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SBE Looks Back at Its First 40

SBE Looks Back at Its First 40

The SBE is looking back over its first 40 years.
The society will salute its anniversary during the spring NAB convention, at its membership meeting on Tuesday, April 20.
The first 100 members in attendance will receive a commemorative memento. There will be door prizes including a digital camera to a lucky winner.
This week the SBE released a summary of how far it has come, recalling that it started as a gathering of approximately 100 broadcast engineers at the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Chicago during the 1964 NAB Convention. SBE now has 5,500 members in 107 chapters.
Excerpts from the SBE-supplied history:
“That first official meeting, April 5, 1964, came after several years of discontent over a merger between the Institute of Radio Engineers and the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (now the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE). Some felt the merged organizations would not serve the needs of the broadcast engineer well.
“John Battison, the editor of Broadcast Engineering at the time, wrote an editorial suggesting the time had come to organize a new organization for broadcast engineers. The editorial received a favorable response but no one came forward offering to organize the new group. Finally, Battison decided to do it himself, running an application form in his magazine and, with help from his family, writing letters to more than 5,000 television and radio engineers in the U.S. and Canada.
“Battison’s efforts led to an informal meeting in Binghamton, N.Y., in the latter part of 1963, which led to the first official meeting of the Institute of Broadcast Engineers at the NAB convention the following April.
“The first official business of the organization was to change its name. Those in attendance felt there would be confusion between the new IBE and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and they didn’t want their new professional organization to be confused with a labor union. They voted at that very first meeting to change the name to the Society of Broadcast Engineers. Battison became the organization’s first president. He is still active as a broadcast engineering consultant and writes a regular column that appears in Radio magazine, sister publication to Broadcast Engineering.
“On the occasion of SBE’s 40th anniversary, Battison reminisced, ‘The Society of Broadcast Engineers was conceived in my office in Washington, D.C., in 1961. It was born in 1964 in The Willard Room ‘C’ in the Chicago Hilton, courtesy of NAB, and today, on its 40th birthday, it is a strong and hearty force in broadcast engineering thanks to the members who followed after me.'”
Current President Raymond Benedict said SBE’s role today includes chapter meetings, educational programs, certification for broadcast engineers, volunteer frequency coordination and representing the interests of broadcast engineers with the FCC and other agencies. Info: