Oliver Read started as the editor of Radio & Television News magazine,
and then stayed with it during its transformation in 1954 to Popular Electronics.
He was an electronics industry veteran and witnessed many changes to manufacturing
and service sectors through times of war and times of peace. The post Korean War
era saw a huge increase in demand for both televisions and radios, and accompanying
it was a severe shortage of qualified service technicians. Compounding the issue
was the FCC's removal of the freeze on construction of new broadcasting stations,
which was peppering the landscape with towers and broadening reception areas. Just
about anyone could handle the sales end of the business, but keeping customers happy
took people willing to suffer the initial and constant need to become familiar with
a multitude of new and old models, and that were also able to cope with often testy
clients. Salesmen just blamed everything on the service sector, of course.
For the Record: Manpower Problems - Today and Tomorrow
Your Editor, Oliver Read
By The Editor (Oliver Read)
The urgent need for technicians in all segments of our vast electronics industry
becomes greater with each passing day. The lifting of the TV freeze will place an
added burden on a greatly overtaxed service industry. While the initial manpower
demands - created by u.h.f. television - will be for design and construction personnel,
nevertheless it won't be long until operating personnel will be in great demand
for some 2000 new stations.
And, when we consider the servicing requirements for millions of sets in future
TV areas, we visualize the great opportunity that exists TODAY for thousands of
men who are technically-minded to train themselves NOW for a future in television.
We've been told by many service contractors that the majority of today's top-flight
TV service technicians have taken an accredited course in television theory and
practice at one of our many established institutes.
Contrary to general opinion is the fact that a qualified TV service technician
need not possess a radio background or experience. Television servicing requires
a specialized training in problems not encountered in radio servicing. The reverse
is largely true in radio diagnosis.
It took several years to develop efficient service establishments and there remains
plenty of room for improvement. The newcomer, as a TV technician or dealer, has
the advantage and opportunity to profit by the mistakes that have plagued our industry
for many months.
The end-of-freeze is, in fact, the beginning of a slow thaw. New television stations
will be the exception rather than the rule for a year or more. Never again, perhaps,
will the time be more ripe to lay the foundation for a career in television servicing,
engineering, and industrial TV.
Television receivers for v.h.f. continue to be produced in large quantities and
will present an additional burden on the service industry in years to come. Here
are some recent statistics from RTMA.
A total of 178,571 television sets were produced in 1947. Of this total most
were table models representing over 65% of production. Phonograph combinations comprised
more than 14% and the remainder were TV consoles. Set production in 1948 increased
by nearly 6 times to a total of 975,000 units. Table models (66.31%) continued to
lead production followed by consoles (18.38%) and phono combinations (15.31%).
During 1949 consoles became a popular choice. Of a total production of 3,000,000
sets, consoles represented nearly one third of the total output. Table models continued
to lead with 60% and phono combinations dropped to 7.2%.
Total 1950 production was 7,463,800 television sets. Of these the production
of consoles increased to 3,820,060 or more than 51% of the total output. Table models
dropped to about 40% and phono combinations to less than 10% of total 1950 production.
Over 5 million sets were produced last year. The 1951 figures show a slight percentage
increase in table models (42.27%) as compared to a steady 51.53% for consoles and
a drop for the combinations to 6.20%.
Radio set production figures, as a comparison, reveal a total set output (including
home, auto, and portable receivers) in 1947 of 20,000,000 units. Production dropped
to 16,500,000 during 1948. Total sets produced in 1949 amounted to but 11,400,000
units - a sizable drop resulting from the impact of TV and other factors.
The year 1950 was a good one for most set makers. More than 14% million radio
sets were produced.
The production of radio receivers continues at sizable figures in spite of the
impact of television. Over twelve and a half million radios were produced last year.
Since 1946 more than 75 million sets have been added to existing units. All of them,
in time, will require maintenance. In radio - as in television - there aren't nearly
enough technicians available or in training to do a nationwide maintenance job.
There's plenty of room for more - thousands more!
Our recommendations to those looking to a future in television servicing as a
1. If possible visit an existing TV area and study the operations of well-established
2. Plan now to take a course in television theory and practice at one of the
many excellent technical schools advertised in this publication.
3. If it is impossible to take a resident course - by all means study at home.
Many complete and satisfactory "home-study" television courses are available.
4. Study in earnest. Keep informed on all TV developments and techniques through
this magazine and other technical journals.
5. Take an active interest in local community affairs while at home. Be seen
with your future customers.
By all means, do these things NOW!
Posted October 6, 2021