SBE Publishes Broadcast Engineering Handbook

The Society of Broadcast Engineers and McGraw-Hill Education have released the SBE Broadcast Engineering Handbook: Hands-on Guide to Station Design and Maintenance. This new book offers detailed practical information on video, audio and broadcast transmission systems from dozens of the field’s foremost experts. Featuring everythingfrom basic principles and formulae to the latest technologies and engineering trends, this hands-on resource offers practical and up-to-date coverage of all major broadcast technologies for radio, TV and related fields.

The SBE Broadcast Engineering Handbook features in-depth tutorials that stress key topics throughout, complete coverage of radio and television technologies, and is written from the perspective of the broadcast engineer. More than 50 authors have contributed their expertise to the ten sections of the book. These authors, recognized authorities in their fields, have volunteered their time to create this valuable resource. The handbook has been deftly assembled by Jerry Whitaker, CPBE, 8-VSB, editor-in-chief. He is vice president of standards development for the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) in Washington, DC, and also the author or editor of more than 40 technical books. Mr. Whitaker is a Fellow of the Society of Broadcast Engineers.

The book covers every aspect of broadcast engineering in seven sections: Regulatory Issues, RF Transmission, DTV Transport, Information Technology Systems, Production Systems, Facility Issues, Broadcast Management, plus three reference annexes.

The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) is the only organization devoted to the advancement of all levels and types of broadcast engineering. With more than 5,100 members the SBE provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and the sharing of information to help members keep pace with a rapidly changing industry.

The book is available from the SBE Bookstore. SBE members can purchase the book at the member discount price of $159 through the SBE Bookstore. The book is also available through and online retailers for $199.

SBE Members Chernock and Laird to Receive NAB Engineering Awards at 2016 NAB Show

Richard Chernock, chief science officer at Triveni Digital, and Andrew Laird, CPBE, former vice president and chief technology officer at Journal Broadcast Group, have been named the 2016 recipients of the NAB Engineering Achievement Awards. They will be honored at the NAB Technology Luncheon on April 20 in Las Vegas. Additionally, the Digital Leadership Award will be presented to Adam Symson, senior vice president and chief digital officer at The E.W. Scripps Company.

Established in 1959, the Engineering Achievement Awards are given to individuals who are nominated by their peers for significant contributions to advancing the state of the art in broadcast engineering. In 2015, the Digital Leadership Award was established to honor an individual at a broadcast station, group or network who has had a significant role in transforming a traditional broadcast business to succeed on digital media platforms.

Richard ChernockThe 2016 NAB Television Engineering Achievement Award
Richard Chernock is the chief science officer for Triveni Digital, where he has been employed since 2002, following a 20-plus year career with IBM. Chernock has been heavily involved with industry activities regarding digital television broadcasting and currently serves as chairman of the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) Technology Group on ATSC 3.0. The group is overseeing the creation of the next-generation broadcast transmission standard. He is also a prolific evangelist and educator on ATSC 3.0, publishing papers and making presentations at many conferences and tradeshows worldwide. Chernock previously served as chairman of the ATSC Technology Group that oversaw the development of enhancements to the DTV standard, including the ATSC Mobile and ATSC 2.0 suite of standards, the recommended practice on audio loudness and numerous others.

Andy LairdThe 2016 NAB Radio Engineering Achievement Award
Andrew Laird, CPBE, recently retired as vice president and chief technology officer for Journal Broadcast Group. Laird began his career in the 1960s developing audio processors and designing and building radio facilities. He worked in the 1970s and 1980s as a studio design consultant and chief engineer for a variety of customers and radio groups. Throughout his career, Laird participated in important industry activities and played a crucial role in the evaluation and standardization of the system for digital AM and FM radio broadcasting in the U.S. through his work with the NAB co-sponsored National Radio Systems Committee (NRSC), where he most recently served as the co-chair of the Digital Radio Broadcasting (DRB) subcommittee.

The SBE congratulates these two members on this prestigious recognition.

SBE Files FCC Comments on AM Improvement

The Society of Broadcast Engineers filed comments in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s further notice of proposed rulemaking and the combined notice of inquiry in the AM Improvement Docket, 13-249. Its comments focused on a single issue first raised in the SBE’s comments filed in the proceeding in 2014, but not addressed by the FCC in its October 21, 2015, first report and order: that of ambient noise in the AM broadcast band specifically, and in the Medium Frequency bands generally. The SBE’s comments note that the Commission has made, and is currently examining additional short-term improvements in AM broadcasting in this proceeding. Although those short-term initiatives may be necessary to help the serious economic conditions for AM broadcasters, they are not going to lead to any meaningful, long-term improvement in MF AM broadcasting. To do that, the SBE asserts, the Commission is going to have to be willing to implement some difficult regulatory reforms that it has not addressed to date. It must develop and commit to a regulatory plan that, over time, will reduce the levels of man-made noise in the MF bands, and more broadly in the bands below 30MHz.

