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Five Questions: Marcellus Alexander

Marcellus Alexander is the president of the National Association of Broadcasters Educational Foundation.

He spoke to Radio World about the NABEF’s Technology Apprenticeship Program.

Radio World: Explain the genesis and the purpose of the program.
Marcellus Alexander:
The broadcast technology industry is in need of new professionals who can be trained to ensure the industry continues to innovate and thrive. Through the Technology Apprenticeship Program, NABEF is making an effort to identify the next generation of broadcast technology leaders and to help diversify technology in broadcasting.

The program was designed to attract and train recent college graduates and professionals who are interested and focused on broadcast technology. Our objective is to add to the pipeline of new talent for our industry. Through the program, our participants are able to gain training, but they also connect, network and learn with and from experienced professionals in the broadcast communications space.

RW: Who is eligible for the program and how does it compare to, say, Larry Wilkins’ Alabama Broadcasters Association Engineering Academy?
The Technology Apprenticeship Program is open to graduating college students and recent college graduates with a strong foundation in engineering and information technology. NABEF is currently accepting applications for the 2016 program until Jan. 8, 2016.

I’m not completely conversant on the ABA program, but my understanding is that it’s more classroom-based instruction for people already in broadcasting who want to enhance their engineering skills. Our Technology Apprenticeship Program differs in the type of participants we attract, as well as the type of training we provide. The TAP provides participants who are new to broadcast engineering space with or experiential training in the industry and the ability to network with and learn from industry professionals.

RW: What are some of the specifics of the Technology Apprenticeship Program?
Alexander: The TAP takes place over a six month period, during which time participants:

● Attend the NAB Show … participating in a special track of sessions and programs
● Complete training and certifications with the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) and International Association of Broadcasting Manufacturers (IABM)
● Complete a paid two-month apprenticeship working with the engineering department of a local television or radio station
● Participants research, produce, and host a live webcast on a topic of relevance in the industry as a capstone to the program

RW: What facilities do the interns do their work at or visit?
The TAP participants complete an apprenticeship in the engineering departments of local television or radio stations.

In addition, through the program, our participants are able to complete several station tours while at the NAB Show in Las Vegas and in Washington. They also spend time with a broadcast technology manufacturer during the program.

RW: Who are the instructors and can other broadcasters or NAB members get involved with this program at the instructional level?
Speakers in the program are professionals in the broadcast technology field. We invite new instructors to the program each year, but we have consistently had the support of Cindy and Gary Cavell of Cavell, Mertz, & Associates since the program began in 2011.

And yes, broadcasters and NAB members can get involved. We are always looking for industry professionals to share their expertise and experience with our program participants. Anyone interested in getting involved can contact NABEF Education Program Manager Adaora Otiji.