New SBE Facebook Group: SBE Chapters

The Society of Broadcast Engineers, the association for broadcast and multimedia technology professionals, has created a new group on Facebook called SBE Chapters. Sharing information and experiences is a great path to a more active SBE membership. This group is the official place to post a photo and description of what your SBE chapter is doing. Did you host a terrific presenter? Is your chapter doing something interesting, educational, or just plain fun? This group is the spot to share photos from these SBE chapter events.

SBE Launches Mentor Program

The Society of Broadcast Engineers, the association for broadcast and multimedia technology professionals, has begun its first Mentor Program. The Mentor Program is designed to provide broadcast engineers who are new to the field a means to gain insight and work with a seasoned broadcast engineer who can share his or her acquired knowledge. SBE Mentor ProgramThe SBE accepted applications for mentors and mentees from SBE members through September. Mentees were paired with mentors based on mutual experiences and career interests.

Participants are asked to have regular communication by voice or video at least every other week. In all but a few pairings, mentors and mentees are not in the same city, but this should not impair the interaction of the participants. Officially, the mentoring will last one year, but the professional relationship can certainly continue.

The inaugural launch of the program attracted 32 mentees and 18 mentors. Many mentors are working with more than one mentee. The SBE Mentor Committee is cochaired by SBE board members Jeff Keith, CPBE, and Eric Schecter, CBRE.

On the launch of the program, SBE President Jerry Massey, CPBE, 8-VSB, AMD, DRB, CBNT, said, “This program provides a fast-track for those SBE members who are new to broadcast engineering to gain practical insight and knowledge from some of our more experienced SBE members. Through this, we are able to tap the knowledge resource to grow an engineering talent resource. I extend a personal thanks to the volunteer mentors who are participating in the SBE Mentor Program.”

The SBE is still accepting applications for new mentors and mentees. As new mentors and mentees apply, new partners will be matched.

SBE Re-Elects Jerry Massey as President

The Society of Broadcast Engineers, the association for broadcast and multimedia technology professionals, announces the results of the 2016 election for the national board of directors. Jerry Massey, CPBE, 8-VSB, AMD, DRB, CBNT, was re-elected as the society’s president. Massey is the regional technical operations director, Southeast for Entercom Communications, and the director of technical operations, MIS, sustainability for Entercom Greenville.

Regarding the election results, President Massey said, “I set several goals when I was elected president last year, and I look forward to working with the board and our members to see these goals to completion.”

Others serving one-year terms as officers, which begin on Oct. 27 are:

■ Vice President: Jim Leifer, CPBE, director of engineering and IT at iHeartMedia/South Florida, Boynton Beach, FL.

■ Secretary: Tim Anderson, CPBE, DRB, CBNE; manager of business and product development, radio transmission, GatesAir; Covington, KY.

■ Treasurer: Andrea Cummis, CBT, CTO, managing partner, AC Video Solutions, Roseland, NJ.

    Serving two-year terms on the board of directors, which also begin Oct. 27 are:

■ Jim Bernier, CPBE, CBNE; Senior Director, Broadcast Engineering, Turner Entertainment Networks; Alpharetta, GA
■ Kirk Harnack, CBRE, CBNE; Director of Multimedia Education, Telos Alliance; Nashville, TN
■ Wayne Pecena, CPBE, 8-VSB, AMD, DRB, CBNE; Director of Engineering , Texas A&M University – KAMU FM & TV; College Station, TX
■ Marcelo Sanchez, CPBE; Director of Broadcast Operations and Engineering, WFOR-TV/WBFS-TV; Miramar, FL
■ Mark Simpson, CPBE, AMD, DRB, CBNE; VP Engineering, Townsquare Media; Tucson, AZ
■ Justin “JT” Tucker, CSRE, AMD, CBNE; Regional Director of Engineering Southwest, Cumulus Media Charleston; Charleston, SC

   
    The national board of directors of the SBE is responsible for the development of policy and determines the programs and services the society provides to its more than 5,100 members. Those elected will begin their terms on Oct. 27, 2016, during the SBE Membership Meeting. They will join the other six directors who have another year remaining in their terms (Mark Fehlig, CPBE, 8-VSB, CBNT; senior engineer, RF spectrum; Osborn Engineering; Snellville, GA; Michael Hendrickson, CPBE, CBNT; chief engineer; American Public Media Group/Minnesota Public Radio/Classical South Florida; Lakeville, MN; Ched Keiler, CPBE, 8-VSB, CBNE; senior engineer; ISC/E Three; Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Jeff Keith, CPBE; senior product development engineer; Wheatstone Corporation; New Bern, NC; Kevin Plumb, CPBE; vice president, video/audio platform technologies; ESPN Technology; Trumbull, CT; RJ Russell, CPBE; VP of engineering; Fox 29 Philadelphia; Philadelphia, PA) as well as Joe Snelson, CPBE, 8-VSB, who is the immediate past president.

