Broadcast design engineer
|Competencies||Technical knowledge, Management skills, Professionalism|
|see professional requirements|
|Radio, television, military|
|Technologist, RF engineer, engineering technician, Technical operator|
Broadcast engineering is the field of electrical engineering, and now to some extent computer engineering and information technology, which deals with radio and television broadcasting. Audio engineering and RF engineering are also essential parts of broadcast engineering, being their own subsets of electrical engineering.
Broadcast engineering involves both the studio and transmitter aspects (the entire airchain), as well as remote broadcasts. Every station has a broadcast engineer, though one may now serve an entire station group in a city. In small media markets the engineer may work on a contract basis for one or more stations as needed.
Modern duties of a broadcast engineer include maintaining broadcast automation systems for the studio and automatic transmission systems for the transmitter plant. There are also important duties regarding radio towers, which must be maintained with proper lighting and painting. Occasionally a station's engineer must deal with complaints of RF interference, particularly after a station has made changes to its transmission facilities.
Broadcast engineers may have varying titles depending on their level of expertise and field specialty. Some widely used titles include:
Broadcast engineers may need to possess some or all of the following degrees, depending on the broadcast technical environment. If one of the formal qualifications is not present, a related degree or equivalent professional experience is desirable.
Broadcast engineers are generally required to have knowledge in the following areas, from conventional video broadcast systems to modern Information Technology:
Above mentioned requirements vary from station to station.
The conversion to digital broadcasting means broadcast engineers must now be well-versed in digital television and digital radio, in addition to analogue principles. New equipment from the transmitter to the radio antenna to the receiver may be encountered by engineers new to the field. Furthermore, modern techniques place a greater demand on an engineer's expertise, such as sharing broadcast towers or radio antennas among different stations (diplexing).
Digital audio and digital video have revolutionized broadcast engineering in many respects. Broadcast studios and control rooms are now already digital in large part, using non-linear editing and digital signal processing for what used to take a great deal of time or money, if it was even possible at all. Mixing consoles for both audio and video are continuing to become more digital in the 2000s, as is the computer storage used to keep digital media libraries. Effects processing and TV graphics can now be realized much more easily and professionally as well.
With the broadcast industry's shift to IP-based production and content delivery technology (sometimes referred as Broadcast 3.0) not only the production technology and workflows are changing, but also the requirements for broadcast engineers, which now include IT and IP-networking knowhow.
Broadcast stations often call upon outside engineering services for certain needs. For example, because structural engineering is generally not a direct part of broadcast engineering, tower companies usually design broadcast towers.
Other companies specialize in both broadcast engineering and broadcast law, which are both essential when making an application to a national broadcasting authority for a construction permit or broadcast license. This is especially critical in North America, where stations bear the entire burden of proving that their proposed facilities will not cause interference and are the best use of the radio spectrum. Such companies now have special software that can map projected radio propagation and terrain shielding, as well as lawyers that will defend the applications before the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), or the equivalent authorities in some other countries.
In the United States, many broadcast engineers belong to the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE). Some may also belong to the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), or to organizations of related fields, such as the Audio Engineering Society or Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)  - IEEE Broadcast Technology Society (BTS).
This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (May 2010)