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May 1, 2006 12:00 PM, Kari Taylor, senior associate editor

Do you remember?

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About eighteen years ago, the Orban 787A programmable mic processor was making its way into radio stations. The processor optimized the sound of a mic and could quickly recall the setups. The 787A featured a three-band parametric equalizer with a "constant Q" design and full notch filtering. The noise gate attenuated control room noise by as much as 25dB and a compressor gate prevented noise rush-ups during pauses. A de-esser controlled excessive sibilance. The processor offered 32 memory registers that stored control parameters for recall. An effects send and return with programmable return gain simplified integration of external reverb or other processors. Built-in connectors offered remote control, midi and future serial interfaces. An optional second-channel slave was available for dual-mono or stereo operation.

That was then

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The September 1969 cover of Broadcast Engineering magazine depicted Radio Free Europe's (RFE) master control room, which channeled the many program inputs for transmission to countries behind the Iron Curtain. Radio Free Europe was known to most Americans as a big radio station that broadcasted to eastern Europe. It grew much like many U.S. broadcasting organizations.

In 1965, the organization built a new master control system at a low cost of $12,000. The new system all but eliminated jack fields, which was a significant step at the time. The only jack field left was for metering all transmitter feed lines.

Four years later, RFE had grown from a single 7.5kW transmitter in a truck to a 32-transmitter system broadcasting from three sites with a total power of 2.245MW. All the systems were linked and fed from the main operations center in Munich, Germany. A separate audio feed in five languages was sent to select transmitters from Munich, making it necessary to control five separate programs in the studios at one time. The master control system provided centralized audio and switching control.

Sample and Hold

A Bigger Browser Share

Firefox reached 10 percent market penetration in March 2006

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BrowserUsage Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.082.39% Firefox 1.55.92% Firefox 1.03.98% Safari 411.94% Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.01.13% Safari 311.01% Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.50.88% Netscape 7.00.65% Other2.90%

Total is more than 100 percent because of rounding errors. Other includes other versions of the listed browsers as well as Netscape, Mozilla, Opera and others.

Source: Net Applications' Browser Version Market Share for March 2006.