The SBE National Meeting will be held Oct. 26-27, 2015, in Columbus, OH, in conjunction with the Ohio Broadcast Engineering Conference, presented by the Ohio Association of Broadcasters, the Ohio chapters of the SBE, and the Ohio chapter of SMPTE.

Ennes Educational Foundation Trust Announces 2016 Scholarship Recipients

The Ennes Educational Foundation Trust has awarded four scholarships for 2016. Winners were chosen from applications received by July 1, 2016, from the previous 12 months.

The Harold E. Ennes Scholarship, Robert D. Greenberg Scholarship and John H. Battison Founder’s Scholarship are awarded to individuals interested in continuing or beginning their education in broadcast engineering and technology. The Youth Scholarship is specifically for a graduating high school senior interested in broadcast engineering as a career. Each scholarship awarded this year is for $1,500.

This year the Harold E. Ennes Scholarship recipient is Michael Frushour from Brookfield, IL. Frushour is a student at Columbia College in Chicago studying television production. His introduction to broadcasting was via a television production course offered at his high school. After his sophomore year, he applied some of his college knowledge by helping his high school update its facilities from analog to digital. He plans to pursue a career in live sports production.

Receiving the Robert Greenberg Scholarship is James Copeland from Wichita, KS. He is starting his junior year at Kansas Sate University studying broadcasting. He is currently the program director and student engineer at K-State’s student-run radio station. On the side, he collects classic Heathkit and Collins radios.

The John H. Battison Founder’s Scholarship has been awarded to Clifford White from Tyler, TX. Obtaining his Amateur Extra Class license at age 14, his ham radio acquaintances who worked in broadcasting introduced him to the big leagues of radio. During the summer of 2015, White is freelance radio broadcast engineer in East Texas and studies electrical engineering at LeTourneau University in Longview, TX.

Ruth Willet of Lawrenceville, GA, received the Youth Scholarship. She recently graduated from high school and plans to attend Kettering College in Michigan with a double major in mechanical engineering and engineering physics. She is an active amateur radio operator and was introduced to broadcast engineering through contacts with other amateur operators.

The Harold Ennes Scholarship Fund Trust was initiated by Indianapolis Chapter 25 in 1980 in memory of Harold E. Ennes, author of many textbooks for broadcast and broadcast-related communications training and a member of the Indianapolis chapter. Ennes was a member of the SBE’s national Certification Committee and made many contributions to the early development of the Certification Program. To encourage greater growth, the Scholarship Trust was transferred by Chapter 25 to the SBE national organization to administer in 1981. The name of the Trust was changed in 1995 to the “Harold Ennes Educational Foundation Trust” to fully embrace its expanded role.

SBE Announces Winners of 2016 National Awards

The Society of Broadcast Engineers announces the recipients of the 2016 SBE National Awards. The awards recognize excellence and achievement by individual members, SBE chapters and Sustaining Member companies. The two highest individual awards are the Robert W. Flanders SBE Engineer of the Year and the James C. Wulliman SBE Educator of the Year.

Mike HendricksonPresented to a member who has excelled in his or her career while furthering the mission of the SBE, the Robert W. Flanders SBE Engineer of the Year is awarded to Michael Hendrickson, CPBE, CBNT, of Lakeville, MN. Hendrickson is a former SBE Chapter 17 chair, and currently a member of the SBE National Board of Directors.

Cheryl LustenbergerThe recipient of the James C. Wulliman SBE Educator of the Year award is recognized for outstanding service and excellence in sharing knowledge through teaching other broadcast engineers. The winner of the award is Cheryl Lustenberger, CBNT, CTO, of Chapter 11 in Boston. Lustenberger is the assistant manager at the Tufte Television Facilities at Emerson College and has been instrumental in creating a fun and educational environment to students interested in broadcast engineering.

