Big Shoes for Today’s Broadcast Engineers
December 6, 2001
But We’re Filling Them
Perhaps now more than ever, the technical members of our profession are intricately involved with the issues that challenge the survival of this industry we so cherish. The broadcast engineer’s role today is crucial in keeping our stations and production facilities solvent and competitive. We must realize that the part we play in our individual station’s organizational structure is vital to the success of the facility and ultimately, to this business we call broadcasting.
Broadcasting has for a long time provided a viable livelihood for those of us on the technical side of the industry. This career also offers intrinsic rewards that bring a sense of real satisfaction when a job or project has been completed successfully. We work hard to prove how valuable we are to our station managers and owners. And we are starting to receive much deserved credit for it. I believe our stations are proud of us, their engineers.
Today, broadcast engineers are one of the most valuable resources to their company. The engineer’s professional opinion is increasingly becoming an important component in managerial decisions – decisions that ultimately affect the financial welfare of our facilities. Broadcasting has been an intriguing business for investors for a long time and today, that interest is stronger than ever.
The role we play in the broadcasting profession has contributed to many of the successes that our companies have experienced. We have helped build these companies and assisted in guiding them to the valuable properties they have become. It is obvious that broadcast engineering is no longer a necessary "fixed cost" of a station. In a good operation, broadcast engineers are considered an asset and their opinions are highly solicited.
This ever-changing industry of ours is leading to more responsibilities in the technical roles we play. We must be willing to accommodate the changes of this "new-age media" or be complacent and be left behind.
We must work to improve marketing on the importance of our role – it is imperative that we remain "top of mind" with the business leaders of our industry. For they know we are knowledgeable – and capable – of addressing important issues that affect broadcast technology.
More and more, we are initiators, team players and leaders within our own groups. Day to day, we are called upon to assist with critical decisions that not only affect our company’s local operations, but our national corporate operations as well. Group owners are listening to us and are considering our valuable input. This makes for a "win-win" arrangement, so important in today’s competitive business environment.
Large investments are being made in broadcast groups. Shareholders demand a return on their investments and ensuring these returns takes prudent decisions based on sound resources. Top management talent has been put in place to oversee operations in a way that – hopefully – ensures a return on the investment dollar. You can certainly consider the broadcast engineer or engineering department as one of the resources for these decision-makers.
I am proud to be a part of this industry. My 30 years plus span turntables, tubes and tape from the ’60s to the digital bits of the new millennium. I have seen firsthand the change that broadcast engineering has helped bring about, and I look forward with great anticipation to what new and continuing trends in technology will bring.
However, it is up to us to stay abreast of those changes and the new waves of technology. Our station decision-makers are relying on us to stay competitive and meet bottom-line expectations. Our overall objective will continue to be providing uncompromised public service that is essential to our listeners and viewers in this day and age. We all are experiencing some amount of uncertainty in today’s society, especially following the Sept. 11 attacks on the heart of America.
Our industry is strong; it will survive and will continue to serve our viewing and listening public in the way we have been doing for decades – only better. Today we need each other more than ever. It is imperative that we remain committed to this industry as well as our owners and pledge to give it all we’ve got! We will be fine, as will America. During this time of heightened uncertainty, it is our industry that will keep our country informed and help it in the healing process. We will continue to take pride in the profession that we have chosen: broadcast engineering.