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Five Questions: Jim Leifer

Meet the new SBE vice president

Jim Leifer is the newly elected vice president of the Society of Broadcast Engineers. He is also director of engineering & IT for IHeartMedia South Florida.

TechBytes: Who are you?
Jim Leifer: I am a broadcast engineer with over 30 years of engineering experience. I have both radio and TV experience. I have worked alongside of many exceptionally gifted individuals.

I started my career by accident. I was lost looking for directions. I pulled up to a radio station to use the phone, and to get directions. After an hour tour of the facility the chief engineer offered me a job. The rest has been full of building TV and radio stations, dodging hurricanes and ownership changes. I have memberships with SBE and SMPTE, and well as AES and IEEE. I’m KI4HTS for those who are amateur radio operators. I am one of those guys that had a First Phone too. I am also Serria’s grandfather. That is my favorite title.

TechBytes: You’re the new vice president for the SBE — do you have any plans, reforms, agendas that you wish to examine or implement?
Leifer: I think the current president’s agenda has been spot on. Joe Snelson had been an education President and I think Jerry Massey will push this forward. I am committed to education for myself and my peers. Better training and understanding allows us grow.

TechBytes: What’s the biggest item/issue facing the SBE?
Leifer: Integrating the IT professionals that serve in the engineering departments in our TV and radio stations. They are doing more and more integration into the on-air product. How do we embrace them and how can we offer them better options to grow in this industry?

TechBytes: Is the role of the broadcast engineer changing in the age of digital and consolidation?
Leifer: Yes. “Less” is a theme which is making all of us step up and be engineering manager, transmitter engineer, studio engineer, project manager, designer. The list goes on. It is a challenge to be great all off of these and continue to stay that way.

TechBytes: What’s the biggest item/issue facing broadcast engineers?
Leifer: New talent. It is becoming difficult to find new engineers that want the 24/7/365 life.