Glossary of often used terms:

  1. 3G – 3rd Generation voice and data network that offers peak data rates of 14.0 Mbits/s download and 5.8 Mbits/s upload capability
  2. 4G – 4th Generation voice and data network that offers peak data rates of 100 Mbits/s download and 50 Mbits/s upload capability
  3. 5G – 5th generation data network, conspiracy theorists, many with too much time on their hands, blame for every ill and evil in the world. Data rates of 50 Mbits/s up to 1 Gbit/s depending on the frequency band.
  4. AC – Could mean: Alternating Current; Air Conditioning, as in HVAC; or Adult Contemporary, a common format for FM stations
  5. AM – Amplitude Modulation.  Lowercase indicates before noon.
  6. AOIP – Audio over IP (Internet Protocol).
  7. ASRN – Antenna Structure Registration Number, required by the FCC for all towers over two hundred feet tall, with some exceptions made for proximity to airports or terrain shadowing.
  8. ATA – Analog Telephone Adaptor.  A device that when connected to an IP network, can send and receive telephone calls using a DID line.
  9. AV – AudioVault automation system, manufactured by Broadcast Electronics.
  10. BE – Broadcast Electronics, transmitter, and automation system manufacturer.
  11. BER – Bit Error Rate, error measurement on a digital circuit, usually given in parts per million, sometimes as a percentage.
  12. CAP – Common Alert Protocol, a message forwarding method used to disseminate EAS messages
  13. CFR – Code of Federal Regulations.
  14. CHR – Contemporary Hit Radio, aka Top 40
  15. CODEC – COde DE Code, a device or software program that translates analog audio to digital data bits and back again.
  16. COFDM – Coded Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing.  A digital modulation scheme using multiple digital sub-carriers.
  17. COL – City of License.
  18. DA – Directional Antenna.  Variations: DA-1 directional antenna, 1 pattern.  DA-2 directional antenna, 2 patterns (day/night).  DA-N directional antenna night time only.
  19. DID – Direct Inward Dialing telephone line.  A type of phone line was developed to allow several phone numbers to use the same pair of wires.  Works well with VOIP service
  20. DRM – could mean Digital Radio Mondiale (pronounced “mon-de-al” means “worldwide” in French) or Digital Rights Management, an encoding scheme used by record companies to prevent the theft of music from CDs.
  21. DS-1 – Same as a T-1, digital telephone circuit that carries 1.44 Mbps bi-directionally.  Can carry up to 24 DS-0, which is a normal (POTS) telephone circuit.
  22. DVM – Digital Volt Meter.
  23. EAS – Emergency Alert System, a mandated system for all broadcasters and cable operators that is supposed to alert the public in case of an emergency.
  24. EBS – Emergency Broadcast System, the predecessor to EAS.
  25. Eb/No – The ratio of Energy per Bit (Eb) to the Spectral Noise Density (No), a measure of signal-to-noise ratio for a digital communication system.
  26. EMP – Electro-Magnetic pulse.  A strong energy pulse is generated by lightning or nuclear explosions.  Responsible for most lightning-related equipment damage.
  27. ERP – Effective Radiated Power.  The power is transmitted from an antenna.  Does not take into account the Height Above Average Terrain (HAAT).
  28. EVM – Error Vector Magnitude.  A measurement used in digital modulation schemes to determine distortion.
  29. FAA – Federal Aviation Administration.  An organization that is interested in broadcast towers in as much as they are hazards to aerial navigation.
  30. FCC – Federal Communications Commission.  The organization charged with regulating all broadcasting (and other communication) operations.
  31. FM – Frequency Modulation
  32. GIGO – Garbage In, Garbage Out.  A computer programming term that defines quality and effort with the end product
  33. HAAT – Height Above Average Terrain.  The height of a location compared to the terrain that surrounds it. They are computed by taking 50 evenly spaced elevation points (above mean sea level [AMSL]) along at least 8 evenly spaced radials from the transmitter site (starting at 0 degrees [True North]). The 50 evenly spaced points are sampled in the segment between 3 to 16 km (formerly 2 to 10 miles) along each radial.
  34. Hard-Line – large diameter rigid coaxial cable, comes in 20-foot (or sometimes 19 or 17-foot) sections with diameters between 7/8 and 6 inches.
  35. HD radio – digital radio scheme by Ibiquity.  (HD does not stand for “High Definition” the same way as HDTV.  Nor does it stand for “Hybrid Digital” as some have suggested.  HD is merely two letters chosen by Ibiquity for their system, to call it “High Definition” would be misleading)
  36. Heliax – Large diameter semi-rigid coaxial cable used as transmission line between transmitter and antenna.
  37. HVAC – Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning
  38. IBOC – In Band On Channel digital radio, also known as HD radio.
  39. IFB – Information Fold Back.  Sending programming information with mix minus back to a remote broadcast to facilitate coordination of broadcast.
  40. ISDN – Inter State Digital Network, a digital phone service used in radio applications to relay broadcast quality audio between two distant points.  Now obsolete.
