The general world of broadcasting (radio & TV) just like any other professional field has a lot of terminologies that are mostly understandable to only industry insiders. Every introduction of innovative ways to carry out the duty of broadcasting comes with a number of terms and slang developed over time to assist in the rapid communication of the ideas and connotations between broadcast professionals.
Hence, the list of broadcasting terminologies is non-exhaustive. In fact, Richard Weiner’s 678-page book, Webster’s New World Dictionary of Media and Communication contained over 35,000 broadcast as well as advertising, journalism, radio, and television terminologies and slang.
Nevertheless, this particular glossary which has been painstakingly compiled and divided to about 10 parts with each part containing a-100 broadcast terminologies will remind every broadcast professional of the correct usage of some of these terms. Meanwhile, for every aspiring entrants into the broadcasting sphere, these are the terms which will be used in the field you intend to venture into.
So get used to them!
I really do not think that anyone would expect anybody to commit all of these terms to memory but an understanding of each of them will help. Plus, it will always be on this platform; so you can always check it up any time.
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Now, get set and let’s go through the terminologies in broadcasting.
Broadcasting Terminologies: Part 1
The conversion of analog broadcast materials to digital materials.
2. Access Time
The total time required to find, retrieve and commence using information, also known as Lead Time.
3. Across Mic
This refers to the technique of speaking sideways to a microphone, rather than directly into it, to reduce hissing, popping, and explosive sounds. It is majorly used in Radio Drama.
A program or commercial scheduled at the same time each day, generally Monday through Friday; also called a strip.
The number of listeners that contact a radio show for requests, contests or other information via phone in or emailing.
A live or taped news report broadcast from the scene, containing the voice(s) of the newsmaker(s), as well as of the reporter.
7. Ad-Hoc Network
A group of stations that is formed for a special purpose such as the showing of a one-time TV program or series. Ad hoc is Latin for “for this.”
Area of Dominant Influence. This is the area where the signal of a broadcast station is very clear and strong.
A commercial or program preceding or following another on a radio or TV station or network, or the time period itself.
A notarized record of commercial and public service announcements aired by a station, listing broadcast date and time, provided to advertisers; also called an affidavit of performance.
A station that contractually agrees to carry programs of the network with which it is affiliated. The station may be owned by the network but generally is independently owned.
An archive is a term for storage. It can refer to the following: Storage of master material under controlled conditions. Long term storage of material on an offline storage medium. Archive Copy is a master copy intended solely for storage and not to be used in distribution.
Noticeable loss of video and/or audio fidelity in a broadcast or recording caused by limitations in the technology used. Usually reflects undesirable distortion(s) of the original when digitized.
An on-screen overlayed graphic, usually giving the name of the speaker or reporter in vision.
Audio Tape Recorder A method of recording sound by electromagnetic pulses on a sensitised plastic strip.
16. Average Quarter Hour
The term used in audience measurement by Arbitron. It is defined as the number of persons listening to a particular station for at least five minutes during a quarter hour. Typical audience measurements may be in the order of ten thousand for the larger shows.
The medium for radio and TV broadcasting. A station or program, when broadcasting, is on the air or airing.
18. Air Check
An audio or video transcription or recording, made from an actual broadcast, of a radio or TV commercial or program. Technically, a typed transcript is not an air check, although it sometimes is called that.
19. Air date
The time of a broadcast.
20. Air master
A print of a film or a tape from broadcast use; also called an air print.
21. Air Ready
A commercial, program, or other material completed and available for broadcast use.
22. Air show
A TV program as actually broadcast; if taped, the final edited version.
Suitable for broadcast on a radio or TV station (uncommon slang).
The broadcast of a record or tape. One measurement of a hit recording is the number of airplays it receives.
25. Airtime or Air time
The scheduled day or period of a broadcast, described by the beginning time; the length of an actual broadcast of a program or segment, such as an interview.
Filming or taping of one moving aircraft from another.
The medium through which broadcasting signals are transmitted; their pathways through the air.