The FCC noted earlier in the docket that “AM radio is particularly susceptible to interference from electronic devices of all types, including such ubiquitous items as TV sets, vehicle engines, fluorescent lighting, computers, and power lines. The noise on the AM band that is caused by those sources is only expected to increase as electronic devices continue to proliferate.” The SBE suggested that this increase in noise is not inevitable. However, it is a serious and worsening problem. Citing the aggregate effects of Part 15 and Part 18 unlicensed devices, the SBE notes that the FCC does not have any practical ability to address the interference potential of unlicensed devices past the point of sale. Reductions in field staff available to conduct spectrum enforcement have made enforcement in interference cases involving unlicensed devices unavailable in the future. The only source of regulatory reform that has a meaningful chance to positively affect the noise floor over time are the regulations that create obligations on manufacturers and importers and dealers, prior to the point that the consumer deploys it.

Citing a study by the LBA Group, AM reception is dependent on the desired signal being typically some 26dB above the ambient noise level. The AM band is subject to AM coverage distortion, increasing noise threats, and interference from the proliferation of wireless systems, electronic devices and low-frequency radiators that distort AM signals more now than as recently as 10 years ago. The electric power grid has expanded, bringing noise contributions from corona, arcing, and other modes. AM stations have increased power to raise their signal-to-noise ratio in an attempt to preserve their coverage areas, often interfering with other stations. But there is a limit to power increases, both economically and technically, and those limits are now reached in many cases.

The SBE argues that AM listeners have media options, and that RF noise will make them exercise those options. When an RF lighting device or a Part 15 intentional radiator causes interference to their receivers, AM listeners receive interference. They will not suffer it; They will simply utilize different media. The SBE urges the Commission to commence an interference management plan for the AM band, based on rules that limit RF noise before it becomes an issue, not after the fact, and those rules have to be enforced. The FCC should also study current ambient noise in the MF band, with an eye toward updating older studies on the subject. This will permit a reasoned analysis of the Commission’s Part 15 and Part 18 rules and thus contribute to a controlled RF environment over time. The SBE suggested that AM broadcasting will never get better in the worsening RF noise environment in the bands below 30MHz without some regulatory relief.

Read the SBE’s filing.

Columbus, OH, to Host 2016 SBE National Meeting

SBE President Jerry Massey has announced that the 2016 SBE National Meeting will be held in Columbus, OH, on Oct. 26-27. The venue will be the downtown Greater Columbus Convention Center and the adjacent Columbus Crowne Plaza Hotel. The event is being hosted by the Ohio Association of Broadcasters in conjunction with its annual Ohio Broadcast Engineering Conference. The conference is supported each year by the SBE chapters of Ohio.

The SBE National Meeting includes the SBE Annual Membership Meeting, the SBE National Awards Reception and Dinner and the SBE Fellows Breakfast. The national Board of Directors will also meet during the event, as will the national SBE Certification Committee.

The OAB Broadcast Engineering Conference includes broadcast technical presentations of interest to radio and television engineers planned and organized by an advisory committee of broadcast engineers within the state of Ohio and OAB staff. A trade show of equipment and service suppliers is also a popular part of the OAB Conference.
The downtown Columbus Crowne Plaza Hotel is a 375-room, first-class hotel connected by covered walkway to the convention center. The hotel and convention center have easy access off I-670 and is adjacent to Columbus’ Short North neighborhood of shops, art galleries and restaurants.

All members and friends of the SBE are invited to attend. Members in Ohio or neighboring states are particularly encouraged to attend while the SBE National Meeting is close by. Save the dates: Oct. 26-27 for the 2016 SBE National Meeting and OAB Broadcast Engineering Conference.

SBE Launches 2016 Membership Drive

The theme for 2016 is

SBE Membership: The Road to Success

The SBE wants your help in recruiting new members, and you can win rewards for your efforts. Sponsor a new Member, Associate Member or Sustaining Member between March 1 and May 31, 2016, and you will be eligible for the prize drawings. For each approved new member application you sponsor you will earn $5 off your 2016 membership dues, up to $25. Each new member application may have only one sponsor. Applications must be received at the SBE National Office between March 1 and May 31, 2016, to be eligible. Drawing for all prizes will be completed by June 7, 2016.

Complete details, prize rules, prize listings and membership forms are posted on the 2016 Membership Drive page.