Radio Broadcasting Glossary – P

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Payola – The Payola Scandal came to a head in the 1960s when DJ Alan Freed, the man who coined the term, Rock and Roll and eight other DJs were accused of taking money in exchange for record airplay. Today, technically, it is legal to accept money for playing a record on the radio as long as the DJ or station publicly discloses it.

P.D. – Abbreviation fro Program Director; the individual who controls the radio or TV station’s format or programs that are broadcast.

Phase shift – A change in the phase of a broadcast signal. Phase can also be defined as a periodic and varying phenomenon.

Phone interface – An electronic device allowing on-air performers easy access to telephone lines. It allows the audio signal from a microphone to be heard by a caller and takes the caller’s audio and directs it into a radio studio console or recording device.

Pitch – The actual tone or sound of one’s voice.

Player – A software application that can receive audio streams over the Internet and convert the digital data back into sound. For example music, talk, etc.

Playlist – The official list of songs that a radio station plays during any given day or week. Playlists are important since they are submitted to trade newspapers and magazines and compiled to reflect national airplay and trends.

Play-by-play announcing – The main sports announcer on a sports event broadcast. Responsible for describing the plays as they happen. Usually works with a color announcer who supplies descriptions, anecdotes and background information during pauses in play.

POT – An abbreviation for the word potentiometer, a round control which increases or decreases the volume sent to a channel on a radio console or audio mixing board.

Podcast – An audio file in a concise form, like an .mp3, created in the form of a radio show with a way to subscribe to it so it is automatically downloaded and delivered to a personal audio device, such as an iPod.

PJ – A slang term that means a Pod-Jockey or a PJ for a Podcaster one who hosts a podcast containing music.

Primary coverage – The area where the reception of a broadcast is at its best; an excellent locality and area. Often times considered grade A in broadcast.

Producer – The person at a radio station who conducts the day-to-day business for a radio show, from lining up guests to acting as a liaison between management and talent.

Production Director – The person at a radio station responsible for overseeing the creation and implementation of commercial content, promotional announcements and any other audio element that must be created for broadcast.

Production Manager – The person who is in charge of producing the commercial announcements.

Production element – An audio element such as music, a sound effect, or an audio effect, including a reverb or echo, used in creating a final audio mix such as a commercial, promotional announcement, or even a humorous skit.

Programming – The output or product of a radio station that is presented either in long form or short form styles. An example of long form programming is when a station presents a topic in extended length, such as public radio does. Short form programming is when a station maintains a constant format, such as a style of music where the programming includes smaller modules strung together.

Program Director – The employee at a radio station who is responsible for the creation and maintenance of the audio output of a radio station with the goal of attracting a listening audience from a target demographic.

Promo – An announcement, live or pre-recorded, promoting upcoming events or the radio station’s image, promotes the results of a past event or promotes any other event which benefits a station’s activities.

Promotions Director – the individual who is responsible for creating, planning and carrying out the logistics of both sales and programming oriented promotions.

PSA – Another term for Public Service Announcement, a free non-profit organization or business spot announcement.

Public Interest – Refers to a concept suggesting that in return for using the public airwaves free of charge, a broadcaster is obligated to act as a trustee of public property and do what is best for the public good. The “public” refers to the local community to which broadcasters are licensed to serve, while “interest” means to benefit the public, as distinct from programs the public is interested in. Public interest obligations are those specific actions broadcasters undertake in exchange for their free license to repay the public for using the broadcast spectrum of public airwaves.

Public Service Announcements (PSA’s) – Known as PSA’s, these are announcements providing advice on an issue of importance, such as alcohol related campaigns like, “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk.”

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