Mike Hendrickson has been in the broadcast engineering industry for more than 35 years. Recently retired, Mike was elected to the national SBE Board of Directors in 2015. Prior to retirement, Mike was chief engineer for American Public Media and was responsible for the upgrade of Minnesota Public Radio stations in Minnesota and several stations in Florida. In addition to being a former chapter chairman of Chapter 17, Mike has held several offices. Mike wrote an early version of a database that contained entries of most of the 950MHz aural studio/transmitter link assignments in the area. He is remembered by some SBE members for the demonstration of this database at an SBE meeting in the early 1980s, when a static discharge from bad carpet to the computer ended the database demo!

2016 marks the fourth year that the Chapter Engineer of the Year Award has highlighted the achievements of members within their chapters. This year, seven chapters selected their own award recipients. Each winner will be presented with a special certificate and will be recognized nationally on the SBE website and in a future issue of The Signal. The nine chapter winners also were automatically nominated for the national Robert W. Flanders SBE Engineer of the Year Award.

Cheryl Lustenberger has spent the last nine years educating future broadcast engineers at Tufte Television Studios at Emerson College. Having previously worked at several network affiliates in Massachusetts before coming back to her alma mater as staff, she was always happy to help students learn about the technology behind the productions they were developing and carrying out. In addition to formal workshops on safety, rigging and technology, Cheryl makes herself available to students via personal workshops on most any subject. One Emerson College student commented, “Her devotion to lifelong learning and teaching sets an example for students who will have to keep up with a rapidly changing industry.”

Blackmagic Design is awarded the 2016 SBE Technology Award for its URSA Studio Viewfinder, which turns the URSA mini, a compact lightweight Super 35 digital film camera, into a true professional studio camera.

Norman PortilloNorman Portillo, CBT, CTO, has won the newly added Freedom Award. Portillo previously won the Educator of the Year award in 2014 and has continued that education and training throughout the military community with his move from the Defense Information School in Maryland to Fort Bragg, NC. Norman recently established an SBE Chapter at Fort Bragg, Chapter 147. He currently serves as the chairman of that chapter. His supervisor, Jeremiah Green commented, “I have seen him personally reach out to the military community about the SBE’s programs and benefits. The command has also recognized his success and relies on him to connect the bridge between civilian and military training. Where the most Army military broadcast engineers are stationed, they now have a home where they can have training and certification opportunities.”

Chapter Awards
Best Chapter Communication
Chapter 24 of Madison, WI

Best Regional Convention or Conference
SBE Chapters of Wisconsin, and the 2015 Broadcasters Clinic

Several SBE National Awards recognize chapters for growth in membership, percentage of certified members and highest average attendance at chapter meetings. These awards are based on statistics kept at the national office, as submitted by chapters. Two awards for each category are presented, based on chapter enrollment. Class A represents chapters whose membership is less than the national median. Class B includes chapters with a membership greater than the national median.

Greatest Growth in New Members
A: Chapter 96, Rockford, IL, Chapter Chairman Ben Pflederer
B: Chapter 7, Jacksonville, FL, Chapter Chairman Craig Butler, CSRTE

Most Certified Chapter
A: Chapter 118, Montgomery, AL, Chapter Chairman Wiely Boswell, CBRE, CBNE; Certification Chairman, Charlie Grider, CBRE, CBNT
B: Chapter 131, Inland Empire, CA, Chapter Chairman, Wayne Murphy, CPBE, CBNE; Certification Chairman, Paul Claxton, CPBE, CBNE

Highest Average Member Attendance
A: Chapter 145, Magic Valley, ID, Chapter Chairman Thomas Lowther, CSRTE, CBNT
B: Chapter 34, Albuquerque, NM, Chapter Chairman William Harris, CPBE, AMD, CBNT

Nominations for the 2017 awards will open in February.

All the awards will be presented during the SBE National Awards Dinner on October 27, at the SBE National Meeting in Columbus, OH. The National Meeting is being held in conjunction with the Ohio Broadcast Engineering Conference, which is presented by the Ohio Association of Broadcasters, the Ohio chapters of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, and the Ohio section of SMPTE.

The Society of Broadcast Engineers is the professional organization of television and radio engineers and those in related fields. The SBE has more than 5,100 members in 115 chapters across the United States and in Hong Kong. There are also members in more than 30 other countries. Most chapters meet monthly and offer educational programs and an opportunity to network with other engineers. The SBE offers the largest and most recognized certification program for broadcast engineers, operators and technicians, with more than 4,500 certifications currently active.

Be Prepared for the 2016 National EAS Test

EAS logoWith the pending national EAS test, and the FCC’s unveiling of the EAS Test Reporting System, the SBE has prepared this summary of dates and actions of which all stations should be aware.

