As we all know, radio terms can trip us when starting out in the industry. Getting familiar with frequently used radio jargon is essential for working in the industry. Here are some radio terms to read up on for your upcoming career.
Jack: Segmented audio connector. Mono jacks have two connections and Stereo jacks have two.
Jackfield: Re-routes audio to different pieces of equipment or to different parts of the building. It is a junction box where different audio signals are terminated.
Jingle: Short musical tune to identify stations, presenters or even used in adverts.
Limiter: Limits an audio signal if volume levels are too high. It is used in the racks room.
Line Level Signal: Level at which inputs and outputs of domestic and professional sound equipment operate.
Line-Up Tone: Signal of frequency and level used for setting sound recording equipment levels accurately.
Link: Piece spoken by the presenter to bring elements together. For example, between songs or before the news.
MD: Mini disc. This stores audio recordings.
Mixer: Desk with channels where each sound source has its own control channel through which sound signals are routed into two or more outputs.
Mixdown: This is when a multitrack recording is balanced and transferred to two tracks for playback or reproduction.
Monophonic or MONO: Single-channel recording.
OB: Outside Broadcasting. This is when presenters are live from locations other than the studio,
Over Running: This is when a programme, song or other item goes on past its allocated and expected time.
PC: Programme Controller.
PD: Programme Director.
Phantom Power: Power supply for some condenser microphone. It is usually a 48 Volts DC and is not a battery within a mic.
Phase: “In phase” means two identical waves are in time with each other, while “out of phase” means that they are slightly out of sync.
PPM: Peak programme meter. This is used on audio equipment to show the noise level of audio.
Pre-Fade Listen: Control on a sound mixing desk. It allows users to check the presence of a signal and the quality of it before the fader is brought up.
Prefade: When an output from a sound desk is independent of the channel fader.
Pre-Record: When a piece of audio is recorded in advance of being aired.
Promo: Advertisement for the station.
Q Card: Formal written script for the presenter.
Racks: Room with radio station transmission equipment.
Ramp: An increase in audio loudness.
RF: Radio frequency.
Riding the Fader: When the sound operator constantly adjusts the fader level to maximise level while minimising feedback.
Script: Formal written piece to be read by the presenter.
Segue: Transition from item to another. For example, between two songs. One song will segue into another.
SFX: Sound effects. This can range from laughter to horns and beyond.
Signal to Noise Ratio: Average signal to the background noise.
Splice: Edit or join in a sound tape.
Sweeper: The station’s jingle that is used to break up two items such as two songs.
Talk Back: Communication between the studio and the OB team that is not broadcast.
T/O: Technical Operator. This is someone who mainly works behind the scenes on the technical side of the station. It can also mean “talk over” which is when a presenter talks over music.
Twig: An aerial.
TX: Transmission. This is how the audio is broadcast to the listeners.
UHF Link: Ultra High Frequency link. This is a form of radio signal that allows audio in one location to be transmitted to another.
VU: Volume Unit. This can show the loudness level of the audio on audio equipment.
Wavelength: Distance from one point on a vibrating wave to the same point on the next wave.
XLR: Multipin metallic audio connector.
Check out the A-I of radio terms here!