audio
equipment, and operating procedures.
The author, bearing in mind that this manual will be used in the
main by students or beginners having little or no technical electronics
background, has attempted to describe and explain broadcast audio
operations in non -technical language wherever possible, without omitting the trade terms or language of the industry.
The author wishes to thank the many people whose time and
efforts helped to contribute to the writing of this book.
Thanks go to colleagues on the Studio Engineering staff of the
Voice of America, and the faculty of the Cambridge School of Radio
& Television Broadcasting, who inspired it, to Mr. H. Arthur Gilbert,
Engineering Supervisor, who photographed the section on Hand Signals
and gave valuable aid in editing the manuscript, to Mr. Robert J. Kent,
of the VOA and Cambridge staffs, who posed for the hand signal pictures as well as lending his talents and suggestions to the manuscript, to Mr. Daniel J. Scherer, Assistant Chief of the VOA English
Service, who edited the author's sometimes faulty grammar.
We wish also to acknowledge the help given by the following organizations in permitting the use of drawings and photographs of their
equipment and products in illustration of the text.
Altec Lansing Corporation
American Telephone and Telegraph Co.
Ampex Electric Corporation
Broadcast Equipment Specialties Corporation
Cannon Electric Company
Capitol Records Corporation
Collins Radio Company
Columbia Broadcasting System
Fairchild Recording Equipment Company
Gates Radio Company
General Control Company
General Electric Company
Johns Manville Company
Magnecord Incorporated
Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Company
Mole -Richardson Company
Par -Metal Products
Radio Corporation of America
Rason Manufacturing Company
Stancil Hoffman Corporation
Tech Laboratories Incorporated
Weston Electrical Instrument Corporation
Lastly, but by no means the least of the author's thanks go to a
patient wife who, in addition to her household chores, undertook to do
most of the typing of this book.
Washington, D.C.
J. R. Poppele
or Long Playing Records
Handling Records and. Transcriptions-Tape Re-
Introduction to Audio Control
cordings-Tape Editing-Leader Tape.
Control Board Equipment
Control Board and its Functions-Basic "One
Microphone Channel" Console-"Four Channel"
Cueing, Audition and Talkback SysConsole
tem-The Volume Unit Meter-Commercial Con-
Boards-Sub-Mixers-Collins 212G-1 Console-RCA BC -3C Consolette-Gates Ambassador Console-Gates Executive Console-
LEVELS, Balance and Operating
Levels-Balance-Operating Techniques.
General Electric BC -31-B Console. RCA BC -7
Cueing, Turntable and Tape Playback
Auxiliary Console Input Facilities
Dynamic Microphones-Velocity MicrophonesCardioid Microphones-Turntables-Tape Playback-Magnecorder Tape Recorders-Ampex
Cueing-Record Cue
up and Play ProceduresFades-Cross-Fades-Segue-Dead Pot-Tape
Cue Up and Play Procedure.
Tape Recorders-Field Tape Inputs-Stancil-
Hoffman M9 Minitape-Ampex 602
Cartridge Tape Recorder-Incoming
Echo and Reverberation Effects.
Microphone Use Techniques
Microphone Types and Patterns-Dynamic Micro-
phones-Velocity Microphones-Cardioid-Combination Microphones-Special Purpose Microphones-Television Microphone Usage-Es-
Console Output Facilities
Lines Out-Lines to the Transmitter-Telephone
thetic Considerations in Microphone Use-OnMike and Off-Mike-Presence-Into vs Across
the Mike-Microphones vs Talent-Microphone
Lines to Loudspeakers and
Company Lines
Monitor Bus-Lines to the Network-Lines to
Recording Rooms-Lines to Master Control Room
-Lines to Warning Lights.
Clipping-Care of Microphones and Microphone
Cords-Microphone Stands.
Records, Tape and Tape Editing
Disc Recordings
Transcriptions Lateral and
Vertical Cut Records-Outside-In and Inside -Out
Studio Microphone Setups
Talks: One and Two Speakers-Groups of Voices
-Dramatic Programs and "Soap Operas"-Mu-
sic Programs-Solo Instruments-Small Studio
Band-Large Studio Orchestra-Studio Audience
Reaction and Public Address.
Program-As the Audio Operator
Sees It
Newscast Sportscast Disc Jockey Show
Live Music Program
Dramatic Program.
Studio-Control Room Communication
Hand Signals-Microphone, Turntable and General Information Hand Signals
Intercom for
Remote Broadcasts
Equipment-Inputs to the Remote Amplifier-Remote Amplifier Output-Remote Broadcast Procedure-Public Address System "Bridge"
Pickups-Taped Remote Broadcasts-Short Wave
Remote Broadcasts-Microphone Setups.
Studio Design and Construction Practices 123
Aural Quality Factors
Radio Studios
Live End and Dead -End Studios-Television Studios.
Rules and Regulations of the Federal Communications Commission that Pertain to Audio
Control Operators
The Other Members of the Broadcast Team 131
General Manager
Commercial Manager
Program Director
News Department
ProductionDirection Department-Continuity DepartmentMusic Library-Traffic Department-Chief Engineer-Television Operating Crew-Switchers,
Boom Operators, Dolly Pushers, Cable Pullers,
Floor Manager, Stage Electricians and Stagehands.
- -
Glossary of Broadcast Terminology
Since the day in 1920 when KDKA went on the air with the first commercially
licensed radio station, the need for trained audio operators has been ever
increasing. The tremendous expansion in the broadcasting industry in the
last ten years has highlighted the need for trained audio personnel.
The part the audio operator plays in a broadcast is often underestimated.
His voice is not heard on the air. He writes no copy nor does he sell advertising time. He is the silent partner. He puts the program on the air and is
the one around whom the quality of the broadcast revolves. He is expected
to be ready for all emergencies. In short, he is an invaluable member of a
staff which turns personality, sales ability and technical know-how into
valuable saleable time.
New horizons are offered to the audio operator in the fields of television, motion pictures and high-fidelity recording. The profession is becoming
more and more important.
It is indeed encouraging to note the increasing recognition given by
schools and universities to the need for including within curriculums more
and more courses in the broadcasting art and in audio subjects. Audio Control Handbook gives to the newcomer the hard-won knowledge, skills and
techniques of an especially well qualified author by virtue of his experience
in large and small broadcast stations both in the Government and in private
industry. The author has recognized the need for a thorough text to assist
the audio operator in his responsibilities in the studio and in the field.
A text of this type has been long overdue and it is most welcome in the
broadcast field. I wish Mr. Oringel, the author, well with it.
J. R. Poppele
Formerly Assistant Director for Radio and
Television, U. S. Information Agency
Revised Edition
Figure 1-1
Courtesy Columbia Broadcasting System
An Audio Control
Audio control is the operation of all of the various types of sound equipment
that are found in the studios, and the control rooms associated with those
studios, of a radio or television broadcasting station.
The audio operator is the person who performs the audio control operations. Most of his work is done in the control room, operating the audio
control board, or control console.
The job of the audio control operator is to insure that the proper amount
of amplification is given to each sound that is received by the control board,
and to see to it that the correct blend of sounds is sent out of the control
board, to the listener.
It is readily acknowledged by the author that "sound", upon entering a
microphone, becomes electrical energy and remains in the form of electrical
energy until it is emitted by a loudspeaker. For the sake of clarity and understanding, however, we will throughout this text refer to "sound" as traveling
through a microphone or amplifier, rather than the aforementioned electrical
energy. For this variation from scientific fact, we beg the indulgence of our
fellow broadcast engineers, into whose hands this volume may fall.
To begin, let us follow the path of a word, from the time that it leaves
the mouth of a performer standing in front of a microphone at a broadcast
station, until it enters the ears of the listener sitting near his receiver at
As the performer speaks, sound waves are created and are picked up by
From the microphone, the sound travels to a control board.
There, it is amplified or enlarged, and sent to a transmitter. The function
of the transmitter is to superimpose the sound waves onto higher frequency
radio waves. These radio waves are then sent by the transmitter to the
antenna, from where they are radiated into the air.
a microphone.
Figure 1-2
The Radio Sound Path
The aerial at the listener's home captures the radio waves and sends
In the receiver, the sound is separated from the radio
waves. It is amplified and then it activates the loudspeaker. The listener
at home then hears the identical words that were uttered by the performer at
the broadcast station.
It might be well at this point to define sound. Sound is a disturbance,
movement, or vibration, in a wavelike motion, of the air. It is caused or produced by an emitting source such as an announcer's mouth, the movement of
a violin string, or a hammer striking an anvil. A sound wave is composed of
two elements, the pressure component or strength of the wave, and the velocity component or speed of the wave.
them to a receiver.
Trace the path of a broadcast sound in its passage from an announcer's mouth to the listener's ears.
2. Define "sound".
3. What are the two components of a sound wave?
All of the control boards that are found in the control rooms of broadcast
stations have basic similarities. Tf one board is learned thoroughly, and if
that one console can be operated, you will be able to understand and operate
any and all control consoles with but a small amount of additional information and explanation.
Control Board and its Functions.
control board or console is. an electronic instrument that has two primary
That is, to take the minute amounts of sound
that are picked up by the microphones and turntables, and to enlarge these to greater amounts without any distortion of the quality
1. To amplify sound.
of the sound.
2. To control and route the amplified sound to the various points
within the broadcast station where a need for it exists.
power supply, or source of electric current and voltage is necessary to
operate the vacuum tubes which comprise a control console. You can expect to find a power ON-OFF switch and a fuse box for the console, located
on or near the console- the switch, to turn the console on or off, and the
fuse box in case of a power failure in the console. The operator should ascertain the exact location of the power switch and the fuse box, as his first
assignment in a control room. He will be guided on most equipment by a
pilot light, which will indicate whether the power is on or off.
Basic "One Microphone Channel" Console
Let us first consider the features of a hypothetical console which has the
sole function of amplifying and controlling the output of one microphone.
You should commit to memory, the names of the individual components
of this console, and the order in which they are combined as well. Later we
will observe that all, even the most complicated -appearing consoles, are
merely extentions of this basic "one microphone channel" console.
Figure 2-1
Block Diagram Of A "One Microphone
Channel" Control Board
In the accompanying block diagram, note the progression of components
within the console (except for the microphone) that the sound encounters
from the time it enters, until it leaves the console:
The sound goes from the microphone, or "mike", to the preamplifier, or
"pre -amp", which enlarges the sound from the microphone to useable proportions; to the pot, or volume control which varies the volume of sound
coming from the microphone just as you vary the loudness of your home radio
receiver; to the key-a switch which turns the microphone on and off, much
like the light switch on the living room wall; to the program amplifier which
again enlarges the sound, this time to sufficient proportions so that it may
be sent via telephone lines to the transmitter.
A portion of the sound is sent to the monitor amplifier which activates the
loudspeaker in the control room. This enables the audio operator to hear the
sound emanating from the studio. At the same time, there is a meter or indicator connected to the program amplifier, so that the operator will see, as
well as hear, the degree of volume of the sound that is leaving the control
"Four Channel" Console
Now, having shown the features of a basic console, we will expand the hypothetical "one microphone channel" console to include the inputs of another
microphone, and in addition two turntables, to make it a "four channel" con-
trol board.
Note that in Figure 2-2, the topmost microphone channel is identical to
the basic console already studied. All that has been added are the three additional inputs, or channels: the master pot, the monitor pot and another loudspeaker, for the studio.
All of the microphone and turntable pre -amplifiers feed into the one program amplifier, through the master potentiometer, or master pot. The master
pot is the volume control that varies the volume of the program amplifier.
Thus it ultimately controls the overall sound volume output of the entire
console, and in turn, the individual volumes of all of the microphones and
turntables that are operating through the console.
Figure 2-2
Block Diagram Of A Four
Channel Control Console
The monitor amplifier has its volume controlled or varied by the monitor
pot. Thus, the monitor pot varies the sound volume of the loudspeakers in
both the control room and its associated studio.
You will have noted by this time that the operator of a console exerts
his control through the manipulation of keys and pots on the console. The
pot, or potentiometer, is also known in the industry by several other names:
mixer, fader, attenuator, and pad.
Returning to Figure 2-2, we find the volume unit meter or VU meter connected to the output of the program amplifier. This meter is sometimes referred to as the VI, or volume indicator. The operator observes this meter
as he adjusts the pots which control the microphone and turntable volumes.
The volume unit meter is used in conjunction with the master pot as well, as
the operator controls the sound volume of the entire console.
The operator may utilize either or both of the microphones, by throwing
their keys to the on or program position, and by "riding gain" on their pots.
Riding gain consists of turning the pots (opening or closing them like the
water faucets in a bathtub), until the desired degree of volume appears on
the VU meter.
Similarly, the operator may use the turntables by throwing either or both
of their keys to the program position, and riding gain on their pots.
Before operating either microphones or turntables the master pot must
be opened so that the program amplifier may be used, and the overall sound
volume of the console may be varied. The monitor pot must similarly be
opened to enable the operator to hear the results of his turning on microphones or turntables.
Cueing, Audition, and Talkback System
When a microphone or
turntable key is in the on or program position, anything
uttered into that microphone or emanating from that turntable will go out "on
the air".
To enable the announcer, or other talent in the studio to talk to the
operator or anyone else in the control room, while a record is being played,
without their conversation going out on the air, there is an opposite position
provided on the microphone keys. This position is called the audition, or
cue position.
We therefore find that each key has three positions: Program, Off, and
Audition. The keys are mounted on the front panel of the console, to operate
either vertically or horizontally, depending upon the design of the console.
Figure 2-3
Microphone and
Turntable Keys
Courtesy General
Control Co.
. .
If the operator in the control room wishes to speak to anyone in the
studio, without his leaving the control room, he is able to do so. At a radio
station that is equipped for combination announcer/operator ("combo man")
operation, one that has an "air -able" microphone in the control room, the
operator throws the key for that microphone to the audition position and
speaks into the microphone. He is heard then, only in the studio. If any of
the microphones in the studio are on the air, or live, however, the operator
faces the possibility of his words being picked up by that microphone and
aired, with the program. Some stations therefore make provision for having
the control room microphone disabled in the audition position, or the studio
loudspeaker disabled or automatically disconnected when a studio microphone is live.
At stations that are not set up for combo operation, that is, large radio
and all television stations, a microphone is located in the control room near
the console, to be used by the operator for "talkback", to the studio. This
is then called the "talkback microphone". Since the talkback microphone
is not to be used on the air, and the quality of its sound reproduction is not
important, an inexpensive microphone is generally used.
The talkback microphone is turned on by a key or push-button located
on the console. This key or push-button is usually of the spring -back typeone that springs back to its original off position as soon as the operator removes his finger from it, when he has finished speaking.
The turntable keys too, have three positions as previously indicated for
the microphone keys. The audition position on a turntable key is used for
listening to a record in the control room, without sending the record out on
the air. The audition position is also used for "cueing up" a record, which
will be discussed in detail in a later chapter.
In order that auditioning or cueing should not conflict with the operator's
listening to the program as it goes out on the air, there is generally an additional amplifier known as a cue amplifier, or audition amplifier, located
either within the console or somewhere in the control room near the console.
This amplifier activates, or feeds, a separate loudspeaker called the cue
speaker. At some stations, a pair of earphones (called "cans") are used
instead of the cue speaker. Thus the operator can listen to a program going
out on the air, on the monitor loudspeaker, and he can listen to a record that
he may be cueing or auditioning, on the cue speaker, both at the same time.
Two notes of caution should be mentioned at this time:
1. If one microphone is "on the air" in the studio, the operator may
not allow anyone to speak on the audition position of another
microphone in that same studio. This is because anything that is
voiced into the microphone on audition, will be picked up to some
extent by the live microphone as well.
2. Whenever a microphone is live in a room then the monitor loudspeaker in that room, be it control room or studio, is automatically
disconnected or disabled. This is done with an electrically oper-
ated switch called a relay.
Consider what would happen if the loudspeaker remained on while the microphone was also on. An announcer utters a sound which is picked up by the
microphone. The sound goes through the console, is amplified and emitted
by the monitor loudspeaker. This amplified sound is then picked up by the
microphone, goes through the console, is reamplified, comes out of the monitor loudspeaker, is picked up again by the microphone... , and so on ad
Each time that the sound goes through the console, it is re -amplified,
and becomes louder and louder until it becomes a violent squeal or howl.
Actually, this howl takes place immediately, since the sound travels at the
speed of light, 186,000 miles per second, through the console.
This howling phenomenon is called feedback. When an operator hears
feedback, he can be certain that the monitor loudspeaker -muting -relay is not
working, or is not operating correctly. The operator must counteract the
feedback by quickly turning the monitor pot off, preventing the sound from
emanating from the loudspeaker. lie thus prevents the feedback howl from
going out on the air. The audio operator then calls for the chief engineer or
the maintenance technician to repair the ailing relay.
The Volume Unit Meter
The volume unit meter, or volume indicator, is located centrally on the front
panel of the control board. It consists of a dual graduated scale, a moving
needle or pointer, and a light bulb to illuminate the scale, all mounted in a
plastic case with a protective glass cover on the front. The meter is constructed so that the pointer swings back and forth across the scale, following
the degree of sound loudness that it is measuring.
Figure 2-4
The Volume Unit Meter
Courtesy Weston Corp.
As the sound becomes louder, the needle swings to the right, or towards
the high end of the scale. When the needle passes the 100, or zero VU mark
on the scale, we say we're operating or peaking "in the red", or we're "spilling over".
When the sound intensity is very low, or between the zero and the 20
mark at the left hand or low end of the scale, we say we're "riding in the
mud". Riding, refers to the amount of sound volume that the needle is measuring. Riding gain with a VU meter then, consists of watching the moving
needle, while adjusting the pot which is controlling the sound.
Commercial Control Boards
The discussion until this point has covered a hypothetical, but nevertheless
operable control board. Figure 2-5 shows what that console might look like
if it were to be constructed.
The console as pictured, is rather skimpy in its operating features and
its adaptibility. There are several additions and refinements that should be
included to make a control board more flexible in its use.
0 0 0 0
Figure 2-5
A Basic Four Input Control Console
Two Microphones, Two Turntables
The audio operator requires more than two microphones available to him
in the studio for large or complicated programs. He should be able to route
network programs through the console, as well as be able to play back tape
recorded program material in addition to the live shows originating in the
These, and other features are available with commercially manufactured
control board equipment, so let us examine closely a few of the more popular
commercial control boards that are found at radio and television broadcasting
stations, and which are illustrated in Figures 2-6 to 2-11 inclusive.
Although each of the consoles described has some features not found in
the others, all are basically the same. They each have a key, a pot, and a
pre -amplifier for every microphone and turntable. Every console has a program amplifier and a monitor amplifier. Finally, they all have auditioning
and talkback facilities.
They differ only in physical size, the direction in which the keys operate,
and the number of additional features such as auxiliary inputs and outputs
that are required by the broadcast stations at which they are found.
Sub -Mixers
The usual commercially built control board has an average of but four microphone inputs. On programs which require more microphones than there are
inputs on the usual control board, a sub -mixer may be employed in addition,
to handle the extra microphones.
As an example of a program needing extra microphones there might be
one with a large orchestra, requiring 10 microphones for the orchestra alone.
In addition, microphones are required for the master of ceremonies, the soloists, and for the commercial announcer.
The sub-mixer is an auxiliary control panel having a number of additionally available microphone inputs. It has a pot and key for each input, but no
master gain control, no VU meter, and no auditioning or mónitor facilities.
The sub -mixer is constructed so that its sound output feeds into either
a sub -mixer master pot on the regular console, or into one of that console's
microphone inputs. Thus, the console microphone input pot becomes the
master gain control for the sub-mixer. The console's VU meter and its auditioning and monitoring facilities handle those functions for the sub -mixer.
Figure 2-7-RCA Sub-Mixer with BC -7 Consolette
Courtesy Radio Corp. of America
Figure 2-6
Block Diagram of a Five
Microphone Input Sub -mixer
Two developments of recent date have brought about changes in some
consoles. One, the substitution of transistors for tubes in the electronic
circuitry of some manufacturers. This change does not affect the operation
of the console, but does permit the control board to be made smaller in overall size, or a greater number of channels to be incorporated in a cabinet of
like size.
The second development is the advancement of stereophonic radio,
brought about by Federal Communications Commission's approval of "multiplexing"-the superimposing of two separated sound channels on a single
radio wave. This development has necessitated re -design of control consoles to accept inputs of stereo pairs of microphones when a station broadcasts in stereo. The stereo pairs of microphones in turn necessitate pairs
of pre-amplifiers and all of the other components in the mixing channels of a
console. Thus, on a stereo broadcast the job of the control operator becomes
more complex, although the basic principles remain the same.
A stereo console uses two VU meters, one for each "side" of the stereo
sound, left and right. When the console is operated monaurally, the meters
can usually be switched to operate so that either one is off. Both are on the
single output channel.. or, if the functions of the console may be "split," as
is often the case to handle two studios, then the meters are switched so
each monitors a separate studio.
Figure 2-8
The Collins model 212G-1 Console
Courtesy Collins Radio Co.
This Collins Console has nine mixing channels-a mixing channel
being the combination of one pot, one key, and one pre-amplifier. Mixers
#1 and #2 each handle two studio microphones with the additional aid of
mixer keys 1 and 2 on the upper left of the board. Mixer #3 handles the
control room microphone. Mixer #4 is an auxilliary-to be connected as
the individual station finds necessary. Mixers #5 and #6 are turntable pots.
Mixers #7 and #8 are tape input pots. Mixer #9, in conjunction with the key
on the upper right of the board, handles the network input and/or the incoming remote lines, using the remote pots to the right of the VU meter. Also
to the right of the meter is a meter function rotary switch, an unmarked
auxilliary key, and the program line out key. To the left of the VU meter,
in addition to the microphone mixer keys, is another unmarked spare or
auxilliary key, the monitor amplifier pot, the monitor function rotary switch,
and the cue amplifier pot. Below the VU meter are earphone jacks for network, program, and remote line listening.
Figure 2-9
The RCA BC -3C Consolette
Courtesy Radio Corp. of America
This console has eight mixing channels. The first three are microphone
mixers with selector keys in the upper left corner permitting the use of up to
six microphones. Channel 4 is the network/remote mixer. This mixer, operating in conjunction with the selector key above, chooses either the. network
or remote line input. The two rotary switches to the right of the VU meter
determine which of two remote lines are fed into channel 4. Channels 5 and
6 are straightforward turntable mixers. Channel 7 is a tape recorder input,
channel 8 is an auxilliary or spare, and the master pot is the last in the
line. An earphones jack in the lower right of the console is fed from a rotary
selector above. To the left of this selector is a script clipboard and the
monitor input selector rotary switch and gain control.
The Gates Ambassador is a 5 -mixer channel audio control console.
Channels 1 and 2 are microphone channels with a selector above each permitting the employment of four microphones. Three utility keys are located
between the microphone selectors, to be wired as the individual station requires. Channel 3 may be used as shown, as a remote line input, with the
selector key above choosing either of two remote lines. This channel may
also be converted by a plug-in pre-amplifier so that it can be used with its
associated selector key as an additional two -microphone mixer instead of a
line input mixer. To the left of the channel 3 selector key is the master pot
and line output key.
Figure 2-10
The Gates Ambassador Console
Courtesy Gates Radio Co.
Mixer channels 4 and 5 employ between them two 12 -position pushbutton
banks. These pushbuttons are used to select for either mixer 4 or 5, one of
11 turntable, tape recorder, tape cartridge, or film projector sound inputs,
and the network and four remote lines from the 12th position. Selector switch
keys for network and remote lines are located above the pushbutton banks.
To the left of these keys is the recessed talkback microphone, the cuetalkback rotary selector, the cue-talkback gain control and the talkback key.
On the upper right corner is the monitor gain control and key, and a headset
function key which feeds either program, network or cue to the earphones
jack on the right of mixer 5.
