Here's an even more possible explanation from this web site by an
"The term "aircheck" is borrowed from broadcasting, where disc jockeys
and newspeople can hear their on-air performance with a sense of realism
not possible by simply recording from the studio microphone.
The realism comes from how someone's voice is changed by the audible
characteristics of the station's transmitter, audio chain and processing
equipment. For broadcasting, it's an absolute way to judge "loudness"
against a competitor."
I've always understood it also was used by engineers to check the
quality of radio broadcasts and transmitters "over the air".
Tom Fine wrote:
> What is the genesis of the term "aircheck" and how did it come to mean
> "off-air recording", or did it mean something different at another time?
> -- Tom Fine