Broadcast technicians install, start-up, maintain, monitor, and repair equipment for transmitting and receiving television and radio broadcast signals. They ensure that all materials are available in a suitable format of transmittable quality according to the transmission deadline. Broadcast technicians also maintain and repair this equipment.
Broadcast technicians typically do the following duties:
- Monitor broadcast quality of live and taped radio and television programs
- Operate and monitor radio and television broadcasting systems to broadcast, receive signals and to regulate clarity and range of sounds and colours of recordings or broadcasts
- Operate broadcast equipment to produce audio and video streaming broadcasts for the Internet
- Make emergency repairs to equipment and substitute programs in case of signal failure
- Maintain, install and troubleshoot a wide variety of broadcast hardware and software
- Set up and operate consoles to pick up and select feed sources from different locations and to air radio or television programs and commercials
- May supervise other broadcast technicians.
The following job titles also refer to broadcast technician:
broadcast transmitter operator
broadcast engineering technician
radio and TV technician
broadcast transmitting equipment operator
broadcasting equipment operator
broadcast transmitting technician
Most broadcast technicians work forty hours a week and receive overtime pay for extra hours. Because there are few employees at small stations, technicians there generally put in much overtime. Night and weekend work is often necessary at twenty-four-hour-per-day stations.
Radio broadcast technicians generally work in pleasant offices, and radio work is usually more routine than television work. Technicians who work in television are often under a great deal of pressure. Field technicians in both radio and television work under all kinds of conditions, depending on where they are needed. They must work outdoors in all kinds of weather.
High school courses in algebra, trigonometry, electronics, and physics provide a good background for broadcast technicians. Technical schools and community colleges offer electronics training. Advanced training helps obtain supervisory jobs or specialized jobs in large stations. College graduates with degrees in engineering usually work in supervisory or executive positions.
Broadcast technicians usually start at small stations. Once they have some experience, they can move on to larger stations or to networks. Interested individuals can apply directly to radio and television stations nationwide. Many technicians move to small towns for beginning jobs, and later to larger cities where the bigger stations are located.
ISCO skill level
ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:
- the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
- the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
- the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.
Broadcast technician is a Skill level 3 occupation.
Broadcast technician career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to broadcast technician.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of broadcast technician. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of broadcast technician with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential knowledge and skills
This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of broadcast technician.
- Broadcast equipment: The use and operation of broadcast equipment such as broadcast consoles, routers, microphones, dual compressors, and other machinery.
- Electronics principles: The study of electric energy, more specifically electron, control and its prominent principles regarding integrated circuits and electrical systems.
- Media formats: The various formats in which media can be made available to the audience, such as paper books, e-books, tapes, and analogue signal.
- Multimedia systems: The methods, procedures and techniques pertaining to the operation of multimedia systems, usually a combination of software and hardware, presenting various types of media such as video and audio.
- Audiovisual products: The different types of audiovisual products and their requirements, such as documentaries, low budget movies, television series, records, CDs, and others.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of broadcast technician.
- Maintain electrical equipment: Test electrical equipment for malfunctions. Take safety measures, company guidelines, and legislation concerning electrical equipment into account. Clean, repair and replace parts and connections as required.
- Monitor quality of broadcasts: Monitor strength, clarity, and reliability of incoming and outgoing signals to adjust equipment as necessary to maintain the quality of the broadcast.
- Manage sound quality: Perform sound checks. Set up audio equipment for optimal sound output before as well as during performance. Regulate the volume during broadcasts by controlling the audio equipment
- Select recording source: Select the source from which programs will be recorded such as satellite or studio.
- Maintain audiovisual equipment: Perform routine maintenance tasks on audiovisual equipment as well as minor repairs, such as replacing parts and calibrating the instruments, on equipment used in processing sound and images.
- Calibrate electronic instruments: Correct and adjust the reliability of an electronic instrument by measuring output and comparing results with the data of a reference device or a set of standardised results. This is done in regular intervals which are set by the manufacturer and using calibration devices.
