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Stations and networks use sound to shape 'images' and to woo potential advertisers
up-tempo, on-the-aii personalities who could project themselves in relatively few words. Ihe music '(voidd have importance not in terms of individual numbers but in terms of "flow." Innnediacy in hourly news and wcathercasts would be stressed. "All elements — music, news, service-^must flow together," Mr. Kaland states, "for a total contemporary sound."
"Flow" is also the important element in the "balanced programming" of The Balaban Stations, according to John Box Jr., executive vice president and managing director of the group. The Balaban approach is based upon the concept of radio as a personal medirun, a constant companion, designed to appeal to local tastes within individual markets, he says. The final aim is to provide the ingredients that will keep the most people listening all of the time.
"Our programming is based on the care and skill which are essential to the development of a smooth flow of jjleasant, yet attentionable sound," Mr. Box declares, "achieved through the infinite variations in the selection and secpiencing of music."
The primary recjuisite of skilllull programming, he asserts, is a constant effort to adapt certain elements to the known activities of the majority of the people at a given time. He classifies these elements as tempo, mood, flow, appeal and service.
"When you abdicate your progranmiing to program directors or disc jockeys ... or the corner record shop . . . you are headed for trouble,"
Mr. Box warns. Programming nuist lean heavily on the tactor of audience composition, he says. "Oiu' studies in every city where we have facilities ]3roves to us that there is a different audience availability at varying hoins of the day. This intrcxluces other elements in our program planning:
• Natiue ot audience composition.
• Activities of liousehold and outol-home.
• Mood in relation (o time ot day.
• Season ol the year.
• Day of the week.
"Obviously," reasons Mr. Box, "the selection and sequencing ot nuisic nvust vary in relationship to each of these fi\e fundamentals and also in unison with the five previously indicated elements. The application of reasonable research, logic and a certain type of artistry creates a musical mix for constant broadcast appeal in relation to mood and motion."
Although, as has been noted, the over-all station sound goes far beyond engineering differences, technical aspects are important. Everything about the sound broadcast by a station is relative to the hiunan ear. Various stations differ in their engineering approaches. And these differences are a beginning toward the pmely technical differences in station soimd.
Beyond that, there are engineering technicpies for making the station sound crisper, more brilliant, "bigger." A more brilliant soinid can be achieved by emphasizing the registers
that underscoK' the leeling o! l)rightness. A sense of bigness can be achieved by the use ol an echo in which the sound is repeated an infinitesimal fraction ol a second after the original soiuul — so close that there is no feeling ol hearing the same sound twice, l)Lit only of bigness.
There are many other elements contribiuiiig to the better sound of radio today. Recordings are much finer than they used to be; diamond styli, vastly superior heads and reproduction systems, better microphones, all add to the supericjrity of today's sound. There are many companies making records and they have appreciable differences in their standards.
Sound of Immediacy
The sound of innnediacy in news is also an integral part of the station soimd. There are ])lenty of "telety])e rippers," as Mr. Box calls thcni, l)iu that tv])e of newscasting has nothing \erv imaginative or luiicjue about it that would set the station ajjart, he says.
Many techniques are employed by stations to create the feeling in sound of immediacy. An example is the growing popidarity of mobile imits, portable tape recorders and beeper phones to cover the local scene, ^^ore and more the present tense and the first person singular are finciing their way into newscasts bringing with them the value of projecting the listener into the atmosuhere of the event being reported. This type of reporting brings listeners the news first — and first hand.
"Triteness and staleness should
U. S. RADIO • December 1958