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Ramblings from the Mind of Amanda

April 28, 2021
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May 2021

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For most people, education ends when they graduate.  They’ve done it and have the job they want (hopefully).  For some industries like TV and radio, education is never-ending.  Every year is something new to learn.  Because of that, the SBE has worked hard to create educational opportunities with monthly webinars and on-demand SBE University courses. They even have a monthly livestream on YouTube.  This is only scratching the surface of what is offered.

I suggest everyone go over to the main www.sbe.org webpage and see all the educational opportunities they offer.  I will warn you  ̶  these are not free.  But, with the SBE MemberPlus membership, the webinars are free.

To become a member, you need to be actively involved in broadcast engineering, have an academic degree in electrical engineering or its equivalent, or have scientific or professional experience in the communications field, including the design or marketing of broadcast-related products; have at least four years of active participation in broadcast engineering or its allied fields and have demonstrated acceptable technical proficiency.  So, someone off the street with no real ties to this world would not be able to join.  You just need to meet one of those criteria. There are some exceptions listed on the SBE membership page.

There are two types of membership: Traditional and MemberPlus.  I highly recommend MemberPlus for educational purposes.  As noted above, with a MemberPlus membership you will gain access to all the webinars for free.  The cost of this membership is $175, which may seem costly to some, but when you factor in that webinars are $62 for members ($92 for non-members), the membership pays for itself once you do three webinars.  And with over 90 webinars and more being added each month, you can do the math.  I wouldn’t binge all the webinars at once, I’ve done the MemberPlus membership the last three years and try to do one or two webinars a month, typically, a current webinar and then an archived webinar.

It is so important for any engineer to keep up with technology, to continually learn.  The more you know, the more valuable you may become to an employer.  I am reminded of when I went through the Broadcast Engineering course from Cleveland Institute of Electronics many years ago.  It was the same course my dad had gone through in the 1970s, and I would go over the material with him, getting advice and knowledge from someone who has been there and done that.  What we quickly realized was that the course hadn’t been updated since he did it decades before.  Some of the material was timeless, some current and good, something I could use for the time, but other stuff I just had to learn by doing because the material was outdated and didn’t help me much, at least at Crawford where we try not to keep transmitters that are more than a few years old.

Not all employers even know about the Society of Broadcast Engineers.  That means it is up to us to do continuing education ourselves.  I have no doubt that if brought to an employer, many would reimburse the cost of a membership if they can see how it will help the company.

We must push ourselves to be active and to find the webinars we need and to go through any SBE University courses that will help us in our career.  We need to make ourselves irreplaceable.  I know this may not always work, but it will also make you more appealing to a potential employer.  I know at Crawford, to join our engineering department, you need to have a certification at the minimum.  But the more you have, the more you know, the fact you show active participation within the SBE, the more appealing you are.

Let me encourage you to join in.  You’re already at the chapter 48 website, which is a great starting point.  Sign up for our email list and attend the local meetings (currently being held online).  This chapter is a combined chapter with the Rocky Mountain Chapter of SMPTE (the global society of media professionals, technologists, and engineers).  While I don’t know much about SMPTE (shame on me), you should also check out their organization and see what they can offer you (www.smpte.org).  We try to keep our web page up to date with local meetings being held and encourage you to attend.  The meetings are free for the most part.  If there ever is a cost, we will let you know.  Join us and you will find a second family.

 

 

Amanda’s News

February 24, 2015
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 I thought since Cris has been so busy as of late I’d step in with an update. We just finished up upgrading to the Wheatstone blade system in Denver. For years we’ve used outdated Audio Science soundcards along with 32-channel Mackie boards for the production rooms and Wheatstone G6 consoles for our control rooms. While we stayed with the G6 consoles for the control rooms, we did upgrade the Mackies to Wheatstone E6 8-channel consoles. We got rid of the Audio Science cards in all of the rooms and now have a variety of Wheatstone Blades. We have the IP88AD in the production rooms and the Blade 3 in the control rooms. The new consoles required us to cut holes in the tabletops so we’d be able to drop them in. We actually had my husband come in and do it one night. Thankfully cutting the holes was rather easy. We were able to hook the consoles up and drop them in. Part of this project was also upgrading our computers. We went ahead and bought brand new computers for the production rooms because they get the most intense work. We decided to refurbish the control room and audio server computers. This meant buying new hard drives, RAM, and a second gigabit network card and a copy of Windows 7. The process was rather easy as we had a few spare computers lying around. I didn’t have to take anything down to do the work. Once we ran out of spares I was able to put the ones I did in service and basically take the computers I just replaced and do the same process. I found it went by rather fast and we were able to get the four audio servers done in a matter of days and the same with the control rooms.

One issue we have found with Windows 7 and our NexGen automation system is windows thinks a program has quit responding and forces us to close it down. We’ve tried waiting on it to see if it clears up but unfortunately, it never does. This proves to be an issue when we are recording. Without a secondary record device going, we risk losing it altogether. I’ve put everything to be Windows XP compatible and this has helped out some. As more and more broadcasters move to Windows 7 and beyond, we need to find a way to stop this from happening. So if anyone has any ideas about this I’m all ears.

The next step for Crawford Broadcasting is me typing up a how-to guide for our other engineers for getting all things Wheatstone set up. It’ll be a task but it’ll be good when it’s done.

I think that about covers it for this month. So until next time…73,

Amanda, KD0CIC, CBRE