The Association of Public Radio Engineers will honor Ralph Woods, former NPR deputy director of operations, at its convention later this week. Wood is the 2015 recipient of the APRE Engineering Achievement Award.
The honor, voted on by APRE members, recognizes Wood’s meritorious career of service to public radio engineering.
Woods managed the Public Radio Satellite System’s 24/7 Network Operations Center from 1982 to 2014. For more than 30 years, he oversaw the daily activities of the NOC in addition to numerous PRSS projects to modernize and expand the services in support of its stations and program producers, according to APRE.
Woods contributions to public radio engineering are “significant, consistent and unheralded,” according to his nomination. “Ralph was always pushing for backup procedures and increased services to ensure NOC operations would never be interrupted, and that options were available to all interconnected public radio stations to recover from routine outages (e.g., solar outage times) to major station equipment failures.
During his tenure directing NOC operations for PRSS, the NOC consistently achieved or exceeded a targeted 99% on-air reliability for all program feeds, according to APRE. One of his last projects before his retirement in 2014 was providing operational management to maintaining uninterrupted station programming services during NPR’s move to its new headquarters from Massachusetts Ave. in Northwest Washington to North Capitol Street in Northeast Washington in 2013.
Woods’ nomination describes him as the key operational leader working with the teams that designed, implemented and tested the transition to the Satellite Technical Center at NPR headquarters in 1994, from analog to digital distribution of radio programming in 1995, the deployment of the IP-based PRSS Content Depot in 2007 and deployment of a backup NOC in Minnesota to support business continuity.
Woods will be presented with the award at the APRE dinner this Friday, April 10 at the conclusion of the Public Radio Engineering Conference.
Last year, the APRE chose two recipients: Bud Aiello, director of engineering technology at NPR and Gray Frierson Haertig, owner and principal engineer of Gray Frierson Haertig & Associates.