28. AM station
A station that broadcasts with an amplitude-modulated signal. An AM signal is a long, direct radio wave that travels the earth’s surface, whereas a frequency-modulated (FM) signal is a straight broadcast signal that travels only as far as the horizon.
29. Amplitude modulation (AM)
The encoding of a carrier wave (such as the sound waves or audio signals of a radio station) by variation of its amplitude, or power (not its frequency).
A method of data storage and transmission by continuous or wavelike signals of pulses of varying (greater or lesser) intensity; in contrast to digital transmission (on or off).
The key narrator of a newscast or other programs; also called anchorman or anchorwoman. Two or more individuals sharing these functions are co-anchors. A local anchor works at a local station; a network anchor, at a network. Specialized newscasters include sports anchor, weather anchor, and weekend anchor. A field anchor reports from a studio outside the studio headquarters.
A “rough” of a TV commercial, resembling an animated cartoon, produced on film or videotape from drawings that show the stages in the storyboard.
An artist who produces animation drawings, or the person in charge of an animation production.
A printed notice or a message during a broadcast. It may be paid (commercial announcement) or free (public service announcement), perhaps made by a performer (announcer) in an announcer’s booth (small studio).
A metallic device for sending or receiving electromagnetic waves, formerly common on rooftops,now built into radio and TV sets for receiving. The origin of the term is the sensory appendages on the heads of insects and other animals.
36. Antenna Farm
The location for the transmitting antennas for most or all of the radio or TV stations in an area; sometimes also a cluster of radio transmitters.
37. Appointment Television
A process in which TV viewers plan to view specific programs, as if they were making appointments on their weekly calendars, a habit that was common in the 1940s among listeners of network radio programs and in the 1950s among audiences of network TV programs.
Average quarter hour rating.
A firm in New York, owned by Ceridian Corp., that measures the size of broadcast audiences. Formerly called American Research Bureau, Inc., it is famous for its use of an automatic electronic meter device (called Arbitron, a name loosely based on the original corporate name) attached to the TV sets of a sample of viewers. The TV service was terminated at the end of 1993. Radio reports are provided for more than 2,200 counties in the United States, based on diaries maintained by listeners. An Arbitron market, called an area of dominant influence (ADI), was a cluster of counties representing TV markets. It is known now as Nielsen Audio.
A mini-series within a regularly scheduled program, such as a two-parter, a three-parter, or several episodes with the same plot.
41. Area of Dominant Influence (ADI)
The geographic boundaries of TV and Radio markets. The term ADI was coined to indicate the cluster of areas in which TV and Radio stations have a greater share of listening and viewing households than those from any other area. A non-ADI market is a county in which the preponderance of TV viewers and Radio listeners are not watching the local station or stations.
42. Assemble Edit
The recording of all tracks (audio, video, cue, and control) simultaneously. It is different from insert edit.
A group of spectators, listeners, viewers, or readers of a performance, program, or work. Average audience is a number or rating calculated by the Nielsen and other research services, based on specific conditions.
44. Audience Accumulation
The addition of new audiences to a publication, television program, or other medium, as successive issues or broadcasts are produced.
45. Audience Composition
The number or percentage or characteristics (demographics) of the men, women, children, or other groups of viewers of listeners of a specific TV or radio program or station; also calledaudience comp, audience profile, or profile.
46. Audience Duplication
The number or percent of individuals or households exposed more than once to the same message through the same medium (publication or broadcast) or different media over a measured period of time.
47. Audience Flow
The extent to which listeners or viewers remember the events on a radio or TV show from one program to another.
48. Audience Format
A type of programming on a station (generally radio, which is more segmented than noncable TV) to appeal to specific listeners.
49. Audience Holding Index
A minute-by-minute or other detailed analysis of the number of listeners or viewers of a program.
50. Audience Turnover
A measurement of the frequency with which the audience of a radio or TV programme changes over a period of time; specifically, the ratio of the net unduplicated cumulative audience over several time periods to the average audience of one time period; also, the number of announcements required to reach half of a station’s cumulative audience in a specific time period. It is also called turnover or T/O.
