Broadcast engineering

Broadcast engineering

Infobox Occupation

official_names= Broadcast engineer
* Broadcast Systems Engineer.
* Broadcast IT Engineer.
* Broadcast Network Engineer.
* Broadcast Maintenance Engineer.
* Studio Broadcast Engineer.
* Outside Broadcast Engineer.
type= profession
competencies= Technical knowledge, Management skills, Professionalism
formation= see professional requirements
employment_field= Radio, Television, Military
related_occupation= Technologist, RF engineer, Engineering technician, Technical Operator

Broadcast engineering is the field of electrical engineering, and now to some extent computer engineering, which deals with radio and television broadcasting. Audio engineering and RF engineering are also essential parts of broadcast engineering, being their own subsets of electrical engineering.

Broadcast engineering involves both the studio end and the transmitter end (the entire airchain), as well as remote broadcasts. Every station has a broadcast engineer, though one may now serve an entire station group in a city, or be a contract engineer who essentially freelances his services to several stations (often in small media markets) as needed. [ [ - Broadcast Technician or Sound Engineering Technician: Career Information] ]


Broadcast Engineers may have varying titles depending on their level of expertise and field specialty. Some widely used titles include:

* Broadcast Systems Engineer.
* Broadcast IT Engineer.
* Broadcast Network Engineer.
* Broadcast Maintenance Engineer.
* Studio Broadcast Engineer.
* Outside Broadcast Engineer.


Modern duties of a broadcast engineer include maintaining broadcast automation systems for the studio and automatic transmission systems for the transmitter plant. There are also important duties regarding radio towers, which must be maintained with proper lighting and painting. Occasionally a station's engineer must deal with complaints of RF interference, particularly after a station has made changes to its transmission facilities [ [ U.S. Department of Labor - Bureau of Labor Statistics - Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians and Radio Operators] ] [ [ skillset - Transmission Engineer - TV] ] .


Broadcast engineers may need to possess some or all of the following degrees, depending on the broadcast technical environment. If one of the formal qualifications is not present a related degree or equivalent professional experience is desirable.

* Degree in Electronic engineering.
* Degree in Telecommunications.
* Degree in Computer engineering.
* Degree in Computer Information Systems.


Broadcast engineers are generally required to have knowledge in the following areas, from conventional video broadcast systems to modern Information Technology:

* Baseband Video – Standard / High Definition.
* Video compression - DV25, MPEG, DVB or ATSC.
* Broadcast studio acoustics.
* Television studios - Broadcast Cameras and lenses.
* Production switchers (Vision Mixer).
* Digital server playout technologies. - VDCP, Louth, Harris, control protocols.
* Broadcast automation
* Disk storage – RAID / NAS / SAN technologies.
* Archives – Tape archives or grid storage technologies.
* Computer Networking.
* Operating systems – Microsoft Windows / Mac OS / Linux / RTOS.
* Post production – Capture and Non-linear editing.
* RF satellite uplinking – High powered amplifiers (HPA).
* RF satellite downlinking – Band detection, carrier detection and IRD tuning etc.
* Broadcast safe standards.
* Communications equipment - Talkbacks, walkie-talkies.
* Occupational safety and health.
* Fire suppression systems like FM 200.
* Basic structural engineering.

Above mentioned requirements vary from station to station.


Broadcast engineers must also have skillset and methodology to problem solving that helps in making effective use of their knowledge base.

* Self motivated.
* Enthusiasm to learn about emerging technologies, proprietary hardware/software and applications.
* Logical approach to problem solving and troubleshooting
* Detail oriented.
* Quick thinking.
* Calm under high pressure situations.
* Good oral and written business communications, negotiation and time management skills.
* Leadership skills - Organizing and motivating a group of engineers.
* Drawing skills - To draw graphical Visio workflow diagrams or CAD schematic drawings.
* Training and mentoring skills - To train and mentor junior or fellow engineers or operational staff.

Digital engineering

The conversion to digital broadcasting means broadcast engineers must now be well-versed in digital television and digital radio, in addition to analogue principles. New equipment from the transmitter to the radio antenna to the receiver may be encountered by engineers new to the field. Furthermore, modern techniques place a greater demand on an engineer's expertise, such as sharing towers or antennas among different stations.

Digital audio and digital video have revolutionized broadcast engineering in many respects. [ [ Interactive TV Web. "Broadcast Engineering Basics"] ] Broadcast studios and control rooms are now already digital in large part, using non-linear editing and digital signal processing for what used to take a great deal of time or money, if it was even possible at all. Mixing consoles for both audio and video are continuing to become more digital in the 2000s, as is the computer storage used to keep digital media libraries. Effects processing and TV graphics can now be done much more easily and professionally as well.

Other devices used in broadcast engineering are telephone hybrids, broadcast delays, and dead air alarms. See the glossary of broadcast engineering terms for further explanations.

Engineering services

Broadcast stations often call upon outside engineering services for certain needs. For example, because structural engineering is generally not a direct part of broadcast engineering, tower companies usually design broadcast towers.

Other companies specialize in both broadcast engineering and broadcast law, which are both essential when making an application to a national broadcasting authority. This is especially critical in North America, where stations bear the entire burden of proving that their proposed facilities will not cause interference and are the best use ot the radio spectrum. Such companies now have special software that can map projected radio propagation and terrain shielding, as well as lawyers that will defend the applications before the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), or the equivalent authorities in some other countries.


In the United States, many broadcast engineers belong to the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE). Some may also belong to the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), or to organizations of related fields, like the Audio Engineering Society or Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

For public radio, the Association of Public Radio Engineers was created in late May 2006.

ee also

* Engineering technician
* Technical Operator
* RF Engineer


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