Note that this console has a mobile VU meter. It may be placed as
pictured, or clamped to the top of the console or, in fact, placed anywhere
convenient to the sight of the operator.
The Gates Executive utilizes ten mixing channels in a completely transistorized console. Channels 1, 2 and 3 are microphone channels. Immediately above each microphone key are two transfer switch keys. These permit the use of two sets of stereo microphones into each of the three mixing
channels. This console then can be employed at stations which specialize
in stereo broadcasting. Channels 4 and 5 have switching facilities to accomodate up to four turntables into either channel, in any sequence. A cue
position at the closed end of the pot on each of these two channels permits
cueing in the channel not in use. Channels 6 and 7 have switching facilities
to accomodate four tape machines playing into either channel in any sequence. There is a cue position on each of these two channels. Four incoming remote lines may be individually switched into channel 8. Channel
Channel 10 is an auxilliary or spare input
9 is the network input channel.
channel. The cue switch on channels 4 through 10, located at the closed
end of the pot, permits the operator to smoothly fade from cue to program.
Figure 2-11
The Gates Executive Console
Courtesy Gates Radio Co.
The Gates Executive console has two VU meters. Below each are their
function switches. Between and below the meters is the built-in talkback
microphone, and below this the intercom, monitor and earphone controls, and
the talkback pushbutton. The upper right corner of the console, above channels 9 and 10, contains the master pots and output function control switches.
These determine whether the output is stereo or the more usual monaural.
Figure 2-12
The RCA BC -7 Consolette
Courtesy Radio Corp. of America
This model may be used as either a dual output channel, or as a stereo
console. The first five mixers are microphone channels. Above each is a
three -microphone selector key for a total of 15 microphone facilities. The
center of the console has a recessed talkback microphone and below it the
cue -intercom rotary selector, large rectangular push -to -talk button and gain
control. Mixing channels 6, 7 and 8 are for turntable, tape or film projector
sound. Each has a three -input selector key above the mixer. Mixer 9 is the
network input. Mixer 10 handles incoming remote lines in conjunction with
the selector keys above.
To the left of the talkback microphone (beneath the RCA emblem) are
the output channel 1 master pot, monitor pot and monitor function selector.
To the right are the output channel 2 master pot, monitor pot and monitor
function selector. The upper panel features an earphones rotary selector on
the left, VU meters for the two output channels, and an on -off switch. Between the VU meters are two keys which feed output channels 1 and 2 to
either or both of two lines out. Below these is the console mode key which
determines whether the console operates monaurally or in stereo. Four earphone jacks are located on the lower corners of the board-two on each
Figure 2-13
The General Electric BC -31-B Console
Courtesy General Electric Co.
This General Electric control board is designed for either stereo or
monaural applications. It is quite versatile in that all of the mixing channels are "plug -ins." The station purchasing this equipment can therefore
specify how many-up to 12 microphone channels-it requires, or how many
-up to 21 tape input, turntable, or incoming line channels-it requires.
The correct type of plug-in mixing channels-up to 12 in all-are then
supplied to meet the station's needs.
The first six mixing channels in the console pictured here are microphone channels. Above each is a microphone selector key. The middle
panel contains six intercom selector buttons-three to remote lines, two to
studios, and one to an announce booth-also the cue and talkback level
control, press-to -talk pushbutton, earphone jacks for both output channels,
and the remote line override switch.
The six mixing channels pictured to the right are for incoming lines,
tape recorder inputs, or turntables. The first of these channels has a selector key above, for two incoming sources. The next four mixers each have a
four -input selector switch pushbutton bank above, and the last mixing channel has above it three keys for monaural remote line or network input selection. All six mixing channels shown on the right side of the board have cue
switches at the closed position of their pots.
On the upper panel, to the left are the monitor pots and monitor function
selectors for each of the two output channels, the meter function key for the
left VU meter, the hidden talkback microphone between the meters, the right
VU meter and its function switch; and on the far right are the master pots for
each of the two output channels; also the mixer bus switch which permits
two output monaural operation or stereo operation, and two line out keys.
Finally this General Electric console is fully transistorized.
is a control board?
2. What are the two primary functions of a control board?
3. By what other names do we refer to a control board?
4. List in their proper sequence, the components of a "one micro1. What
phone channel" control board.
5. What is a pre -amplifier?, A key?, A program amplifier?, A pot?,
monitor amplifier?
What is the function of the master pot?
By what other names are pots known?
Define "riding gain".
What are the purposes of the audition system of a control board?
10. What is the function of a talkback system in a control board?
11. Define "feedback".
12. What is a VU meter and for what purpose is it used?
13. What are the functions of a dual output console?
14. What is a sub -mixer?
15. When is a sub -mixer used?
The discussion thus far has covered mainly the control board, as the primary
instrument used by the audio control operator. Mention has been made, however, of such things as microphones, turntables, and tape machines which
are also found in the studios and control rooms of a broadcast station. It
will now be seen how these auxiliary items work, and how their operation is
controlled through the console by its operator.
All of the items that are considered in this chapter are referred to as
inputs to the console. An input is a unit that feeds into the console for the
purpose of having its sound amplified and routed to the output of the console.
The console outputs will be considered in the next chapter.
Three types of microphones are found in wide use at broadcast stations.
They are:
It uses either a diaphragm or a condenser element, which is actuated by the pressure of the sound
Dynamic microphones have a non -directional or omniwave.
directional (all directions) pickup pattern.
2. The Velocity Microphone. It utilizes a wash -board shaped aluminum ribbon element. It is actuated by the velocity of the sound
wave. Velocity microphones have a bi-directional or two -direction
pickup pattern.
3. The Cardioid Microphone. It is a combination of both the dynamic
and velocity types, built into one microphone. The cardioid microphone is activated by both the pressure and the velocity of the
sound wave. Cardioid microphones have a uni -directional, or one direction pattern.
1. The Dynamic Microphone.
addition to the three above types, a combination cardioid microphone is
made for studio use. The combination cardioid has an adjustable switch on
the back of the unit which enables the operator to select the dynamic ele In
ment alone, the velocity element alone, or to use both elements combined to
form the cardioid microphone.
Let us now take a look at some of these microphones so that they will
be familiar when they are observed in a studio. Any or all of the microphone
types shown may be found at a broadcast station. Located in the studios,
they are connected to the control board by rubber covered microphone cables
or cords which terminate in Cannon plugs (see Fig. 3-7).
Figure 3-2
Altec 633 Dynamic
Courtesy Altec Lansing Corp.
Figure 3-1
RCA "Commentator" Microphone
Courtesy Radio Corp. of America
Figure 3-3
Altec 21B Condenser
Courtesy Altec Lansing Corp.
Figure 3-5
RCA 77 Cardioid Microphone
Courtesy Radio Corp. of America
Figure 3-4
RCA Senior Velocity Microphone
Courtesy Radio Corp. of America
Figure 3-6
Altec 639
Cardioid Microphone
Courtesy Altec Lansing Corp.
Figure 3-7
Figure 3-8
Figure 3-11
Cannon Plugs & Receptacles
Courtesy Cannon Electric Co.
Neumann Model U-47
& U-67 Microphones
Courtesy Gotham Audio Corp.
Figure 3-13
EV Model 642 Microphone
Courtesy Electro -Voice
Figure 3-14
EV Model 643 Microphone
Courtesy Electro -Voice
The Cannon plugs are connected to the console through Cannon receptacles (sockets) which are located conveniently on the baseboards of the
studio walls (see Fig. 3-8).
At small radio stations, one microphone is located in the control room,
mounted directly over the console for the use of the combo-man. The combo man is a combination announcer/operator. He does his programs entirely by
himself in the control room.
turntable, as used at a broadcast station, is a high quality record player.
station will have two or three turntables in each control room to permit uninterrupted playing of records. Usually they will be placed so that there is
one on either side of the control board, within easy reach of the operator as
he sits in a swivel chair in front of the control board.
Turntables are used to play phonograph records and electrical transcriptions, which are played at one of three speeds for broadcast use. These
speeds are 78 revolutions per minute, 45 revolutions per minute, and 331/3
revolutions per minute (rpm). Therefore, the turntables or "playback machines", must be able to operate at each of these three speeds, at a simple
adjustment by the operator. Some older turntables operate only at 78 and
33'/, rpm.
A broadcast turntable consists of a large, heavy, flat metal revolving
plate, felt or rubber covered, and mounted on top of a cabinet. The revolving
plate is rotated by an electric motor. The motor, and the speed changing
mechanism are located within the cabinet.
Beside the revolving plate, a pickup arm which houses the stylus (needle), is mounted on the cabinet top. Also found on top of the cabinet are a
support for the pickup arm, and a filter switch. The filter switch provides
the operator with several record and transcription filters and equalizers, the
uses of which will be described later.
The switch that is used to activate the turntable motor, and the turntable speed-change lever may be located either on top or on one side of
the cabinet.
The layout of the above mentioned items on the turntable cabinet varies
with the manufacturer. We will examine turntables made by RCA and by Fairchild, two of the most popular turntables used at broadcast stations (see
Figs 3-9 to 3-11).
The pickup arm is a metal rod or tube, between 12 and 18 inches in
length. It houses the reproducing cartridge containing the stylus at one end,
and carries the sound from the record or transcription to the console. The
weight of the arm and cartridge are counterbalanced at the mounted end of
the arm by a weight, or a spring, to prevent excessive wear on the records
over which the stylus travels. The mounted end of the arm is a swivel arrangement that allows the entire arm to move up and down, and from side to
side across a record.
The reproducing cartridge receives the vibrations picked up from the
Figure 3-9
RCA BQ70 Turntable Front View
Courtesy Radio Corp. of America
Figure 3-10
RCA BQ70 Turntable
Top View
Courtesy Radio Corp. of America
Figure 3-11
Fairchild 530 Turntable
Courtesy Fairchild Recording Equipment Co.
record by the stylus (needle). It acts similarly to the element in a microphone, and sends the sound from the record to the console. The magnetic
type of cartridge is the most widely used in broadcast stations.
High quality styli (needles) are used for broadcast purposes and are
made with either diamond or sapphire tips. It is the jeweled tip of the stylus
that rides in the grooves of a record and picks up the sound captured there.
There are two schools of thought as to whether the diamond or the sapphire tipped stylus should be used. The diamond tip is the harder, more
durable of the two substances, and this makes for long stylus life. However,
the very hardness of the diamond causes the records to wear out more quickly.
The sapphire tip is not as hard a substance as diamond, and therefore it
wears out faster, but it is gentler in its treatment of the record grooves.
Figure 3-12
Reproducing Cartridge & Stylus
Courtesy Fairchild Recording
Equipment Co.
As the stylus
is used, "flats" are
worn on its curved surface. These
flat areas then scrape against the record groove walls, and distort the quality of the sound. When the stylus becomes worn or broken, the entire cartridge is removed and replaced. The defective unit is sent back to the manufacturer for repair and reconditioning.
Figure 3-13
RCA Reproducing
Courtesy Radio Corp.
of America
A filter/equalizer is standard equipment on broadcast turntables. The
operator, when playing a record or transcription, chooses the filter or equalizer which makes the recording sound best to his ears, by means of a multi position switch on top of the turntable cabinet.
Filters and equalizers are necessary because of the nature of the material of which the record is made-usually a vinyl plastic or a shellac.
They are necessary as well, because of inherent vibrations of the metal in
the stylus and pickup arm, and dirt particles deposited in the record grooves
-all of which prohibit a true and accurate reproduction of the sound frequencies that originally entered a microphone at a recording session.
The human ear, on the other hand, is a highly sensitive aural or hearing
device. It becomes keenly aware of the difference between actual sounds,
and their recorded reproduction.
The operator must compensate for the sound frequencies that are lost or
distorted, due to the mechanical inability of the record and the pickup arm
to reproduce them. He uses record equalizers which replace, as far as the
ear can tell, the high and low frequencies which otherwise would be lost to
the listener.
Records tend to become noisy and scratchy sounding from repeated use,
and the adherence of dirt particles to the groove surface. The operator uses
filters to alleviate this noisy condition before the records are sent "out on
the air".
Noisy music records are a near guarantee that the listener will search
his dial for another station or channel that is presenting music without the
distraction of noise.
Figure 3-14
Fairchild Filter Outside View
Courtesy Fairchild Recording Equipment Co.
Tape Playback
recent years, tape recorders have become must equipment in the up-to-date
control room. While they serve a similar purpose to turntables, they are
infinitely more flexible in their operation and use.
Entire network shows may be tape recorded in advance for later playback. Sports programs, special events, and on -the -spot news items may be
recorded for later insertion into the stations program schedule. Talks by inexperienced speakers may be tape recorded and later "edited," to remove
those embarrassing long pauses, and the hemming and hawing that goes with
inexperience in front of a microphone.
All of these abilities, and particularly the ability to "erase" the tape
when no longer of use, and the re -use of it for other tape recording, make
tape recorders a requirement of good broadcast station operation.
A tape recorder consists of:
transfer mechanism which moves the tape from a feed reel,
past the tape heads to a takeup reel, at a constant speed. The
constant speed is maintained by a capstan, a pair of tangent
wheels or rollers through which the tape must pass.
2. A speed changing switch, and a start switch. The start switch
can usually be positioned to Record, Play, Fast Forward, or
3. From one to three tape heads, which either record, erase, or playback the tape as required, as the tape passes across their sensitive surface areas.
1. A tape
recording amplifier to impress the sound onto the tape through
the record head.
5. A playback amplifier to feed the sound that is impressed on previously recorded tape, to the control board. The sound on the tape
activates the playback head which sends it to the playback
6. An erase oscillator to clean unwanted, previously recorded sound
from the tape. The erase oscillator operates the erase head, which
in turn erases the tape.
Figure 3-15
Tape Transfer Mechanism
Tape Heads
The tape heads are arranged in a line near the tape transfer mechanism.
They are usually aligned in this order: erase head, recording head, playback
In the less expensive home -recorder tape machines, the functions of the
tape heads are carried out by two heads or sometimes by one combination
head with, of course, a subsequent loss of reproduction quality.
The exact placement of the tape machine in the control room varies from
station to station, the important thing being that it is within easy reach of
the control operator.
Tape recorders for broadcast use are operated at either 7.5 inches per
second (ips), or at 15 inches per second. The standard operating speed set
by the NARTB (the National Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters) is 15 ips, with a sub -standard of 7.5 ips. Some home tape recorders
operate at 3% ips, for economy of tape, but with a subsequent loss in reproductive quality, others operate at 7.5 ips, and a very few at 174, ips. The
phonograph recording industry uses some machines that operate at 30 ips for
maximum ease in editing, and maximum quality of reproduction.
Two examples of the most widely used tape machines in the nation's
broadcast stations are the Ampex and the Magnecorder. The Magnecorder is
familiarly known to broadcast men as the "Maggie".
Magnecorder Operating Instructions
1. Turn the power switch ON.
2. Place an empty reel on the takeup spindle which is located on the
right side of the machine. Fasten the retaining spring to hold the
reel on the spindle.
3. Place a reel of tape on the feed spindle which is located on the
left side of the machine. Fasten the retaining spring to hold the
reel of tape on the spindle.
4. Run the loose end of the tape from the feed real over the top idler
wheel, around and under the bottom idler wheel, across the tape
heads, through the constant speed capstan rollers, and attach it
to the takeup reel.
. To record on the Magnecorder, turn the selector switch to the
record position. Turn the motor start switch to the forward position, and procede to ride gain on the program being recorded.
6. To play back on the Magnecorder, turn the selector switch to the
playback position. Turn the motor start switch to the forward
7. To rewind the tape, lift it from the tape heads and the idler
wheels. Turn the motor start switch to the rewind position.
Ampex Operating Instructions
1. Turn the power switch ON.
2. Place an empty reel on the takeup spindle which is located on
the right side of the machine.
Figure 3-16
Magnecorder Tape Recorders
Courtesy Magne cord Incorporated
Figure 3-17
Ampex Tape Recorders
Courtesy Ampex Electric Corp.
3. Place a reel of tape on the feed spindle which is located on the
left side of the machine.
4. Set the speed -change switch for either 7.5 or 15 IPS as desired.
5. Set the tension switch for either large or small reels.
6. Open the gate which covers the tape heads by pulling its handle
forward, towards the front of the machine.
7. Run the loose end of the tape from the feed reel through the feed
reel idler, between the gate and the tape heads, through the constant speed capstan rollers, through the takeup tension arm, and
attach it to the takeup reel.
8. Close the tape head gate.
9. To record on the Ampex, turn the selector Switch to the play
position. Depress the start pushbutton, wait a few seconds, then
depress the record pushbutton and procede to ride gain on the
program being recorded.
10. To play back on the Ampex, turn the selector switch to the play
position. Depress the start pushbutton.
11. To rewind the tape, open the tape head gate, turn the selector
switch to the rewind position, and depress the start pushbutton.
Field Tape Inputs
relatively large studio-type Ampex
recorders, there are professional tape machines of a more portable nature
which are used in "field," or away -from -station work. Two of the more
popular recorders of this type are the Stancil-Hoffman M9 Minitape and the
Ampex 600 series, the latest of which is the 602.
In addition to the Magnecorders and the
Figure 3-18
The M9 Minitape
Courtesy Stancil-Hoffman Corp.
The M9 Minitape
small recorder weighing 13 pounds, battery operated and completely tranThe batteries are the nickel -cadmium rechargable type which
will permit four to five hours of recording before recharging is necessary.
The M9 has automatic gain control, adjustable through the setting of a highgain, normal -gain switch on the right side of the tape deck. The recorder
will accept up to 5-inch reels, permitting 15 minutes of recording at 71/ inches
per second. The tape is threaded from the feed reel on the left, past a tape
guide, through the head assembly slot, between the capstan and pressure
roller, around the outside of the right guide and onto the takeup reel. Spring
clip hold-downs retain the reels in place with the recorder held in any position. To the left of the head assembly is the mode switch which places the
machine in Rewind, Off, Play, or Record-with the safety interlock -button
On the outside of the case, adjacent to the handle, are the Battery
Charger-Earphone connector, the Stop -Start switch which operates the recorder in all modes, the slide type selector switch which permits monitoring
of either the input sound or the reproduced output sound while recording,
and the Microphone connector.
The M9 i's employed primarily under conditions where there is no power
(AC) available for the more conventional recorder, or where the recording is
to be made in a mobile situation.
The Ampex 600 Series
These recorders, the latest of which is the 602 (pictured here), have become
the workhorses of the field recordist in recent years-an extremely rugged
machine weighing 28 pounds. The seven-inch (1200 ft.) feed reel is placed
on the left spindle of the tape deck and the rubber hold-down is pressed onto
the spindle tip. The tape is threaded through a roller tape guide, through
the head assembly, between the capstan and pressure roller, outside of the
right guide post and onto the takeup reel.
To the right of the capstan are two mode switches. The first is the
Play-Record switch, with a safety interlock button which lights up when
depressed to Record. The second switch provides Fast Forward or Fast
Rewind. These switches are mechanically interlocked so that only one may
be engaged at one time.
On the panel below the tape deck is a standard VU meter. Below the
meter are the microphone level control, the monitor selector switch enabling
listening to either the input sound or that which has been recorded on the
tape, the line level control, the microphone connector, and the power switch
and earphone jack. Connections for AC power, line input and line output
are made through an open window in the right side of the carrying case. This
recorder may be used as a remote line amplifier as well as a recorder.
1NüffNru,:i :
Figure 3-19
The Ampex 602
Courtesy Ampex Corp.
Figure 3-20
Cartridge Tape Recorder
Courtesy Radio Corp. of America
Incoming Lines
Many broadcast
stations are network affiliates. A network is a broadcasting
company that provides local stations with many programs each day. These
programs originate in the network's studios, or at large metropolitan stations
called key stations of the network. The "net" programs are sent to the
local station via telephone lines. These special telephone company or
"telco" lines are run in what are called "loops", throughout the United
States. Program feeds to the local station are provided on a fee basis from
these loops.
Another service of the telephone company used by broadcast stations is
its remote line service. When a broadcast station does a remote broadcast
or nemo from a movie theater, sports arena or banquet hall, the telephone
company sets up lines between the remote point and the station.
Two pairs of lines are sometimes ordered for a remote broadcast. One
pair is used as the radio or audio line, the line on which the program is fed
from the remote point to the studios. The other pair is called the "order
wire". It is used as an emergency line in case of failure of the radio or
audio line, and also as a private telephone line between the operator at the
"remote", and the operator in the station's control room.
In the event of a failure of the radio or audio line, the operator at the
studio calls his associate at the remote site quickly on the order wire. He
explains the situation and they reverse lines so that program is fed to the
studio on the order wire, with a minimum of lost air time.
Several classes of audio line service are available to the broadcast station at a fee commensurate with the line quality:
Class AAA Line-Ordered for continuous use, having a
frequency range of from 50 to 15,000 cycles per second.
Class AA Line-same usage, with a frequency range of
from 50 to 8000 cycles per second.
Class A Line-same usage, with a frequency range of
from 100 to 5000 cycles per second.
Classes BBB, BB, and B Lines-Ordered for occasional
useage with the same frequency characteristics as the comparable
A lines.
Class C Line-Ordered for continuous use with a frequency range of from 200 to 3500 cycles per second.
Class D Line-Ordered for occasional use with the frequency characteristics of the class C line.
Class E Line-Ordered for occasional use, with a frequency range of from 300 to 2500 cycles per second.
Thus, a broadcast station would order its lines dependent upon the quality
needed and whether full time or occasional use is the deciding factor.
Echo and Reverberation Effects
Echo and reverberation are often used for special or trick effects, or to lend
additional aural perspective to a broadcast.
If a dramatic sequence portrays a mountain climber who has fallen into
a crevasse, then reverberation may be added to his cries for help, to add
needed aural depth to a studio "crevasse". If the same mountain climber,
now rescued, yodels his song of gratitude from the top of a hill, then echo
might be added to his song, to make up for the lack of actual hills in the
Echo and reverberation are both conditions which result from the delay
and subsequent reflection of sound waves. If the time delay between the
original sound and its reflection is short, reverberation, or sound overlapping,
is the result. If the time delay is great enough so that the original sound has
disappeared before its reflection is heard, then the condition is called echo.
Echo and reverberation occur naturally in large open spaces with reflective backgrounds, but they may be created and controlled artificially at
a broadcast station. An electronic instrument called a reverberation unit can
be used, which introduces an adjustable time delay to sound that is fed into
it. One such device is manufactured by the Audio Instruments Company.
The audio operator connects the microphone which will require the introduction of echo or reverberation, so that its pre -amplifier can feed into either
the program amplifier as it usually does, or so that it can feed into the input
of the reverberation device. The instrument is then set for the required time
The operator throws an auxilliary key on the console to switch the microphone in question from its normal feed to the program amplifier, to a feed
to the reverberation device. The delayed sound is then returned to the console and appears on another auxiliary pot and key. Thus, the operator can
change the sound that is picked up by this one microphone from no-echo to
echo, and back to no -echo, at will. He can ride gain on both the sound that
is entering the reverberation device, and the delayed and reverberated sound
that is emanating from it.
Still another method that is used to obtain echo and reverberation effects at a broadcast station, is the use of an echo chamber. A large, highly
reflective room, usually an empty cellar, or an empty elevator shaft is employed at the larger stations. Smaller stations sometimes use a large wooden
box, constructed as a maze, with hard, polished inside surfaces. If a microphone and several loudspeakers are mounted in this room, shaft, or box,
we have an echo chamber.
The loudspeakers are mounted so that each is a distance further away
from the microphone than the one preceding it, thus permitting the operator
to feed the sound from the studio microphone to any one of the loudspeakers.
