Jargon is a useful area of language, used to
facilitate interpersonal communication in a technical activity by
reducing the number of syllables necessary to refer to something. The
incomplete list below is largely related to radio; of course tape has
been replaced by digital systems so some of these terms are no longer
in common use.
documentary material used in a news or feature programme, often
political statements or location recordings of happenings such as riots.
to make an announcement following a programme or insert, often to read
the credits. back-announcement
such an announcement; often referred to as an 'outro'
(q.v.), and with fewer syllables).
headphones (dating from the days when they were metal, heavy,
uncomfortable and the headband could catch your hair).
(officially the 'Staff Restaurant') - an area providing inexpensive,
nutritious and tasty meals, often the subject of heavy irony (as here).
Now obsolete in many studio centres, replaced by tea-bar
the local pub.
(known as 'mix minus' in the USA) - the output of the studio sent to a
distant contributor, but not including his own contributions to avoid
howl-rounds. Essential when the other end is also recording or
broadcasting, on long lines (because of the delay) or telephone lines
(which mix the sound in both directions).
a studio with announcer through which programmes are routed to a
network: the announcer has control of the programmes and provides the
links between them (and covers if there is a failure). The method was
introduced only in 1939, with the expected unreliability of landlines
from remote studios: up to then the announcers had been in the studios
for each programme.
the technical area in a studio centre reponsible for routing studios to
networks, networks to transmitters, and incoming contributions to
studios or other technical areas.
room in a studio area containing the mixing desk and technical
equipments (originally control
, and before that control
- this designation was dropped to avoid confusion with the main
technical and routing area). In television the equivalent function is
carried out in the 'gallery'.
as in stage drama, the line leading to another contributor's line or a
tape item; also the paragraph read before a tape item to introduce it
(also known as intro
green light operated from the cubicle
(q.v.) to indicate to a contributor that they should go ahead;
generally referred to as a green
a feed of the studio output sent to a distant contributor for cueing
purposes (including his own contribution), which also includes the
(q.v.) and so is not intended for broadcasting.
the assembly of
q.v.) and other controls used to mix the various sound sources.
Originally called the mixing panel
Disk-Jockey - a presenter who introduces records, usually playing them
himself rather than having a Studio Manager to do it. Standard method
of operation in local radio, particularly in America.
several meanings in different situations. Common usage
confer a knighthood, rank, title or nickname upon (archaic). Radio
: to make a
to make the final mix of audio tracks into the soundtrack for a film or
assembled video (in cinema, 're-record'). Cinema
to replace a voice on a soundtrack by another, either by pre-recording
singing which another performer can mime to, or re-recording the speech
to replace by another voice or language. (However when the same actor
re-records dialogue - for example to get better quality than the
original performance recording - this is known as
'post-synchronization', 'looping' or, more recently 'ADR' - Automatic
Dialogue Replacement.) (Also dubbing
(adj) as in
'Film dubbing mixer' (television); and dubbing
(n), a copy:
in gramophone records a 78rpm record copied from another rather than
made from the original matrix.)
strictly, reverberation (continuous and decaying rather than a single
or multiple individual repeats), usually when added artificially from a
special room, plate, spring or digital device. Used for dramatic effect
or to appear to increase the size of the room or hall in use.
level control on each channel of a mixing desk
Originally rotary, later linear as the number of channels increased
from around 5-8 to 30 or more. Rotary types had a succession of studs
with a wiper passing over them, to provide increased attenuation from
stud to stud by an inaudible amount each time, though the studs could
get noisy: linear faders have a carbon track (as on ordinary volume
controls but higher quality) providing continuously variable
as with cue programme
feed of the studio or network output sent to a distant
contributor, but not including any talkback.
item forming part of a programme, usually a tape or other pre-recorded
item, though not usually applied to records or other music.
for 'introduction' - the paragraph read before an insert
length of white or yellow (for mono) or blue (for stereo) tape (without
cut into a sound recording tape to indicate the beginning of the
programme (and thus after the line-up tone, if any) - mostly abandoned
by the end of the tape recording era. The BBC used to have white
printed leaders you wrote the programme title on and cut onto the
beginning of the tape, before the tone, but this was abandoned many
years back (fortunately, as they were a pain to write out).
sounds like a tautology as all recordings are made to be listened to,
but used for a reference copy for the producer to take away and listen
to (more common in the days when they were not allowed to handle
tapes), and where technical quality is not a primary concern.
Originally on tapes, later more usually on cassettes for ease of use.
(Not usually needed in digital systems where authorised persons can
have immediate access from any workstation.)
short for landline; wired connection between one geographical location
or another, or between technical areas in one building. (Now often
replaced by a satellite connection for non-permanent usages). A music line
high quality, suitable for music or any broadcast material; a control line
is a telephone-quality line associated with it and used for technical
communication. Most long-distance connections are now digital.
written explanation of something which went wrong, ideally explaining
(1) when it happened, (2) what
happened, and (3) why it was the fault of another Department.
