The contrast between my extroverted social worker wife and my introverted engineer self could not be made more clear than when one of us travels, leaving the other behind. When I leave, she goes on outings with her friends. When she leaves, I find myself reading or experimenting with radios and computers.
The broadcasting technology world is quietly run by introverts like you and me. We tinkered with radios as teens, showed up at a local radio or TV station and eventually took a job caring for the equipment while others pursued the more social aspects of sales, news, and promotions.
While technical introverts should feel no shame in embracing our lonely preferences, I recommend taking inventory of how your behavior may be limiting your career and ultimately a more full life. If you are not networking with other engineers, vendors, and broadcast managers, you are in danger of being left in the cold when looking for a new job, in line for a promotion, hiring help, or attracting clients as an independent consultant.
You may not feel the need to build relationships when you have a long-time relationship with your present employer, but to do so is dangerous to your career. I’ve observed conditions change radically for well-respected engineers when employers review their budgets and decide that an engineer is suddenly deemed too expensive, or they decide to outsource. As a consultant, what if your client decides to cut you in favor a newer, less-expensive engineer?
Ask yourself a few questions:
Is the management team you answer to aware of all of your station improvement initiatives?
Do you know what your colleagues in sales or news do when they are away from the station?
Are you attending SBE meetings to network with your colleagues?
When you do attend an SBE meeting, do you make it a point to introduce yourself with a smile and ask questions of a previously unfamiliar attendee?
Do you volunteer as a leader for your local SBE chapter, scout troop, or as a mentor for a young person learning your trade?
Do you spend uninterrupted, quality time with your key vendors, sharing information about your goals so that they can keep you in mind when another client needs technical help?
Are you spending time with friends and family away from technology?
I recommend you push away from your big, comfy computer desk chair and get out a bit. Break through your comfort zone and over time–trust me–you will reap great benefits.
Gary Stigall, CPBE
SBE Board Member
Gary’s views do not reflect those of the SBE, or its Board of Directors.
I came across an article that described how most managers are concerned with ‘what’ people do, and not ‘why’ they do it. In other words, managers are more concerned with employee’s actions, rather than their internal motivations. To do this, leaders would need to take time to gain insight into where a person is coming from, and interact on a more personal level. So, how do we do this?
One way I found is to explore different types of personalities, and understand how best to communicate and work with each personality type. By understanding your personality type, and that of those around you, you’ll have a basic understanding of what type of person they are and what they respond positively to. First, you would need to find out what personality type you are first, so you know how best to interact with the others. There is a leadership style assessment in the SBE Leadership Development Course, taking place August 13-15 in Atlanta, that does just that – helps you understand what type of leader you are, and how best to communicate with other personality types.
Other than understanding personality types, are there any tricks you have come across to deal with challenging people in the workplace?
As both radio and television broadcast engineers are expected to do more with less, being pro-active with respect to maintaining your transmitter and studio sites will guard against disasters. This is especially true when preparing your site for the summertime, after winter has taken its toll.
Webinars by SBE has a webinar on springtime maintenance to help you get ready for summer. Drawing from his experience as a chief engineer, and in writing Radio World’s popular Workbench column, John Bisset leads engineers through a series of inspections and tasks to prepare your site for warmer weather. Along the way, he offers some engineering nuggets to improve your maintenance efficiency as well.
Philip Cianci, CSTE wrote an inspiring, informative course for the SBE on the challenges of a contemporary technologist who works in the broadcast or media industry. The online course, titled “Adaptive Media Systems Engineering“, offers techniques to ease the transition from Broadcast Engineer to Media Systems Engineer. Each chapter provides practical suggestions and solutions for the digital era. Subjects include an introduction to media systems engineering, the role of the media systems engineer, the importance of professional societies and standards bodies, project management techniques, the planning process, process improvement, organizational efficiency and more.
“The author uses lots of industry standards and relates them very well to the broadcast industry. This is a thought provoking course that guides the project engineer to new methods of managing the unmanageable task of today’s broadcast IT-centric projects.” – Paul Claxton, CPBE, CBNE, Course Reviewer
Broadcasters have been needing and asking the FCC for more channels and bandwidth for years now. We need more! With the growth of HD audio and video the need for reliable STL’s continues to grow every year.
In August of 2011 the FCC abolished the last link rule opening up Part 101 licensed frequencies to broadcasters. Finally the FCC has opened up new frequencies that can be used for reliable STL’s. These frequencies like 950mhz, 7ghz, and 13Ghz are licensed frequencies but with the ability to run high speed bidirectional data rates. These frequencies have the ability to provide up to a gigabit of bidirectional throughput to your transmission sites.
Taking place June 27, this webinar will inform you on these new licensed frequencies and the design do’s and don’ts for these frequencies. The webinar also looks at a live path profile showing what can be done today.
The impact of the Information Technology world has certainly been felt in the ranks of traditional broadcast engineering for several years. Whether radio or TV, the systems we depend upon daily have become or will become more of an IT looking environment than the baseband audio and video world that has embraced broadcast engineering for years.
Is it time for a new engineering position in the broadcast industry? Will the “Broadcast IT Engineer” become the new job title for the broadcast technologist of 2013 and beyond? Or maybe this already is the new engineering position and we have simply not fully acknowledged in our industry and our own career progression.
How does someone entering the industry obtain the knowledge and skills of broadcast engineering and IT to successfully accomplish the demands of this position? Is an experienced IT professional better suited for this role by learning the traditional diverse broadcast engineering skills? Is an experienced broadcast engineer better suited for this role by learning the necessary and diverse IT skills?
Who is best suited for the coming norm of the broadcast plant in the “IT Cloud”?
What are your thoughts?
Wayne M. Pecena, CPBE, CBNE
SBE Board Member, Chair – SBE Education Committee
Wayne’s views do not reflect those of the SBE, or its Board of Directors.