The operator chooses the loudspeaker which will give him the required degree of reverberation. He then feeds the sound to that loudspeaker. It is
reverberated in the chamber, and picked up by the microphone in that same
chamber. The reverberated and delayed sound is then returned to the console
and appears on an auxiliary pot and key. The operator can then choose either
echo or no -echo for the microphone, and ride gain on both.
1. Define an input to the console.
2. Name four inputs to a console.
3. How many types of microphones are used in broadcasting? Name
4. Explain the directional characteristics of each microphone type.
5. In what manner are microphones connected physically to a console?
6. What is a turntable? For what purposes are they used at a broad-
cast station?
7. At what speeds are records played?
8. What is a stylus? Of what materials are styli made?
9. What is the purpose of a filter? An equalizer?
Give the advantages of tape recordings over disc recordings.
What are tape "heads"? Describe their uses.
What is a tape transfer mechanism? Describe its operation.
What are the standard tape speeds approved for use in the broad-
cast industry?
14. Name the various types of incoming lines to a console.
15. Name and explain the classes of line service available to a
broadcast station.
16. What is an echo chamber?
17. For what purposes are reverberation and echo used on a broadcast?
have until now considered some of the equipment which feeds into the
audio control console, to be amplified and routed. At this point we will begin to discuss the uses that are made of sound when it leaves the output of
the console.
Lines Out
The amplified sound is sent out of the console on lines, or wire circuits.
There are two categories into which these lines fall:
1. Telephone lines to outside points.
2. Internal lines to points within the broadcast station.
Lines to the Transmitter.
The most important lines out of the console are the lines that go to the
transmitter. The transmitter, you will recall, is the device that sends the
sound through the airwaves to the listener at home. There are always two
lines to the transmitter: the normal program line and the emergency, standby
line, which is switched in when the program line fails for any reason.
In some small broadcast stations, the transmitter is located within the
same building as the studios. The lines to the transmitter would then be
internal lines. If, on the other hand, the transmitter is located some distance
away, the sound is sent to the transmitter via telephone company lines.
Class A lines are used, to maintain a high sound reproduction quality.
The sound quality of the program will suffer from distortion, and indeed
the modulator tubes of a broadcast transmitter may be blown by sudden heavy
surges of high sound volume from the control console. The control operator,
no matter how alert, will occasionally be occupied elsewhere when the sound
volume rises abruptly. He will be unable to adjust the pot quickly enough to
prevent the sudden volume rise from leaving the console for the transmitter.
To protect the transmitter tubes from damage, and to prevent sound distortion, a limiter unit is employed. The limiter is installed near the transmitter and the program line from the control console feeds through the limiter
and then to the transmitter. The function of the limiter is to automatically
lower abnormally high peaks of sound volume to normal levels before they
reach the transmitter.
Lines to Loudspeakers, Monitor Bus.
Mention has already 'been made of the part that loudspeakers play in the
control room and studio. The operator must be able to hear the program that
is emanating from the studio. The talent in the studio should be able to hear
those portions of the program coming from the control room, on records or on
In addition to the control room and the studio, there are other locations
at a broadcast station where outgoing programs must be heard; some of these
locations are:
Station manager's office.
Program director's office.
Chief engineer's office.
Announcer's lounge or standby room.
Sponsor's auditioning room.
Station's reception room.
All of these locations and possibly more, depending upon the size of the
of the station, have loudspeaker installations. These loudspeakers are connected by lines to the monitor amplifier of the console in the control room of
the originating studio.
This system of lines which runs to many rooms and offices throughout
the broadcast station building is called the monitor bus.
Lines to the Network.
If the broadcast station is a large one in a metropolitan area, it may be
a key station in its network and originate programs for its network. Individual
programs, but not its entire daily program schedule, are fed to the network
from the control board of the originating studio via telephone company lines.
Lines to Recording Rooms.
Some broadcast stations, particularly the larger ones, have a special
room where their recording is done on tape, on disc, or both. In this room
are large tape recorders and massive disc recorders. The program material
to be recorded is sent via internal lines from the recording studio's control
room, to the recording room. At small stations, recording is done on equipment located in the control room.
Lines to Master Control Room.
Broadcast stations having a large number of studios employ a master
control room for routing programs. Instead of having lines to the transmitter,
network, monitor bus, and recording room from each studio, the studios each
have one line to master control. In the master control room, the programs are
routed to their various destinations by the master control operator. This system saves duplication of lines from the studios, and provides a single point
of control of the quality and sound volume of all programs emanating from
the broadcast station.
Figure 4,-1
CBS Master Control Room
Courtesy Columbia Broadcasting System
Lines to Warning Lights.
To discourage unauthorized persons from entering a studio while it is
on the air or during a recording session, and possibly disturbing the actors
and announcers, an easily -visible sign is mounted above each studio door.
The sign usually reads, "On The Air", or "Recording -Keep Out".
When a studio is in use, either on the air or during a recording session,
a relay (electrically operated switch) within the control console automatically
illuminates the warning sign. The illumination is usually a bright red light
so that there will be no doubt of its meaning.
Another warning system employing a red light is found in most studios
and control rooms. In this system, whenever a microphone is turned on, a
red bulb is illuminated in that room to warn the announcer or other talent that
a microphone is live.
While neither of the above warning systems is technically an output of
the console in the same sense that program lines are, they are included here
because they operate from the control console in conjunction with the sound
output, and because they are necessary to unhampered studio operation.
1. What is meant by a console output?
2. Name the lines out of a console.
3. What is a monitor bus? Where does it go?
4. What is a master control? What is its purpose?
5. What is the purpose of "On The Air" lights?
While records and tape by themselves are not part of a control room's equipment, they are a vital part of most programs. The audio control operator is
responsible for airing the records or tape on a show. He should therefore
have some knowledge of how recordings are made, and how to handle them.
Disc Recordings
Disc recordings, or "platters", as they are called, are found in two general
"instantaneous" type, which can be played back immediately
after recording. This type of platter consists of a flat aluminum
plate, either 12 or 16 inches in diameter, that has been coated
with an acetate or lacquer compound. In the recording process,
the platter is placed on the turntable of a disc recording machine
or "lathe", and the sound is impressed in a spiralled groove that
is cut into the acetate by the lathe.
1. The
made by a more complex manufacturing
process. Here is how pressings are made by the Capitol Records
"Pressings", which are
Recording Session
singer and small orchestra perform before the high-fidelity microphones
of Capitol's Hollywood studios.
Figure 5-1
Figure 5-2 In The Control Room
Producer and engineer supervise the session from a sound-proofed control
room. Magnetic tape machine in the foreground is the most modern of recording equipment.
Tape Recording
The record is first made on magnetic tape, which permits editing by cutting
and splicing (just as motion picture film is edited) before the music is transferred to discs.
Figure 5-3
Cutting The Master Disc
(acetate) "master" disc is cut on a lathe whose high precision
assures perfect reproduction. The sound is fed to the lathe from the tape
machine in an adjoining room.
Figure 5-4
A lacquer
5-5 Checking Reproduction Quality
Sensitive electronic equipment permits accurate checking of the master disc
before it ever leaves the studio.
Figure 5-6
Factory Operations
The approved lacquer master disc now enters the factory for processing. Here the
operator sprays the disc
with a silver concentrate.
From these silver -coated
discs, metal master discs
are next made.
Figure 5-7 From Master To
Mother To Stamper
By this electrochemical
process, duplicates called
"mothers" are made from
the metal masters. From the
are made the
"stampers", which are used
to press the final records.
Figure 5-8
Preparing The
Record Compound
This hugh machine mixes
raw materials according to
exacting specifications. It
produces the plastic compound from which are cut the
carefully measured "biscuits" that become records.
Figure 5-9
Pressing A Record
pre -heated biscuit is inserted between the stampers
and dies of a hydraulic
press. Compression -molding
forms it into a nearly finished record, complete with
labels and center hole.
Figure 5-10
Inspection And Packing
Finished records receive
their final inspection before
being placed into their individual sleeves or album
ready to be
shipped to distributors.
All photos courtesy Capitol
Records Corp.
A transcription is a disc recording that has been manufactured for use at
broadcast stations only.
Lateral and Vertical Cut Records.
a record is made, the sound captured on it is cut or engraved into
grooves made on the record. One method of cutting, engraves the sound into
the walls of the groove. This is termed "lateral" recording. Another method
which engraves the sound on the floor of the groove, is called "vertical", or
hill -and-dale recording. In bygone days vertical recording was used extensively for transcriptions. In recent years however, virtually all of the recording companies have adopted the lateral cutting method.
One company, World Transcriptions, still makes vertical recordings, but
all records that are made for home use and most of the records and transcriptions made for broadcast use, are recorded laterally.
This information is of more than just passing interest to the control
operator. If he is given a vertical recording to be played on a program, he
must be certain that he chooses a vertical filter on the turntable. Conversely,
when the operator receives an everyday lateral recording to play, he should
check to see that a lateral filter is being employed. The use of a vertical
filter for a lateral recording, or a lateral filter for a vertical recording, will
result in a thin, tinny, distorted sound.
Information regarding the type of recording will be found on the record
label. If no information is given, the record may be assumed to be a lateral
cut, or the operator may check by auditioning the record.
Outside -In and Inside -Out Cuts
The familiar music record that is made for home use, is cut "outside -in".
That is, the music starts in one of the grooves near the outside, or outer
edge of the record and continues as the groove winds its way toward the
center of the record.
Records and transcriptions may also be cut "inside -out". That is, the
sound begins in one of the grooves near the center of the record and continues as the groove winds its way towards the outside edge of the record.
The operator may determine whether a record has been cut outside -in, or
inside -out, by reading the information given on the record label. If no information is given, the record can be presumed to be an outside -in cut. The
operator may further assure himself of the type of cut by auditioning the
Microgroove or Long Playing (LP) Records.
To increase the playing time available on a record LP's, or microgroove
records were devised. LP's are recorded at speeds of either 45 or 33% revolutions per minute. The object in devising the LP record was to be able to
put a greater number of grooves per inch on the record, and thus be able to
put a longer musical selection on one record than was heretofore possible.
Microgroove, or LP records are cut so that they contain from 160 to 350 lines
(or grooves) to the inch.
The standard 78 rpm home-use music record is cut at a rate of 80 to 96
lines (grooves) per inch. The standard 339, rpm records and transcriptions
are cut at a rate of from 120 to 144 lines (grooves) to the inch.
Handling Records and Transcriptions.
precautions should be observed by the operator in handling records.
If a record is held so that the operator's fingers touch the recorded grooves,
some of the oil that is excreted by human fingers will adhere to the groove
surfaces. This oil attracts and holds gritty dust particles found in the air.
When the record is played, these particles will impart noise to the sound of
the record.
An operator who takes pride in the quality of the records he plays, will
not touch the records on their grooved surfaces. He will hold them instead
by the outside edges, or by the label area in the center of the records.
The operator should be careful not to scratch the groove surface, or
place a record on anything which would cut into the grooves. This is particularly true of instantaneous acetate recordings, since the acetate surface
is necessarily soft, and easily damaged.
Records should be kept in jackets when not being played. They should
be stored in a dust -free room to avoid their picking up gritty dust particles
which distort their quality. They should be stacked on end, in bins or racks,
A few
never lying down on the groove surface area. If records are stored in a flat
position, they will warp and become difficult or impossible to play.
Tape Recordings
In recording sound on tape, a cellulose or polyester plastic ribbon is used.
This ribbon has been coated with a finely powdered magnetic iron oxide.
The coating, due to its iron content, permits the tape to be easily magnetized.
The recording amplifier in the tape recorder changes sound to magnetism
and imparts it to the tape. The tape stores the sound in the form of magnetism on its iron oxide coating.
Upon examination a tape will be found to have a dull side and a glossy
Magnetic Zape
Figure 5-11
Magnetic Recording Tape
Courtesy Minnesota Mining
Mfg. Co.
The dull side of the tape is the side which is coated with the iron
oxide compound. It is the dull, coated side which must always face towards
the tape heads, and be in contact with them during either recording or playback.
When playback of the sound is desired, the magnetism on the tape, passing over the playback head, activates the playback amplifier, which sends
the sound to the console. A reel of recorded tape may be played back any
number of times without any ill effect to the sound stored on the tape, provided that the tape is not stretched or its edges frayed.
When the recording on a reel of tape is no longer wanted, the tape may
be erased. As a matter of fact, when the operator records on a reel of tape,
the tape is automatically pre -erased by the erase head before it reaches the
recording head. Tape erasing is accomplished by the erase oscillator of the
recorder, which impresses on the tape a high frequency alternating magnetic
field by way of the erase head. This high frequency field disrupts the magnetic alignment on the tape, and the sound is effectively removed. Noises
sometimes remain on the tape after erasure due to a phenomenon called re -
sidual magnetism. The noises caused by residual magnetism can be removed
from the tape by using a special bulk tape eraser unit. Bulk tape erasers are
also used to erase entire reels of recorded tape rapidly, without re-recording.
Figure 5-12
Bulk Tape Eraser
Courtesy Cinema Engineering Division
Bulk tape erasers like the one pictured contain a powerful electromagnet
which disrupts the orientation of the magnetic particles, and thus removes
the sound stored in those particles, from a reel of tape. The reel of tape
need not even be removed from its cardboard container to be erased.
To bulk erase a reel of tape:
1. Place reel of tape on phenolic surface of eraser, using locating
spindle if tape is not boxed.
2. Turn power switch ON
3. Rotate reel three or more turns in same direction, slowly.
4. Slide reel off of eraser, out and away from magnetic field, continuing
to rotate reel slowly until at least 3 feet away.
5. Turn power switch off.
Care should be exercised in the handling and storage of reels of cellulose
ribbon tape. They should be kept in a cool, somewhat moist atmosphere
(about 50% relative humidity), to prevent the plastic ribbon from becoming
hard and brittle. An improperly stored tape will have a tendency to snap
apart during playback.
A condition known as "cross -talk" sometimes occurs if a reel of recorded tape is stored for long periods of time without being played. Crosstalk is the leaking over of the magnetically stored sound from one layer of
tape to an adjacent layer, either above or below it on the reel. This condition occurs because of the tightness of the tape layers on the reel as it is
rewound onto the feed reel at high speed.
It has been found that if the tape is stored on the takeup reel, that is,
backwards, cross -talk is much less likely to occur. The operator should then
remember to label the tape "Rewind Before Playing", or he will find himself playing it backwards the next time that it is used.
Recording tape is sold by footage, in several reel sizes. The two most
popular sizes used at broadcast stations are the seven inch reel and the ten
inch reel. The seven inch reel holds 1,250 feet of tape and runs for a half
hour at 7.5 ips, or for fifteen minutes at 15 ips. The ten inch reel holds
2,500 feet of tape and runs for one hour at 7.5 ips, or for a half hour at 15
Tape Editing
tremendous advantage of tape recording over disc recording is the ability
to edit the tape. An ordinary scissors may be used to cut out a word, a
phrase, or a pause, from a recorded tape. A special type of gummed adhesive
tape is then employed to put the two severed ends together again.
For increased speed and ease in editing tape, a number of tape editing
devices exist. Basically, they each consist of a slotted metal bar which
holds the severed tape ends while they are cut diagonally across with a razor blade. The diagonal cut is made to provide a greater joining surface for
the splicing tape which is used to re -connect the severed tape ends. At the
same time, the diagonal cut prevents a noticable "Bloop" from being heard
at the splice when the tape is played.
Two tape editing devices on the market are the Jiffy Tape Editor (Fig.
5.-17) and the Editall (Fig. 5-18).
Figure 5-13
Cutting the Tape
Courtesy Minnesota Mining
Mfg. Co.
Figure 5-14
Aligning the Ends
Courtesy Minnesota Mining
Mfg. Co.
Figure 5-15
Applying the Splicing Tape
Courtesy Minnesota Mining & Mfg. Co.
Figure 5-16
Trimming the Finished Splice
Courtesy Minnesota Mining & Mfg. Co.
Figure 5-17
Jiffy Tape Editor
Courtesy Rason Mfg. Co.
Instructions for using the Jiffy Tape Editor
1. Raise the retaining arms of the editor.
2. Place the ends of the tapes to be spliced, shiny side up, into the
editor, overlapping them at the diagonal cutting groove.
3. Lower the retaining arms to hold both of the tapes in the editor.
4. Make a diagonal cut through the tapes by running a razor blade
through the cutting groove.
5. Remove the top scrap of excess tape.
6. Place a piece of splicing tape over the joint so that it covers both
tape ends evenly.
7. Run the razor blade through the side grooves of the editor to remove any splicing tape which overlaps the edges of the recorded
8. Lift the retaining arms of the editor and remove the spliced tape.
Figure 5-18
Editall Tape Editor
Courtesy Tech
Laboratories Inc.
Instructions for using the Editall Tape Editor
Place the ends of the tapes to be spliced into the lipped depression of the Editall, shiny side up, overlapping them at the diagonal cutting groove.
Make a diagonal cut through the tapes by running a razor blade
through the cutting groove.
Remove the top scrap of excess tape.
Place a piece of 742 inch splicing tape over the joint so that it
covers both tape ends evenly and does not overlap the edges of
the recorded tape.
Remove the spliced tape from the Editall by gently pulling it upwards from both sides of the editor simultaneously.
Leader Tape.
Leader tape consists of a plastic or paper ribbon which is the same width as
recording tape. It is usually marked with alternately spaced plaid-colored
and blank, white areas (Scotch Brand).
Two or three feet of leader tape should be spliced to a recorded tape,
at each end of the reel. When two or more programs or selections have been
recorded on the same reel of tape, a short piece of leader tape should be inserted between each two selections.
Leader tape serves four important purposes when it is attached to a reel
of recorded tape:
1. It saves valuable recorded material from being torn from the tape
when the end of a tape is whipped from a fast moving, emptying
feed reel. When the tape is being rewound, leader tape will save
the beginning of the recorded tape from being torn off. The leader
tape will be torn instead, but since it is easily replaceable, no
damage will have been done.
2. If the leader is joined to the recorded tape within a few inches of
the recorded material, then the operator playing back the tape can
"cue by eye". He threads the tape into the tape machine until
the joined end of the leader is at the playback head. The tape is
then effectively cued by eye, that is, without the use of the console's auditioning system.
3. The names of individual selections can be written on the leader
tape preceding each selection, or the name of the program can be
written on the leader tape at the beginning of the reel.
4. If a pause of specific duration is desired between selections on a
recorded tape, this can easily be accomplished by the use of
leader tape. Each plaid segment, and each white segment of the
Scotch Brand leader is exactly 33% inches long. One plaid or one
white segment runs one second at a tape speed of 33% inches per
second. One plaid and one white segment runs one second at 7.5
ips playing speed. One second of playing speed at 15 ips is indicated by two plaid and two white segments, or between two sets
of arrows which are printed after every four segments of leader
Figure 5-19
Leader Tape Segments
Courtesy Minnesota
Mfg. Co.
Thus, if we wished to have a five second pause between two selections on a tape that was recorded at 7.5 ips, we would insert a
piece of leader between the selections, consisting of exactly five
plaid segments and five white segments. If the same five second
pause was desired between selections on a tape that was recorded
at 15 ips, we would insert a piece of leader that consisted of ten
plaid and ten white segments, or four sets of arrows and one white
and one plaid segment.
Figure 5-20
Attaching Leader
to Recorded Tape
Courtesy Minnesota
Mfg. Co.
Figure 5-21
Trimming Off Excess
Splicing Tape
Courtesy Minnesota
Mfg. Co.
Figure 5-22
Recorded Tape with
Leader Attached
Figure 5-23
Marking Recording
Information on Leader
Courtesy Minnesota
Mfg. Co.
1. Describe the two methods or types of disc recording.
2. Explain briefly how "pressings" are made.
3. Define a transcription.
4. Explain the difference between lateral cut and vertical cut records.
5. Explain outside -in, and inside -out, starting records.
6. What is a microgroove recording? Why were they devised?
7. What pertinent information can be found on a record label?
8. Briefly explain the proper handling of a record by a control board
9. In what manner should individual records be stored? Describe
the proper conditions for a record library.
10. Recording tape is made of what two materials?
11. In what form is sound impressed on tape?
12. How many times may a reel of tape be played before it becomes
How is tape erased?
Explain the proper method of tape storage.
What is tape cross -talk? How may it be avoided?
Describe the various methods of editing tape.
What is leader tape?
Describe the four purposes of leader tape.
One might well ask, "What happens if, during a broadcast, an amplifier, a
key, or another item of equipment breaks down? Do we go off the air? Do
we stop the program and repair the faulty item? Do we have spare items of
equipment to replace the faulty ones?" The answers to all those questions
are found in a system of by-passing and replacing items of equipment called
In a control room which has a patch panel (also called patch bay, jack
bay, or patch board) every item in that control room may be connected to its
preceding unit, and its following unit, through the patch panel. This is termed
normal -through connection.
The patch panel allows the operator to dispense with or replace a faulty
item quickly, with a minimum loss of airtime. He may also use the patch
panel to add additional pieces of equipment to his operating facilities if he
deems it necessary.
To illustrate patching, let us go back to the basic, one microphone channel console. Instead of a direct connection between the microphone, pre amp, pot, key, program amplifier and line, as originally shown, the items are
connected in the same sequence, but this time they are patch connected (see
Fig. 6-1). This means that the operator can break the connection, if necessary, between any two or more items in the sequence. When the chain of
items remains unbroken it is termed a normal -through connection, that is, the
normal connection of item to item through the patch panel.
Assume now, that the pre -amplifier burns out during a program. What
could the operator do to keep the microphone in operation during the show?
We know, of course, that the microphone must operate through a pre -amplifier.
Briefly, what the operator does is replace the burned out pre-amplifier
with a spare pre -amplifier that is connected to the patch panel (Fig. 6-3).
To do this, he uses a patch cord which is a piece of electric wire with an
identical plug at each end. The patch cord plugs fit into the "jack pairs",
or socket holes in the patch panel (see Fig. 6-2).
The operator replaces the burned out pre -amplifier in the following
Figure 6-1
One Microphone Channel
Patch Connected
-e-E.) 4---0 -©--0 -=4
r -0---0 r--0---0
o --G o --G
G--- 0--ß- 0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
Figure 6-2
Patch Cord
Figure 6-3
Patch Panel
Courtesy Radio Corp. of America
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
takes a patch cord from a supply of cords hanging near the
patch panel.
He plugs one end of the cord into the jacks marked "pot in". The
connection between the pot and the defective pre-amplifier is now
He plugs the other end of the patch cord into the jacks marked
"spare pre -amp out". The pot is now connected to the spare preamplifier.
The operator takes another patch cord from the supply of cords.
He plugs one end of this patch cord into the jacks marked "spare
pre-amp in".
He plugs the other end of this second cord into the jacks marked
"mike out". This breaks the connection between the defective
pre -amplifier and the microphone, and connects the spare preamplifier to the microphone.
1. He
The burned out pre -amplifier has now been replaced with the spare. The
entire procedure, despite the lengthy explanation of it, takes no more than
ten seconds to accomplish, and the microphone is back in operation.
Figure 6-4,
Defective Pre -Amp Replaced With Spare
In the illustration, Figure 6-4, the pre -amplifier plays the part of the
defective member of the microphone channel. In actuality any item, the pot
or the key, etc., could become defective and be replaced by patching around
it, and patching in a spare unit to take its place.
The patch panels are located in racks situated in the control room.
These racks also contain the spare amplifiers and other miscellaneous pieces
of equipment. In some cases, as many as four or five racks, each about six
feet high and two feet wide, will be found in a control room.
It may happen that a spare unit which the operator wishes to patch in,
appears on a section of patch panel located six or eight feet away. The
patch cords, on the other hand, are each about three feet in length and not
elastic. How can the patch be made?
To provide for such a situation, the last couple of jack pairs on each
patch panel section are used as multiples. A multiple consists of two or
more pairs of jacks that are internally connected to each other. If two patch
cords are plugged into the same multiple set, then in effect they become one
patch cord, twice the length of either cord alone.
