In the early days of radio, two common problems found in broadcast studios were those of the
sibilant "s" and the vocal tics of high-pitched voicesparticularly those of women and tenors.
CKUA in Edmonton, Canadas first educational broadcaster, was not immune to the problem, but
it discovered a solution in the person of a young man named Edward Jordan.
Jordan, a workroom boy in the University of Albertas Department of Extension, became so
intrigued by radio technology that in 1932 he enrolled in electrical engineering. He became CKUAs first control
room operator, and while broadcasting a university lecture, saw the sibilance of a gap-toothed professor cause a
modulation that forced the station off the air.
He would soon develop a device that not only solved CKUAs dead air problem, but earned him his
master's degree in 1936. His thesis was titled Automatic Gain Control for a Broadcast Amplifier, and the
device would become better known as the peak limiter.
Following his convocation from the U of A, Jordan redesigned and rebuilt CKUAs studio control
panel, incorporating into it the first automatic gain control in Canada.
Jordan became an international radio expert, and after earning his doctorate at Ohio State
University, became the head of the University of Illinois Department of Electrical Engineering.
Jordan was the author or editor of nine books, including the popular textbook, Electromagnetic
Waves and Radiating Systems. At the time of his death in 1991, he was editing the 8th edition of Reference Data
for Engineers: Radio Electronics, Computers, and Communications.
Dr. Edward Jordan, Recollections of CKUA
The Heritage Community Foundation is pleased to present this feature
article, courtesy of the CKUA Radio Network.
Dr. Edward Jordan recalls his time working for the CKUA radio station
in this excerpt from the book A Sound for All Seasons: CKUAs 60th
Copyright © 2003
Heritage Community Foundation All Rights Reserved