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RJ Russell Is SBE’s Engineer of the Year

Fred Baumgartner and Roland Russell are honored as educators

RJ Russell
RJ Russell

The SBE’s engineer of the year is probably someone better known to television engineers than radio, but he plays a crucial role in U.S. frequency coordination, and has been helping to revitalize that volunteer program.

RJ Russell will receive the Engineer of the Year Award from the Society of Broadcast Engineers in its upcoming virtual national meeting. The award is named for Robert W. Flanders.

The society also named two recipients of the SBE Educator of the Year award: Fred Baumgartner and Roland Robinson. That award, which is named for James C. Wulliman, recognizes outstanding service and excellence in sharing knowledge through teaching other broadcast engineers.

[Read: “SBE Takes Its National Meeting Online”]

RJ Russell has been an SBE member for 21 years and has served in several board and committee positions.

After service in the Marine Corps he worked for a number of TV groups, and he was a broadcast engineering manager on the Sprint Nextel Project for four years, assisting TV stations with the 2 GHz repack and reimbursement. He also designed and built a new broadcast center for Brigham Young University and he has been active on the ATSC 3 project station in Cleveland.

“Most recently, RJ accepted the critically important position of SBE frequency coordination manager as an independent contractor through his company, TBSI,” SBE stated in its announcement.

“RJ has a vast and unique knowledge of the frequency coordination process and is the SBE’s major representative to the Department of Defense and its contractors in the SBE-DOD-NAB transition process at 2 GHz,” it said.

Fred Baumgartner
Fred Baumgartner

“Through the direct involvement of RJ, who is respected very highly by the DOD, FCC and NTIA, the SBE and its members, broadcast licensees, and the DOD have benefited from the careful, meticulous planning that RJ has worked exceptionally hard on to maximize DOD-coordinated use of 2 GHz without constraint on broadcasters.”

He is overseeing preparation of a national database of 2 GHz users to help the work of SBE frequency coordinators. “He has revitalized the program at a difficult time in the history of volunteer frequency coordination,” SBE said.

Last year’s recipient was Charlie Wooten.

The 2020 educators of the year are both longtime SBE members.

Fred Baumgartner has worked for 17 years with the Ennes Educational Foundation Trust, leading Ennes Workshops during the NAB Show and producing the SBE presentation on NextGen TV during the 2019 PBS TechCon.

Roland Robinson
Roland Robinson

Roland Robinson is an instructor of classes in broadcasting and video production at Bates Technical College in Tacoma, Wash., and has implemented an SBE-approved certification curriculum in broadcast classes.

“The curriculum was recently renewed unanimously by the SBE National Certification Committee, the members being impressed by the curriculum presented by Robinson,” SBE stated. He is also active in Washington state emergency alerting.

MultiCAM Systems won the SBE Technology Award for its Air Bridge video offering.

SBE Chapter 37 in Washington, D.C., won the Best Educational Event for the NextGEN TV Summit in January, held in conjunction with SMPTE.

The full award list including chapter membership and attendance awards awards is here.