If then, the operator wishes to patch from a pre -amp out, jack pair on
one section of patch panel, to a spare program -amp in, jack pair on another
patch panel section located six feet away, he would employ the following
Plug one end of a patch cord into the pre -amp out, jack pair.
2. Plug the other end of that patch cord into a multiple.
3. Plug one end of another patch cord into another multiple of the
same set of multiples.
4. Plug the other end of this patch cord into the spare program -amp
in, jack pair.
There are other uses for patching such as bridging and termination, but these
fall within the realm of the broadcast engineer or technician.
Figure 6-5
Equipment Rack
Courtesy Par Metal Products
1. What is a patch?
2. Why do we patch?
3. What is a patch cord? A patch panel?
4. Explain the procedure for patching around a defective item of control room equipment.
5. What is a multiple? Explain why multiples are used.
The audio control operator is faced daily with many situations that require
the application of esthetic values. It is within his domain to decide how to
tastefully blend music and speech. His sense of precise timing and feeling
for aural quality can be the difference between an excellent program and a
merely adequate one.
The operator's actions must be accurate and he must be willing to stake
his reputation on those actions every time he "fades in" a musical selection
or opens a microphone. Did the music come "blasting" in? Did the announcer sound "bigger" than the one hundred piece symphony orchestra he
introduced? Was the microphone opened too late to catch the announcer's
opening words? Was the music "clipped" out instead of "faded" out?
These are some of the pitfalls that await the unwary operator. He must
develop within himself a strong sense of what will, and what will not, "sound
good" on a radio or a television program. To aid the operator in this development, we will include here some of the principles of good operating practice
that are accepted in the broadcasting industry, and some of the operating
techniques use by the author in his own audio control operating work.
Levels, refer to the degree of sound loudness that is read on the volume unit
meter by the audio control operator. Levels are important in that they determine whether the listener at home hears clear or distorted sound, whether
he must strain his ears to hear or is blasted out of his chair by high volumes
of sound.
Surveys indicate that no matter how loud or how softly the individual
operates his receiver, he still wants to hear music and speech at the same
relative sound levels. Further, listeners prefer an even level regardless of
whether they are hearing drama, variety, commentary or plain music. Although
the listener's ear will tolerate a reasonable change in levels, he becomes
annoyed if large volume level changes occur abruptly.
Abrupt changes in volume level may occur in the following situations:
1. Between one speaker and another.
2. Between the end of a speech and the following music.
3. Between the loud musical opening of a program and subsequent
quiet speech.
4. Between one music passage and another.
5. Between the end of one program and the beginning of the next
6. Sudden loud sound effects, screams, etc.
7. Sudden loud applause or loud audience laughter.
Changes in volume level should be made gradually by the operator. He should
anticipate loud passages, noises and sudden drops in level, having heard
them previously during rehearsal of the program, or from his past experience
with similar programs.
The correct volume levels, as read on the volume unit meter of the console, should be:
reading of not higher than 100 nor
lower than 40
Speech and Popular Music
Audience Reaction
Not higher than 70
Symphonic Music
Not higher than 100 on normal passages. On very low passages the
VU meter needle must always be
The control operator adjusts the volume levels by turning the pots on
the control board. This is termed "riding gain" on a program. Before going
on the air, the operator "takes a level" on the talent in the studio. That is,
he opens their microphones and adjusts the pots while they speak, until the
level is about that required in the table of Standard VU Meter Readings.
Then he occasionally varies the pots as the volume levels change, as the
sound volumes become higher or lower, to stay within the prescribed meter
Balance refers to the difference in sound loudness between any two or more
components of a program.
The operator sees two announcers in the studio. One announcer has a
very loud, strong voice, and the other, a quiet, weak voice. To make both
voices sound relatively alike in volume, is a balance problem.
A thirty piece orchestra sets up its instruments in the studio. The tympani, or the brass must not drown out the other instruments. The reed in62
struments must be heard in their proper proportion to the tympani and the
a problem in balance.
In order to achieve good balance, the operator cannot rely on his VU
meter alone. He must have or must develop a sensitive ear to the sometimes
delicate shadings of volume which make the difference between good and
poor balance.
In the first case cited above, concerning the two announcers, the balance
problem is a relatively simple one. The operator first "takes a level" on
each announcer individually. He makes a mental note of the relative strength
of each announcer's voice. Then he adjusts the positions of the announcers
before the microphones so that they sound relatively even in volume. He then
takes a final level check to assure himself that his adjustments were correct.
During the program, the operator occasionally adjusts the master pot slightly
to compensate for level changes, while keeping the balance the same. Adjustment of the master pot, it will be recalled, varies the total sound volume
output of the console, rather than that of an individual microphone.
In the case of the thirty piece orchestra, the operator first takes a level
on each section: the piano, the tympani, the reeds, and the brass, each in
turn. Then the operator asks the conductor to have the orchestra run through
a musical selection. He listens carefully to the music, slightly readjusting
the pots so that each section of the orchestra appears to be in the right proportion musically, to each other section.
If the operator is not well versed in music, he might enlist the aid of
the orchestra leader at this point. The leader or conductor will be glad to
assist, since a good balance will present the orchestra in its most favorable
light. After proper balance is assured, to the satisfaction of both the control
operator and the conductor, the operator controls the overall orchestra level
by adjusting the master pot. Any further adjustment of an individual pot, controlling the level of a section of the orchestra, will throw the entire orchestra
out of balance. The individual pots thus remain untouched until the conclusion of the program.
brass. This, too, is
Operating Techniques
Levels and balance are of course two most important segments of operating
technique. There is yet another segment, however, that requires discussion.
It may be summed up in a statement to the operator: Don't make technical
operations apparent.
What is a technical operation? How may it be made apparent, and to
whom? Any operation that is performed in the control room or studio, that
affects the program going out on the air, can be considered by the operator
to be a technical operation.
When the operator "fades in" a record, when he throws a microphone
key to the program position and makes that microphone live, a technical
operation has been performed.
If the record starts out by "blasting in", or if it comes in at the wrong
turntable speed, or if it slowly picks up speed until it finally sounds normal,
then a technical operation has been made apparent.
If the operator opens a microphone after an announcer has started speaking, thus losing the first few words and perhaps the entire sense of what he
is saying, if the operator "clips" the microphone key before the announcer
has finished speaking, perhaps even in the middle of a word, a technical
operation has been made very apparent.
To whom are all these things apparent? To the final judge of a program,
the listener. When technical operations are not apparent to the listener, he
enjoys the program material and receives a sense of fulfillment from it. He
visualizes the program as an enjoyable, continuous progression. If he becomes aware of the technical operations that are necessary to air a program,
he begins to lose the trend of continuity of that program, and his interest in
it wanes.
There is one important exception to what has been said above. When a
program is aired which uses a broadcast station as part of its plot, then, to
lend authenticity and flavor to the story, the operator tastefully makes some
of his technical operations apparent to the listener.
1. What is a
are levels important?
2. What are the proper levels as read on the volume unit meter for:
(a) speech and popular music (b) audience reaction (c) symphonic
3. How are levels varied or adjusted on a console?
4. What is meant by "taking a level"?
5. What do we mean by balance?
6. Describe how balance between voices is achieved.
7. Define a technical operation.
8. How is a technical operation made apparent?
The use of records, transcriptions and tape, as program material has already
been established. A procedure must be followed for inserting this recorded
material into a program.
its largest sense, a "cue" is a "go ahead" signal in broadcasting. Relating this to recorded material, cueing a record or a tape means preparing
the record or tape on its playback machine so that it is ready to play at the
demand of the operator. If it plays then, without undue long pauses before
it, or lost openings at the beginning of it, the recording is said to have been
"cued up".
Record Cue Up and Play Procedure
first ascertains the speed of the record from the information given on the record label.
2. He then adjusts the turntable so that it will play (or rotate) at the
1. The operator
indicated speed.
3. He places the record on the turntable and sets the stylus (needle)
in the record's first groove.
4. The operator then throws the turntable key on the console which
is associated with that turntable to the audition (or cue) position.
5. He rests one hand lightly on the edge of the record, retaining it,
and turns the turntable power switch on. The turntable will then
rotate, but the record, held by the operator's hand, will remain
releases the record and allows it to rotate through the two, three, or four "dead" grooves, or until it
reaches the beginning of the sound on the record.
6. The operator then gently
7. Hearing the beginning of the sound on the audition or cue loudspeaker, the operator quickly,, but gently, stops the record's rota-
tion by lowering his hand back onto its edge. He then turns the
turntable power switch off.
When the turntable ceases its rotation, the operator moves the
record back and forth on the turntable, and stops it at the exact
point where the sound begins.
The operator then "backs up" the record or rotates it back,
counter clockwise. The extent of counter clockwise rotation depends upon the speed at which the record is to be played. One full
revolution for 78 RPM records, and between a quarter and a half
revolution for 33'/, and 45 RPM records.
The record is now cued.
Another method of record cueing that is preferred by some operators is as follows:
The record is placed on the turntable and the needle set in the
first groove.
The turntable key associated with that turntable is placed in the
audition or cue position.
The operator notes a spot or point on the record label, and keeps
his eye on that spot.
The power switch is turned on and the record is allowed to rotate
on the turntable. Watching the spot that he has picked out, the
operator counts how many times it passes the needle, or how many
revolutions and part revolutions it takes, until the sound is first
He then lifts the needle from the record, and holding the record he
replaces the needle in the first groove, opposite the counting spot
or point.
He again releases the record, counting the revolutions until a full
turn before sound is reached for 78 RPM records, or a quarter to a
half revolution before sound is reached for 33'/, and 45 RPM records.
At this point he gently stops the record's rotation by lowering his
hand onto its edge. He then turns the turntable power switch off.
The record is cued.
Before playing a record, the operator must know whether it begins with a
voice speaking, as in a transcribed commercial announcement, or whether it
begins with music. He must have this information because the playing procedure is different for each type.
To play a record starting with music, or consisting wholly of music, the
operator first cues it up.
1. Then he returns the turntable key to the program position and
checks to see that the turntable pot is closed.
2. He places one hand on the outside edge of the record, and with
the other hand turns the turntable power switch on. The hand that
is not holding the record then grasps the turntable pot.
3. Finally, to play the record, the operator gently releases it, and
smoothly whips open the pot. This brisk, but smooth opening of
the pot is called "potting in" a record.
If the record has been cued too tightly, that is, if it wasn't "backed up"
sufficiently, it will "wow -in" when played. A wow -in is a record that is
aired before it has reached normal playing speed.
To play a record that begins with speech, the procedure is somewhat
altered. The operator first "takes a level" on the record.
1. He places the stylus in the grooves and plays the record until he
has adjusted the turntable pot for the proper level on the VU meter, all previous to putting it on the air.
2. Then he replaces the stylus in the first groove on the record and
cues it up.
3. He returns the turntable key to the off or neutral center position.
He does not touch the turntable pot, which he adjusted while taking a level on the record.
4. The operator then places one hand on the record, holding it, and
with the other hand turns the turntable power switch on.
5. The hand that is not holding the record then grasps the turntable
6. To play the record, the operator gently releases it, and at the
same time throws the turntable key to the program position. The
same precaution is observed as with music records, to prevent a
wow -in.
This is termed "keying in" a record. When the record starts with speech it
is keyed in to prevent the illusion that the speaker on the record is running
toward the microphone from the other end of the studio as he begins to speak.
"fade", is a potting operation that is accomplished gradually. A record
might be "faded in" to "sneak" a music background under an announcer's
voice. The fade in is performed so that the listener is not immediately aware
that the music has started. When the announcer finishes speaking, the music
might be "brought up full", or up to normal music level.
To fade in a record, the operator follows the procedure for playing a
music record, except that in the final step, instead of whipping the pot open,
the pot is opened very slowly.
A "fade out", is simply the reverse of a fade in.
If a music record
must be terminated before it has been played through to its end, the pot is
slowly closed until the record is no longer heard.
When fading out a music record containing both vocal and instrumental
choruses, it is considered better taste to fade it out during an instrumental
chorus, or at the end of a vocal chorus, rather than during the vocal chorus.
When a music record must be terminated before being played through to its
end, and another music record must be started immediately, with no live announcement in between, the operator performs a "cross -fade". The cross -
fade is a combination of a fade in, and a fade out. It is done as follows:
As one record is playing, the operator slowly fades in a second record
and fades out the first one. At the midway point, where both records are
heard equally, he quickly finishes the fade out of the first record, and brings
the second one up to full, normal level.
Cross -fades are done only with music records, never with speech
A segue (pronounced seg-way) is a continuous uninterrupted playing of two
or more records with no live announcement in between. When one record
finishes playing, another record is immediately played by the operator.
A segue differs from a cross -fade in that the first record is played to its
conclusion before the operator plays the second record.
Dead Pot.
A "dead pot" is a closed pot. A dead potted record is sometimes used as a
closing theme for a program. Its playing time is first ascertained by the
operator. Assume for example, that the playing time of a particular theme
record is three minutes duration. Then, three minutes before the end of a
program, the record is begun on a closed or dead pot. That is, the operator
releases the record but does not immediately open the pot. As the program
is concluding, the theme is sneaked, or faded in, under the announcer's
closing words. When the announcer is finished, the theme is brought up to
full level.
The theme record, accurately timed, ends exactly at the time the program is to close. This assures the program a logical and complete ending.
Such an ending has an air of finality about it which cannot be attained if an
uncompleted record is faded out to close the program.
Tape Cue Up and Play Procedure
The cueing and playback procedure for tape is somewhat simpler than for
To cue up a tape:
1. The operator places a reel of recorded tape on the feed reel spindle, and an empty reel on the takeup spindle, of the tape machine.
2. He throws the tape input key on the console to the audition or cue
3. He threads the recorded tape past the tape heads and starts it
onto the takeup reel, dull side toward the heads.
4. The operator then starts the tape machine on the play position of
its starting switch.
5. When the beginning of the sound is heard on the audition loudspeaker, he stops the machine. He then manually rocks the reels
back and forth until the exact beginning of the sound on the tape
is found.
6. The operator then manually reels the tape back onto the feed reel
a few inches to prevent wow -in, and the tape is cued up.
To play the tape, its input pot and key are arranged in a similar manner to
record playback. The operator starts the tape machine with its starting
switch on the play position. He "pots it in", if it starts with music, and he
"keys it in", if it starts with speech.
1. Define the word "cue".
2. Explain the cue up and play procedure for (a) a music record (b) a
speech record.
3. What is a "wow"?
4. What is a fade in, a fade out?
5. When do we cross -fade?
6. Explain a segue.
7. For what purpose is a dead pot used?
8. Explain the cue up procedure for a tape.
9. Why do we back up the tape after cueing?
Broadcast microphones, like cameras, do not lie. But like a camera, a distorted sound picture may result if a microphone is incorrectly used.
The audio control operator is limited to the adjustment of volume alone,
on the control board, once a microphone is live or on the air. Additional adjustments affecting the quality of the microphone pickup must be done by the
performer, by changing his position before the microphone.
The performer, however, has no idea of how his voice sounds in the control room. He relies on the operator for directions on how to position himself
in front of the microphone for optimum pickup.
The operator then, must know when to tell the performer to alter his
microphone position, in any given situation, and with any type of microphone.
Therefore, the operator must be aware of the characteristics, the abilities,
and the peculiarities of all of the microphone types that are liable to be
found in a broadcast studio.
This chapter will be devoted to the study of the_ pickup patterns, and
the other operating characteristics of the microphones previously discussed
in Chapter 3.
Microphone Types and Patterns
The Dynamic Microphone.
The most rugged in construction of all of the broadcast microphones, the
dynamic, is the microphone that is used for most sports, or other outdoor remote broadcasts, as well as in studios. When used out of doors, it is not
as subject to "wind pickup" noise, the noise caused by wind blowing across
the microphone as the other types are.
The dynamic microphone tends to favor high frequency sounds over low
frequency sounds. It is sometimes used in the studio to aid a speaker with a
deep or bass voice, to attain a somewhat higher pitch. Because of its sensitivity to high frequencies, it tends to accentuate sibilance in a performer's
voice. Sibilance is defined as a "hissing" sound, made in the pronunciation
of the letter "S".
If a dynamic microphone is mounted, face upward, its pickup pattern or
area is a complete 360 degree circle around the microphone (omni-directional).
The performer may speak across a Dynamic microphone from any direction for an identical pickup. A group of performers may form a circle around
a dynamic microphone, and each may use it in turn, or in concert.
Three of the most popular dynamic microphones are: The RCA Commentator, The Altec Lansing Saltshaker, and The Altec Lansing Condenser,
as shown in Chapter 3 (Figs. 3-1, 3-2, and 3-3).
The Velocity Microphone.
Figure 9-1
Dynamic Microphone
Figure 9-2
Velocity Microphone
Probably the most widely used studio microphone, the velocity microphone
is usually called the "ribbon" microphone because of its pickup element.
Constructed for studio use, its delicate ribbon element prohibits extensive
application as a remote microphone because of the danger of rough handling
in moving it about, and because of its sensitivity to wind noise when used
out of doors.
The velocity microphone is the most favorable one to use for performers
who have a tendency to "pop". Popping is defined as a performer's tendency to stress the explosive consonants, "B", "P", and "T". The explosive quality of these letters causes a very sharp, momentary increase in the
pressure component of the sound wave, which sounds to the listener as
though a small firecracker was detonated in front of the microphone. Since
the ribbon microphone is activated by the velocity component of the sound
wave, it is less apt to be affected by a performer's explosive popping.
The velocity microphone tends to favor low frequency sounds over high
frequency sounds. It may be used then, to deepen or lend authority to a
voice which is too high in pitch. Further, the closer that a performer works
to a velocity microphone, the deeper his voice will sound.
Used in its normally mounted position, the Velocity microphone has two
live sides and two dead sides. Its pickup pattern is bi-directional, or two directional, resembling a figure eight. A performer may work into either of
the live sides of the microphone or two performers may use both live sides
alternately, as in a discussion or interview type of program.
The most popular ribbon-velocity microphone at broadcast stations is
the RCA 44 Senior Velocity, shown in Chapter 3 (Fig. 3-4).
The Cardioid-Combination Microphone.
9 o
Figure 9-3
Cardioid Microphone
The most versatile of all the broadcast microphones, since it can be used as
either a dynamic microphone, a velocity microphone, or a combination of
both, is a Cardioid microphone. The designation "cardioid", is applied to
this microphone because of its heart-shaped pickup pattern. It is a unidirectional, or one direction microphone, in its normally mounted position.
The cardioid finds wide use in studios where extraneous noises would
be picked up by a microphone with a more extensive pattern area. It is of
particular use in television studios. Using a cardioid microphone, only
those sounds that are created directly in front of, or slightly to either side of
the live side of the microphone are picked up.
The cardioid is rarely used for remote broadcasts as it contains a ribbon
element. However, where the remote broadcast entails a music pickup, in a
theater or auditorium, cardioid microphones are sometimes used.
The operator adjusts the combination cardioid microphone for the desired pickup pattern, either dynamic, velocity, or cardioid, by means of a recessed slotted switch on the back of the microphone casing. The switch adjustment is made with either a small screwdriver, or a ten cent piece.
Special Purpose Microphones
The Condenser Microphone-Already mentioned as a dynamic microphone, it has been refined in recent years to provide all three polar patterns:
the omnidirectional, the figure eight, and the cardioid, as in the Neumann U 67.
The condenser microphone will faithfully reproduce sound reaching its axis
to a greater degree than virtually any other microphone made. ' The U 67 or
its earlier counterparts, the Neumann and Telefunken U 47's, can be found
in almost every major music recording studio.
The Cardiline Microphone-Developed by Electro -Voice to narrow the
field of acceptance of sound. This permits spot aiming of the microphone,
such as the model 642 which is around 18 inches in length, from a boom in a
TV studio at a much greater distance from the performer than would be possible with a conventional microphone. It allows the model 643, which is
7 feet 2 inches long, to be used to pick up with "on mike" quality questions
at a press conference asked at a distance of better than 50 feet from the
microphone. The cardiline microphones combine the best characteristics of
dynamic and cardioid microphones with the principles of "distributed front
opening" designs. Simply stated this design feature requires a long tube,
slit along its axis mounted in front of the microphone element. This tube
has the effect of cancelling to a large degree sound emanating from the
sides or rear of the microphone and thus enhancing sound which arrives directly on the axis of the microphone.
Figure 9-4
RCA 77 Cardioid Microphone-REAR VIEW
Courtesy Radio Corp. of America
Figure 9-5
Altec 639 Cardioid Microphone-REAR VIEW
Courtesy Altec Lansing Corp.
Television Microphone Usage
Regarding microphone use, there are two types of program situations existing
in television. Either the microphones on the program may be visible to the
viewer, or they may not be seen at all.
If microphones are permissible in the picture then the practice is to use
the least obtrusive microphones possible, desk or floor stand mounted, or
even hand held. Examples of this type of microphone are the RCA Starmaker
and the Altec Lansing Condenser Microphone, both of which are omnidirectional in their pickup patterns.
On some types of program, however, visible microphones would spoil
the illusion that the program is trying to create. Such a show might be a
dramatic program with an 18th century setting, for example. The audio operator could hide microphones amid the scenery, and in a limited manner this is
sometimes done, but so many microphones would be necessary that the control problem could easily get out of hand. The operator cannot do a "retake" on a television show if he should forget to open one of the microphones at the proper time, and leaving all microphones open would create an
insurmountable sound problem.
The usual method of microphone pickup on this type of program is to
employ two manually operated booms. The booms are arranged so that one is
picking up the sound of the action in progress, while the other one is standing by for the next scene or point of action, at another place in the studio.
The audio operator in the control room positions the booms by directing the
movements of the boom operators in the studio.
Since a boom suspended microphone is necessarily six to eight feet
away from, and above the head of the performer, its use technique differs
from a stand mounted microphone.
The performer speaks in normal voice, facing either the television
camera or an opposite player. The microphone, through the manipulations
of the boom operator, follows the performer, turning when he turns and moving when he moves, so that the live face of the microphone is always aimed
at the performers mouth, keeping him within its pickup pattern. The operator
in the control room compensates for the increased microphone distance by
keeping that microphone's pot open to a greater degree than would be necessary for a stand -mounted microphone.
A cardioid microphone is employed for boom work since any other pattern would cover too much area and pick up unwanted, stray sounds.
Esthetic Considerations in Microphone Use
now consider the element of microphone use that has to do with the
quality, or aural beauty of the pickup.
On-Mike ---0 ff-Mike
performer should be "on -mike" for normal voice reproduction by the micro -
On-mike, is defined as being within the area covered by the pickup
The areas not within the pickup pattern, and the areas on the so-called
"dead" sides of the microphone are referred to as "off -mike" areas. There
is some pickup in these areas. Dead sides are not totally dead to sound, in
actual use. However, any sound that is picked up will have a far -away,
"down -in -a -barrel" quality. The off-mike effect is sometimes deliberately
used to simulate aural distance between two performers, with one performer
on-mike, and the other off -mike.
For a non -dramatic program like a newscast or a music presentation, the
announcer should always be on -mike. The operator should feel that it is his
prerogative to inform the announcer or other talent to change position at the
microphone for a better pickup.
performer's microphone presence may be defined as his being on -mike, at
his proper distance from the microphone. Merely to say that a performer is
on -mike is not sufficient. It only indicates that he is within the microphone's pickup pattern area.
If he is too close to the microphone, lip smacking, teeth clicking (particularly false ones), tongue slapping, and gasp-like breathing noises will
be heard. The performer is said to have "too much presence". If, on the
other hand, the performer is too far away from the microphone, his voice will
have a roomy, hollow, lusterless quality. He is then said to have "no
The performer then, should be his proper distance from the microphone
for optimum presence.
