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.
Backsell – A term for a technique used by DJs where the deejay announces the title or the artist of the song he just played.
Backtiming – Calculating the intro time on a song before its vocal begins and starting the audio source or CD along with that song so when the preceding audio ends, the vocal on the song that has been back timed begins right at the end of the previous audio.
Band – Broadcasting range, or wave lengths of sound.
Bed – Refers to a production element, such as instrumental music and/or a continuous sound effect such as the ocean or wind, used as a background element for a promotional announcement.
Billboard – The opening of a radio or TV show; a brief announcement identifying a sponsor at the beginning or the end of another programming element such as the news or traffic.
BMI – Broadcast Music Incorporated, owned by a variety of stations and networks.
Board – The console that is used for controlling the audio mix and output during a live broadcast or studio recorded sources.
Board Op – the person physically operating a console in the radio studio who makes sure that a live program runs smoothly or that a recorded program airs properly.
Bonus Station – A network or local radio or TV station that airs a program with commercials free of charge.
Book – Slang for an Arbitron rating period such as fall, winter, spring or summer.
Bring it up – Increase the level of volume control.
Broadcast – A presentation of a recorded or live program on the radio or TV, commercial or otherwise.
Broadcasting – The transmission of electromagnetic signals through the airwaves over a wide area, as in television or radio is known as broadcasting. These signals may also be transmitted point-to-point, as in microwave transmission, and are referred to as narrowcasting. A broadcast may also be synonymous with a TV or radio program. Broadcasting is also referred to as the radio and television broadcast industry. Typically, broadcasters work in the industry. To broadcast is to participate in a radio or television (TV) program.
Broadcast journalism – Encompassing radio, television and online forms of media, broadcast journalism is a discipline of writing news-oriented journalism. Broadcast journalism refers to television news and radio news, as well as online news outlets.
Bumper – An audio segment that is prerecorded, typically consisting of voice over music, that acts as a transition to or from a stop set of commercials or other content.
Bumper music – Music clips that are used to transition between one programming element into another such as when a local affiliate station inserts local commercials, it often plays music during the transition to avoid dead air or empty pauses.
Call letters – The I.D. or official legal name of a radio station, such as KROC-FM.
Campaign ads – Commercials in a series that have the same theme.
Cans – A slang term for headphones.
Cart – Used to store recorded sound before the advent of digital technology, a cart is similar to an 8-track cartridge and is made of analog tape that loops back to the beginning after it plays.
Cartridge machine – Machines that use tapes in a cartridge, which looks similar to an 8-track tape; you can play back or record on cart machines.
CBS – The Columbia Broadcasting Station.
Channels – The Federal Communications Commission designates a channel, otherwise known as a spectrum frequency on the band of the radio or TV dial, for a radio or television station to ensure that the stations do not interfere with each others signal. Channels are known to viewers as the numbers on TV dials corresponding with individual local stations. Channel assignments vary widely by market.
Clear channel station – A broadcast station whose operation covers a very wide area.
CHR – Contemporary Hit Radio formatting, formerly known as Top 40.
Churban – A hybrid radio format mixing contemporary hit radio (CHR) with urban music, including hip hop or R&B.
Clear channel – a radio station operating at maximum power (50,000 watts) on an exclusive frequency that is designed to serve large areas. This also refers to any radio station owned by “Clear Channel Communications,” the largest radio company in the United States.
Closed circuit – A transmission through direct telephone lines or cable wires to receive the broadcast signal. It is not broadcast with the transmitter of a radio or TV station.
Clutter – An excessive number of commercials or other non-program elements appearing one right after the other.
Color Announcer – The second banana, or sidekick, to the play by play announcer doing a broadcast of a sporting event. For example, on Monday Night Football, Al Michaels is the play by play announcer, John Madden is the color announcer of color commentator.
Commercials – Business’s advertising messages, they are recorded or live. Lengths are usually 15, 30 or 60 seconds, and sometimes 2 minutes.
