What brought this to mind was the sign
on a cage full of gas cylinders. Funken? This made me think of the great German electronics company Telefunken, as well as all those stations with Rundfunk in their name. Turning to my favourite online German<>English dictionary, I find that the sign means "avoid sparking".Funkenbildung vermeiden
When I was a lad, we used to call radio the "wireless", from the days when wireless transmission was something new compared to cable-based telegraphic and telephonic communication. But now I realized that the "funk" in these German names referred to sparking, and that Rundfunk, meaning broadcast, referred back to the days of spark transmission at the start of the 20th century. And this was amply covered in Paul Nahin's book, not simply as a historical vignette, but seriously introducing certain aspects of electronic science and technology in the context best suited for these.
This history is preserved in the Telefunken logo. (image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telefunken)