Aug. 26, 2016
Stations must complete Form One in the ETRS

Sep 28, 2016, 2:20 p.m. ET
EAS test
If circumstances prevent a test on Sep 28, the secondary test date is Oct 5, 2016.

Sep 28, 2016
By 11:59 p.m. ET, stations must complete the day-of-test report on Form Two in the ETRS

Nov 14, 2016
Deadline to submit post-test data on Form Three in the ETRS

SBE Reports First Compensation Survey Results

From April 1 to May 13, 2016, the Society of Broadcast Engineers conducted a survey to determine salary levels and benefits among broadcast and media technology engineers. This first survey provides a wealth of useful information, and it also establishes a baseline for subsequent surveys to establish compensation trends.

clipboardThe complete results of the survey are available at no charge to SBE members as a benefit of membership. A link to the survey is posted on the SBE website. SBE members will login to view the report.

The survey included 23 questions that gathered information about job titles, broadcast market size and compensation in dollars and offered benefits. SBE membership was not required to take the survey.

About the survey, SBE President Jerry Massey, CPBE, 8-VSB, AMD, DRB, CBNT, said, “The SBE is pleased with the overall participation in the survey, and we look forward to greater participation in subsequent years. While other surveys have been conducted in the past, the SBE Compensation Survey broadly encompasses radio, TV and other media rather than focusing on only one segment.”

While all responses remained anonymous, demographic data collected included market size, job category/title, age, years working in broadcasting, salary, benefits received, and any certification held. The data is split into radio or TV results, with greater detail on job category and market size. Presiden Massey added, “The survey shows that individuals who hold SBE Certification on average earn a higher salary than those who do not hold SBE Certification. This is a trend we have seen in other surveys, and continues to show true.”

SBE members can access the survey at this link. SBE login is required.

FCC Adds Three EAS Event Weather Codes

The FCC has released a report and order to add three new weather event codes for the Emergency Alert System. The codes are Extreme Wind Warning (EWW), Storm Surge Watch (SSA) and Storm Surge Warning (SSW).

Read the complete report and order at the FCC website.

From the R&O, the FCC will “require EAS equipment manufacturers to integrate these codes into equipment yet to be manufactured or sold, and make necessary software upgrades available to EAS participants no later than six months from the effective date of the rule amendments adopted in this order.”

While the new codes will not need to be added to EAS devices until 2017, the SBE has gathered information on adding the codes.

Gorman-Redlich Users
Gorman-Redlich will deliver new units with the codes as per the deadline. For existing units, contact the compoany. A new EPROM is likely required.

Monroe Electronics/Digital Alert System Users
DASDEC and R189 One-Net software version 3.0 already support these three event codes. If you have v3.0, no further action is needed, aside from selecting the codes from the drop-down menu if you want to use them.

Sage Alerting System Users
Sage plans to include the codes in the upcoming 89.30 release. To add the events now, use the “New Events” tab in the ENDECSetD settings program to define the new event code, then include the codes a filter as needed.

Trilithic Users
EASyCap B4020 software will be updated for the event codes. Users subscribed to the Trilithic Newsgroup will be notified when the update is ready. Starting Jan. 1, 2017, a radio-specific EAS product will be available. There are no plans to update the EASyCast platform. That product platform has reached the end of its service, so unless a large number of users request an update, one will not be released.

FCC Technological Advisory Council Opens Noise Floor Technical Inquiry

The SBE’s often-stated concerns about increases in ambient noise, especially in the AM broadcast band, have received a response from the FCC. On June 15, 2016, the Commission issued public notice DA 16-676 announcing that its Technological Advisory Council (TAC), an FCC advisory group, will investigate changes and trends to the radio spectrum noise floor to determine if there is an increasing noise problem. If it finds that there is such an increasing problem, the TAC will investigate its scope and the quantitative evidence available. Initially, the FCC on behalf of the TAC is asking how a noise study should be performed.

Comments from the public are due by Aug. 11, 2016. The SBE will file comments prepared with the assistance of its Government Relations Committee and its Executive Committee.

