"Stay tuned" - the all-digital generation doesn't get this phrase

Guy Letourneau guy1656 at OPUSNET.COM
Sat Mar 31 18:07:27 UTC 2012

I wrote a status report e-mail to my colleagues this week, and ended it
with "Stay tuned," with my name following the comma much as one would
end a formal letter with "Sincerely," and a person of about 22 years old
privately wrote back to ask me what I meant by being "tuned."

We are about two generations past the era of vacuum tube receivers in
radio and television, and as radios go digital, the understanding of
analog amplitude modulation (AM) is passing away now, as is the concept
of tuning a receiver to a carrier frequency which may drift over time
due to atmospheric conditions between the broadcaster and the receiver.

Also, changes in temperature of the components of the receiving set,
especially tubes and capacitors would cause frequency drifts, all of
which had to be adjusted periodically while receiving the signal; this
was not 'set and forget' channel selection. There were always knobs to

- Guy L.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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