The average performer -to -microphone distance for an optimum presence
pickup is from 8 to 12 inches for announcers, from 1% to 3 feet for vocalists,
and from 12 to 24 inches for masters -of -ceremonies.
These are average distances and it should be borne in mind that they
will vary greatly from performer to performer, and from microphone to microphone. As a matter of fact, individual microphones of the same type and
and manufacture will differ slightly in their characteristics. The operator
must know the peculiarities of all of the microphones under his control. He
must not hesitate to experiment with the adjustment of the position of a performer at the microphone for optimum quality pickup at any time, when he
feels that it will improve the quality of the program.
Into vs Across the Mike.
is said, in discussion between operators and announcers, as to whether
it is preferable to speak directly into a microphone, or to speak "across it"
for best quality pickup.
As a rule, a microphone should be used in the manner for which it was
designed, that is, one speaks across a dynamic microphone, and into a
velocity or cardioid microphone. The results, however, are more important
than the method used, and the operator should use his own judgment for best
results with individual performers. Any question on this point may be resolved by trying both methods.
Microphones vs Talent.
The operator will find, in dealing with performers, that he must exercise a
great deal of tact and patience. Some artists feel that they will sound better
on a certain type or a certain color of microphone, regardless of the facts.
This is sometimes due to poor advice or perhaps a previous bad experience.
The operator should attempt to pacify such performers by adjusting the
situation however it may require to preserve harmony, and yet remain consistant with good aural quality.
Microphone Clipping.
"Clipping a mike" is
a term used to denote the rapid removal of a console
key from the program position, which cuts off its associated microphone
The operator always clips a microphone when the talent is finished with
its use, or to prevent extraneous mumbling and throat clearing from being
During a commentary or newscast program where one person speaks for
lengthy periods, the speaker often gets a "frog" in his throat. He finds it
necessary to cough, and clear his throat. On a signal from the speaker, the
operator clips his microphone, and the speaker quickly clears his throat. He
then signals the operator to re -open the microphone so that he may continue.
A newscaster, working alone in the studio will sometimes find that he
does not have sufficient news copy to fill his remaining airtime. At the end
of a news item, or during a natural pause, he signals the operator for a clip,
at which time he asks for more news copy.
In both of the above cases, the operator clips the microphone key and
in the same motion throws the key to the audition position-in the first instance, to hear the end of the cough, so he will not inadvertently re -open the
microphone while the speaker is still clearing his throat; in the second instance, to hear the newscaster's hurried call for some more news copy.
Care of Microphones and Microphone Cords
Regarding the care of microphones, it will merely be stated that they are
delicate, sensitive instruments, costing hundreds of dollars in some cases,
and should be cared for with that in mind.
Performers should be cautioned against coughing directly into a microphone. Velocity microphones are particularly vulnerable; the ribbon element
may be bent or broken by the direct blast of a cough into the microphone.
Too, performers should be cautioned not to use spare microphones in
the studio for hat or coat racks.
Microphone cords should be neatly coiled and hung on hooks provided on
the microphone stands, when those microphones are not in use. An abused
cord will invariably break internally during an airshow, possibly causing the
loss of program material during a crucial moment in the performance.
The operator should form the habit of making a visual check of the mi -
Figure 9-6
Microphone Cord Hook
Courtesy Radio Corp. of America
crophones and cords upon entering a studio. In this way, he may notice
some obvious damage that could cause trouble later on during the program.
He should also check to see that all of the microphones to be used on that
program have been properly plugged into their receptacles on the studio wall.
Microphone Stands
Microphone stands, or supports, are available at a broadcast station in various sizes and shapes. When the operator sets up microphones for a broadcast, he chooses the types of stands most suitable for that broadcast.
1. Studio floor stand-a metal tube, adjustable in height, attached
to a heavy base plate, usually made of cast iron. The microphone
is attached to a screw type fitting on top of the adjustable tube.
2. Portable floor stand-the floor stand that is used for remote
broadcasts. It consists of an adjustable tubular rod, attached to
a folding tripod base, made of a lightweight metal such as aluminum for ease in carrying.
3. Boom stand-of which there are two general types. One, as pictured in Figure 9-9, which the boom operator pushes and manipulates by himself, and the other, as pictured in Figure 9-10, which
requires another man as a boom pusher.
The Hollywood boom was borrowed from the motion picture industry and is used in broadcasting, on television shows where the
microphone must move fast and reach into otherwise inaccessible
places on a studio set.
Figure 9-7
Studio Floor Stand
Courtesy Radio Corp. of America
Figure 9-9
Boom Stand
Courtesy Radio Corp. of America
Figure 9-8
Portable Floor Stand
Courtesy Radio Corp. of America
Figure 9-10
Hollywood Microphone Boom
Courtesy Mole -Richardson Co.
Figure 9-11
Desk Stand
Courtesy Radio Corp. of America
Figure 9-12
Banquet Stand
Courtesy Radio Corp. of America
4. Desk stand-a three to six inch tubular rod on a base plate,
weighing three or four pounds.
5. Banquet stand-a six to twelve inch adjustable metal tube on a
base plate weighing five or six pounds.
6. Clamp stand-sometimes called a "sky hook". It is used mainly
on remote broadcasts, where other types of stand would be inaccessable. It consists of a short tubular rod mounted on a screw type, wood clamp. When there is no space available for a regular
desk stand, as on a small speaker's lectern in a hall or auditorium, the clamp is attached to the edge or sill of the lectern and
the microphone mounted upon it.
A clamp stand may be easily constructed at a station if one is not
presently available. A short length of pipe is threaded at one end
to fit the microphones, and the other end is welded to a three inch
"C" clamp which may be purchased at any hardware supplier.
1. Which type of microphone should be used for out of doors pick-
ups? Why?
Defind sibilance.
For what type of voice is the dynamic microphone best suited?
Describe the pickup pattern of a dynamic microphone.
What portion of the sound wave activates a dynamic microphone?
Define popping.
Where does the velocity microphone find its primary use?
What portion of the sound wave activates a ribbon microphone?
Describe the pickup element of a velocity microphone.
For what type of voice is the velocity microphone best suited?
Describe the directional characteristics of a velocity microphone.
Why do we call the cardioid microphone a combination microphone?
Describe the cardioid microphone pickup pattern.
How do we adjust or vary the pickup pattern of a combination
cardioid microphone?
Define "on -mike"; "off-mike".
Define presence.
What is meant by microphone "clipping"?
Describe the various types of microphone stands.
For what purpose is a boom used?
When do we use a clamp stand?
Figure 10-1
Studio Microphone Setup
Courtesy Johns Manville Co.
This chapter discusses the arrangement of microphones in a studio for the
various types of programs that it might originate.
A rule -of -thumb for the operator, in setting up microphones for a program
might be stated as follows. Never use two (or more) microphones on a program where one microphone will do the job. In other words, keep it simple!
The fewer microphones used, consistent with the requirements of the
program, the less likelihood there is for interaction between microphones.
Microphone interaction will result in an echo effect. Two open (live) microphones pick up the same sound. One, directly and the other, after the sound
has reflected from a studio wall or other obstruction. The time delay, or difference in pickup time between one microphone and the other, causes the
Too, the fewer microphones used on a program, the less likelihood there
is of an operator inadvertently opening the wrong microphone during the
Several program possibilities, involving microphone placement will therefore be discussed with suggestions for best microphone arrangement.
Talks-One Speaker
Let us first consider the factors involved in a program consisting of a single
The operator determines whether the speaker desires to sit or stand during the program. If the speaker has no preference, the operator arranges for
a table microphone. The non-professional speaker, particularly, is usually
less nervous when seated and his notes or script are much more easily
The table or stand microphone may be placed anywhere in the studio
where it can be seen from the control room. However, it should not be placed
too close to the window between the studio and control room as the window,
being a hard highly reflective surface, will create an echo effect at close
The operator, keeping in mind the pickup pattern of the type of microphone being used, asks the speaker to read from his prepared text. A level
Figure 10-2
Studio -Control Room Window
Courtesy Columbia Broadcasting System
is taken on the speaker, and the operator asks him to position himself so
that he is on -mike, and has the proper degree of presence.
If he is a non-professional speaker, he is:
1. Instructed to signal the operator if he desires to cough or clear
his throat.
Warned against rattling the pages of his script.
Advised to remove paper clips or staples from the script.
Asked not to move his head off-mike.
Asked not to make extraneous noises like foot tapping, or elbow
thumping on the table.
6. Asked to watch for a signal to start speaking.
7. Asked to signal the control room when he is finished with his talk.
Two Speakers
Two speakers may be arranged one on each side of a bi-directional microphone, either sitting at a table or at a stand microphone. The speakers are
positioned by the operator so that the one with the weakest voice is closest
to the microphone, and the one with the more powerful voice is farther away
By placing one person on each side of the microphone, they do not interfere with each other, and their respective sound volume levels may be adjusted by varying the ratio of their distances to the microphone. A one
microphone setup of this sort can only be used if the speakers are going to
talk alternately, however.
Figure 10-3
Two Speakers at One Bi -Directional Microphone
Courtesy Gilbert Photo
Two Speakers at Two Microphones
Courtesy Gilbert Photo
If, for instance, the two voices were to be heard in a dual recitation or
if they were to sing, they would each feel very uncomfortable working right
into another's face, on the opposite side of the microphone. In this application, both voices should be positioned on the same side of the microphone,
standing or sitting, side by side.
Try to avoid the use of more than one microphone. If, however, one of
the speakers carries the bulk of a program, he is usually assigned a separate
microphone. Such is the case with a newscaster or commentator who has an
announcer to open and close his program. The announcer is given a separate
microphone, which the operator promptly clips when the introduction to the
program is finished. The operator does not open the announcer's microphone
again except for commercial inserts, or until it is time to close the program.
If both persons speak alternately, and two microphones are used, as in
an interview, then both microphones must remain open during the program.
To prevent microphone interaction, cardioids are used, if available. They
are placed back to back, or dead-end to dead-end so that their pickup patterns
do not overlap. If cardioids are not available, then ribbon microphones should
be used and they should be arranged to face on the base angles of a hypothetical triangle drawn in the studio, as in Figure 10-5.
Figure 10-5
Two Ribbon Microphones Both Open
Groups of Voices
Round table discussions, panel programs and quiz programs, are all examples
of shows involving groups of voices. These programs generally have a leader,
called the moderator or the master of ceremonies (MC).
The MC speaks with the other members of the group singly, or all together. He is allotted a separate microphone for himself, generally a cardioid.
The remainder of the group, if there are no more than three or four people,
may be handled on both live sides of a ribbon microphone, or they may be
grouped around a dynamic microphone. Groups of more than four persons can
only be handled by a dynamic microphone.
If the group is large, and seated, more than one microphone may have to
be used. If the cast uses a stand microphone, a very large group may be
handled on one omni-directional microphone. Each performer must leave his
position when he is finished, to make room for another member of the group.
Dramatic Programs and "Soap Operas"
For dramatic shows, and the serialized daily dramas called "soap operas",
the following microphone setup is used:
1. A ribbon or a dynamic
members of the dramatic cast.
microphone which is used by all
2. A cardioid microphone for the commercial announcer.
3. A ribbon microphone for the sound effects technician, if one is
used on the show. Sound effects are often found on records, and
in such cases are inserted into the program by the audio control
4. Music microphones as required, if live music is used on the show.
Music Programs
The audio control operator who has a knowledge of music will find this knowledge an asset in setting up microphones for a music program. Musical training, however, is not absolutely necessary. The operator may confer with the
leader or conductor of a musical group, and follow his advice as to the way
the music should sound, setting up the microphones accordingly.
Solo Instruments
In a solo instrument pickup, one microphone is used. If the instrument produces a large volume of sound, such as a trumpet or other brass instrument,
the microphone is placed several feet away. To pick up the low volume of a
violin or other string instrument, the microphone is placed close to the instrument. A ribbon microphone is generally used for a one -instrument pickup.
If the instrument is held high (most of the horns are), a stand mounted
microphone is used. For low instruments like the cello, a desk -stand mounted
microphone is sometimes placed on the floor near the instrument.
Small Studio Band
The problem to be faced in setting up microphones for a small studio band is
primarily one of musical balance. The piano, the horns, the drums and the
reeds, if any, must each be heard in proper porportion to the overall sound
of the band.
The band members are usually seated in the studio so that the reeds are
in front, facing the control room. The brass instruments are seated behind
them and the drums are in the rear, behind the brass. The piano is usually
situated to one side of the band, so that the pianist can see the other band
A ribbon microphone on a floor stand is set up in front of, and a few feet
away from, the reeds. From here on, it becomes a trial and error task for the
operator. He goes back and forth from the control room to the studio, listening to the musical balance in the control room, and then back to the studio
to re -position the microphone. Perhaps the brass sounds too strong, or the
reeds are drowned out by the drums. The microphone is moved back and
forth in front of the band, raised or lowered on its stand, tilted and angled,
until the operator arrives at the best possible balance.
With a small studio band which generally plays stock musical arrangements, the piano is often the lead instrument, that is, the piano carries the
melody. The piano, then, should have a separate microphone.
If an upright piano is used, the piano microphone should be placed on a
floor stand, a few inches from the sounding board, behind the piano. On a
grand piano, the sounding board is underneath the piano. The microphone is
then hung, spiderlike, from the three legs of the piano by lengths of twine, so
that it is centered under the piano with the live side of the microphone facing
up at the sounding board.
If the pianist sings, while playing, a different approach is used. A floor
stand mounted microphone is placed near him. If possible, it is placed so
that it is on a line, perpendicular to the hammerline of the piano. The trial
and error method is then used for a balance between the piano and the
pianist's voice.
Figure 10-6
Pianist -Vocalist
Microphone Setup
is working in a wide but shallow studio, the
band sets up its instruments so that the brass is on one side of the reeds,
and the drums are on the other side. In this setup, two or even three microphones may have to be utilized to encompass the entire group. The operator
still has the trial and error task, but with a more complex balance problem.
Almost every band has at least one soloist, either vocal or instrumental.
The operator provides, for the soloist, a separate cardioid microphone which
is placed from six to eight feet away from, and in front of, the band. The
solo microphone is placed live side facing the band, and generally is only
opened during the soloist's portion of the program. This microphone may
also be used by the announcer who introduces the program.
When the small studio band
Large Studio Orchestra
The large studio orchestra is merely an expansion of the previously discussed
studio band, as far as the control operator is concerned.
The main difference between them is that instead of the group consisting
of one or two of each type of instrument, there is a section of each type. A
section may consist of from four to eight instruments, depending upon the
size of the orchestra and the desires of the conductor. In addition to the
Figure 10-8
Small Band Setup
Shallow Studio
Figure 10-7
Small Band Setup
Normal Studio
usual band instruments-the piano, drums, trumpets, trombones, saxaphones
and clarinets-the large orchestra may have strings, bassoon, oboe, harp,
flutes, and other instruments.
When a large audience -type studio or auditorium is employed for a music
broadcast, one microphone can be used for the entire orchestral pickup, regardless of the size of the orchestra. The microphone, a cardioid type, should
be hung from the ceiling of the auditorium. Its placement should be on a line
with the dead center of the stage, twelve to fifteen rows into the audience,
and about fifteen feet above the heads of the orchestra. A soloist-announcer
microphone, floor stand mounted, is placed on one side of the stage.
(MIKE f-->
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Figure 10-9
Live Audience Studio
Where the performance of a large orchestra takes place in a non -audience
studio, the control operator's microphone placement problem is somewhat different. Since a single pickup microphone cannot generally be placed far
enough away from the orchestra to pick up the entire orchestral effect, several microphones must be utilized. The problem then becomes one of "section presence".
Section presence infers that each section of the orchestra must be as
prominent as each other section, in their respective musical places within
the combined orchestra. To achieve section presence, a separate microphone
is allotted to practically every section of the orchestra. When it is found
that one microphone can adequately serve more than one section, some of the
microphones may be discarded. The microphones for such a program can be
set up so that all of those being used for the orchestra are connected to the
console through a sub -mixer.
The operator takes a level on each section, and then he proceeds with
the trial and error method of positioning the microphones, until a balance is
achieved that satisfies both himself and the conductor of the orchestra. The
orchestra is balanced by adjusting the sub -mixer pots, after which these pots
are not handled again. The overall volume of the orchestra is controlled by
the sub -mixer's master pot. This, you will recall, is either a special sub mixer master gain control on the console or, if none is provided, it may be
one of the console's regular microphone input pots.
An additional microphone is provided for the announcer and the soloists,
to insure adequate coverage for solo numbers and to prevent the solo from
being lost amid the music of the rest of the orchestra. The solo microphone
is connected directly to the console, not through the sub -mixer. Thus, the
operator may lower the orchestral volume without lowering the volume of
the soloist.
Figure 10-10
Large Orchestra Studio Setup
It should be apparent by the foregoing that a high quality music program
cannot be properly aired without extensive rehearsal, not only of the musicians involved but of the audio operator as well. Many hours of studio preparation must go into a program of this kind. An operator cannot simply "walk
in on" a music program fifteen minutes before airtime and expect to do a
good show, regardless of the number of times he has previously done the
same or similar programs.
Studio Audience Reaction and Public Address
It is often desirable to include the reactions to a program of a studio audience, as a part of that program. The reactions referred to are applause and
The comedian times his quips by the laughter of his studio audience,
winners of many "new talent" programs are chosen by the applause
of the audience in the studio. The reaction of the studio audience at a broadcast of this type must therefore be picked up by microphones, and controlled
by the audio operator.
The pickup is usually accomplished by stringing a number of dynamic
microphones across, and few feet above, the heads of the audience. The
number of microphones used depends upon the size of the audience seating
area. Regardless of the number of microphones, however, they all feed into
one amplifier and their total pickup volume may be controlled by the audio
operator with an auxiliary pot on the console.
The audience in a theater -studio must be able to hear the program that
they are observing, as it is aired. To enable the program to be heard in a
large theater -studio a public address system, or PA, is used. Loudspeakers
are mounted on the studio walls, facing away from the stage microphones,
and toward the audience. Careful control of the sound volume emanating from
these loudspeakers must be maintained by the operator. The sound must be
loud enough to be heard by the audience, but not loud enough to be picked up
by the microphones on stage, which are on the air, or feedback will result.
1. When making
microphone setups, what is meant by "keep it
2. Describe the microphone setup for one speaker in a studio.
3. Describe the setup for two speakers, using one microphone. Using
two microphones.
4. Describe the microphone setup for a panel program. For a dramatic
5. Describe the studio pickup of a solo musical instrument.
6. What is meant by musical balance in the pickup of a studio band
or orchestra?
7. How does the musical balance problem differ between a small
studio band and a large studio orchestra?
8. What is meant by audience reaction? How is it used on a broadcast?
9. What is the purpose of a studio PA?
that we are familiar with the individual operations that are performed by
the audio control operator, let us integrate those operations to form a program
the audio operator sees it from behind the control board.
We will take the formats, or skeletons, of a few of the routine types of
broadcasts and indicate what the audio operator should be considering, and
what his operations should be in each case.
The Newscast
The usual newscast might be a two microphone show, employing the services
of a newscaster and a commercial announcer. The format of such a newscast
would look something like this:
Opening Announcement
Opening Commercial
Introduction To News
Middle Commercial
Closing Commercial
Weather Report
Closing Announcement
The audio operator's job on this type of program is to alternately open
and close two microphones. He follows a script of the program, and maintains good audio levels.
Now, we will repeat the same format, showing each operation in its turn,
as performed by the audio operator: Previous to airtime the operator, the announcer and the newscaster meet in the studio. The operator is given a
script of the show. He goes into the control room and takes levels on the
announcer and newscaster at their individual microphones.
Opening Announcement
At airtime the operator opens the announcer's
microphone by throwing its key to the program position. The announcer opens the
Opening Commercial
He reads the opening commercial announcement.
Introduction To News
The announcer introduces the newscaster.
The operator then opens the newscaster's
microphone and at the same time cuts the
announcer's microphone.
The newscaster reads news copy. During
the newscast, as indicated in the script,
the operator opens the announcer's microphone and closes the newscaster's.
Middle Commercial
The announcer reads the middle commercial
and re -introduces the newscaster. The
operator opens the newscaster's microphone
and closes the announcer's.
N ews
The newscaster reads news copy. At the
conclusion of the news, the operator opens
the announcer's microphone and closes the
Closing Commercial
The announcer reads the closing commercial.
The operator opens the newscaster's microphone and closes the announcer's.
Weather Report
The newscaster reads the weather report.
The operator opens the announcer's microphone and closes the newscaster's.
Closing Announcement
The announcer closes the program. The
operator closes the announcèr's microphone.
The program is ended.
The Sportscast
sportscast is essentially a news program-the news, of course, being
about the latest happenings in the sports world. Our sportscast example
differs from the usual news program in that themes and fanfares are used in
an attempt to capture the excitement of the sporting events.
Here, then, is a typical sportscast format:
Opening Announcement
Sports News
Transcribed Commercial
Live Tag
Sports Features
Transcribed Commercial
Closing Announcement
Now, the same format as the audio operator sees it: Previous to the
broadcast, the sportscaster and the operator meet in the studio. The operator is given a copy of the program script and the recorded themes, commercials and fanfares, in the order that they are to be played on the program.
The operator returns to the control room and takes a level on the sportscaster, at the microphone which he will use on the show. The operator then
cues up the opening theme record on one turntable, and the first transcribed
commercial announcement on another.
At airtime, the operator plays the theme for
20 to 30 seconds to establish it, and then
he fades it down and opens the sportscaster's
Opening Announcement
With the theme in the background, the
Sporta News
Transcribed Commercial
sportscaster makes a brief opening announcement.
The operator then closes the microphone
and brings the theme up to full level. At
the conclusion of the theme, the operator
closes its turntable's pot and, at the same
time, opens the sportscaster's microphone.
The sportscaster reads sports news copy.
The operator now removes the theme record
from its turntable and cues up the fanfare
record on that turntable. He then continues
to follow the program script.
At the conclusion of the sports news he
plays the first transcribed commercial
the commercial ends, the operator
rapidly opens the sportscaster's microphone
for the live tag to the commercial and clips
the transcription's turntable key. He then
stands by on the fanfare which is on the
other turntable.
The sportscaster reads the tag to the
At the conclusion of the tag, the operator
plays the fanfare and closes the sportscaster's microphone.
When the fanfare ends, he closes its pot
and opens the sportscaster's microphone at
the same time.
Live Tag
Sports Features
Transcribed Commercial
The sportscaster reads the sports feature
copy. The operator now cues up the second
transcribed commercial announcement and
the closing theme, after first removing the
fanfare and first commercial transcription
from their turntables.
At the conclusion of the sports features,
the operator plays the second transcribed
commercial and closes the sportscaster's
the commercial ends, the operator
clips its turntable key and opens the sportscaster's microphone. He then "dead pots"
the theme. The sportscaster reads the program's closing announcement.
Closing Announcement
the sportscaster reaches the last few
sentences of the closing, the operator
sneaks the theme music into the background.
When the closing announcement is finished,
the operator brings the music up to full
level, and closes the sportscaster's microphone. When the theme concludes, the program is over.
The Disc Jockey Show
The disc jockey show, from the audio operator's viewpoint, consists of his
alternately playing records and opening a microphone for live introductions
to the records and commercial announcements.
Let us look at a typical 15 minute disc jockey program format:
Opening Announcement
Introduction To 1st Record
1st Record
Lead Out 1st Record
Live Commercial
Lead In 2nd Record
2nd Record
Transcribed Commercial
Lead In 3rd Record
Sneak 3rd Record
Lead Out 3rd Record
Live Commercial
Closing Announcement
The audio operator views the DJ show this way: Before the program,
the operator and the DJ meet in the studio. The operator is given the records
and transcriptions which are to be used on the show, stacked in the order
that they are to appear on the program. He also receives a list of the records, in that same order.