Commercial copy – The written commercial message.
Console – a Board used for controlling the audio mix and output from a live studio broadcast or other recorded sources.
Consolidation – A trend in the radio industry where larger companies buy up smaller companies. After 1996, when deregulation was approved, single ownership and small group ownership of radio stations has decreased.
Contest pig – Listeners who listens to many station just for the purpose of calling in and trying to win contests.
Copy – Content or written material for commercials, promotional or public service announcements, or any other worded information that will be read by a DJ.
Copywriter – Individual who scripts and writes radio and TV commercials.
Credits – The people involved in the actual program, everyone including back stage hands.
Crossfade – The control board operator uses this technique — mixing sound between two sources by fading one down while at the same time raising the volume of the second source. As the second source becomes prominent, the first source is faded away entirely.
Dead air – Silence on the radio when there is no audible transmission that can be due to either operator error, computer error or an act of nature.
Decibel – The unit that measures the volume of sound.
DeeJay (DJ) – Radio personality, or disc-jockey – a “jock.”
Delayed broadcast – The program is pre-recorded, or not live. To be broadcast at another time.
Delivery – The style that an announcer uses when announcing a commercial, or reading a script.
Deregulation – The loosening of Federal regulation over radio stations either by decree from the FCC or through law by Congress. The Communication Act of 1996 offered new deregulation for radio.
Disc-jockey – a deejay (DJ) or person who plays songs on the radio, and provides information and other content to listeners.
Drive Time – Known as the time periods between 6-10am (Morning Drive) and 2-6pm (Afternoon Drive) when radio stations typically have their highest listenership.
Drops – Sound bites that have been lifted from movies, television programs or other sources to be used by DJs to accentuate programming.
Dub – To make a copy of a tape or an audio or TV segment or a commercial.1\
Engineer – the technician responsible for maintaining and fixing the radio station’s equipment such as consoles, microphones and transmitters.
(E) Ethnic Radio – Ethnic radio programs typically broadcast in different languages from major metropolitan areas across the U.S. They are produced locally and cater to the cities with the highest concentration of the respective ethnic communities.
Eavesdropping – is the act of surreptitiously listening to a private conversation. Federal law makes interception, or eavesdropping, of any communication a crime unless done by or with the consent of one of the parties to the conversation. Criminal interception is punishable by five years in prison or $10k.
EAS Test – An Emergency Alert System is a real-time test of the system to insure the audio link between each station works properly. This replaced the old Emergency Broadcast System (EBS.) EAS is an electronic system which uses the radio infrastructure to alert the general public to emergency situations including weather, safety and homeland security. It requires certain smaller, less important radio stations to give their programming over to larger, more important stations for the purpose of information dissemination.
Emergency Broadcast System – was an emergency warning system in the United States, used from 1963 to 1997, when it was replaced by the Emergency Alert System.
Edit – To delete or add on a recording, tape or video.
Format – The program element; example: A.O.R. M.O.R. Country Western, Jazz, Rock, etc.
Format Clock – A circular diagram like a clock, divided up like a pie, where each piece represents both a radio programming element and its length in a typical hour. This includes songs, commercials, talk time, etc. Directors often use a format clock to create the hour-to-hour flow of radio station’s programming.
Freedom of information – Over seventy countries around the world have implemented some form of freedom of information legislation.
Freeform radio – A specific radio show format approved by a station’s management in which the DJ of the station has complete freedom or control over program content and a tendency to play music that is not usually heard.
Freelance – An individual who is self-employed and not employed by a station.
Frequency – Technically this is an electromagnetic wave frequency between audio and infrared. When used in a programming context, it means the number of times the target audience will be exposed to a message.
Front sell – The introduction of a song that has just started to play, or the on-air personality stating the name of the radio station as the very first thing said. For example, the announcer may front sell the call letters, and then introduce the next song.
Gain – A term for volume.