The comments from the public are intended to help the TAC determine the scope of the study. The TAC will seek to determine changes to the spectrum noise floor over the past 20 years. It is not frequency-limited, though most of the complaints in SBE’s experience typically concern ambient, man-made noise in the medium-frequency, high-frequency and VHF bands. Noise in this context denotes unwanted radio frequency (RF) energy from man-made sources. The FCC Public Notice indicates that the expectation of the TAC is a finding that the noise floor in the radio spectrum is rising. This assumption is based on the fact that the number of unlicensed, intentional and unintentional RF radiators and industrial, scientific and medical devices in use that emit radio energy increase. However, FCC cites a dearth of what it terms “concrete evidence” of increased noise floors and a lack of quantitative data to support the presumption. The TAC asks for help in strategizing how the available data can be added to, in order to advise FCC.

In the SBE’s view, this study is long overdue. SBE General Counsel Chris Imlay says, “The FCC does not have a working knowledge of ambient RF levels in different environments and has not had such for years. Without this, it is impossible to know whether the Part 15 radiated and conducted emissions limits for intentional, unintentional and incidental radiators are adequate. Because FCC has neither the resources nor the inclination to address individual cases of interference attributable to, for example, RF devices, power lines, switching power supplies, RF lighting systems and the vast array of other noise contributors in the field, it is critical that ambient RF be regulated prior to the point of retail sale. The results of this study will clearly help evaluate the adequacy of the current Part 15 and Part 18 regulations.”

The TAC is asking a very wide-ranging series of specific and general questions and many sub-questions about how an ambient noise study should be conducted and how noise should be evaluated, including the following:

1. Is there a noise problem?
• If so, what are the expected major sources of noise that are of concern?
• What services are being most impacted by a rising spectrum noise floor?

2. Where does the problem exist?
• What frequency bands are of the most interest?
• In what environments?

3. Is there quantitative evidence of the overall increase in the noise floor across various segments of the radio frequency spectrum?
• At what levels does the noise floor cause harmful interference to particular radio services?
• What RF environment data from the past 20 years is available, showing the contribution of the major sources of noise?

4. How should a noise study be performed?
• Would receiver noise measurements commonly logged by certain users (e.g. radio astronomers, cellular, and broadcast auxiliary licensees) be available and useful for noise floor studies?
• How much data must be collected to reach a conclusion?

The broadcast engineering community is both uniquely affected by increases in ambient noise, and uniquely qualified to participate in this study. The geographic distribution of SBE members in all RF environments makes SBE an asset to the TAC in the conduct of this study. All broadcast licensees, especially AM broadcast licensees, have a stake in this study. SBE members with input on this subject are urged to contact the SBE Government Relations Committeewith your thoughts on the issues listed in the public notice.

FCC Launches EAS Test Reporting System

The FCC EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS) is up and running. The system is for EAS participants to file identifying information, day of test data, and post-test data related to a nationwide test. The ETRS provides several new features that ease the data-entry burden on EAS participants, encourage timely filings, and minimize input errors. The ETRS also offers new data fields that are responsive to stakeholder comments.

Access the ETRS

The FCC will use this system for the September National EAS Test and future EAS regional and national tests. There are multiple steps involved in the reporting process. The first step is to complete Form One, which must be done Aug. 26, 2016. To complete the form, participants must register on the ETRS site using the station’s FRN number and a password. Once registered, the FCC will send ETRS account credentials and a link to the ETRS login page.

Adrienne Abbott, SBE member and Nevada EAS chair, compiled some details about the system. Every station will need to complete a Form One. Station groups have the option of designating a coordinator to handle the filings. The coordinator will have the ability to batch file the forms. The form requires call letters as they appear on the license, the facility number for each station and the name of the station’s legal owner. As information is entered, some information will automatically populate the form from the FCC’s CDBS. It is advised to verify the CDBS information is correct.

The transmitter coordinates will not self-populate and must be entered directly. Use decimal form and NAD 83. Licenses are issued with NAD 27, so those numbers cannot be used. The FCC provides a conversion tool, and some consulting engineers offer the station info. If a tower is registered, the coordinates on the registration are in NAD 83. A Google map should appear if the coordinates are close. Check the map for your exact tower location. It should be within one second of the location on your license. If not, correct the location on the license.

The form will ask for the station’s monitoring assignments, but there is no need to include the NWS NOAA Weather Radio frequency. Enter the broadcast stations. The form will also ask for the brand of EAS equipment being used and the firmware/software version. Check the manufacturer’s website to make sure you have the latest update before you enter that information.

After the test, complete Form Two with the initial results of how the test was received and rebroadcast. The FCC wants that information as soon as possible after the test. Form Three allows more time to add any details or other information about the test.

In the FCC announcement about the ETRS, there is mention of a new EAS Handbook. Read the complete FCC public notice.