  41. IP – Internet Protocol
  42. ISP – Internet Service Provider
  43. IT – Information Technology, a fancy name for computers
  44. Lossy – Generally refers to a digital compression scheme that deliberately loses data to reduce file size.  Can also be used to describe a transmission path over less-than-ideal conditions
  45. LAN – Local Area Network, a networking system usually based on Ethernet (802.x) topography
  46. MATRIX – a POTS codec made by Comrex used to relay broadcast quality (?) audio for remote broadcasts.
  47. Metal Whisker – Microscopic filaments of metal such as zinc, tin, and silver that grow out of coated metal surfaces.
  48. MER – Modulation Error Ratio
  49. Mix-Minus – a mix of audio signal less the signal you are sending the mix to.  Prevents echo and feedback.
  50. MMA – Mast Mounted Amplifier, used in the high UHF frequencies to cut down on transmission line loss.
  51. NAL – Notice of Apparent Liability.  The FCC’s polite way of saying “you owe us money due to a rules infraction”
  52. NEMO – Not Emanating from Main Origination, old school name for Remote Broadcast
  53. NOI – Notice Of Inquiry.  The first step in an NPRM.
  54. NOTAM – NOtice To AirMen.  A notice generated by the FAA to specific airports regarding changes to the operations near the airport.
  55. NOUO – Notice of Unauthorized Operation.  Usually, a letter is sent to the address of a pirate broadcaster telling them that they are breaking the rules and might be subject to a fine if they continue.
  56. NOV – Notice of Violation.  The FCC’s way of saying clean up your act, or you’ll get a fine.
  57. NPRM – Notice of Proposed Rule Making.  The method by which the FCC proposes then adopts new rules and regulations.
  58. Payola – Pay-for-play scheme where somebody gets cash (or other items of value) for playing a certain song or artist.
  59. Part ##.  Refers to FCC regulations, e.g. Part 73 covers AM, FM, and TV broadcasting.  Part 15 covers low-power license-free operations such as garage door openers and wireless ethernet routers.
  60. Pink Noise – Also known as 1/f noise, noise that has the same power in each octave.
  61. Plugola – Similar to payola, only cash (or other items of value) is paid for mentions of a product or event on the air.
  62. PM – Preventative Maintenance.  Lowercase indicates afternoon.
  63. POS – Piece of Shit
  64. POTS – Plain Old Telephone Service, a regular dial tone telephone line.
  65. PPM – Arbitron’s Nielson’s Portable People Meter method of rating data collection
  66. PSTN – Public Switched Telephone Network; the dial tone phone system, aka POTS
  67. Remote – Any broadcast not originating from the studio, AKA live on location.  Old times would call this “NEMO” which stands for Not Emanating from Main Origination”
  68. QoS – Quality of Service; in an IP network, QoS determines which packets have priority.  Normally assigned to AOIP or VOIP packets
  69. RFI – Radio Frequency Interference.  Reception of radio signals on things that are not supposed to receive them, such as telephones and answering machines.  Most noted nearer to high power installations.
  70. RPU – Remote Pickup Unit, AKA Marti, a transmitter used for remote broadcasts.
  71. SAS – Sierra Automated Systems, a manufacturer of audio routers, switchers, and consoles
  72. STA – Special Temporary Authority.  Granted by the FCC in some circumstances to allow stations to operate at variance from authorized facilities or current regulations.
  73. STL – Studio to Transmitter site link, often via 950 MHz radio, sometimes by T-1 circuit.
  74. SWR – Standing Wave Ratio.  The Ratio of reflected power to forward power in a transmission line or antenna system is usually measured in units of power.  1:1 is a perfect match.
  75. T-1 – digital telephone circuit is also known as a DS-1.  Carries 1.44 Mbps bidirectionally, generally going out of use.
  76. TDR – Time Domain Reflectometer.  Cable testing tool finds bad spots in coax and other cables.
  77. TELCO – Telephone Company
  78. TPO – Transmitter Power Output
  79. TSL – Transmitter to studio link, often via 450 MHz radio path or T-1, carries telemetry data from transmitter, off-air monitor, and other misc utility audio.  Could also mean “Time Spent Listening” when used in a programming context.
  80. VOIP – Voice over IP telephony
  81. VSWR – Voltage Standing Wave Ratio, the ratio of forward vs. reflected RF voltages in an antenna system.  Like SWR, 1:1 indicates a perfect match.
  82. VPN – Virtual Private Network, a method for creating a WAN via the internet using specialized routing equipment that generates encrypted “tunnels” through the public data network.
  83. Voice Tracking – A method of pre-recording DJ breaks into an automation system.  Makes it sound like there is someone live in the studio when there is not.
  84. WAN – Wide Area Network, a method of linking LANs in separate locations to create one larger network, often linking facilities within the same company.  Linking can occur by private, leased data circuits (T-1 or frame relay) or via public networks (internet) via VPN routers.
  85. WLAN – 802.11 Wireless Local Area Network.
  86. WiFi – Same as WLAN.
  87. White Noise – flat, full-spectrum audio, especially useful in equalizing a circuit or room (room aka studio or performance venue)
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