The operator returns to the control room and takes a level on the DJ. He
then cues up the theme record on one turntable and the show's 1st record on
the other. As airtime approaches, he stands by with the theme. That is, he
holds the record on an already spinning turntable with one hand while the
other hand rests on the turntable pot.
At airtime, the operator releases the theme
record and whips open the pot so that the
music comes in at full level. After 15 or 20
seconds, when the theme has been established, he fades the music down by partially
closing the pot, and at the same time he
opens the DJ's microphone by throwing its
key to the program position.
Opening Announcement
The DJ, in a few short sentences, opens
the show with the theme music in the
finished his brief opening,
the operator closes the microphone and in
the same motion he brings the theme music
back up to full level.
At the conclusion of the theme, the operator
closes the turntable pot and opens the
When the DJ has
Introduction 1st Record
1st Record
Lead Out 1st Record
Commercial Announcement
The DJ introduces the first record on the
program. The operator stands by on that
record and brings it in full, on the DJ's cue.
He then closes the DJ's microphone. The
operator then removes the theme record
from its turntable. He places the program's
2nd record on that turntable and cues it up.
He then gives all of his attention to riding
gain on the first record.
the first record ends, the operator
closes its pot and opens the DJ's microphone. The DJ leads out the first record,
reads the commercial announcement, and
then he introduces the program's second
Lead In 2nd Record
2nd Record
The operator stands by on the second record as it is being introduced, and brings it
in on the DJ's cue.
He then closes the DJ's microphone, removes the first record from the turntable,
places the transcribed announcement on the
vacated turntable, and cues it up. He stands
by on the transcribed commercial announce-
When the second record ends, the operator
Transcribed Commercial
segues to the transcription.
He then quickly removes the second record
from the turntable. Rapidly, he cues up and
stands by on the third record.
The transcription ends. The operator opens
the DJ's microphone and clips the transcription's turntable key with the same hand, in
that order. His other hand is holding the
third record.
Lead In 3rd Record
As the DJ begins to lead in the third record, the audio operator releases that record
and slowly sneaks its pot open so that the
music comes in under the DJ's voice.
is finished, at the
DJ's cue, the operator brings the music up
to full level. He then removes the transcribed commercial from its turntable, replaces it with the theme record, and cues
When the introduction
3rd Record
At the conclusion of the
third record, the operator closes its pot and
opens the DJ's microphone. He then "dead
pots" the theme record.
up the theme.
Lead Out 3rd Record
The DJ leads out the third and final record
on the program.
Commercial Announcement
He reads the closing commercial announcement and begins to close the program.
Closing Announcement
The audio operator sneaks the previously
dead potted theme music under the last few
sentences of the closing.
closing is finished, he brings the
theme music up to full level. The theme
plays itself out at the exact time that the
program is to end.
When the
Live Music Program
program which is made up of live music, that is, music emanating from a
live orchestra rather than on records, is very similar to the disc jockey type
of program in its format. The two main differences that the operator will observe are the use of a master of ceremonies to introduce the music and the
fact that it is an all microphone show, the turntables remaining silent.
The microphone setups for a studio music program are covered in detail
in the preceding chapter, so for purposes of examining program formats here
that portion of the pre -airtime preparations will be glossed over lightly. Too,
in the interests of explanation, we will assume that all of the orchestra's
microphones operate through a sub -mixer, whose master gain control appears
as one of the inputs on the control console. This, then, enables the audio
operator to control the entire volume of the orchestra through the manipulation of this one pot.
Here is the format of our typical live music program:
Opening Announcement
Commercial Announcement
Introduction to the MC
MC's Introduction, 1st Music
1st Music (Orchestral)
MC's Lead Out 1st Music
MC's Introduction to 2nd Music
2nd Music (Vocal Solo)
MC's Lead Out 2nd Music
MC's Intro to Announcer
2nd Commercial Announcement
MC's Introduction to 3rd Music
3rd Music (Instrumental Solo)
3rd Commercial Announcement
MC's Closing Announcement
And again, the same live music show format as seen by the audio operator: One or two hours before airtime, the operator, the announcer, the MC and
the musicians, assemble in the studio for rehearsal. The operator is given a
script of the show which he scans, to see what equipment, microphones,
etc., will be required for the program. The musicians seat themselves and
the operator sets up their microphones. In addition, he sets up a solo microphone, and one for the announcer and MC. The operator returns to the control room where he takes levels and checks the balance of the orchestra, the
soloists, the announcer and the MC.
The orchestra then rehearses its individual selections. The operator
follows this rehearsal, and makes notations in his script of the places in the
music where he will have to quickly adjust the orchestra pot to avoid excessively high or very low sound levels.
Opening Announcement
At airtime, the operator opens the orchestra
pot to the point that was determined during
rehearsal. The orchestra plays the theme
for 20 to 30 seconds at full level to establish it, and then diminishes its own volume
to background.
The operator throws the announcer's microphone key to the program position.
The announcer reads the opening announcement with the theme music in the background. At the conclusion of the announcement, the orchestra increases its volume
back up to full volume level.
The operator closes the announcer's microphone. When the theme is finished, the
operator closes the orchestra pot and opens
the announcer's microphone.
Commercial Announcement
The announcer reads the commercial announcement.
Intro To MC
He then introduces the Master of Ceremonies
MC's Intro 1st Music
1st Music
at the same microphone. The announcer
then leaves the microphone.
The MC introduces the first musical selection. The operator opens the orchestra pot
to the point that was determined for that
selection during rehearsal, and he closes
the MC's microphone.
orchestra plays the first musical
At the conclusion of the music, the operator
closes the orchestra pot and opens the
MC's microphone.
MC's Lead Out 1st Music
MC's Intro 2nd Music
leads out the first selection.
He then introduces the second selection,
noting that it will be in part a vocal solo.
The operator, at the conclusion of the announcement, opens both the orchestra pot
and the solo microphone pot to their predetermined points for this selection, and
he closes the MC's microphone. The or 97
2nd Music
chestra plays and the soloist sings the
second musical selection.
When the second selection has concluded,
the operator opens the MC's microphone,
and closes the orchestra and solo microphone pots.
MC's Lead Out 2nd Music
MC Intros Announcer
leads out the second selection.
He then re -introduces the announcer, at the
same microphone.
2nd Commercial Announcement
The announcer reads the second commercial
MC's Intro 3rd Music
The MC returns to the microphone and introduces the third music, which includes an
instrumental solo.
The operator opens the orchestra pot to the
point that was determined during the show's
rehearsal, and closes the MC's microphone.
The orchestra begins to play the third music. At a point in the music, the soloist
walks to the solo microphone. Then the
operator opens the solo microphone pot to
its pre -determined point, and the soloist
plays to orchestral accompaniment.
When the third selection has ended, the
operator opens the announcer/MC microphone, and closes the orchestra and solo
microphone pots.
3rd Commercial Announcement
The announcer reads the third and final
commercial announcement.
MC's Closing Announcement
The MC then closes the program, at the
same microphone.
During the closing announcement, the operator opens the orchestra microphone pot,
and the orchestra begins to softly play the
theme. When the MC has concluded the
closing announcement, the orchestra returns
its volume up to full level.
The operator closes the MC's microphone.
The orchestra plays theme music until the
time that the program is scheduled to end.
The operator then closes the orchestra microphone pot.
The Dramatic Program
Despite the great variety of types of dramatic programs, their formats are
somewhat similar. This is typical of what one dramatic format might look
Opening Announcement
Opening Commercial
Lead In To Narrator
Mood Music
Cast (1st Act)
Bridge Music
Middle Commercial
Bridge Music
Cast (2nd Act)
Curtain Music
Closing Commercial
Closing Announcement
The complexity of a dramatic program requires the audio operator to use
his talents and know-how to the utmost. The variety of situations with
which he may be faced on a dramatic show, make it necessary for him to
think fast and act faster. Good taste in the mixing and blending of sound,
and an accurate sense of timing are essential to the operator who handles
dramatic programs.
Here are the considerations and actions of an operator on a dramatic
Some hours before airtime, the audio operator, the announcer, the narrator and the cast meet in the studio. The operator is given a script of the
program and the recorded themes, music bridges, mood music, curtain music
and any recorded sound effects that are to be used on the show, all in the
order in which they are to be used. He is also given a listing of these recordings, in the same order.
The operator scans the script to determine what equipment will be
needed on the show. If an echo chamber is required, for instance, he makes
necessary arrangements. He then sets up microphones, one for the dramatic
cast, one for the narrator and one for the announcer. The operator then returns to the control room, where he takes levels on the announcer and narrator, and marks the level settings of their pots in his script.
The cast then rehearses the dramatic portions of the program, with the
operator following the script and marking the places where hushed whispers,
shouts and required sounds occur in the script. The operator will then know
in advance how to adjust the cast microphone pot when those situations occur during the airshow. As a part of the rehearsal, the operator inserts all
of the recorded material, in its proper sequence. He gets the "feel" of the
timing necessary for each recorded insert. He also determines, and marks in
his script, the levels of all background music.
Finally, the operator cues up the opening theme record and the mood
music record, and he is ready to go on the air.
At airtime, the operator plays the theme,
keeping it at full level for 15 to 20 seconds,
to establish it.
He then fades it to background and opens
the announcer's microphone.
Opening Announcement
The announcer makes the opening announcement of the program with the theme music
in the background.
At the conclusion of the announcement, the
operator closes the microphone and brings
the theme back up to full level.
When the theme ends, the operator closes
its pot and opens the announcer's micro-
Lead In To Narrator
The announcer reads the opening commercial announcement.
He then introduces the narrator.
The operator opens the narrator's microphone and closes the announcer's.
The narrator sets the scene of the dramati-
Opening Commercial
Mood Music
Cast -1st Act
During the narration, the operator sneaks
the mood music in under the narrator's
voice, and holds it in the background. At
the end of the narration, the operator brings
the music up to full level for 5 or 10 seconds and then fades it to background and
out, as he opens the cast microphone.
The actors in the cast perform the first act
of the dramatization.
The operator removes both the theme and
mood music records from their turntables.
He cues up the sound effect records for the
first act if there are any. If the first act
employs no recorded sound effects, the op-
Bridge Music
erator cues up the mid -program bridge music record. He also cues up the first of any
sound effect records to be used in the second act of the play.
As the first act is ending, the operator
sneaks the bridge music in under the final
sentences. He then closes the cast microphone and brings the bridge music up to full
level. After 10 or 15 seconds of music, he
opens the announcer's microphone and fades
the bridge music out.
Middle Commercial
The announcer reads the middle commercial.
Bridge Music
At the conclusion of the commercial, the
operator fades the bridge music back in,
and up to full level. He closes the an-
Cast -2nd Act
nouncer's microphone.
After 10 or 15 seconds of music the operator fades the bridge to background, and out
as he opens the cast microphone.
The actors in the cast perform the second
act of the drama.
The operator removes the bridge music
record from the turntable and cues up any
recorded sound effects. If there are none,
he cues up the curtain music and the closing theme.
As the second act is concluding, the operator sneaks the curtain music in under the
Curtain Music
Closing Commercial
final actor's voice. When the act ends, the
operator closes the cast microphone and
brings the curtain music up to full level.
The curtain music plays to its conclusion.
The operator closes its pot. Then he opens
the narrator's microphone.
The narrator "wraps up" the dramatization.
The operator then opens the announcer's
microphone and closes the narrator's.
The announcer reads the closing commercial.
At the conclusion of the commercial, the
operator closes the announcer's microphone
and brings the theme music in at full level.
After 15 or 20 seconds of theme music, the
operator fades it to background and opens
the announcer's microphone.
Closing Announcement
The announcer reads the program's closing
The audio operator then brings the theme
back up to full level. He closes the announcer's microphone. The theme plays to
the conclusion of program time, at which
time the operator closes its pot.
1. Briefly describe the duties of the audio operator on a newscast.
2. How does the sportscast differ from the newscast, as far as the
operator is concerned?
3. Describe the function of the operator on a DJ Show.
4. Why are music records sometimes "sneaked"?
5. How does a live music show differ from a DJ show?
6. Why is it necessary for an operator to be present during rehearsal
of a music program or dramatic presentation?
It became apparent during the study of control console operation that the
people in the control room and the people in the studio could talk to each
other via the console's audition and talkback systems, either before airtime
or while a recording was being played.
What, then, of the need for studio -control room communication while a
program is in progress, on the air? Two systems of communication were developed to fill that need:
1. Hand signals-for radio use.
2. An intercom system, using earphones-for
television use.
Hand Signals
Hand signals were developed for use in radio broadcasting, where the people
in the control room and in the studio can see each other during a program.
The announcer wants to tell the operator to "stand by" or get ready, to
play a record. The operator wants to tell the announcer that he is too close
to the microphone. This information may be conveyed to the person involved,
by hand signals.
The signals described and pictured here are not universally used by
every radio station. Many stations have developed their own signals, to
cover situations that are peculiar to those stations. These signals, however,
are representative of those used at many stations and are, in the author's
opinion, those enjoying the widest use.
For study purposes, the hand signals have been grouped into three broad
1. Microphone hand
2. Turntable hand signals
3. General information hand
to the program in
Figure 12-1 Hand Signal
1. ATTENTION-Made by raising one hand, palm forward, above the head,
and waving it back and forth. It is given in the controlroom to attract the
the attention of a performer, or in the studio to attract the attention of the
Figure 12-2 Attention
Figure 12-3
Stand By
BY-Made by
raising the hand, palm for-
ward, above the head, and
holding it there. It is used
as a preliminary signal, to
indicate that something additional is about to be signalled. It is given either
from the control room or
from the studio.
Figure 12-4
Watch Me
ME-Made by
pointing to one's eye with
one finger, indicating either
a lack of attention by the
person to whom it is given,
or that another signal will
follow rapidly.
Figure 12-5
You're On
ON-The cue given
to the person at the microphone
to begin speaking, or the cue
given to the operator to perform
a technical operation. It is preceded by the stand by signal and
then the hand moves down and
forward, one finger pointing at
the person being signalled.
Figure 12-6
PHONE-The performer
at the microphone forms
the letter "A", with the
thumbs and index fingers
of both hands, to indicate
to the operator that he
wishes to speak to the
control room, but not on
the air.
Figure 12-7 Open
(ON THE AIR)-It is given
by the performer at the mi-
crophone, who rapidly points
at the microphone with one
finger, three or four times.
Figure 12-8
by the performer
at the microphone, to the
control operator. It is made
by moving one hand horizontP"; across one's throat,
as though cutting the throat.
It is usually preceded by a
stand by signal.
Figure 12-9
CUT-This signal is
given to indicate termination of whatever is in
progress. A general purpose signal given to a
performer to indicate cutting an optional paragraph, cutting an entire
speech, etc. It is made in
the same manner as #7
above, by drawing one
hand horizontally across
one's throat.
Move Closer To
Figure 12-10
The Microphone
CROPHONE-Made with both
hands raised at eye level, palms
facing each other, hands moving
toward, but not touching each
other. It may also be made with
one hand, moving toward, but not
touching, the face.
Move Back
Figure 12-11
From The Microphone
10. MOVE
MICROPHONE-Made with both
hands raised at eye level, palms
facing away from each other, the
hands moving away from each
other. It may also be made with
one hand, moving away from the
your reading page. :It is
made by raising one hand,
index finger outstretched
and pointing at the performer. The wrist is then rotated,
rapidly and in a large circle,
for a large increase in pace,
or slowly and in a small
circle, for a small increase
in pace.
Figure 12-13
STRETCH-Slow down your
pace. Both hands are
raised, and are drawn apart as
though there were a rubber band
held between the hands, grasped
by the fingers. The hands are
drawn wide apart for a great decrease, or they are drawn an inch
or two apart for a small decrease
in pace.
All turntable hand signals are given by the announcer or
Performer in the studio, to the operator in the control room.
Figure 12-14
Wrap It Up
13. WRAP IT UP-Close
the program. It is given
to the final performer or
announcer on a program.
Both hands are raised to
eye level, palms inward,
and the hands are rapidly
rotated about each other.
Figure 113-15 RecordStand By-Play
first raised to the stand by
position. Then the wrist
bends over, the index finger
pointing down and describing a slow, lazy circle. At
the moment that the music
is wanted, the hand moves
to the you're on signal.
Figure 12-16 Spot"
Stand By-Play
PLAY IT-The hand is
raised to the stand by position, with the third finger
bent into the palm of the
hand. At the moment that
the "spot" commercial is
wanted, the hand moves to
the you're on position.
Figure 12-17 Segue
3. SEGUE-The hand is
raised to eye level, and
the index and second
fingers are crossed or
intertwined, pointing
Figure 12-18
are raised to eye level, palms
down, and are then lowered on an
arc so that they cross each other
at chest level.
Figure 12-19
Fade In
-The hand
raised, palm upwards, de-
scribing a slow arc, and
stops when the desire d
music volume is heard.
Sustain Music
Figure 12-20
the music volume where it
is. Preceded by the fade in
signal. The hand describes
a slow circle, palm upwards.
Figure 12-21
Fade Out
by the sustain music
of the hand is
slowly turned over, and palm
facing down, the hand is slowly
brought down, describing a slow
signal, the palm
Figure 12-22
Always relating to the
program in progress.
-PLAY IT-Both hands
are raised to eye level.
The index fingers form
the letter "T". Then the
stand by signal is given.
When the theme is wanted,
one hand moves to the
you're on signal.
Figure 12-23 Thirty Seconds
the end of the program. Both
hands are raised to eye
level. The index fingers
form a plus sign (+). Caution: do not confuse this
signal with the theme signal.
Figure 12-24
the end of the program. One
hand is raised in a clenched
fist. Note: this same signal
is used at the networks to
indicate, "Give the network
system cue", and it is given
by band leaders to their
bands to indicate, "Hit the
sock chorus".
Figure 12-26
Station Break
Give the station's call
letters. Both hands are
raised above the head,
and the motion of breaking a twig is made with
clenched fists.
Figure 12-26
On The Nose
NOSE-The program
is exactly on its predetermined
time schedule. It is made by tapping one's nose lightly with one
Figure 12-27 Headlines
(NEWSCAST)-It is made
by tapping the top of one's
head lightly with one finger.
All nand signals should be made with wide, exaggerated
motions, to emphasize their meanings.
All hand signal photographs courtesy: Gilbert Photo.
Intercom For Television
During a television program the control room is kept in semi -darkness. This
is necessary so that the video control operators and the director of the program may critically view their television picture monitors. The problem thus
created so far as communication is concerned, is that the talent in the studio
cannot see into the control room to receive hand signal cues. In addition to
the talent, the operating crew in the television studio, the cameramen, and
the microphone boom operators must also be periodically cued from the control room.
To enable cues from the control room to be given to the people in the
studio, an intercom system is used.
An intercom system is, in its simplest terms, a closed circuit telephone
system. The director and his aides in the control room each wear a headset
consisting of one earphone and a telephone type microphone-like those
worn by telephone switchboard operators. In the studio, similar headsets
are worn by the cameramen and by the floor manager. The latter is the director's representative in the studio; he receives the cues from the director
on his intercom and, in turn, cues the talent by using hand signals. The
director and the cameramen communicate with each other during the program
directly through their intercom headsets.
The audio operator must be able to cue the boom operators during the
program as well. For this purpose the audio operator is provided with a talk back microphone. The boom operators each wear a headset consisting of two
earphones, but no microphone. One of the two earphones is connected to the
intercom system so that the boom operator may be cued by either the director
or by the audio operator. The other earphone is connected to the console's
monitor amplifier, so that the boom operator can hear program and thus determine for himself how to best position the microphone on the boom he is
1. Why are hand signals used?
2. Who gives hand signals? To whom are they given?
3. Give the hand signal for "Attention", for "Stand By", for
"You're On".
4. When is the "Clip My Mike" signal given? How does it differ
from the "Cut" signal?
5. Give and explain the various types of speedup signals.
6. Give and explain the various types of stretch signals.
7. Why do we use different signals for record and for transcription?
8. Explain the difference between the signal for "Theme" and the
signal for "thirty seconds".
signals not given directly from a television control
9. Why are hand
signals used in a television studio?
11. How does the control room communicate with the studio during a
television program?
10. How are hand
remote broadcast or Nemo, as it is familiarly termed, is a broadcast that
originates anywhere except at the studios of a broadcasting station or from
its network. Some of a station's studios may be located elsewhere than in
the same building as the rest of the station. These other studios may even
be equipped with remote -type portable audio equipment, but since they are
usually semi -permanently wired up, and the equipment is not dismantled after
each broadcast, they will not be referred to as remotes.
As far as the audio control operator is concerned, the prime difference
between the Nemo and the studio broadcast is that all of the equipment used
for the Nemo is portable. It must be transported to the Nemo site and there,
set up for operation.
Nemo Equipment
Microphones-A sufficient number of microphones, usually dynamics, to do the job on any particular Nemo. If only one microphone is needed, two are carried, one of them as a spare.
2. Microphone stands-A sufficient number of stands to do the job,
both portable floor stands and table stands.
3. Microphone extention cables, AC power extention cords, tele1.
phone termination wire.
A pair of earphones.
6. Screwdriver, pliers, knife.
7. A roll of friction tape.
8. A set of spare tubes and fuses.
9. A telephone talkback unit, if the station uses one.
10. A suitcase large enough to carry all of items #1 to #9, except
the microphone floor stands.
11. A remote amplifier.
These are the items generally found necessary on a remote broadcast. Most
of the items have either been discussed previously, or are everyday things
that require little explanation. One item however, does require further examination-the remote amplifier.
The remote amplifier is a small, portable, special-purpose control board.
It contains some of the features of a studio type audio console, but being
portable, all of the input and output connections to it are made by the operator at the site of the remote broadcast.
Inputs to the Remote Amplifier.
Most remote amplifiers have input facilities for from one to four microphones, but generally no turntable inputs. The microphones plug into receptacles that are located either on the back, or on one side of the remote
amplifier case.
On the front of the remote amplifier, the operator will find a pot to control each microphone input, and a master pot to control the volume output of
the entire remote amplifier. A volume unit meter is located on the front
panel of the amplifier.
Most remote amplifiers have no microphone keys. When a pot is opened,
its associated microphone is live. There are no auditioning facilities, nor
is there a monitoring system included in remote amplifiers. The remote operator listens to the program that he is sending back to the broadcast station
on earphones, or "cans", as they are called.
Remote Amplifier Output.
The output of the remote amplifier is connected to two pairs of terminals, or
binding posts, which are mounted either on the front panel or on the back of
the remote amplifier case. These terminals must be connected by the Nemo
operator at the remote site to telephone lines, which carry the program back
to the broadcast station.
Some of the other necessary items that the remote operator can expect
to find on either the front panel or the back of the remote amplifier case are:
A jack (receptacle) for the earphone plug, an AC power cord, a power on -off
switch, and a pilot light to indicate that the amplifier is either on or off.
Let us now examine a block diagram (Fig. 13-1) of a typical remote
amplifier to see how it compares with the larger studio control board.
The similarity of the remote amplifier diagram to that of the studio audio
control console will be noted. The primary differences are the lack of microphone keys, monitor amplifier, monitor pot, and loudspeaker.
Now we shall examine some of the popular types of remote amplifier
found at many broadcast stations.
The RCA Remote Amplifier has four microphone inputs, with microphone
#3 or #4 being used at any one time. Note the binding posts on the right
side of the front panel, where the lines are connected, and the microphone
receptacles on the back of the amplifier case.
The Collins Remote Amplifier has four microphone inputs. The line
terminals, microphone receptacles and the AC power line socket are all located on the back of the amplifier case. A separate power cord is plugged
into the power line socket.
