›› Home ›› About

In Memoriam

August 28, 2012

The Society of Broadcast Engineers mourns the loss today of its founder, John Battison, P.E., CPBE.  Our sympathies are extended to his wife Sara, daughter Victoria, son Mark the entire Battison family and his many friends and colleagues. 

John’s dream to form an organization devoted solely to the professional development of broadcast engineers and the field of broadcast engineering was realized far beyond what he had imagined. For more than 48 years, the organization, which was fueled in its early days by his vision and passion, has positively affected the lives and careers of thousands of men and women who have made broadcast engineering their career. All of us, who have benefited from our affiliation with the SBE during our careers, owe a debt of gratitude to SBE Member #1, John Battison.

Ralph Hogan, CPBE, DRB, CBNE

SBE President

View the obituary for John Battison.

John H. Battison SBE Founder’s Scholarship

Those wishing to make a contribution to the John H. Battison SBE Founder’s Scholarship fund may send donations to: Ennes Educational Foundation Trust, 9102 N. Meridian Street, Suite 150, Indianapolis, IN, 46260. Checks should be made payable to: Ennes Educational Foundation Trust and write “Battison Scholarship” on the memo line. The Ennes Educational Foundation Trust is a 501(c)3 charitable organization. Contributions by individuals are tax deductible.

John Henry Battison, Founder of the SBE

by Jerry Whitaker

John H.Battison, P.E., was born and educated as a radio engineer in England. After serving as a Squadron Leader and combat/transport pilot in the RAF in World War II, he joined KMBC, Kansas City, as a research engineer. There he designed and built a high power FM transmitter in the new “high” FM band.

John later assumed the position of assistant chief allocation engineer for ABC in New York and played an integral part in the new ABC-TV station planning effort. He was also a member of panels 12, 16, and 17 of the National Television Systems Committee (NTSC). He edited TeleTech magazine for two years and spent several years as Director of Education for the National Radio Institute in Washington D.C.

John built and managed the first TV station in Calgary, CHCT-TV, Alberta, Canada. He subsequently bought KAVE-AM in Carlsbad, NM, and then built and operated KAVE-TV, Channel 6. After selling the stations he was invited to work for Associated Rediffusion (the first commercial TV station in London) as Director of Engineering.

Upon his return from England, John opened a consulting firm in Washington, D.C. Later he joined the Electromagnetic Compatibility Analysis Center (ECAC) in Annapolis as leader of the frequency allocations group. After five years at this post he returned to consulting and spent some time as chief engineer of Saudi Arabian Television, and two years consulting in radio to the Lebanese Government in Beirut. While there he designed several megawatt medium frequency directional antenna systems. They were never built, however, because of the continual fighting.

John had been chief engineer of a number of stations, including building WWWE, 1100 kHz, 50 kW, in Cleveland, Ohio. He worked with Carl Smith Consulting Engineers for some time and taught at several of Mr. Smith’s NAB DA antenna seminars in Cleveland. He was invited to join the Ohio State University as Director of Engineering for WOSU-AM-FM-TV and several translators. He remained at this position until his retirement at age 70, in 1985.

While at OSU, he conceived of and operated the popular WOSU Engineering Conference and ran the program for five years until his retirement. Because of the success of the WOSU engineering conferences, on his retirement the SBE asked him to chair their annual engineering conferences for the next five years.

After John retired, he remained active with his consulting engineering firm, with clients in the Middle East, Ireland, England, and the Pacific Rim, as well as the U.S.

John was a senior member of the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) from 1949 until 1961, when he resigned in disagreement with IRE over the merger with the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE). (He subsequently rejoined.) John had been a member of the IRE Transmitters, Video Standards, and Standards committees. Because of his unhappiness with the IRE/IEE merger, he founded the Society of Broadcast Engineers—originally as the Institute of Broadcast Engineers—in 1963. John sent out over 6,000 letters to chief engineers of all the listed stations in the U S. and wrote an editorial in Broadcast Engineering magazine advocating for the organization. The results are well known.

John Battison at 2011 SBE Membership Meeting Video

John Battison VideoView a video of SBE Founder John Battison as he speaks with SBE President Vinny Lopez, CEV, CBNT, at the 2011 Membership Meeting in Columbus, Ohio. Battison was honored with the re-naming of the SBE Lifetime Achievement Award to the John H. Battison Award for Lifetime Achievement in April 2011.




SBE pays tribute to Battison at National Awards Dinner

Watch the touching tribute to John Battison presented by Radio magazine Editor Chriss Scherer CPBE CBNT, editor of Radio magazine and past president of the Society of Broadcast Engineers at the SBE Awards Banquet at the 2012 National Meeting in Denver on October 24, 2012. Battison was the founder of the SBE and former technical editor of Radio magazine. Click here to view a video of the tribute.

Quick Links

facebook  twitter  youtube  linked in  linked in