The author is president/executive director of the Nebraska Broadcasters Association.
When 50 engineers from across the state spend a full day in a hotel conference room, there must be something compelling to hold their attention.
That “something” in this case was the August Ennes Workshop presented by SBE Chapter 74, Midlands, during the 84th Annual Convention of the Nebraska Broadcasters Association in Lincoln. Thanks to the leadership of Society of Broadcast Engineers Chapter 74 President Kevin Faris, SBE Education Director Cathy Orosz and a host of other contributors too numerous to mention, this Ennes Workshop had something for everyone.
Following a welcome from Fred Baumgartner, former Trustee of the Ennes Educational Foundation Trust, the workshop attendees enjoyed presentations and discussions on the rapid evolution of broadcasting, tower safety, Next Gen TV, grounding and lightning protection (like that’s not an issue in Nebraska!).
Another popular topic was an overview of the Nebraska Sate EAS Plan — in its current form and in the pending new plan — presented by Rod Zeigler, chairman of Nebraska’s State emergency Communications Committee. The afternoon’s closing speaker was none other than John Bisset of Telos Alliance, author of Radio World’s Workbench column, with his on the conversion from analog to AoIP and what AES67 means to engineers. All in all, it was a well-received series of presentations.
WITH THE VENDORS
As always, workshop attendees made time in the morning and afternoon to visit with the vendors in our convention exhibitor area.
This commitment to spending time with vendor reps is a critical component of every NBA convention. NBA engineers are interested in the latest technology and understand the importance of visiting with our exhibitors. The exhibitors appreciate their relationships with engineers and station owners in Nebraska. For the NBA, having these exhibitors onsite greatly enhances the quality and value of our annual convention.
There seems to be a mutual understanding that what Nebraska may lack in terms of number of stations compared to more populous states, it more than makes up for in the sincerity of the relationships that have been established with station personnel.
One first-time NBA exhibitor told me that they enjoyed our convention especially because our attendees allowed for longer, more meaningful conversations and relationship building.
While it was fun to see this many engineers gathering so much information in the span of one day, I was particularly impressed by the variety of backgrounds and employment of those in attendance. We saw the full gamut — engineers from TV and radio, engineers from larger “brand name” companies and from smaller independent operators, a few contractors and recent retirees, representing commercial and noncommercial licensees alike.
The spotlight on engineers also made its way into our 47th Annual NBA Hall of Fame banquet, where long-time Assistant Chief Engineer Mike Gann of Omaha’s KMTV was inducted as our 100th HoF member. Our other HOF inductees were Roger Moody of KLKN(TV) Lincoln and Dave Dent Otradovsky of KVSH(AM) Valentine.
On the whole, Nebraska has more independent operators than large-scale companies, and greater geography between population centers. As such, our members have a greater reliance on qualified, continuously educated engineers. The NBA is grateful for our partnership with SBE Chapter 74 and the Ennes Workshop, and we look forward to planning the engineering sessions for our 85th Annual Convention, Aug. 13–14, 2019, in Omaha.
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Watch a video from Rod Zeigler’s presentation about Nebraska’s 2018 state EAS plan at www.ne-eas.org.