(n): a high quality loudspeaker (radio) or television screen (tv) used
to assess the quality of a programme. (v): to listen to or view a
programme as recorded or transmitted, usually to assess technical
quality rather than content.
continuous broadcast stream containing successive different programmes,
e.g. Radio 2, BBC1.
Outside Broadcast: a complete programme originating at a distant
(facetious, from 'intro
closing announcement to an insert
(q.v.) - see back-announce
obsolete term for desk
(q.v.); survives in the term 'panel
- the Studio Manager who operates the mixing desk as opposed to the
assistant SM who plays tapes and disks (or used to); also (v) 'to panel
', to operate
Programme as Broadcast; a detailed list of all items in a transmission,
kept permanently for copyright and legal reasons.
records (usually the top 30) from which a disk-jockey
could make his selection: now the list of items in a computer-based
- the playlist does not contain the inserts
just points to them, so that deleting an item from the playlist does
not delete the original.
for 'potentiometer', old-fashioned term for fader
survives in the term pot-cut
to close the fader rapidly on an insert to bring it to an early end
(hopefully at the end of a sentence).
(from pre-fader) (1) a closing piece of music started silently and
timed to finish at the scheduled closing time of the programme, faded
up at the end of speech as a method of keeping a programme to the
required length. (2) to listen to a recording, microphone or incoming
line which has not been faded up, without the audio becoming part of
sounds like a tautology, since any recording must be recorded before it
can be played back, but specifically means a section of a programme
recorded in advance and played into the recording or transmission, e.g.
to include a complex sequence which may require editing.
in radio, the person in charge of the programme - the 'director' in
films and television, where the producer is in overall charge, a
function carried out in radio by the Department Head or Programme
: Pre-transmission-test: a check prior to transmission between the
network and the studio that the audio line and red light work, that the
clocks match, and everything is ready to go ahead. (Subsequently in the
World Service, when networks are unmanned, replaced by a single button
pressed by the Studio Manager to indicate his or her presence).
(or just red
- remotely or locally controlled red light inside and outside studios
to indicate that recording or transmission is taking place. During
transmissions this is controlled by the network to which the studio is
length of yellow tape (without oxide) cut into a sound recording tape
between two separate items to allow easy setting up. More usually
referred to as a yellow
simultaneous broadcast: a programme going to more than one network;
also the routing of a network to several transmitters.
Studio Manager. In the 1930s the Studio Manager was in effect a Floor
Manager, overseeing the studio area and artists while the mixing was
done by engineers or the producer; later responsible for
mixing and playing in recorded material in the cubicle - originally
seen as a mainly artistic and non-technical job, though this changed
with the increasing complexity of equipment.
(short, sig. tune
a short piece of music associated with a particular programme and
played at the beginning and often the end to identify it. The invention
of the concept is credited to music-hall artist Albert Whelan, who
whistled 'The Jolly Brothers' at the beginning of his act.
a programme involving local and distant contributors which is recorded
at both ends so that the further end can be cut into the recording,
providing higher quality than the line connecting them. With
present-day higher quality connections this is rarely necessary.
sound effects which are created in the studio (such as footsteps,
doors, clinking teacups) rather than being pre-recorded (thunder,
trains) either specially or from a library: may be performed at the
time of initial recording or added afterwards. In American cinema these
latter are known as 'Foley' effects.
a short, usually punchy, musical phrase, used to punctuate a programme:
frequently over-used (e.g. between headlines or news items).
1. A technical area consisting of a room for the performance of speech,
music or effects, usually together with a control area containing a
mixing desk and other equipment. 2. The performance area itself within
an overall studio. See also cubicle.
speech from the control cubicle fed (using a key) to the studio to
instruct contributors, or down a line to instruct distant contributors.
goes onto the
studio output, used for example during recordings to identify sections
or instruct a remote recording channel to start. transmission talkback
goes only to the studio, and only when the microphones are not
active, and into cue
(q.v.), but for obvious reasons not onto the output. Rehearsal talkback
disabled when a red light is received from a network: older desks did
not do this
automatically, with sometimes embarassing results.
('line-up tone') continuous sinewave (pure without harmonics) sound,
usually at 1kHz and at 'zero level' - 8dB below maximum permitted level;
used to align the sound level of lines or recordings. In pre-digital
'Post Office' type lines 'zero level' tone is defined as 1 milliwatt
into 600Ω (o.775 volts).
(n) an announcement or short recording designed to publicize a
forthcoming programme (from cinema usage, 'trailer', so-called because
these were normally glued onto the end of a feature reel). (v) to make
such an announcement or play such a recording. cross-trail
announce a forthcoming programme on a different network.
length of red tape (without oxide) cut into a sound recording tape at
the end of the programme to indicate where it is. More usually referred
to as a red
Sometimes with red-and-white alternating sections (much easier to see).
in radio, a section of speech performed over music or effects which are
(hopefully) reduced in level to accomodate it: often spoken over the
introductory music of a song, before the vocal. In films and
television, the narration or commentary spoken by an unseen performer.