The Johns Hopkins Gazette: February 5, 2001
February 5, 2001
VOL. 30, NO. 20


Landmark News Ticker Lights Up SPSBE's New Downtown Center

By Neil Grauer
Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

A half-century after downtown Baltimore's popular outdoor news ticker went dark in 1950 with the move of The Sun from Charles Street to Calvert, the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education has launched a new, high-tech version of that flashing landmark.

The 210-foot-long, 14-inch-high news ticker wraps around the facade of the school's new Downtown Center at Charles and Fayette streets. The ticker on January 26 began displaying Bloomberg News information 24 hours a day.

Ralph Fessler, dean of SPSBE, says, "The new Downtown Center is the home of our Graduate Division of Business and Management and is an expression of the university's commitment to the city's business community. This news ticker--and the lanternlike glow of this new building at night--serves as a striking illumination of that commitment."

Baltimore attorney and university trustee emeritus Peter Angelos, a major benefactor of the SPSBE business, management and information technology programs housed in the new Downtown Center, has said that it was his childhood memories of The Sun's news ticker adorning its former headquarters at Charles and Baltimore streets that inspired him to suggest that one be placed on the new Hopkins building.

The SPSBE news ticker operates like the one in New York's Times Square, using amber color pixels on computer boards to flash items that will be fully legible even in bright daylight.

Light emitting diodes are the lights that create the pixels, or dots, that form the characters that generate a scrolling text message, explains Frank Alvy of Data Display USA, the Long Island, New York-based company that manufactured the ticker. Each pixel is made up of nine LEDs, he says.

"This is the latest, state-of-the-art, newest generation display," Alvy says. "Basically, you have a computer located near the sign that is continuously logged on to the Bloomberg Web site. The software enables headlines from Bloomberg to be instantly displayed on the sign, day and night."

Mari Ozolinis of Bloomberg News says the headlines will cover both financial and world news, alerting passersby "to anything that can affect world capital markets."

Eva Lane, director of the Downtown Center, says that one non-Bloomberg message appeared on the ticker after Sunday's Super Bowl--extending Hopkins' congratulations to the Ravens on their 34-7 trouncing of the New York Giants.