SBE Names Three Members to Fellow

NAB Show, Las Vegas, NV – The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) has elevated three members to the membership rank of Fellow. The SBE Board of Directors elected Frank Giardina, CPBE; Ted Hand, CPBE, 8-VSB, AMD, DRB; and Robert Hoffman, CPBE; at its meeting held Sunday, April 23 in Las Vegas during the 2017 NAB Show.

Frank Giardina is the director of engineering/IT for the Cumulus Media Birmingham, AL, market. His interest in electronics and radio began when he was a child when he started a radio repair shop in the family garage, where he worked on radios for relatives and friends. This eventually led to his first summer job in a local radio/TV repair shop. Frank obtained his amateur novice test at age 12, then his Technician License, and then his First Class Radiotelephone Operator License at 16. He currently holds an Extra Class license, WA4FG. His career includes working in Dallas as a component test technician at Rockwell-Collins before returning to Birmingham to work at stations including WAQY, WBRC-AM/FM, WSGN, WAPI-AM/FM, WZRR and WJOX. He is a past chair of SBE Chapter 68 Birmingham, and is currently frequency coordinator and certification chair. He is an instructor in the Alabama Broadcasters Association’s Engineering Academy, teaching AM and FM transmission and reception.

Ted Hand is director of engineering/operations at WSOC-TV, Charlotte, NC, Cox Media Group. His TV career began at WTVZ and then WAVY in Norfolk, VA. He has also worked for Capitol Broadcasting in Raleigh, NC; and WTKR and then WGNT in Hampton Roads, VA. Ted has been active in SBE Chapter 54 Hampton Roads, VA, for many years, serving the chapter as webmaster, where his efforts were recognized in the SBE Awards program in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2010. He is also active in SBE Chapter 45 Charlotte, NC. In 2016, both chapters honored Ted with their Chapter Engineering of the Year awards. Ted served 11 of 14 years on the SBE Board of Directors, with his last term ending in 2016. He was secretary for five of those years. He has served on the SBE’s Executive Committee, and he has chaired the SBE Frequency Coordination Committee.

Robert Hoffman is the chief engineer of Hubbard Radio St. Louis and stations WIL-FM, WARH-FM and WXOS-FM. His first job in radio was the on-air producer for The Teen Show at WINI in Murphysboro, IL in 1971. He quickly became a morning and afternoon host, and operations and music director there. His radio career has taken him to stations in Mt Vernon, IL, and Cape Girardeau, MO, before he moved to St Louis in 1985, then moved away, and returned to St. Louis in 1992. He has worked for the same stations for more than 19 years, through which he has also worked for three owners. He is active in Chapter 55 St. Louis as the Meeting Coordination and Program Chair, a role he has filled since 1995.

In the nomination for Frank Giardina, one person wrote, “Frank’s guidance, advice, extraordinary technical expertise, and insistence on perfection have helped me build six radio stations. He has also had great positive influence on many new engineers. His dedication and unwavering high standards are surely a reflection of what the SBE represents.”

In Ted Hand’s nomination, one endorser wrote, “I [have] had several opportunities to talk to Ted about broadcast engineering-related topics and the SBE, and found him to be a most talented and experienced broadcast engineer and committed to the goals of our society, the developing and advancement of the broadcast engineer.” Another endorser wrote, “His is a great support to others in the industry and is always willing to impart his knowledge to those less experienced.”

In Robert Hoffman’s nomination, an endorser wrote, “Robert’s biggest accomplishment is staying abreast of changes and technology of current radio.” In addition, “Bob is always willing to help other people. At any time, anyone who calls him, Bob will go out of his way to help.”

“Our newest Fellow members exhibit the outstanding qualities of outstanding broadcast engineers worthy of the Society’s highest member grade,” said Jerry Massey, CPBE, 8-VSB, AMD, DRB, CBNT, president of the Society of Broadcast Engineers. “Each has taken his own unique path to success in broadcast engineering, and I congratulate them on this recognition.”

The Fellow honor is the highest membership level in the SBE. Members must have made significant contributions to the broadcast engineering field or the SBE. Candidates are nominated by their peers. Since the Society’s founding more than 50 years ago, 75 members have been honored with the Fellow rank.