The sound portion of a broadcast, film, tape, or other medium. Audio, from the Latin audire, meaning “to hear,” literally means “I hear.”
52. Audio News Release (ANR)
A tape sent to radio stations by a public relations source.
53. Audio Operator
The person responsible for the technical quality of a program’s sound. The audio operator works in a control room or an audio room and communicates by headset with the assistant audio operator and others on the floor of the studio.
54. Audio Receive Only (ARO)
A small dish antenna used by radio stations to receive sound from a satellite.
55. Audio/Video (AV)
Sound and sight as in a script with the text of the dialogue and a description of the accompanying visual action.
56. Audiovisual (AV or V.)
Involving both sound and sight.
57. Average Audience (AA)
The number of households tuned to a radio or TV program during a minute or other period, as expressed in an AA rating.
58. Average Quarter Hour (AQH)
The audience during a typical (average) 15-minute period of a radio or TV program, the smallest unit of time used by rating services. AQH Persons is the estimated number of individuals who listened to a station during an average quarter-hour.
AQH Share represents the AQH Persons of a station expressed as a percent of the total persons listening to radio or TV during that time period. Average quarter-hour audience is an average of the number of people listening to a specific station or network for at least five minutes in each quarter-hour over a specified period of time, such as a day or week. The AQH rating is the AQH persons divided by the population in the listening area.
59. Back Announce
A recap or summary by an OAP, Radio DJ or Announcer of the records, tapes, or discs broadcast during the preceding period.
60. Background Music
Subdued music or other sound faded to a lower or background level. To background the sound is to reduce or fade it, as with a music background for a voice-over.
61. Backtiming or Back timing
A technique in live news, variety, or other programs in which the last segment is rehearsed and timed. Thus, in the actual broadcast, as the time to begin this segment approaches, the producer is prepared to stretch it, speed it up, or replace it. In TV news programs, backtime is the clock time (the actual time) at which the last segment should begin if the program is to end on time.
A range of radio-spectrum frequencies (broadcast band), including AM, FM, UHF, VHF, VLF, ham, police, commercial, and CB. The use of letters for these bands was started by the military during the Second World War
The amount of information that can be transmitted over a computer network at a given time. The higher the bandwidth, the more data can pass over the network.
64. Barker channel
A cable TV channel used to list or promote programs on other channels.
A reference signal recorded on the beginning of a videotape for the purpose of aligning the playback of that tape. Most often, an audio reference (tone) is usually recorded at the same time as the bars.
66. Basic Cable Service
A cable TV company’s package of channels, including the broadcast channels, which excludes certain “premium” or pay channels.
67. Basic set
A film, TV, or stage set with furniture and scenery but without props.
An editing room.
A big close-up of a picture in photography, film, or television. ECU is an extreme close-up.
An audio signal used for alerting or warning, as on the soundtrack of a videotape for editing or notice of the forthcoming beginning of a scene, program, or commercial.
A telephone interview. Radio stations used to be required to insert a beep (audio signal) on recorded interviews to indicate that they were not live. Though this is no longer necessary, the term still is used to describe an interview conducted over the telephone rather than in the studio. It is also used to describe any long-distance interview. With the use of satellites, it is now possible to conduct long-distance interviews over television. A beeper line is a phone line connected to a tape recorder.
72. Beginning of Tape (BOT)
The place on an audiotape or videotape at which the leader ends and the sound and/or picture begins; also called the load point.
A type of 1/2-inch videotape and videocassette recorder (Betamax) made by Sony and others, primarily for home use but also used at TV stations.
The opening or closing credits or an announcement of a forthcoming program or segment, as on a news or interview program; an announcement related to a sponsor or advertiser, perhaps not paid for, such as ‘this portion of the program is brought to you by …’
A listing of performers e.g OAP, DJ, Guests etc on a program, marquee, sign, or advertisement, with position and size of type as indications of importance.
