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A Solid Return for PREC

Fresh faces and a successful scholarship effort

I’ve been doing this long enough to remember reporting on the launch of the Public Radio Engineering Conference and the subsequent creation of the Association of Public Radio Engineers. So it’s gratifying to see the organization doing well, including attracting some new blood to the PREC this spring.

APRE President Victoria St. John said conference attendance was not only better than expected, it was better than 2019 before the pandemic.

“When the executive committee and I were talking and thinking about what success would look like, we thought ‘Well, if we can get even 30 people to sign up that would be success,” St. John told Radio World’s Elle Kehres in a recent interview.

“Just getting it back together was really important to us. We ended up with 114 people, 30 online and the rest in person.”

St. John, director of operations for Vermont Public Radio, said, “The highlight of this conference for me and for the board was the amount of scholarship winners that came to the conference and also remotely experienced it. Our partnership with NPR sent around 27 young — not necessarily chorological but new to the engineering community — people to the conference.”

She said our industry’s focus on multiplatform delivery can make recruitment difficult. 

“The types of brains that it takes to be a broadcast engineer are now being pulled in other directions, to other bright, shiny opportunities.”

APRE this year presented 11 scholarship opportunities for people to attend PREC in person, including hotel and airfare, or remotely — the most ever. 

“That’s huge. Bringing new blood into the industry is so important,” St. John said.

Shown in the photo below is APRE’s board, from left: Victoria St. John, Jonathan R. Clark, Pierre Lonewolf, Jim Gray, Bill Bennett, Elizabeth Acle, William Dahlstrom, Scott Hanley, Shane Toven and Darrell McCalla. 

Photo by Jim Peck

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