- Meet deadlines: Ensure operative processes are finished at a previously agreed-upon time.
- Coordinate activities in audio recording studio: Monitor the daily operations in a audio recording studio. Make sure that persons involved in recording studio activities can produce the desired quality of sound according to customer specifications. Ensure the material is maintained and available.
- Operate electronic measuring instruments: Tend a wide variety of devices for measuring electronic characteristics of system components, such as optical power meter, fibre power meter, digital power meter and multimeter.
- Operate audio equipment: Apply technologies for re-creation or recording of sounds, such as speaking, sound of instruments in electrical or mechanical form.
- Maintain electronic equipment: Check and repair electronic equipment. Detect malfunction, locate faults and take measures to prevent damage.
- Use audio reproduction software: Operate software and equipment that transform and reproduce digital, analogue sounds and sound waves into the desired perceivable audio to be streamed.
- Install low voltage wiring: Plan, deploy, troubleshoot and test low voltage wiring.
- Set up broadcast equipment: Set up and calibrate broadcast equipment to produce, switch, receive, record, edit, and reproduce television and radio signals.
Optional knowledge and skills
This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of broadcast technician. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- ICT communications protocols: The system of rules which allow the exchange of information between computers or other devices via computer networks.
- Audio technology: The various technologies for producing, recording, and reproducing sound.
- Audiovisual equipment: The characteristics and usage of different tools that stimulate the sight and audio senses.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of broadcast technician. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Administer ICT system: Handle components of ICT system by maintaining configuration, managing users, monitoring resource use, performing backups and installing hardware or software to comply with the set requirements.
- Set up sound equipment: Set up equipment to record sound. Test acoustics and make adjustments.
- Set up portable field transmission equipment: Set up and operate portable transmission equipment when broadcasting takes place outside of the studio.
- Set up audiovisual peripheral equipment: Set up audiovisual peripheral equipment such as tripods, cables, microphones, monitors, and others.
- Adjust video transmissions: Adjust the fidelity, brightness, and contrast of video transmissions by using video console control panels.
- Maintain broadcast equipment: Maintain, check, and repair broadcast equipment to ensure continuity of operations.
- Broadcast using internet protocol: Manage broadcasting over the internet by properly using the Internet Protocol in order to ensure the broadcast is accessible to users.
- Signal cues to announcers: Signal when a song or commercial is about to end or begin to announcers so they know when to start or stop talking.
- Operate remote broadcast equipment: Handle equipment that is used for broadcasting from locations which are far from central station. The pickup unit (RPU) is the most common tool for this communication.
- Develop programming schedule: Develop a schedule for the broadcast of television and radio programs. Decide how much airtime a program gets.
- Record multi-track sound: Recording and mixing audio signals from different sound sources on a multi-track recorder.
- Assemble video tape footage: Assemble all raw video footage, with camera shots either recorded or transferred onto video tape in preparation for inputting into the computer.
- Maintain internet protocol configuration: Apply Internet Protocol Configuration (ipconfig) to gather data on Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) configuration values in order to identify devices and their IP addresses.
- Edit recorded sound: Edit audio footage using a variety of sofware, tools, and techniques such as crossfading, speed effects, and removing unwanted noises.
- Operate audio-signal processors: Operate audio-signal processors to alter auditory signals.
- Align antennae with receiving dishes: Align antennae with receiving dishes to obtain the clearest signal for transmission of broadcasts from field locations.
- Provide multimedia content: Develop multimedia materials such as screen shots, graphics, slide shows, animations and videos to be used as content integrated in a broader informational context.
- Execute integration testing: Perform testing of system or software components grouped in multiple ways to evaluate their ability to interconnect, their interface and their ability to provide global functionality.
ISCO group and title
3521 – Broadcasting and audiovisual technicians
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- Featured image: By Paul Anderson, CC BY-SA 2.0