The Genesis of the Engineer

Brett Moss is gear & technology editor.

Where do broadcast engineers come from? Are they grown in test tubes, bred in the wilds of nature, hatched from thousands of eggs, stamped out of factories, harvested from pods in vast hydroponic gardens, arising from cast dragons’ teeth, conjured out of thin air? Many possibilities to be considered.

This question has come to be of concern to the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association. The WBA is worried that broadcast engineers are becoming candidates for the Endangered Species List.

To bolster its educational efforts and to produce more qualified broadcast engineers the WBA is now surveying broadcast engineers and asking how they became engineers and what attracted them to the field.

Vice President Linda Baun stated: “The WBA Board of Directors is very concerned about the shortage of future engineers … Recognizing that this is a very ‘real’ need, the WBA put some incentives into motion with the WBA Engineering Fellowship and the WBA Engineering Internship. Both of these are administered by the Foundation but funded through the WBA.”

Although these are good first steps, she continued, “We know that it is not enough to leave it at that and say the job is done. Consequently we are looking for assistance in helping us develop a plan to attract more broadcast engineers to our industry.”

Take the survey here (PDF). (We asked Baun if engineers from other states may submit. She gave an enthusiastic yes: “I would love to be inundated with responses.”

The survey introduction includes the statement that the association is well aware of the difficulties that one broadcasting group is having trying to fill many engineering positions that are currently available in various parts of the country.”

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