Broadcast engineers are often tasked with much of a station's regulatory compliance, as well as its planning for the future. At last week's Michigan Association of Broadcasters Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference, I did a presentation to the a session of broadcast engineers and others, sponsored by the local chapter of the Society of Broadcast Engineers. We covered the industry's macro issues of spectrum reallocation for television, and HD Radio for radio, and the possible use of TV Channels 5 and 6 for radio. We also talked about restrictions on the movement of AM and FM stations based on the FCC's rural radio proceeding, and the issues between translators and LPFM stations. Then we talked about many of the day to day issues that can get a station in trouble - particularly with license renewals coming up. A copy of the slides that I used in the presentation is available here. Additional information on many of the topics that I discussed last week are also available on our blog, as listed below.
Some of the articles that we have written that would be important to members of the engineering community include the following:
- The latest on White Spaces, and the development of the database that will be used to protect TV stations, translators, cable headends and other current users of the TV spectrum, an issue that I neglected to address at the conference
- A summary of the FCC's proceeding to determine how incentive auctions would work to clear space in the TV spectrum for wireless broadband, and on making VHF channels more useful for digital television
- The latest on video description of TV programming can be found here.
- Information about closed captioning requirements and the new complaint process for issues about such captioning can be found here
- Our checklist for the commercial broadcaster's public file can be found here
- Information on the FCC's rural radio proceeding can be found here
Broadcast stations can't function without the engineers who take care of their operations. In recent years, I have heard from many broadcasters in different parts of the country that it is increasingly difficult to find broadcast engineering help. Some attribute this to the competition for technically gifted individuals that now comes from the tech industry - providing those interested in technology and media another outlet for their talents. While I was glad to see a full room of broadcast engineers in Michigan, concentrating on the recruitment and training of engineering personnel for broadcast stations to make sure that similar rooms are filled in every state needs to be made a high priority for our industry.