Broadcast Technician

How to Become a Broadcast Technician
Broadcast Technician Job Duties
Skills and Qualities to Become a Broadcast Technician
Broadcast Technician Salaries
Influential Professional Broadcast Technicians
Leading Broadcast Technician Organizations
Top Cities for Broadcast Technician Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a Broadcast Technician

Broadcast technicians learn skills on the job from experienced technicians and supervisors. Novice technicians begin their training by gaining experience in small local stations and will transfer to larger stations once they have achieved the adequate skill level, experience and qualifications.

Most radio broadcasting professionals hold either a bachelor's or associate's degree in Communications, Business, Journalism, Broadcasting, Electronics and Electricity / Communication Technologies. Savvy professionals will attend technical school, community college, or an accredited college, where they will obtain training in broadcast technology, electronics, or computer networking. While attending a university or college many students will work at the school's college radio and/or television station.

In the motion picture industry, individuals are hired as apprentice editorial assistants, working their way up to more skilled jobs. Employers in this industry hire experienced freelance technicians on a per-movie basis. It is important for broadcast technicians to be determined and self-motivated.

Licensing is not required for broadcast technicians, but certification by the Society of Broadcast Engineers is a mark of competence and skill-level. The certificate is issued to experienced technicians who pass an examination.

Continuing education to become familiar with emerging technologies is recommended for all broadcast technicians.

What does a Broadcast Technician do?

Broadcast technicians set up, operate, and maintain a wide variety of electrical and electronic equipment used in almost any radio or television broadcast, concert, play, musical recording, television show, or movie. Technicians must have experience using microphones, sound recorders, video tape recorders, light and sound effects equipment, and television cameras.

Broadcast technicians regulate the signal strength, clarity, and range of sounds and colors of radio or television broadcasts. Technicians also operate control panels to select the source of the material being broadcast. Technicians may switch from one camera or studio to another, from film to live programming, or from network to local programming.

Broadcast technicians generally work indoors in pleasant surroundings. Technicians who broadcast news and other programs from locations outside the studio may work outdoors in all types of weather or in dangerous conditions. Technicians doing maintenance may have to climb structures like antenna towers, while those setting up equipment must be able to lift heavy objects.

Evening, weekend, and holiday work is expected in this profession due to most stations are on the air eighteen to twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Technicians at large stations and networks usually work a forty hour week - with a lot of pressure to meet broadcast deadlines - and may occasionally work overtime. Technicians at small stations routinely work more than forty hours a week. Even though a technician may not be on duty when the station is broadcasting, some technicians may be on call during non-work hours; broadcast technicians must handle any problem that occurs when they are on call.

Technicians who work on motion pictures may be on a tight schedule and may work long hours to meet contractual deadlines.

Careers in television and radio broadcasting can be exciting, fast paced and highly rewarding. Nearly thirty percent of employees in this profession work in radio and television stations as broadcast technicians, with seventeen percent working in the motion picture, video, and sound recording industries. Broadcast technicians may also find employment in the military and in some government departments.

Technical positions include camera operators, sound engineers, and digital graphics specialists.

What skills or qualities do I need to become a Broadcast Technician?

The current broadcasting industry has evolved from being dominated by mechanical-based technology to having computer networks linked to specialized equipment. This means it is very important for broadcast technicians to understand computers and have good computer skills.

With this said, broadcast technicians still must have manual dexterity and an aptitude for working with electrical, electronic, mechanical systems and equipment.

How much do Broadcast Technician make?

Median annual earnings recorded for broadcast technicians in May 2006 were $30,690. Median annual earnings specifically in radio and television broadcasting, which employed the largest number of broadcast technicians, were $27,380.

Who are some influential professionals in this field?

The President of the Society of Broadcast Engineers is Barry Thomas. The Vice President for this organization is Vincent A. Lopez.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is an organization that looks out for the interests of professionals in the broadcasting field. The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) is unique because it exists in order to advance all kinds and levels of broadcast engineering.The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMTPE) is for engineers in the television and film industries.

What are the top cities for Broadcast Technician jobs?

Employment of broadcast and sound engineering technicians in the cable and pay television portion of the broadcasting industry is expected to grow as the range of products and services expands, including cable Internet access and video-on-demand. Employment of these workers in the motion picture industry is expected to grow rapidly. However, this job market is expected to remain competitive because of the large number of people who are attracted by the glamour of working in motion pictures.

The top city for broadcast technician jobs is Los Angeles, California. Atlanta, Georgia comes in second, with Miami, Florida in third place for broadcast technician jobs in the United States. In fourth place is Orlando, Florida, with Dallas, Texas in sixth place.

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