The three recipients will be recognized for their election to Fellow during the SBE National Awards Dinner on Oct. 26, 2017, in Denver, during the annual SBE National Meeting, which will be held in conjunction with the Rocky Mountain AV Expo.

SBE EAS Advisory Group Publishes EAS Security Notes

Prepared by the SBE EAS Advisory Group

Intrusions into computerized equipment have been around since the internet became a reality years ago. It is no surprise to broadcast engineers that these invasions have made their way into radio and television stations.

Most recently, EAS devices have been a major target. To comply with FCC rules, these devices must have internet access to receive information from FEMA via IPAWS.

Security for EAS and other station devices should be a high priority for station engineers. As a result, the SBE EAS Advisory group has put together a basic security guidelines summary to aid stations in assuring that all equipment is protected from these outside intrusions.

Summary

Every week, broadcasters like you are having their station equipment and computers hacked or tampered with by outsiders or malware infections that affect station computers and networks. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, the odds are unfortunately high that it eventually will happen.

These types of intrusions are more than an inconvenience. It can cost you to repair the systems that were compromised. It can cost you revenue for lost airtime. It can cost you credibility in your audience and community. Moreover, it eventually will cost all of us if the government feels it necessary to step in with additional regulations and requirements on broadcasters.

At the same time, it’s challenging for many broadcasters to keep up with the wide range of potential cyberattacks. Many broadcasters don’t know they have become vulnerable to attackers until it’s too late.
To help broadcasters address this growing concern, we have compiled some tips and best practices on how to keep your operation from falling prey to cybercrime. The bottom line:
• Know your Systems. Know what is connected to the network and the internet: at the office, studio, transmitter site, and remotes. If it’s connected, it is at risk.
• Defend your Network. Anything that is connected to your network or the internet must be behind a firewall.
• Protect your Equipment. Change default passwords. Change default usernames. Regularly check for and install any software upgrades or patches for equipment.
• Use Common Sense with Email and the Internet. Be cautious about opening email attachments or downloading from websites you don’t completely trust. Harmful malware can enter your station, and do significant damage to your business.
What is the problem?

Recent events had plainly shown that broadcasters are a low-hanging fruit for internet mischief-makers and cybercriminals. All too frequently, this involves key station equipment and computers left vulnerable to the internet, not changing default passwords, or even not having passwords at all.

The results have included the entire programming stream disrupted by IP streamers redirected to offensive, political and/or obscene content, the issuance of false or simulated EAS messages, the creation of fake messages and alerts via RDS encoders, the wholesale disruption of station operations when computers are locked via malware and viruses, and more. These are issues that have already happened, repeatedly.

In many cases, the threats boil down to simple vulnerabilities that could have been easily addressed beforehand.
• Stations with unconfigured firewalls – or even no firewalls.
• Station equipment left exposed and unprotected to the open internet.
• Station equipment left with default or easily guessable passwords – or even no passwords.
• Email attachments open, which introduced malware across the station network.

Presenting the potential for reaching a wide audience with inappropriate or political content, broadcasters present an irresistible opportunity for internet bad guys. Some broadcasters have opined that cybersecurity is too expensive or difficult. However, as we outline below, broadcasters can take preventative steps that are often a minimal expense – or no expense at all.

The technical solutions:

• Know Your Systems. Know what systems are connected to your network and to the internet, and know which systems should not be. If it is connected to the network, it’s going to need to be protected. This applies to looking at your systems throughout your operation. This includes the business office, studios, transmitter sites, remote control points, and other remote sites.
• Firewalls to Defend Your Network. The one security item every company needs is a firewall, a security appliance that attaches to your network and acts as the protective shield between the outside world and your wired and/or wireless network. A firewall continuously inspects traffic and matches it against a set of predesigned rules. If the traffic qualifies as safe, it’s allowed onto your network. If the traffic is questionable, the firewall blocks it and stops an attack before it enters your network. Just about anything in your broadcast facility should be behind a firewall if it is on your network, or going to be connected to the internet. Properly configure your firewall, make sure any software or firmware is up to date, and don’t leave ports open.
• Equipment Passwords and Account Management. Equipment in your station may come with a default password. You are urged to change default passwords on any equipment in your operation. If there are accounts or usernames on equipment that are default, or unused, you should also change or delete these. And remember, just because a system has a password, does not mean that it may be fully protected from access by other means. Equipment needs to be behind a firewall.
• Updates and Patches. The manufacturers of equipment in your station may contact you periodically regarding software patches and updates. Make it a practice of applying those software updates in a timely manner. Also, make it a practice of checking with your various manufacturers from time to time to see if they have released software updates of which you may not have been. These updates and patches may include not only feature improvements and bug fixes; they may also contain critical security patches.
• Secure Networks. Other measures to consider is a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN securely and inexpensively uses the public internet, instead of privately owned or leased lines, to provide remote sites and individuals with secure access to your organization’s network. Consider, for example, a VPN link as part of the STL, if that relies on an IP stream from the studio to transmitter.
• Safe Web Browsing and E-Mail Habits. Very bad things can enter the station via email or suspect web sites. If your station’s employees send e-mails and browse the internet (and of course, virtually all do!), you may also want to consider a software security solutions that include e-mail security, Web gateway security, and URL filtering.
The social solutions

• Security fundamentally involves a social aspect. Internally, you may need to reorient your employees and colleagues around safe email and web browsing habits. You may want to orient these employees to be wary of scam and phishing emails, and to beware of potentially dangerous attachments to emails from unknown or suspicious senders. You may need to reinforce safe web browsing habits, such as being careful not to download content from unknown or suspect websites.
• Broadcasters are a community. Externally, you may find opportunities to share information about what you are doing to improve security, what threats you see, and how you are addressing them.
When to call in an IT security consultant

There are going to be things you might not be able to do alone as a broadcaster. For FCC issues, you get outside legal advice. For annual and quarterly financials, you have an accountant. The same goes for security expertise. When you need to conduct a risk assessment, or get assistance in setting up network and IT security solutions, it may be money well spent it if you don’t have the expertise to do it yourself.

Don’t be part of the problem. Be part of the solution.

SBE Plans Multiple Events for 2017 NAB Show

As you plan how you will spend your time at the 2017 NAB Show, be sure you include the many SBE events on your convention calendar. While the Ennes Workshop launches the convention on Saturday, the highlight for SBE members is the annual Membership Meeting, which will be followed by a reception. The Membership Meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 25, at 5:15 p.m. in room N256. The Membership Meeting brings you up to date on all the SBE activities and programs, and it includes a milestone-service recognition of SBE chapter certification chairs, and updates on the society’s plans, programs and government relations efforts.NAB Show logo Everyone attending will be eligible to win prizes, including a Blackmagic Design ATEM Television Studio HD (courtesy of the Membership Meeting sponsor Blackmagic Design), a $250 gift card for Fry’s Electronics and restaurant gift cards.

You’ll want to get to the meeting early as well, because the first 125 people in line will receive an SBE-logoed stylus.

The Membership Reception starts immediately after the meeting at 6:15 p.m. in rroom N243. Light snacks and drinks are possible from the generous support of several Sustaining Member sponsors. There will also be multiple prize drawings at the reception thanks to Gold sponsor EMP Solutions.

A big change for the SBE this year is that the SBE booth has moved to the North Hall meeting room hallway. The official booth number is NL1. It’s near room N262.

Check the complete event schedule online, and also in the SBE Sustaining Member Online Resource Guide and NAB Show Exhibitor Listings. You’ll find details for several committee meetings, the board of directors meeting, SBE certification exams, and the daily booth prize drawing.

SBE Partners With SACIA

By Chuck Kelly; Chair, SBE International Committee
The SBE and the Southern African Communications Industries Association (SACIA) recently signed an affiliation agreement, which allows for open communications among like-minded organizations. The SACIA is a not-for-profit society headquartered near Johannesburg, and offers technical training as well as certification in broadcast and communications technical fields.

Similar agreements are in place between the SBE and professional societies in Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Uruguay, South Korea, Pakistan, and the Philippines. There are no voting rights or financial ties under the agreements, but they are intended to share information regarding the changing technology of the broadcast industry worldwide.