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BE Parties on Its 50th

Salutes employees who made the move from Maryland in 1977, and announces award winners

The FCC was one day shy of turning 25 years old in late spring of 1959 when Broadcast Electronics was incorporated.

Do the math: The commission turns 75 this week, as we’ve reported; that means the equipment manufacturer turns 50.

BE has been noting its anniversary in recent months; the official date is June 18, and the company held an event at its headquarters in Quincy, Ill., marking its evolution from a start-up making cart machines. Its product line now is highlighted by AudioVault FleX digital studio automation software and RF transmitters for AM, FM and HD Radio.

President and CEO Joseph Roark saluted BE employees during the event, in particular five who have been with BE since it moved from Maryland in 1977: Sandy Banning, Anna Baugher, Tim Bealor, Pat Blake and Peggy Randall.

Highlights of its history include a multi-deck tape cartridge machine in 1965; an early version of the microprocessor-based program control system in 1978; and one of the first automation systems based on the open PC platform in 1989.

In RF, notable products include the first single-tube 35 kW FM transmitter in 1979; BE’s half-wave cavity design, which it called the first of its kind capable of eliminating plate-blocking capacitors and sliding contacts; several innovative exciters; more recently, a line of HD Radio transmitters; and technology for the introduction of new data services for HD Radio.

Winners of BE’s new product drawing were announced too. Burr Beard with WXLV(FM) of Schnecksville, Pa., won an AudioVault FleX studio makeover. Tony Abfalter with WMMM(FM) in Verona, Wis., will receive a new BE STX LP low-power transmitter.