I Would like to thank all the people who helped get this chapter started and a special thanks to Emerson Ray for his help, without it our chapter number would probably be a lot larger than 74


What do we do?

Who are we?


SBE Chapter 74 History

The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) consists of a group of dedicated radio and television engineers who have banded together for their mutual benefit. 

The first organizational meeting was held at the Hilton Hotel in Chicago in April 5, 1964 during the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Convention. From a nucleus of approximately 325 Charter Members the organization has grown to more than 5,600 members today.


The fourth organizational meeting was held Monday March 10, 1980 at Nebraska ETV Communications Center with 28 people in attendance, Bill Ramsay was our host. The Speaker was Roy Carpenter of Lighting elimination Associates of Santa Fe. California. This program was very timely with the Spring and electrical storm season approaching. 

A fifth meeting was held Tuesday June 10, 1980 at the KYNE studio with 30 people in attendance. The program was presented by Art Rancis of Tektronix. He introduced a new Distortion Analyzer and demonstrated  measurement techniques using the 1980 Answer System and discussed other measurement techniques of interest to both radio and television broadcasters.

This Charter was received a few weeks later.

From: Greg Silsby
Sent: Monday, June 21, 2004 10:31 PM
Subject: Greetings from the Pacific NW

I just ran across the history of the SBE Chapter 74 and it brought back memories of the nasty weather the night I spoke for the guys there some 24 years ago. I've lectured about microphones somewhere over 600 times, we've estimated, since then... in 14 countries, and have had the opportunity to author the microphone chapters in the 7th and 8th Editions of the NAB Engineering Handbook, and co-authored the same in the 9th Edition.
In recent years, I've been the Marketing Director for Installed Sound, Broadcast & Theater for Audio-Technica U.S., Inc. But now, after nearly 38 years in the industry, I'm changing vocations a bit. I'm forming a new non-profit organization, not all that unlike the SBE. The Fellowship of Technical Ministries, though, is designed to assist the huge number of volunteer (and some paid) technicians working in audio, video, lighting, computer graphics and IT in churches and para-church organizations around the world. You can see some preliminary information at We have an impressive list of corporate sponsors lined up and requests from around the world from prospective members wanting to start chapters. Where's John Battison when we need him? Looks like we're in for a good ride!
Hope you are well,
Greg Silsby
Executive Director
Fellowship of Technical Ministries
16015 Market St
Snohomish, WA 98296


The SBE administers the certification program for engineers who pass the appropriate test.
  NOTE you do not have to be a member to become certified.

Broadcast certification is a great help to employers to understand the qualifications of engineers who apply.

Broadcast Certification  has become the standard of the industry by witch engineers are judged.

For more information on Certification go to Certification.

Frequency Coordination:

The SBE keeps a database of who is using the different broadcast auxiliary frequencies. This prevents users from interfering with each other across the United States.

Monthly Meetings:

Chapter 74 has a luncheon meeting on the last Wednesday of every month.

A typical agenda for one of these meetings is, lunch and discussion, short business meeting, Guest speaker or demonstration, more discussion.

Help each Other:

Any time you see two engineers talking you can bet they are discussing a common problem or some topic that effects the industry. Sometimes they physically help each other.


Every year several chapters band together and sponsor a regional convention where timely topics are discussed, manufacturers display their latest wares and engineers have a chance to meet their peers and discuss common problems.

Professional Development:

Through the Certification Program, Monthly Meetings, Conventions, Personal contact with other engineers, etc, the SBE helps with the Personal and Professional Development of engineers.

Gale A. Totten,  CPBE
Charter Member #308

First published January 21, 2003
Revised May 9, 2003


In order to have a complete picture about the driving force that got chapter 74 started you need to know the following information about me, (Gale Totten).

IRE was good for Broadcast Engineers

I started at my first job in Broadcasting on July 4, 1949  at KJAY  in Topeka Kansas and became Chief Engineer about two months later. While at this job my boss, and owner of the station, owned a consulting engineering firm is San Francisco, (Radio Engineering Company). He introduced me to the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) in Kansas City. I drove from Topeka to KC for their meetings once a month and was able to learn a lot from that experience. The KC chapter consisted mostly of chief engineers and supervisors from the Kansas City stations. They were very helpful to me and I appreciated it very much.

IEEE moves away from Broadcasters (1961)

In 1961 the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) merged with the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE) and changed the name to (IEEE). The broadcasters were a very small minority in this new organization and it's main focus was not about broadcast engineering any more. This made the broadcast engineers very unhappy.

First National SBE Meeting (1964)

Early in 1964 John Battison wrote an article and got Broadcast Engineering magazine to publish it as an editorial. The response to that article was overwhelming. That was Johns signal to push ahead with the organization of the SBE. Broadcast Engineering magazine volunteered to be the communicator to the masses of engineers. An organizational meeting was held in Chicago during the NAB convention in April 1964. The group formed an organization devoted to the needs and interests of broadcast engineers. John Battison was the first president.

Since the SBE records were later destroyed in a fire, no one knows exactly how many engineers attended that meeting, but I would estimate from 150 to 200. You did not have to sign up that day to become a charter member, I am not sure of the time, but I think if you signed up within three months you would be considered a charter member, I signed up just before the deadline, becoming a charter member No 308, and the only SBE member in Nebraska.

As time went on there were more and more chapters being organized all over the United States.

RCA helps get the Ball Rolling (1979) 

In 1979 the RCA salesman from Kansas City (Emerson Ray) was visiting me and I told him of my desire to get a SBE Chapter going in Omaha, and to my surprise, He said "I will help you". "I ask, how can you do that"? Then he told me that each year he had a certain amount of expense money that he could use at his own discretion, and he would be glad to use some of it to help get a SBE chapter started in Omaha.

We put together a list of all the engineers in the Omaha area, suppliers of broadcast equipment and  anyone else who we thought would be interested.

On October 8, 1979  (Betty Neller) (Emerson's secretary) sent out invitations to all the people on our list Inviting them to a meeting to be held on Monday, October 22, at the Nebraska Room of the Royal Inn, 108th and "L" Street, Omaha.  

 The meeting was a great success, there are 37 signatures on the sign up sheet and there were 3 people that I know of that did not sign in. Gale Totten who acted as chairman and conducted the meeting, Larry Steel who kept minutes of the meeting, and Hans Schmidt who gave the program.
Emerson and myself gave a  pep talk about the benefits of belonging to SBE and having a Chapter.

The second organizational meeting was held Tuesday December 18, 1979 at the KMTV studio with 50 people in attendance. A presentation on the application of Micro Processors to "Camera Setup" was made by Bob Hurst, Administrator of RCA Technical Training. We also discussed further the benefits of SBE membership and SBE certification. I have been unable to find minutes for this meeting so all I can tell you is what I know as I remember, Nominations for officers for the new chapter were made at this meeting, The nominations were: Chairman - Gale Totten, Secretary/Treasurer - Larry Steel, Vice Chairman - I don't remember.

The third organizational meeting was held Thursday February 14, 1980 at Technical High School with 20 people in attendance. Greg Silsby of Electro Voice gave a presentation on microphone care, use and design parameters, which was very interesting to both Radio, Television and Educational personnel. The attendance at this meeting was small because of bad weather conditions, we were surprised that anyone showed up.