Radio-related terminology

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Technical terms

Antenna = the radiator of radio waves. Otherwise known as Aerial.

FM = Frequency Modulation

Interference = causing reception problems to other radio users

Main transmitter - the broadcast transmitter, as opposed to link transmitters.

Reception issues = receiver interference, noise, weak signal, etc

RDS = Radio Data System

Stereo = 2-channel sound

Transmitter - creates the modulated radio waves. Otherwise known as TX


DJs and Presenters' jargon

Cans = headphones (old fashioned)

Crash = to talk over the main part of a record (rather than the intro, ending or an instrumental part of the record.

Dedication = a record played on-air for someone, often requested by another listener

Jingle = a station ID

Mix = to smoothly fade one record into another, synchronising the beats. A number of records mixed together is called a Megamix.

Mixer = audio equipment used to mix audio sources together.

Power-play = a record which features prominently on a station's playlist

Promo - a station's "internal advert"

Records = can mean vinyl records, or used to mean music tracks of any physical format (esp. CD singles)

Request = a record which a listener has requested to be played on-air

Talkover = an instrumental record used as the background for announcements etc

Theme tune = the opening record of a station, or of a DJ's show.

Track = a single music recording, of whatever format.

Radio enthusiasts' jargon

Airchecks = recordings of radio stations

Anorak - a fan of pirate/free radio, or maybe of radio in general

DTI - The "radio police", now known as Ofcom.

DXing = long-distance communication, reception or transmission, using radio waves

QRM = Man made interference from domestic/industrial electrical equipment

QRN = Natural interference from ionospheric sources

Ex-pirate = a station or DJ/presenter who started on pirate radio, before going legal

ILR = Independent Local Radio, a licenced independent radio station

Marine Offences Act - the law banning offshore radio

Mail drop = a postal address at which a station may be contacted

Pirates = unlicenced broadcasters

Relay service = a station which re-broadcasts other stations

RF Feedback = interference to the studio equipment, caused by proximity to the station's transmitter

RSL = Restricted Service Licence, a short-term or low-power licence used by smaller and part-time stations

Super pirate = a very large pirate, generally with long broadcasting hours, high power and professional sounding programmes

Radio bands

FM - not technically a "band", but often used to refer to 87.5 - 108 MHz

Medium Wave

Short Wave

Pirate TV

Web radio - OK, so it's not technically radio or a band, but it is an increasingly popular method of broadcasting!

Useful Links

Wireless Waffle - loads of great stuff about pirate radio and everything wireless


Personal tools

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