This month, the Texas Association of Broadcasters (TAB) announced the launch of its “Technical Academy,” which aims to help Texas radio and television broadcasters manage the day-to-day technology infrastructure for their stations.
The Academy’s first offering — training and certification for radio station Chief Operators — is set for the week of May 2 in Austin, Texas.
The intensive, week-long course is designed to “boost expertise” among broadcasters by providing participants with a basic understanding of broadcast station operations and the responsibilities essential to maintaining a station’s daily operations as a Certified Radio Operator.
Ahead of the upcoming trainings, Radio World spoke with Oscar Rodriguez, TAB president, to get a more detailed look into the Academy and what participants can expect.
Radio World: TAB’s Technical Academy was put on hold for a couple years due to the pandemic, how do you feel about finally getting to launch the Academy now?
Oscar Rodriguez: We’re delighted to finally bring this program to life! TAB is intent on ensuring Texas stations have the resources they need to ensure they’re in full compliance with FCC regulations and operating their technical plant as efficiently as possible. We’ll learn a lot from this initial course offering and incorporate those lessons into planning further courses.
RW: Where did the idea for the Academy come from?
Rodriguez: Our idea for this Academy came from our member stations. Our industry has a growing shortage of engineers and other “technologists” needed to run a modern broadcast plant. Courses like this are a bridge to addressing that problem and we are exploring additional training and recruitment efforts to fill the need.
RW: What are some of your hopes for the program — especially for the first offering this May?
Rodriguez: Our hope for this first offering is that participants will come away with a mastery of Chief Radio Operator responsibilities and other matters related to maintaining the station’s public file. We very much want the new generation of station leaders that may not have “grown up” in the industry to have a ready resource to master responsibilities unique to FCC licensees.
RW: Can you tell us more about who these trainings are geared to?
Rodriguez: You don’t need a technical background to take this course and complete it successfully — they may be station owners, general managers, resident tech troubleshooters or operations managers. It’s geared toward stations that don’t have a full-time engineer on staff and need to ensure they’re operating safely and efficiently. There’s a new generation of station leaders who are proficient at nearly every other aspect of the business and understand they can’t risk falling out of FCC compliance for safety and other reasons.
RW: Are you able to go into more detail about what the day-to-day structure might look like at this week-long training?
Rodriguez: This is a fairly intensive training experience. Participants will have a full 7-8 hour agenda each day with lessons and hands-on instruction. Breaks and lunch are all on-site and substantial homework assignments will require evening study. We’re allowing for group dinners on the first two nights only, but not the rest. They’ll need that time for additional homework and to study for the tests.
RW: What has the public interest been like so far? Do you have a goal in terms of turnout?
Rodriguez: We’ve had a lot of interest from our members and from stations outside of Texas, but we’re limiting the class to our Texas members at this time. We’re keeping this class small at the direction of the instructor to ensure each student receives the attention they need to successfully complete the course. Our maximum class size is 20 and we have just a few seats left.
Additional information and registration details for the Technical Academy can be found on TAB’s website.