Figure 13-1
Remote Amplifier Block Diagram
Figure 13-2
RCA Remote Amplifier Front View
Courtesy Radio Corp. of America
Figure 13-3
RCA Remote Amplifier Back View
Courtesy Radio Corp. of America
Figure 13-4
Collins Remote Amplifier
Front View
Courtesy Collins Radio Co.
Figure 13-5
Collins Remote Amplifier Back View
Courtesy Collins Radio Co.
Figure 13-6
General Electric Remote Amplifier
Courtesy General Electric Co.
The GE Remote Amplifier has four microphone inputs. Its AC power
cord is on the front panel. The microphone receptacles are found on the left
side of the case and the line binding posts are on the right side.
It has self-contained batteries, as does the RCA and Collins amplifiers.
These are used as an emergency power supply for the amplifier, in the event
of a power failure of the regular AC at the remote site.
The GE remote amplifier has a built-in source of "test-tone", which is
found useful by the remote operator. Its use will be described under remote
broadcast procedure.
All of the remote amplifiers mentioned in this chapter are light weight,
easily carried equipment. They measure about 15 by 20 by 8 inches in size
and weigh approximately 30 pounds each.
Remote Broadcast Procedure
The following procedure is followed, upon the decision of a broadcast station to do a remote broadcast of a particular event at a given location.
chief engineer or technician -in -charge at the station calls
the telephone company and orders the audio remote lines, as far
in advance of the broadcast as possible.
2. The phone company runs the required lines, and terminates them
at the Nemo site in a terminal block.
1. The
Figure 13-7 Telephone Co. Terminal Block
Courtesy American Telephone
and Telegraph Co.
The terminal block is a small plastic square, two inches by two
inches, with a metal cover that is screw -mounted to the center
of the block. The block itself has four terminals, one in each
corner. Two of these terminals are connected to the remote line
going to the broadcast station, by the telephone company installer, for each pair of lines ordered.
It will be recalled that generally two pairs of lines are ordered.
One, for the program line and the other as an emergency spare
line. The installer hangs a tag marked "Radio" on the terminals
to which he has connected the program line.
The terminal block has two mounting holes as well, so that it
can be fastened to a wall or other convenient mounting, by the
3. An operator is sent from the station to "scout" the location at
which the broadcast will originate. He is usually sent out on the
same day as the remote broadcast, but at least several hours
before airtime.
He looks particularly for the source of AC power to be used for
the remote amplifier. He looks for the terminal block and he
notes the distance between the block and the power source, both
to each other, and to where the remote amplifier must be set up.
He attempts to secure locally, a table and a chair to be used
during the actual broadcast.
4. Before leaving the station for the remote broadcast, the Nemo
operator checks out all of the equipment he will use, particularly
the remote amplifier, to see that everything is in perfect working
The operator removes the protective front cover from the amplifier, plugs the power cord into an AC outlet and turns the power
switch on. He plugs in the earphones and connects one microphone to the amplifier.
Talking into the microphone, the operator watches the VU meter,
and listens to himself on the earphones. If the equipment appears to be in working order, he disconnects the microphone and
connects, one by one, each of the other microphones to be used
on the remote broadcast.
5. Having determined that all equipment is in operating condition,
the operator unplugs all connections to the amplifier, replaces
its protective front cover and procedes to pack the rest of the
equipment into the suitcase.
Each of the microphones is wrapped or cushioned in a heavy
cloth padding, or in foam rubber. The amount of microphone extention cable, AC power cord and terminal wire that was found to
be necessary on the "scouting" trip and the earphones, the
flashlight, tools, friction tape, spare tubes and fuses, all go into
the suitcase.
6. The Nemo operator checks his wrist or pocket watch against the
control room clock, which is kept timed accurately by a pulse
He makes certain that his
from the U.S. Naval Observatory.
watch is in synchronization with this accurate clock.
7. He leaves for the remote site in time to get there at least one
hour before airtime, taking all of the remote equipment with him.
8. When the operator arrives at the site of the remote broadcast,
he sets up his equipment.
A table is placed so that all microphones will be within sight.
The remote amplifier is placed on the table and its front cover
removed. The amplifier's power cord is connected to the AC
power source, directly if it is close, or through extension cords
if necessary. If extensions are used, the cords are knotted or
taped together at each connection to prevent their being pulled
apart during the broadcast.
A piece of terminal wire of the required length is connected to
the Line terminals on the remote amplifier. The other end of this
wire is connected, with the screwdriver, to the terminals on the
telephone company terminal block marked "Radio Line". This
operation may also require the use of a knife, to clean the wires,
and the pliers to make the connections.
If two pairs of lines were ordered by the station, the talkback
telephone is connected to the other two terminal screws on the
terminal block.
The microphones are then mounted on their stands, and their
cables are plugged into the receptacles on the remote amplifier.
If the microphones are to be located far enough away to require
extension cables, then the cables are knotted or taped together
at each junction to prevent their being pulled apart during the
The earphones are plugged into the amplifier's earphone jack,
and the remote amplifier's power switch is turned on.
9. The remote operator now puts the earphones on his head, and
opens the amplifier's master pot and one microphone pot.
Holding the microphone near him, he calls, "Remote calling
studio, remote calling studio. Hello studio, do you hear me?"
The operator in the control room of the broadcast station is
listening for the call of the remote operator on the audition loudspeaker. He previously threw the remote line key on the console
to the audition position as soon as the remote operator left for
the Nemo. Upon hearing the call, the operator in the control
room throws the remote talkback key on and answers, "Hello remote, hello remote, I hear you loud and clear. Please woof me
some peaks".
The remote operator then procedes to "woof peaks". This is
done as follows: The remote operator says, "w0000f", into the
microphone and immediately thereafter calls out the peak, or
highest reading of the needle on the VU meter, for that woof.
He repeats this procedure several times. The operator in the
control room, meanwhile, adjusts the remote pot on the console
for a coinciding reading on the console's VU meter. When the
remote pot has been adequately adjusted, both VU meters should
read the same for each peak called. As soon as the operator in
the station's control room is satisfied that the readings are substantially the same, he advises the remote operator that enough
peaks have been called.
If the remote amplifier has a built-in source of test -tone, such as
the GE amplifier, the entire peak woofing procedure may be
eliminated. As soon as the remote operator has called in, and
received an answer from the station's control room, he turns on
the amplifier's test -tone and adjusts it so that he is feeding zero
VU, or 100 on the meter scale, to the station. The operator in the
control room adjusts the remote pot until the VU meter on the
console reads a corresponding zero VU, or 100 on the scale.
When volume levels have been synchronized between remote and
control room, the remote operator asks for a time check and accurately re -adjusts his watch if necessary. He then notifies the
operator in the control room that he will call back for a final
check, five minutes before airtime.
The Nemo operator then puts the microphones into position for
the broadcast. If the talent is available, he takes levels. The
remaining time is spent checking over his cabled connections
and other equipment in preparation for the broadcast.
Five minutes before airtime, the Nemo operator again calls the
studio. He receives another time check, and is instructed as to
the cue that will be given to start the remote broadcast.
Either a voiced cue will be given from the studio such as,
"Come in, Palace Theater", or the remote will start "by the
clock" at a pre -arranged time. An "out-cue", or signal to return
to studio, is also arranged between the remote and the studio at
this time.
The operator in the station's control room then feeds the program
then in progress to the Nemo. The remote operator listens for
the signal to start the remote broadcast on his earphones, or
when the previous program ends, he consults his watch and at
the proper time he signals to the talent to begin the show.
The remote broadcast is On The Air.
Public Address System "Bridge" Pickups.
The remote operator may have occasion to do a remote broadcast at an auditorium or a stadium which has its own public address system. At such a
broadcast, particularly if it is a music concert, the Nemo operator will find
that the technician employed by the auditorium or stadium has already set up
microphones for the best pickup at that location. Rather than duplicate that
microphone setup, and possibly create a confusion of microphones and ca119
bles, the Nemo operator should secure permission to take a "bridge feed"
from the public address amplifier to his remote amplifier.
To take a bridge feed, a bridging transformer is carried to the remote
site along with the rest of the Nemo equipment. The bridging transformer
will have two pairs of leads. The operator connects one pair to the output
of the public address amplifier and the other pair to a microphone receptacle
on the remote amplifier.
The Nemo operator's task during the broadcast is then greatly simplified. He has only to ride gain on one microphone pot, the bridged input, and
perhaps one other pot, controlling the microphone used by the station's
announcer at the broadcast. Bear in mind however, that the quality of a
bridge feed will only be as good as the quality of the equipment and operator
providing the feed.
Taped Remote Broadcasts.
Some remote broadcasts will be recorded on tape, at the remote site, rather
than sent back to the station over telephone lines. Taped remotes have
several advantages over line remotes:
1. The taped program can be inserted into the station's broadcast
schedule at a time that is convenient to the station. This time
is not necessarily the same time that the event or program occurs
2. There are no lines used, with a consequent saving of line fees to
the station.
3. Any errors or "fluffs" that occur during the program can be edited
out before the program is aired.
4. The taped program can be cut to conform to an allotted time.
The control operator who does a tape remote carries all of the previously
mentioned equipment with him, with one noteable exception. Instead of the
remote amplifier, he carries a portable tape recorder. Probably the most
widely used recorder for tape remote broadcasts is the Magnecorder.
Short Wave Remote Broadcasts.
A broadcast station often desires to do a remote broadcast at a place where
the telephone company is not able to supply remote line service. A Nemo
of this type might be done with a tape recorder as described earlier, or if
the broadcast must be aired at the same time that the event takes place, a
portable short wave transmitter can be used in addition to the regular Nemo
The remote amplifier is connected to the short wave transmitter, which
broadcasts the program back to the station. There, it is picked up on a short
wave receiver which feeds the program to one of the remote inputs of the
console. An operator handling this type of remote broadcast, and operating
the short wave transmitter, must be the holder of a F.C.C. license in addition to his other qualifications.
short wave Nemo can best be described by an example of such a
The remote equipment, including a short wave transmitter, is assembled
in a delivery truck belonging to the sponsor of the program. This truck
cruises in a particular neighborhood of the city while the program is on the
air. Back at the studio, a disc jockey show is in progress. Between the
musical selections, the announcer gives the approximate locations of the
truck to the listening audience, and announces that the truck will stop in
front of a house on a certain street.
At that point the remote portion of the broadcast begins. Another announcer, who is in the truck with the remote operator, listening to the program from the studio on an ordinary radio, leaves the truck carrying a microphone on a long extension cable with him. He goes up to a house and knocks
on the door. If the person who opens the door has been listening to the program, he will have in his hand one of the sponsor's products. If so, he is
given a prize and, in any event, is interviewed about the product.
To accomplish this type of program the Nemo portion must be aired at
the same time as the studio part; thus, it cannot be pre-recorded. Because
of the necessary mobility of the operation, telephone lines cannot be used
and this necessitates the use of a short wave transmitter.
Remote Broadcast Microphone Setups
Unless the remote broadcast is one requiring high fidelity, such as a music
program, dynamic microphones are used.
For a music Nemo, cardioid, ribbon, or the newer condenser microphones
are used but special care is taken in packing them and transporting them to
the Nemo.
On a sports remote two microphones are used, one by the announcer and
one by the sportscaster. The microphones, mounted on desk stands, are
placed on a table which overlooks the sports arena or event.
Political speeches or banquet broadcasts generally require two microphones. One is placed on the speaker's dais or rostrum and the other, for the
announcer, is placed in a quiet corner of the room where it will be least affected by crowd noise. A press conference might employ the highly directional cardiline microphone to pick up questions from the far corners of the
room with "on mike" presence.
The dance band or orchestra remote broadcast should have three or four
available microphones.
The remote operator should attempt to follow the setup of microphones
suggested for studios, but since he can do nothing to adjust the acoustics
of the room, or the positioning of the musicians, on a remote broadcast, he
must be prepared with enough microphones so that he can experiment before
airtime for the best possible pickup.
When the remote broadcast has ended the operator disconnects all microphones, cables and cords, and repacks all of the equipment. He then returns to the station, taking the equipment with him.
1. What is a Nemo?
2. How does a Nemo differ from a studio program?
3. Enumerate the equipment that should be carried to a remote
4. What is a remote amplifier?
5. Why are there no provisions normally made for turntable inputs
to a remote amplifier?
6. What does the remote operator look for when he is scouting a
Nemo site?
7. Explain the procedure for checking remote equipment before
leaving the station for a Nemo.
8. Explain how the Nemo equipment is set up at the remote site.
9. What is meant by "woofing peaks"?
10. What is a bridging transformer used for?
11. How does a tape remote differ from a line remote?
12. How many microphones should be carried on a remote broadcast
where there will be only one speaker?
13. For what reasons might a short wave transmitter by used on a remote broadcast?
Among the major factors affecting the sound quality of a radio or television
program are microphone placement in the studio, and the physical design and
construction of the studio. Having previously considered the problems of
proper microphone placement, we now go on to develop the factors involved
in the aural quality of a studio. It should be noted, in this connection, that
even the best microphone setup for a program would serve little purpose un-
less the studio itself was designed properly.
First, it should be remembered that when sound strikes a surface such
as a wall, a ceiling or a floor, it is either reflected by, transmitted through,
or absorbed by that surface.
Reflection occurs when the sound hits a hard, shiny surface and
"bounces" off that surface. Transmission takes place by the vibration of
the surface itself, caused by the sound, and continues until the sound has
passed through the material comprising that surface. Absorption occurs when
the sound hits a very soft, pliable surface and is lost in dissipation through
that surface.
The Radio Studio
What, then, are the factors affecting the aural quality of a studio?
1. The studio should be sound-proof. Sound that originates outside
the studio must not be allowed to leak through the walls, the
floor, the air conditioning ducts, or the ceiling of a studio and
affect the program. At the same time, sound should not leak out
of the studio and affect programs in adjoining studios.
Sound -proofing of a studio may be accomplished in one of two
(a.) By constructing the studio walls of heavy, solid, sound-absorbing
materials such as cement or cinder blocks, and covering the
walls, floor and ceiling of the studio with sound -absorbing materials such as Celotex tiles, cork, heavy rugs and heavy draperies. This method is used mainly in small stations, or at stations where the cost of studio construction is a major factor.
(b.) By constructing the studio as a "room within a room". In this
method, the inner -built room does not touch the outer room but
instead is supported on specially built springs which will not
transmit sound. This is a rather costly method of sound -proofing
a studio and is therefore used primarily by the larger stations.
2. Reverberation within the studio must be carefully controlled.
Reverberation is the "bounce", or lack of it, of sound on the
surfaces that comprise a studio.
It is referred to in terms of reverberation, time, the time which elapses
between the cessation of the original sound and the decay of that sound to
one millionth of its original value. It is also referred to in terms of reverberation path, the direction that sound will follow after having bounced off a
surface of the studio.
The reverberation time of a studio depends upon the ability of the studio
surfaces-the walls, floor and ceiling-to absorb sound. The proper reverberation time for any given studio depends upon the size of that studio,
measured in cubic feet, and the use to which the studio will be put.
The reverberation time for any given radio studio might run anywhere
from three tenths of a second, for a 1,500 cubic foot studio that is to be used
only for talks, to one and three quarters seconds for a 125,000 cubic foot
studio that is used primarily for orchestras and dance bands. The average
general purpose radio studio might be designed so that its reverberation time
would be about half way between the above extremes, and thus it would be
usable for all types of programs.
Some of the materials that are used to control the reverberation time of
a studio (by controlling the sound absorption of the studio surfaces) are:
acoustical tiles, draperies or cork on the studio walls; rugs or cork tiles
on the floors; and Celotex tiles or acoustical plaster on the studio ceilings.
The reverberation paths of a radio studio, or the directions in which
sound will bounce from its wall surfaces, may be controlled by adjusting the
the relationship of the wall surfaces to each other. The length of the reverberation paths, together with the reverberation time, determine the degree
of Liveness of a given studio.
Reverberation paths in a studio may be altered by employing tiltable
vertical panels made of plywood, attached to the studio walls, or by mounting vertical plywood half-cylinders on the walls, or by the use of mobile
gobo boards. Gobo boards are sound -absorbing screens. The principle is
that no two wall surfaces in a studio should be parallel, for a minimum of
studio liveness. The degree of liveness of a studio, then, can be altered
by the arrangement of the tilting panels and the placement of the gobo
boards. It follows that a given sound could be made to bounce around a
studio dozens of times, losing most of its strength, and materially shortening
its reverberation time before it again returned to the same place. A microphone located at that place would not be affected by sound reflections.
Figure 14-1 Vertical Tiltable
Panels, and Poly -Cylinders on
a Radio Studio Wall
Figure 14-3 Vertical PolyCylinders. Note the control
room window at the lower left
of the picture.
Figure 14-2 Horizontal Poly Cylinders
Figure 14-5 Sound Reflection
Sound reflection in a studio with parallel
wall surfaces. Note that one trip around the
studio brings the sound back to its starting
point, the microphone.
Figure 14-4 Audience Type
Radio Studio. Observe how
the walls and ceiling are
treated to eliminate parallel
surfaces. Note too, the control
room window at the right, with
a clock and loudspeaker above
it, and the microphone receptacles located both below the
window, and across the stage
from it.
Figure 14-6 Sound Diffusion
Sound diffusion in a studio with non -parallel
wall surfaces. Notice the comparative reverberation paths that the sound must travel,
before returning to the microphone.
Figure 14-7
Live End-Dead End Studio
Live-End-Dead-End Studio
The operator may encounter a Live-end-dead-end studio at some radio stations. This is a studio that was designed to take advantage of the merits of
both a live studio and one that has been deadened to sound reflection.
A live studio is excellent for music fidelity. The greater reverberation
time enhances the brilliance, and the overtones of the music. The microphone pickup suffers in a live studio from the sound reflection but this is
the very thing that enhances the music.
In a dead studio, one with long reverberation paths and short reverberation time, music would sound lifeless but the microphone pickup would be
A live-end-dead-end studio combines the better features of both the
live studio and the dead studio. It is constructed as a live studio but about
10 feet of one end of the studio is thoroughly deadened. An orchestra sets
its instruments in the live end, and microphone is placed in the dead end.
Thus all of the brilliance of the music is picked up by the microphone without the unwanted reflection, or over-liveness.
The Television Studio
Television studios are, in most cases, larger than radio studios. This is
necessitated by the addition of scenery, sets, props and other large bulky
items which are used to build the visual illusion on a television program.
There must be room for the cameras and microphone booms as well; these
must be moved around the studio during the broadcast to pick up the different scenes.
A television studio scene must be well lighted for good picture quality.
This requires extensive overhead lighting equipment, which in turn calls for
a high studio ceiling. In some cases, the ceiling is two stories high.
A large, high-ceilinged studio as just described presents added problems to the audio control operator. Reverberation paths are more difficult
to control, and a hollow, echo -like, roomy sound quality is the likely result.
For this reason the walls and ceiling of a television studio are treated to
make them as sound -absorbent as possible. Design considerations are focused toward creating a "dead" studio. In addition, as previously noted,
cardioid pattern microphones are used to narrow the pickup area of the microphones as much as possible.
studio be soundproofed?
Describe the materials used to soundproof a studio.
What is a floating studio?
Define sound reflection.
Define sound transmission.
Define sound absorption.
Define sound reverberation.
8. What two factors comprise sound reverberation?
9. What materials are used to control reverberation?
10. What is a live-end-dead-end studio?
1. How may a
Standard radio and television broadcasting stations and the operators employed therein are governed by the Federal Communications Commission
through its rules, regulations, laws and standards.
These are contained mainly in the following four F.C.C. publications:
a. The
b. The
c. The
d. The
Rules Governing Standard Broadcast Stations, and the Standof Good Engineering Practice.
F.C.C. General Substantive Rules.
Comniunications Act of 1934.
Rules Governing Commercial Radio Operators.
The audio control operator should be familiar with those portions of the
F.C.C. rules and regulations which pertain to his occupation, his safety,
and his desire to keep himself and his employer within the confines of lawful broadcast operation. Following is a summary of some of these rules:
willfully and knowingly violates any rule, regulation, restriction, or condition made or imposed by the F.C.C.
under authority of the Communications Act, or any rule, regulation, restriction or condition made or imposed by any international radio or wire communications treaty, or convention or regulations annexed thereto, to which the United States is or may
hereafter become a party, shall in addition to any other penalties
provided by law, be punished, upon conviction thereof, by a fine
of not more than $500 for each and every day during which such
offense occurs.
2. No person within the jurisdiction of the United States shall
knowingly utter or transmit, or cause to be uttered or transmitted,
any false or fraudulent signal of distress or communication relating thereto.
3. Whoever utters any obscene, indecent, or profane language by
means of radio communication, shall be fined not more than
$10,000, or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
4. Any person receiving official notice of violation of the terms of
the Communications Act of 1934 as amended, or treaty, or rules
and regulations of the F.C.C., must answer such notice within
three days after receipt.
1. Any person who
licensee of each broadcast station shall maintain program
logs, and shall require entries to be made as follows:
Time of the beginning and end of each program.
An entry of the time each station identification (call letters and
location) is made.
Time that each commercial or sustaining announcement is made.
An entry briefly describing each program that is broadcast, such
as "music", "drama", "speech", etc., together with the name
or title thereof, and the sponsor's name, with the time of the beginning and ending. If a mechanical record is used, the entry
shall show the exact nature thereof, such as "record", "transcription", etc., together with the name or title of each, and the
time that it is announced as a mechanical record. If a speech
is made by a political candidate, the name and political affiliation of such speaker shall be given.
On commercial programs, an entry confirming that commercial
credit has been given shall be made.
An entry showing that each sponsored broadcast has been announced as sponsored, paid for, or furnished by the sponsor.
Logs of standard broadcast stations shall be retained by the
licensee for a period of 1 year, provided however that the logs
involving communications incident to a disaster, or which include communications incident to, or involved in an investigation
by the F.C.C. and concerning which the licensee has been notified, shall be retained by the licensee until he has been specifically authorized in writing by the F.C.C. to destroy them; provided further, that logs incident to or involved in any claim or
complaint of which the licensee has notice, shall be retained by
the licensee until such claim or complaint has been fully satisfied, or until the same has been barred by statute limiting the
time for the filing of suits upon such claims.
No log or portion thereof shall be erased, obliterated, or willfully destroyed within the period of retention provided by the
rules. Any necessary correction may be made only by the person
originating the entry, who shall strike out the erroneous portion,
initial the correction made, and indicate the date of correction.
Rough logs may be kept, transcribed into condensed form, but in
such case, the original log or memoranda, and all portions
thereof shall be preserved and made a part of the complete log.
Logs shall be made available for inspection upon request by an
authorized representative of the F.C.C.
Each log shall be kept by the person or persons competant to do
so, having actual knowledge of the facts required, who shall sign
the log when starting duty, and again when going off duty.
Station Identification.
A licensee of a standard broadcast station shall make a station
identification announcement (call letters and location) at the be -
5. The
ginning and ending of each time of operation and during operation, on the hour and half hour as provided below.
Such identification announcement during operation need not be
made, when to make such announcement would interrupt a single
consecutive speech, play, religious service, symphony concert,
or operatic production of longer duration than 30 minutes. In
such cases, the identification announcement shall be made at
the first interruption of the entertainment continuity, and at the
conclusion of such program.
In the case of variety -show programs, baseball game broadcasts,
or similar programs of longer duration than 30 minutes, the .identification announcement shall be made within 5 minutes of the
hour and half hour.
In the case of all other programs, except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c), the identification announcement shall be made
within 2 minutes of the hour and half hour.
In making the identification announcement, the call letters shall
be given only on the channel of the station identified thereby.
The following procedure should be followed by an operator if he
sees a person come in contact with a high voltage circuit:
All power should immediately be switched off on that circuit,
provided that the switch is quickly accessable.
Pry the victim loose from the contact with a dry board, dry
wooden stool, or chair. Avoid bodily contact with the victim.
Call a doctor.
