Carl G. Eilers, 83; Zenith engineer led team that developed FM stereo broadcasting
Eilers, an electrical engineer who helped develop production of high-fidelity stereo sound over the airwaves, died Friday at his home in River Forest, Ill., apparently of a heart attack. He was 83.
A 50-year employee of Zenith Electronics, Eilers led the team that developed FM stereo broadcasting. Before 1961, only phonographs could produce the high-quality sound.
Four decades ago, high-fidelity stereo sound revolutionized the radio listening experience, and Carl G. Eilers helped make that vision a reality. Before the FCC adopted the Stereo FM Broadcast Standard in 1961, high-fidelity two-channel audio was limited to phonographs. Eilers' pioneering work brought crystal-clear stereophonic sound to tens of millions of FM radio listeners worldwide.
A senior scientist with Zenith Electronics Corp. for more than 50 years, Eilers began his career working on subscription television technology in 1948. During the 1950s, he turned his attention to developing the stereophonic frequency modulation radio broadcast system that is now in use around the globe.
While seemingly mundane in today's digital world, Eilers stereo FM innovations meant that, for the first time, radio stations could transmit two stereophonic channels with full high-fidelity on each channel, signals that could also be received by existing monophonic FM receivers without loss of quality.
Likewise, Eilers' advances, MTS (multichannel television sound) and SAP (secondary audio programming) have enhanced the television viewing experience. Thus, Eilers holds a unique place in the annals of consumer electronics technology history as co-inventor of two key industry standards --stereo FM radio and MTS stereo TV. Eilers, who led development of Zenith's Emmy Award-winning MTS stereo TV system, adopted by the industry in 1984, has been working on high-definition television (HDTV) in recent years.
A lifelong member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Eilers has received many industry honors for his work, including the IEEE Fellow Award, the Masaura Ibuka Consumer Electronics Award, the Audio Engineering Society Fellow Award and the R&D 100 Award. Eilers has been granted 17 U.S. patents