A communications satellite. Birding is slang for radio and TV transmission via satellite. The news value of a potential story for satellite transmission, especially overseas, is called its birdability. To lose the bird is to suffer an interruption of transmission.
A tweeting noise due to malfunctioning sound equipment.
A short segment, or a take, such as a 15-second sound bite that is repeated on network radio and TV news programs. The major excerpt from an interview, a very quotable sentence or two, is called the news bite or bite-of-the day. A strong bite, the opposite of a weak bite, is dramatic. To pull a bite is to find a usable short section in a longer tape.
79. Bite Off
The premature cutoff of a commercial, record, or program.
A sudden rush or explosion. In broadcasting, blasting is excessive sound through a microphone.
A brief segment, such as a musical transition. It is also called a bridge.
A brief interruption of sound on a program or tape; to interrupt or delete sound, as in blipping an expletive from a TV program.
A group of consecutive time periods. Block programming is the scheduling of programs with similar audience appeal. Air time set aside for special programming or deliberately not sold is blocked out. A news block is a segment devoted to news, such as a one-minute segment in a TV program.
84. Board Fade
Lowering of the intensity of music or other sounds, the board being the audio or video console or control panel. It is also called a production fade but is different from a studio fade, in which the sound is reduced in the studio.
A radio or TV commercial with an open area in the middle for insertion of a local dealer tie-in or other material; also called a doughnut (it has a hole in the middle). A bookend commercial also is a split, usually 30 seconds before one or more other commercials and 30 seconds after.
86. Booking Board
A calendar posted on a wall or bulletin board on which is written the names of interview guests and other information about forthcoming programs.
A long movable stand, crane, arm, or pole for mounting and moving a microphone (boom microphone) or camera. The boom arm is the circular arm on a camera platform that controls the vertical position of the camera. Thus, to boom up is to raise the dolly boom arm and camera in order to obtain a tilt down, or downward shot. The opposite is a boom down, or tilt up, shot, in which the dolly boom arm is lowered.
A boom shot is a continuous single shot involving various movements of the camera boom. These shots also are called crane shots. The boom operator(formerly called boom man) handles the microphone boom and associated equipment.
Signals bounced off the ionosphere, satellites, or other bounce points. A sudden unanticipated brightness in the picture on TV.
Intermission; a time segment–a few seconds or minutes–before, during, or after a radio or TV program or other activity; an interruption, as in a station break.
90. Breaking News
Currently happening or impending news; also called a breaking story.Late-breaking news is even more “of the moment.”
A single radio or TV program; the transmission or duration of a program. Any message that is transmitted over a large area, not necessarily by a broadcast station, is said to be broadcast. For example, facsimile transmission of a document to more than one fax machine is called broadcasting.
92. Broadcast Day
The period between the sign-on and sign-off of a radio or TV station.
93. Broadcast Editor
A member of the editorial staff of a publication who provides a report on a radio or television station, such as a health news report based on material from a health magazine.
94. Broadcast Hours
The total number of hours broadcast by a station during a year.
95. Broadcast Quality
The technical specifications of the video signal and the actual look of that signal. A technically perfect video signal might look terrible. For instance, a VHS tape, properly doctored through a digital effects generator, might meet a station’s technical requirements but might be rejected because it is not a broadcast-quality picture. Each broadcast company, network, or station has its own level of quality.
Best time available for a commercial.
Behind the scenes interviews and other filmed or taped material about the production of a film, radio production or TV show, for publicity use.
To cancel a guest or segment. It is also a photo or brief segment to announce or tease a forthcoming segment of a program, usually with the words “coming up next.” A sound bump is a blip or other irregularity, perhaps due to poor recording or editing.
99. Bumper List
A list of musical selections to be played before a break, such as to lead into (bump) commercials.
100. Business Television (BTV)
Videos and TV programs sponsored by companies, generally about their business and transmitted free via closed circuit or other distribution.
Watch out for the next part of this glossary of broadcasting terminologies.
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