Give first aid to the victim until the doctor arrives.
1. Why should the audio operator be familiar with the
rules and regu-
lations of the F.C.C.?
2. What is the fine and penalty for violation of any rule or regulation
of the F.C.C.?
3. What is the fine and penalty for uttering obscene, indecent, or
profane language on the air?
4. What information must a program log contain?
5. How long must a log be normally retained by a broadcast station?
Under what circumstances must they be retained longer?
6. How may corrections be made in a log?
7. How frequently must broadcast stations identify themselves on
the air?
8. What information must a station identification contain?
Throughout this text, thé audio control operator has been discussed almost
to the exclusion of everyone else who is employed in the operation of a
broadcast station. This was done as a calculated effort to specifically
point up the job of the audio control operator.
In all justice, however, we must indicate at this point that there are
other important people employed at a broadcast station. The audio control
operator is in daily contact with many of these people and often their jobs
overlap his, so it behooves him to know who they are and of what their jobs
The General Manager.
Every broadcast station regardless of its size has a general manager,
whether by that title or by some other. In small stations he may perform
other duties as well as those of managing the station, and in large stations
he may have a staff of assistants to perform the one managerial function.
His primary job is to formulate the overall policies by which the station is
operated, and to provide supervisory people for its various departments who
are capable of carrying out those policies.
He coordinates the activities of the various departments of the station,
to see that they work together with cooperation and in harmony. In short, he
is the Boss.
The Commercial Manager.
Sometimes known as the sales manager, he coordinates the activities of the
broadcast time salesmen employed by the station.
A broadcast station must earn money to stay in business, and the commercial manager's job is to see that a goodly portion of the station's air time
is sponsored. Sponsorship of programs is the means by which money is acquired to pay salaries and other station expenses. A sponsor is a business
man who pays to have a message concerning his business or products inserted into, or made a part of, a radio or television program.
In a small station, the commercial manager may be the entire sales staff
of the station. At a large station, he might have several broadcast time
salesmen working under his supervision.
The Program Director.
The program director's job is to schedule the shows that emanate from the
station. He sees to it that the proper kind of program is on the air at the
right time of day. In carrying out that function, he hires the announcers and
other talent used at the broadcast station.
His jurisdiction includes the News Department, the Production -Direction
Department, the Script or Continuity Department, the Music Library, the
Traffic Department and, of course, the announcers and other talent. The
program director may himself supervise all of these departments and individuals in a small station or he may delegate this authority to department heads
in a large radio or television station.
The program director schedules the work shifts of the staff announcers,
or delegates that authority to a chief announcer. The other talent, and the
musicians employed on a part time basis at the station, are also scheduled
for their shows by the program director.
To understand the complexity of the program director's job, let us examine a few of the departments that he oversees.
News Department.
All of the international, national, and local news is compiled and edited by
the News Department, and made into newscasts. The station receives its
international and national news by subscribing to the facilities of any or all
of the three wire news services; The Associated Press, The United Press
and The International News Service. News is supplied to the broadcast station by these news service companies via teletype printer. Local news is
acquired either from the local newspapers, or by the employment of local
news reporters. The station may also employ one or more news editors and
Production-Direction Department.
This is the department with which the audio operator will have the closest
contact. At small radio stations, particularly those employing combo-men,
the operator/announcer will be a member of the Production-Direction Department since he will produce and direct his own shows.
At the large broadcast stations where the bigger, more complicated programs are aired, production and direction become highly specialized arts.
There, Production consists of assembling a program by securing the script,
hiring the talent and obtaining clearance for all of the material to be used on
the program. Then the director takes over. He rehearses the cast, times
the program, edits and interprets the material used, and directs the program
when it is being aired.
Continuity Department.
The members of the Continuity Department assemble all script material.
They write any special copy necessary. They write, or check, all commercial copy submitted by the sponsors. All continuity and commercial copy
that is read on the air is filed by the Continuity Department for future
Music Library.
The Music Library buys, or acquires free, records from the recording companies. In addition to records they rent transcribed music from program
library services, such as Thesaurus, Capitol, Sesac, World, etc.
The Music Library stores the records and transcriptions thus acquired,
cross-index files them and makes them available for the station's programs.
They obtain clearance for the use of the music from the music writers associations, ASCAP and BMI, which collect royalties for the authors of the
staff of several people, it can be seen, would be necessary to carry
out these functions at a large station, while at a small station one person,
usually an announcer, is the total staff of the Music Library.
Traffic Department.
The Traffic Department receives program information from the program director, and they furnish the commercial manager with all the information regarding unsold airtime. They begin and terminate all contracts for air time
with the sponsors. This function includes keeping all commercial copy up
to date. Traffic gets the commercial copy from the Continuity Department.
The Traffic Department types up the daily program schedule. They
check the schedule to determine that there are no similar adjacent programs,
or no adjacent similar spot announcements with different sponsors. Traffic
checks the completed program log to see that performance agrees with their
billing, as per the sponsor's contract. They make up the sworn statements
that commercials were given at the time paid for. These statements are then
signed by the announcers. The Traffic Department schedules the individual
studios for programs, rehearsals, auditions and recording sessions.
The Chief Engineer.
The chief engineer is in charge of all of the technicians employed at the
broadcast station. He is responsible for the care, maintenance, and installation of all technical equipment owned by the station.
At small radio stations, the engineering staff may consist of a chief and
two or three transmitter Engineers. If the station employs combo -men, they
are under the joint jurisdiction of the program director and the chief engineer. At non -combo stations, large or small, the chief engineer supervises
the audio control operators, the transmitter engineers and, at television stations, the video control operators and cameramen as well.
The chief engineer schedules the work shifts of the technicians, and he
makes recommendations for the purchase of new or replacement technical
The Television Operating Crew.
television program the audio operator is joined by several other operators,
both in the control room and in the studio, to form an operating crew. The
other operators are:
The cameramen-Usually from one to three cameramen on a TV broadcast. They operate the studio cameras, focusing, composing and taking the
On a
pictures that are sent by the cameras to the video control board.
The Video Control Operators-There is usually one video control operator for every two cameras. His job parallels that of the audio control
operator. The video operator rides gain on, and controls the shading of, the
picture going out on the air, on his video control board.
The Switcher-lie is generally the coordinator of the TV crew. On a
program, he fades or switches from camera to camera, on cues from the director
of the program.
The Boom Operators-Two boom operators are usually employed on a
TV operating crew. They position the microphones, keeping the performers
always on -mike. The boom operators are cued from one position to another
in the studio by the audio control operator.
The Dolly Pushers and Cable Pullers-They push the microphone booms
and the large camera dollys from place to place, wherever they are needed in
the studio, and they lay out and move the microphone and camera cables on
the studio floor so that they are not crossed by the wheels of the heavy
booms and dollys.
The Floor Manager.
He is the director's aide in the studio. The director remains in the control
room during the program, coordinating the actions of the talent and the operations of the crew. The floor manager in the studio receives the cues for
the talent from the director and he relays those cues to the talent.
The Stage Electricians.
They set up and arrange the Lighting of the sets previous to airtime, and they
alter the lighting conditions during the broadcast upon instructions from the
The Stagehands.
They set up and arrange the sets, walls, backdrops, curtains and props, in
fact all of the physical properties that are used to create the picture illusions on a television program.
duties of the general manager?
duties of the commercial manager?
What are the duties of the chief engineer?
What are the duties of the program director?
Describe the functions of the News Department.
Describe the functions of the Production -Direction Department.
Describe the functions of the Continuity Department.
Describe the functions of the Music Library.
Describe the functions of the Traffic Department.
Name the members of the TV operating crew.
What are the duties of a floor manager?
1. What are the
What are the
One who enters the broadcasting industry with a good "talking" knowledge
of his occupation will not appear to be a novice. Included here, therefore, is
some of the every-day terminology of the industry.
dling sound.
A tryout of a record, tape, or live voice, without
putting same on the air; see audition amplifier.
instantaneous cut record; the soft plastic material on which an instantaneous record can be cut.
Pertaining to the sense of hearing, or the science
of sound; treatment of room surfaces for desired
sound reflection.
The wire that is attached to a home radio receiver,
which picks up the radio waves.
The trade name of a high quality broadcast tape
An electronic unit which is used to enlarge an audio or radio wave.
Audition Amplifier-The amplifier which is used to activate the control
room auditioning loudspeaker.
Cue Amplifier-Another name for audition amplifier.
Monitor Amplifier-The amplifier which activates the monitor loudspeakers in the control room and its associated studio.
Pre-Amplifier-An amplifier which is used to enlarge minute microphone
or turntable output energy so that it may be used by the program
Program Amplifier-The master amplifier of a control console; the
amplifier that feeds program out of a control room.
A person who is employed by a broadcast station to
speak or read on the air.
A transmitting radiator; a metal structure which is
used to either radiate or receive radio waves.
See Pot.
That which can be heard; the equipment for han-
Bi -Directional
Blast -in
Music or sound that is kept underneath a speaker's
A microphone that has two live sides.
Sound volume that is too high, and out of propor -
tion to the sound that immediately preceded it.
See Control Console.
A mobile microphone stand.
A musical transition between scenes.
The identifying letters, preceded in the United
States by the letter W or K, assigned to a broadcast
station by the Federal Communications Commission.
A microphone which has one live side.
Cardioid Microphone
The element of a turntable pickup which translates
the record's groove inscription to sound.
A chain consisting of a pre -amplifier, pot and key.
Channel, mixing
This input channel may accept a single input, or a
number of inputs determined by an associated selector switch.
The program amplifier or amplifiers of a control
Channel, output
console. Where there are two, they may each carry
the output of a separate studio, or they can carry
the stereo output of a single studio.
Permission obtained from authors or publishers to
use their material on a broadcast.
To cut off sharply.
That portion of a program in which the sponsors
products or services are described.
An electronic unit which blends, mixes, amplifies,
Control Console
and routes sound.
Written script material.
The room overlooking a studio where the program
Control Room
is controlled.
Patch cord, see Patching.
A spillover of sound from a line to an adjacent line;
Cross Talk
a spillover of sound on a reel of recorded tape, from
one layer to an adjacent layer.
A signal to start.
Cue Amplifier-see Audition Amplifier.
Cue Speaker-see Loudspeaker, Audition.
Pre-setting a record, transcription, or a tape on
its playback machine, for immediate starting.
Call Letters
Dynamic Microphone
Highly sound -absorbent, referring to studios.
The undesirable alteration of sound
A mobile television camera stand.
A microphone which is Live all around its face.
Echo Chamber
highly reflective room, especially prepared for
sound reverberation.
device to compensate for losses in frequency response, in a mechanical playback machine.
Feed Reel
Frequency Response
The operation of a pot on the console, to vary the
volume of an incoming or outgoing music record, in
graduated steps.
See Pot.
Federal Communications Commission.
The transfer of sound by lines, from one place to
see Tape.
A squeal or howl usually caused by faulty loudspeaker muting relays. Could also be caused by
open control room -to-studio door.
A device which eliminates from a record those frequencies at which scratch is heard.
An error in speech or music made by an announcer,
actor or musician, on the air.
In sound, the tone or pitch.
The degree to which audio equipment handles the
entire range of audible sound, without distortion.
Gobo Board
Amplification of sound. Riding gain is the varying
of sound amplification in the control console, by
the operator.
A movable sound -absorbing screen.
High Fidelity
The accurate reproduction of music by a recording
process; the equipment used to reproduce that
Indicator, Volume
See Volume Unit Meter.
That part of an item of electronic equipment into
which sound is fed.
socket or plug receptacle.
Jack Panel or Bay-see Patch Panel.
Key Station
switch on a control console.
broadcast station which originates programs for
its network.
The center portion of a record, containing all of
of the information pertaining to that record.
The degree of sound loudness.
An electronic device which protects a broadcast
transmitter from sound volume surges.
A pair of wires used for carrying program.
Network Line-The line on which programs travel to or from a network.
Remote Line-The line on which program travels from a remote broadcast to the broadcast station.
A live microphone is one that is turned on. A live
program is one that employs live talent, rather than
A listing of various items comprising a broadcast,
as required by the F.C.C.
A device which changes electrical energy into
Audition or Cue Loudspeaker-The loudspeaker in the control room that
is used for listening to console outputs which are not being sent out on
the air.
Monitor Loudspeaker-The loudspeakers in both the control room and
studio, which are used for listening to console outputs that are going
out on the air.
The trade name of a good quality broadcast tape
Master Control
The central control point at a large broadcast station which routes outgoing and incoming programs.
Master Pot
See Pot, Master.
Master Of Ceremonies.
A device for changing sound into electrical energy.
Microphone, talkback
A low quality microphone employed in the intercom
system between the control room and the studio.
Abbreviation for microphone.
See Pot.
Monaural sound
Single output channel sound.
To listen to program going out on the air.
Monitor Amplifier-see Amplifier.
Monitor Loudspeaker-see Loudspeaker.
Monitor Pot-see Pot.
Employing two separated sound channels carried by
a single radio wave.
Remote broadcast.
A company which supplies complex programs to the
Line-see Line,
local broadcast station via telephone lines.
Off Mike
Omni -directional
On Mike
On The Air
Not within the pickup pattern of the microphone.
A microphone that is live, 360 degrees around its
Within the microphone's pickup pattern.
The time when a program is being broadcast.
A person employed by a broadcast station to operate the program controlling equipment.
The terminal point of a unit of electronic equipment, from which sound is taken.
See Pot.
Connecting units of electronic equipment for the
purpose of routing sound, by means of patch cords
which plug into patch panels or patch bays.
Microphone-The area near the live sides of a microphone, in which the
microphone is effective in capturing sound.
The ability of a microphone or a turntable cartridge
to respond to sound; a phonograph arm.
disc recording.
The reproduction of the sound on a record or on a
tape; a sound reproducing machine.
A control knob on a console which varies the sound
volume of an input to the console. "Pot" is an abbreviation of the word potentiometer. Pots are also
known as mixers, faders, pads, attenuators, and
gain controls.
control knob which varies the sound volume output of
Master Pot-The
the entire control console.
Monitor Pot-The control knob which varies the sound volume emanating from the monitor loudspeakers.
An explosive sound caused by excess stress in the
pronunciation of the letters "B", "P" and "T".
Pre-Arnpli fier
See Amplifier.
The quality of being on mike, at the proper individual distance from the microphone.
A manufactured disc recording.
Pressure Microphone
See Dynamic Microphone.
A complete broadcast presentation, usually of five
or more minutes in duration.
Program Amplifier
See Amplifier, Program.
electronic device employed for the reception of
radio waves which carry sound or picture.
To impress sound on disc or tape; a disc on which
phonographic sounds have been impressed.
A room where instantaneous records are cut and/or
tape recordings are made.
A metal or plastic wheel-shaped container used for
holding recording tape.
An electrically operated switch.
A broadcast which takes place anywhere except at
the studios of a radio or television station, or its
A reflection of sound, after the sound has impinged
Ribbon Microphone
Ride Gain
on a surface.
See Bi -Directional Microphone.
To control sound volume by means of the pots on
Recording Room
Remote Broadcast
a control
Stereophonic radio
(pronounced seg-way). A continuous uninterrupted
playing of two or more records with no live announcement in between
A hissing sound made in the pronunciation of the
letter "S".
A disturbance of the air particles, causing an audible vibration of those particles.
A loud sound volume causing the VU meter needle
to go above the 100 mark on the scale; the leakage
of sound from one line to an adjacent line; the
leakage of sound from one layer of recorded tape,
to an adjacent layer.
One who pays the costs of a broadcast for the purpose of having a message concerning his products
or services made a part of that broadcast.
A system whereby sound is picked up, amplified
and routed through two separate input channels.
It is carried unmixed through two separate output
channels and transmitted by a multiplex system.
Stereo provides the listener with an additional
spacial effect which approximates to some degree a
live performance.
A room which is designed to be used for recording
sessions or the production and airing of radio or
television programs.
The pickup needle on a turntable arm.
Anyone who appears for pay on a broadcast, other
than the announcer.
Conversation between control room and studio that
does not go out on the air.
A plastic ribbon coated with an iron oxide, that
is used for recording sound magnetically.
Tape Machine-A device for the recording and playback of tape.
Tape Feed Reel-The reel from which the tape travels, on a tape
Tape Takeup Reel-The reel to which the tape travels, on a tape
The Telephone Company.
A record which is manufactured solely for broadTranscription
cast purposes.
A playback machine for records and transcriptions.
Uni -Directional
See Cardioid Microphone.
Velocity Microphone
Volume Unit Meter
See Bi -Directional Microphone.
The amount or fullness of sound.
A meter or instrument which measures the degree of
sound loudness. It is sometimes called a volume
-A Aerial, 2
Amplifier, monitor, 4
Amplifier, pre-, 4
Amplifier, program, 4
Amplifier, remote, 112
block diagram of, 114
Collins, 115
General Electric, 115
inputs to, 113
weight of, 116
RCA, 114
Amplifier, tape playback, 25
Amplifier, tape recording, 25
Antenna, 2
ASCAP, 133
Attenuator, 5
Audience reaction, 89
Audio control, 1
Auditioning, 7
Audition, key position, 6
-BBalance, definition of, 62
music, 63
Blasting, microphone, 61
BMI, 133
Broadcast, remote, 112
location scouting, 117
microphone setups, 121
PA bridge pickup, 119
procedure of, 116
short wave, 120
tape recorded, 120
Broadcast schedule, 120
Broadcast station, 1
Broadcast time salesman, 131
-CCapstan, 25
Cartridge, record reproducing, 21
Chamber, echo, 33
Chief Engineer, 133
Channel, mixing, 11-16
Channel, output, 11
Combo man,
Commercial announcer, 90
Connection, normal through, 57
Connector, Cannon, 20, 21
Console, Collins 212G-1, features of,
four channel, block diagram of,
functions of, 3
Gates Ambassador, features of, 11-16
Gates Executive, features of, 11-16
General Electric BC -31-B, features of,
one microphone channel, 4
one microphone channel, block diagram
of, 4
RCA BC -3-C, features of, 11-16
RCA BC -7, features of, 11-16
Control board, 2
functions of, 3
Control operation, 1
Control room, 1, 6
Control, volume, 4
Cord, patch, 58
Cross -fade, 68
Cueing, definition of, 65
Cue, key position, 6
-DDead pot, 68
Director, program, 132
Disc jockey, 94
-EEarphones, 7
intercom, 111
Echo, 32, 33
Electrician, TV stage,
Energy, electrical, 1
Equalizer, record, 24
Equipment, nemo, 112
-FFade, 67
Fader, 5
F.C.C., license, 120
rules and regulations of, 128
Feedback, 7
Feed, bridge, 120
Filter, Fairchild, 24
Filter, lateral, 47
vertical, 47
Floor manager, TV, 134
Format, program, 90
-GGain, riding, 5, 62, 120
Gobo board, 124
Groove, 47
Hand signal, types of, 103
uses for, 103
Heads, tape, 25, 2.6
Input, console, 18
Intercom, TV, 111
Jack, earphone,
Key, 4
operating, 5
override, 10
Lathe, recording, 39
Level, changes of, 62
definition of, 61
taking a, 62
Library, music, 133
Limiter, 36
Lines, audio service classes, 32
incoming, 31
transmitter, 35
Loops, 31
Loudspeaker, 2, 4
location of, 36
studio, 6, 89
-MMagnetism, residual, 50
Master control, CBS, 37
lines to, 37
Master of ceremonies, 84, 98
Meter, volume unit, 5
description of, 8
readings of, 62
Microphone, 2, 4
Altec 639 cardioid, 20
Altec 633 dynamic, 19
band setups, 85
cardioid. 18
cardioid combination, 71
care of, 75
clipping of, 75
combination, 18
condenser, 19
control room, 6
Microphone, cord, 75
cord hook, 76
dynamic, 18, 70
Electro -Voice 642 cardiline, 20, 72, 121
Electro -Voice 643 cardiline, 20, 72, 121
interaction of, 81
large orchestra pickup, 86
music pickup, 85, 87, 88
Neumann U-47 (Telefunken) condenser,
20, 72, 121.
Neumann U-67 condenser, 20, 72, 121
number per program, 81
patterns, adjustment of, 72
piano pickup, 86
pickup, quality of, 73
presence, 74
RCA 77 cardioid, 20
RCA Commentator, 19
Senior Velocity, 20
setup, one speaker, 81, 82
setup, two speakers, 83
setup, voice groups, 84
stands. 76, 77, 78,
stand placement, 81
talkback, 6, 10-16
television usage of,
use of, 74
velocity, 18, 71
vs talent, 75
Mixer, 5
Monaural, 10-16
Multiplexing, 11
Music, program, 96
Nemo, 32. 112
Network, 31
lines to, 36
Newscast, 90
Newscaster, 91
Off-mike, 74
Operating crew, TV, 133
Operations, technical, 63
Operator, 1
microphone boom, 111, 134
nemo, 119
video control, 111, 134
Oscillator, tape erase, 25
Output, console, 35
Pad, 5
Patch, panel, 57
procedure of, 59, 60
Peaks, woofing,
Performer, 2
Pickup, arm, turntable, 21
Plug, Cannon, 20, 21
Popping, microphone,
Pot, 4
auxilliary, 33
master, 4
Pot, master, use of,
monitor, 4, 5
Power supply, 3
Pre -amplifier, 4
Station, program director of, 131
Stereophonic sound, 10-16
Studio, 4
design of, 123
live end - dead end, 126
quality of, 123
Presence, section, 88
Production, 132
Program, disc jockey, 93
dramatic, 99
key position, 6
Public Address system, studio,
Pushbutton, talkback, 7
-RRack, equipment, 59
Record, cueing procedure for, 65
keying in, 67
listening to, 7
playing of, 66, 67
potting in, 67
Recorder, tape, 25
tape cartridge, 31
Recording, master, 43
pressing, 46
process of, Capitol Records, 40, 41,
42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47
room, lines to, 36
Recordings, disc, 39
instantaneous, 39
Records, handling of, 48
jackets for, 48
lateral and vertical cut, 47
lines per inch, 48
microgroove and LP, 48
order of play, 94
cuts, outside in, inside -out, 48
Reel, feed, 26
takeup, 26
Relay, 38
loudspeaker muting, 7
Remote broadcast, 32
Reverberation, 32, 33
control, materials to, 124
path, 124
time, 124
Screens, sound absorbing,
Script, 96, 99, 132
Segue, 68
Sibilance, 70
absorption of, 123
definition of, 2
diffusion of, 126
proofing, 123
reflection of, 33, -123, 125
transmission of, 123
Sportscast, 91
Stagehands, television, 134
Station, commercial manager of, 131
departments of, 132
manager of, 131
television, 127
Stylus, 21, 23
Sub -mixer, 9, 10
block diagram of,
RCA, 16
use of, 88
-TTalkback unit, telephone, 112
Tape, bulk eraser, 50
coating of, 49
crosstalk, 51
cue up and play procedure, 68, 69
Editall editor, 53
editing of, 51, 52, 53
erasing, 49
Jiffy Editor, 51, 52
leader, purposes of, 53, 54
plastic base, 49
playback, 49
recorder, Ampex, 28
recorder, Magnecord, 27
operating instructions, Ampex, 26, 27
operating instructions, Magnecorder,
recording on, 49
reel size and footage, 51
speed of, 26
storage of, 50, 51
timing with leader tape,
types of, 49
Telco, 31
Telephone company, 32
Terminal block, telco, 116
Theme, 91
Traffic department, 133
Transcription, definition of, 47
Transfer mechanism, tape, 25
Transistor, 11
Transmitter, 2, 35
Turntable, 4
description of, 21
Fairchild, 22
RCA, 22
TV cameraman, 133
-V Vacuum tube, 3
Volume indicator, 4
Volume unit meter, remote amplifier use,
117, 118, 119
-wWarning signal lights, lines to, 38
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