Broadcast engineers have acquired (or perhaps in some cases cultivated) an often-undeserved reputation as a curmudgeonly sort. Therefore, in light of the Thanksgiving season, Radio asked readers why they are glad to work in the industry and what makes them glad to go to work. Read a few responses below.
John Pavlica is “Thankful that there’s still Amplitude Modulation on the air some 90+ years later; stations like WSM still on the air broadcasting the music of the Grand Ole Opry through the ether with their 50,000 watt clear channel AM signal using their monster metal antenna. Grateful that AM radio is still here.”
Steve Brown writes that he is grateful for:
1. Having a job where I am never bored. Worked in another field briefly and could not believe how the clock slowed down! Interesting work for the most part and never two days exactly the same, a blessing!
2. Working with great people, interesting people, smart people. Sometimes they drive me crazy, but they are the most interesting people! Not boring.
3. Being part of an industry that is really important to the public. There is a lot of lip service about public service and broadcasting but it cannot be denied that the U.S. broadcast business provides an important service to the listening/viewing public.
Stephen Claasen writes:
Throughout my career in broadcasting, I have been the assistant engineer at a graveyard channel AM, the chief at the same station, contract engineer for several duopolies in markets from the bottom 100 to the top 50, director of Engineering for a small group of stations and now assistant chief operator and senior engineer for a public broadcaster in a top 50 market. Over the decades, I have gone from the guy who unclogs the rain gutters to the person in charge of two DTV transmitter sites, two FM transmitter sites, a 50 kW AM transmitter site and nine TV and FM translator sites plus studio site duties as well.
For most of my career, I have been alone in the engineering shack hermitage, perhaps one reason that broadcast engineers have the reputation of being somewhat curmudgeonly, but here in public broadcasting, I have been blessed by having truly brilliant coworkers. One designs audio processing equipment for a broadcast manufacturer, yet another has done design engineering for various electronics manufacturers. Yet another worked for Heathkit and held several dozen patents in television. All of us have been chief engineers somewhere at one time or another. Then, since this station is located at a major land-grant university, we have the student employees who work television and radio production and TV master control. One of our student cameramen won a Rocky Mountain Emmy. As a group I am as proud of them as I am of my own children. Working with young people does indeed keep you young.
As I quickly approach retirement age, I don’t find myself thinking about leaving the workforce. Why leave something that you love to sit at home and rag-chew on 75 about your aches and pains? (Note the Ham radio reference.)
I have been blessed with a wonderful career, a beautiful loving (and understanding) wife and children who have grown to be productive adults (Now if they’ll only get to making me a grandpa!). If I shuffle-off-this-mortal-coil today, I really don’t have any complaints — but don’t tell anyone, I have my secret identity as a curmudgeon to protect!