Radio Broadcasting Glossary

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A.A.A.A. – American Association of Advertising Agencies.

A.B.C. – The American Broadcasting System

AC Adult – A radio program format known as Adult Contemporary music, featuring rock and roll and pop music.

Acoustics – How clearly the sound is heard in a room; the quality of sound in a given area.

ADAT – Audio Digital Tape, used in digital systems.

Actives – Radio listeners who actively contact radio stations for requests or contests. Passive listeners, however, are those people who do not generally interact with the radio stations.

Actuality – A term historically used in broadcasting that is now referred to as a sound byte.

Adjacencies – Programs following or preceding a certain time period; commercials that are purchased to be specifically aired immediately before or immediately after a feature or program such as a sportscast or news program.

Ad-libbing – Words, music, or actions uttered, performed, or carried out extemporaneously in one’s own words, without a give script.

Advertising agency – A service business that helps create, plan and place advertising, or ads, and promotions for radio and TV as well as print advertising. Agencies often handle overall branding and marketing.

AFTRA – An association or union known as the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, for members who are broadcast professionals.

Aircheck – Copy of a broadcast that is recorded on magnetic tape or digitally.

Air shift – The length of time that a DJ works on the air at any given time. Average air shifts are four hours but could be up to six hours long.

Airwaves – The medium through which radio or television signals are transmitted. Airwaves are also known by the terms spectrum or the electromagnetic spectrum. Airwave signals travel through the air, unlike the signals transmitted by telephone or cable wires. Almost every American household has a television that receives free programming, which is sent over the airwaves by local TV or radio stations.

Album Oriented Rock (AOR) – Also known as Adult-oriented rock, AOR was originally an American FM radio format focusing on album tracks by rock artists. It popularized the repertoire of music that is currently associated with classic rock.

A.M. – The amplitude modulation, A.M. broadcasting signals, considered the standard radio band; meaning the amplitude of a carrier wave which is varied according to certain characteristics of a modulating signal.

Amplifier – The ability to amplify or make sound louder or softer through an electronic devise that is adjustable.

Analog – A type of waveform signal with characteristics that are continuous as opposed to pulsed, containing data or information such as voice, data or image. Analog was standard broadcasting or the way old record players worked before the onset of CD’s. It is the storage or transmission of information by a variable physical means, such as a shift in voltage sent through the electromagnetic spectrum or the vibrations of against patterns inside the grooves of a vinyl disc, to create physical (analogous) patterns of pictures or sounds. Analog signals have unpredictable height, or amplitude, and width, frequency, and can vary infinitely over a given range.

Announcer – An on-air talent personality who is the person with the job to read scripts or announcements on radio or television. (Sick jockey, news anchor, sports announcer, etc.)

Arbitron (ARB) – A company providing an industry accepted standard for audience measurement of radio programming. Arbitron also refers to the company’s Arbitron radio market survey and report that is published four times per year.

Ascertainment – A process to determine what a community needs and wants, so that a radio station can try to serve its community better.

ASCAP – The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, an organization.

Audio production – Recording of sound and reproduction is the mechanical or electrical inscription and re-creation of sound waves, typically used for the voice or for music. The two basic classes of sound recording include analog and digital recording.

Audio consoles – Mixing consoles or a digital mixing console or audio mixer, also called a sound board or soundboard, is an electronic device for combining, or mixing, routing, and changing the level, timbre the dynamics of audio signals. A mixer can mix analog or digital signals depending on the type of mixer.

Audition tape formats – A recorded program or a radio show, news, sports, commercials, etc. to show and have heard for employment.

Automated radio – Radios that can be automated or controlled by electronic devices requiring very little human intervention.

Automatic Equipment – Equipment that enables a radio or TV station to operate automatically.

Average quarter – A term used in the industry describing audience measurements according to Arbitron. For example, the average number of persons listening to a particular station for at least five minutes during a 15-minute period of time.

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