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Former Belo Exec Craig Harper Joins Sony

PARK RIDGE, N.J.—Craig Harper, former vice president and CTO for Dallas-based station group Belo Corp., has joined Sony Electronics’ Professional Solutions of America group as director of business development for the house of worship market. Harper will be tasked with expanding Sony’s capabilities to work more closely with faith-based organizations of all sizes.

Sony production equipment — including cameras, switchers and displays – is widely used from the smallest ministries to mega-churches. Harper noted, however, that products are only one component of the total approach necessary to fully serve and support ministries, so they can position themselves for growth and keep members engaged.

“Ministries need to be well-versed in all the technical and creative aspects of professional production, from acquisition to editing to acoustics to lighting,” Harper said. “That’s in addition to all the other day-to-day demands and logistical challenges that come with running any organization. Our goal is to take some of the technical burden off their shoulders, continue to listen to their needs and develop the best technology options to help them not only communicate with their members more efficiently and effectively but also expand their congregations.”

In addition to his role at Belo, Harper has also held engineering and operations roles at a number of local TV stations. He has served as chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Television Technology Committee and as a member of the Advanced Television Standards Committee (ATSC) technology standards committee. He has spoken often at the National Association of Religious Broadcasters (NRB) annual meetings.

Harper’s professional broadcast experience is complemented by his lifetime commitment to church and community involvement. He began playing with his church’s PA system when he was 10 and his first paid job at the age of 15 was playing records and reading news at a 3,000 watt FM Christian station in his hometown of Waco Texas.

Harper is also very active at Prestonwood Church, as a founding board member of its international broadcast ministry “PowerPoint with Jack Graham” and as a technical director for its weekly services and music department’s DVD projects and annual Christmas program that is broadcast nationally and is seen by more than 50,000 people each year in person.

Prestonwood Church uses Sony HD cameras and MVS switchers, so Harper is already familiar with Sony technology at work in the house of worship market, as well as the company’s ongoing efforts to identify new opportunities for its production equipment in “non-traditional” applications like faith-based organizations.

“Sony has worked with churches and ministries for several years, and while we’ve had great success, we realized the market needs a dedicated expertise,” said Alec Shapiro, president of Sony’s Professional Solutions of America group. “Craig fills that bill perfectly, and is the right choice to lead our efforts in house of worship.”

Harper said there are many special factors to consider when working with faith-based organizations. “The decision to incorporate A/V solutions is often highly personalized, as churches need to balance what enhances their message versus what detracts from it,” he said. “Many ministries rely on volunteer staff, so equipment needs to be intuitive, and training and support needs to be easily accessible and readily available. Also, A/V implementations often extend beyond just the sanctuary, for example, web streaming, multi-site campuses and broadcasting.”