Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Moment of Silence Please

Today the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) mourns the loss of its founder, John H. Battison.  The organization, which he headed for 48 years lives on.

In 1961, while Battison was the editor of Broadcast Engineering magazine, he wrote an editorial suggesting that it was time to form a business organization to represent the interests of broadcast engineers. Battison was already a member of the Institute of Radio Engineers (founded 1912) but it wasn't broad enough. At the time the Institute of Radio Engineers was toying with the idea of merging with the IEEE, which it did in 1963. Battison saw this as diluting the differing interests of different types of engineers. After two years of chatter no one picked up the baton so he ran with it.

Three months after the IEEE ate the IRE he ran an application form for the IBE in Broadcast Engineering, and mailed out 5,000 invitation letter. Their first official meeting was called to order at the 1964 NAB convention in Chicago. At the first meeting they changed the name from the Institute of Broadcast Engineers (IBE) to the Society of Broadcast Engineers; lest it get confused with the (IBEW) International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. The SBE prospered and membership grew. Today it has over 5,700 members in the U.S. and 111 chapters in 25 other nations. Battison’s maneuver was ultimately great for his career and for the industry. He's been awarded repeatedly by the SBE, the NAB and even nominated twice as a FCC Commissioner. All the while he has continued to work as a radio engineer both in the field and in print. I am a member. If you actually read my blog... you probably are too.