Headphones – Headsets or earphones used to hear whatever you are recording, or broadcasting, at each given moment.
Hit the post – Deejays often use this term to describe talking up to the point when the lyrics begin without stepping on the beginning of the vocals. It also refers to talking up to the point where the instrumental of a song begins or ramps up.
High Definition Radio or HD Radio – This is when technology transmits digital audio and data alongside existing AM and FM analog signals. Liquity, the developer of this technology, says HD Radio offers FM Multicasting, or the ability to broadcast multiple program streams over a single FM frequency, with static-free, crystal-clear reception and a variety of data services including text-based information.
Hook – This is the part of a song that is unique in the listener’s ear, such as the portion of the song the listener usually likes and remembers the most.
Hour – An industry term that refers to audience measurement. For example, according to Arbitron it means the average number of persons listening to a particular station for at least five minutes during a 15-minute period.
I.D. – A station’s legal identification, usually given at the top of the hour.
Inflection –The blending of the voice that carries us from one pitch to another.
Interference – Static caused from another radio or TV station due to being broadcast over the same band.
Jingle – A programming element such as an anthem or musical song produced by professional studio singers for commercials or radio station promotional announcements.
K – The first letter in the call sign for United State based radio broadcast stations located west of the Mississippi. W is used for stations east of the river and X for stations broadcasting from Mexico. Not required for internet radio stations.
Level – The volume level that controls the broadcast.
Liner – A written phrase that stand by themselves and are meant to communicate concise imaging. Typically, a DJ says a “liner” over an intro of a record or during a commercial break between songs and spots.
Live assist – This describes how a DJ creates a radio show by interacting with a computerized system. The DJ provides live talk, chat, liners, and then activates the computer system which automatically runs commercial spots, jingles, promos or songs. When it is time for the DJ to talk again, he/she deactivates the automation and goes live again.
Log – The written record of what transpires at the radio station, including: music, commercial content and transmitting specifications. A music log is a list of the songs played for the day, a commercial log shows which commercials were played and when and an engineering log show the status of a transmitter’s specifications during the course of a day.
Major market – A large city radio or TV station. The top 20 cities in the U.S. (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc.)
Man on the street – A type of interview.
MBS – The Mutual Broadcast System.
Media – Any type of advertising service – radio, TV, newspaper, etc.
Medium market – A city in the country which is medium in size, maybe up to 500,000 people.
MIKE – Abbreviation for the microphone.
Microphone – The device that converts the sound waves into electrical energy.
Miscue – A situation when the audio element begins too soon so the end result is two audio sources playing at the same time.
Mixing – Used in sound recording, audio editing, and sound systems, mixing balances the relative volume, frequency, and dynamical content of a number of sound sources for the different musical instruments in a band or vocalists, the sections of an orchestra, announcers and journalists, crowd noises, etc.
Moderator – The leader in a discussion of any group which is broadcast.
Monitor – To listen or view a program, with radio or TV. Also a speaker, as in a speaker used to monitor what goes is being broadcast or what is being cued up for subsequent play.
(MOR) Middle of the Road – A radio format that appeals to the 35-60 year old age group.
Multicasting/multiplexing – The practice by which TV stations split a single digital signal into six or more different regular channels. TV stations generate increased revenue by using some channels for all of video transmission, voice mail, paging, data transmission and Internet service.
Music Director – The person at a radio station responsible for interacting with record company representatives, auditioning new music, and making decisions in conjunction with the program director, about which songs get airplay, how much and when. The music director devises rotations for songs and programs the daily music through specialized software.
Narrator – The individual who announces during the course of a broadcast program.
NBC – National Broadcasting Company.
NCS – Nielsen Coverage Study, used in radio and TV ratings.
On demand audio – The act of streaming or turning audio into digital data and transmitting it over the Internet.
Open mike – A mike which is live, on at the given moment.
Obscene language – A term that is most often used in a legal context to describe expressions (words, images, actions) that offend the prevalent sexual morality of the time. It can simply be used to mean profanity, or it can mean anything taboo, indecent, abhorrent, or disgusting. (Latin: obscenus, meaning “foul, repulsive, detestable.)
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.”
Queue – a number of cuts or commercials that are waiting to be played back in a specific, predetermined manner as in a station break.
Radio – Telecommunication by modulation and radiation of electromagnetic waves.
Ramp – The instrumental beginning of a song leading up to the vocals, also known as the intro.
Ratings – An estimate of the size of an audience shown as a percent of a total group of people surveyed.
R&B – Rhythm and Blues radio format.
RDS – An abbreviation for Radio Data system, this technology allows stations to transmit additional types of information via encoded digital signals that can be received and displayed by the user’s radio. An RDS-capable radio can display the title and artist or current song playing, local traffic information, an advertiser’s phone number while a commercial is playing.
Regional Network – A network of stations that covers only a certain region or area such as North, West, South or East areas.
Religious (R) Radio – A spiritual or religious radio format.
Reel-to-reel analog machines – Reel-to-reel, open reel tape recording is a form of magnetic tape audio recording in which the recording medium is held on a reel.
Remote – This refers to a broadcast that originates live on location, outside the station’s studio where the broadcast would normally originate.
Sign-on – The time in which a radio or TV station begins its broadcast day.
Simulcast – The broadcast of the same or simultaneous show or telecast on different stations.
Skype – A free Internet telephony used by many podcasters to conduct interviews and other business.
Small Market Station – A radio or TV station located in a small city or town.
Sound byte – A snippet of audio usually culled from an interview and used in conjunction with a news story. Its length may vary anywhere from: 05 to :15 seconds.
Spot – Another word for a radio commercial.
Sports Broadcasting – The broadcast, usually live, of a sporting event or occassion. Also used to describe the portion of a newscast devoted to sports news.
Stager – a musical effect that establishes and holds; good for dramatic emphasis.
Station IDs – Legal announcement broadcast at the top of the hour identifying the radio station by its legal call letters.
Station log – A journal listing every song and commercial played and the time they were played.
Stinger – A technique often used by radio DJs that is a sound or musical effect punctuating or emphasizing a thought.
Stop set – This refers to the place where commercials are played during a typical broadcast hour. There may be several scattered throughout a typical 60 minute period.
Streaming – The act of turning audio into digital data and transmitting it over the Internet.
Stream jockey – What a DJ is called on satellite radio or a DJ on a webcast.
Syndicated – a radio program offered by a network or an independent organization that is for sale or on a barter basis to radio stations.
Sweeper – A recorded element, such as a voice, voice over music or sound effects, that bridges two songs together or creates a transition from commercials back to music.
TAG – A short addition which is added to a radio or TV commercial message.
(T) Talk radio format – A type of radio format where listeners call in and talk to the DJ.
Voiceovers – A production technique using a disembodied voice as broadcast live or pre-recorded in radio, television, film, theater or in a presentation; spoken by someone who also appears on-screen in other segments, voiceovers can also be commonly referred to as an off camera commentary.
Voice Track – A pre-recorded voice of a radio personality or DJ that is recorded and stored in a computer to be played at a specific time in a pre-programmed sequence such as at the beginning or end of a song.
Vocal/Voice exercises – Exercises that help prepare the breath to support the voice.
Voice and speech training – Classes for speech and voice improvement for professional and public speaking, foreign accent reduction, and communication etiquette.
W – The first letter in the call sign for radio and television stations broadcasting east of the Mississippi.
Weather Reporting – Broadcasts on radio or television about local daily weather, or for local and national weather service warnings and watches.
Wire services – News and press release distribution services.
Write in – Added to a script or to a commercial copy in addition to the script.
X – The first letter in the call sign for radio stations broadcasting south of the border in Mexico. Many times these stations have sales and corporate headquarters in the United States. Not required for internet radio stations.