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Matheny Thanks Engineers: “You Are Your Company Heroes”

Notes catalyst effect of pandemic on broadcast technical teams

Sam Matheny

“We are not just dealing with a crisis, but also a catalyst.”

So says Sam Matheny, CTO and executive vice president at the National Association of Broadcasters, opening the online version of the Broadcasting Engineering and IT Conference Wednesday. It was part of the two-day NAB Show Express event.

“Things are changing rapidly, and in ways people may have never thought possible,” Matheny said, according to the text of his prepared remarks as provided by NAB. “Companies have adopted remote production, cloud technologies, distributed master control and so much more.”

[Read RW’s interview with Engineering Achievement Award recipient Jeff Welton]

Matheny said such change would typically take a long time — “years to convince people of, and still years more to deploy.” But the pandemic is prompting rapid change. “It unleashed your talents and genius as you were tasked with adapting and thriving in a new operating environment.”

Matheny said he has had numerous CEO conversations about the value of technology and engineering right now, enabling stations to stay on the air.

“They’ve said, ‘You know, if you had asked me eight weeks ago was this possible, I would have told you no. But, it has actually worked quite well.’ And they weren’t describing minor changes. They were describing 75% of the workforce being displaced from the office. They were describing massive change. And you, you are your company heroes of this pandemic. Thank you for all you are doing to keep our communities and nation informed and safe, and also entertained.”

[Read RW’s interview in March with Sam Matheny about the coronavirus response]

A number of the sessions planned for the BEITC conference migrated to the NAB Show Express website and are accessible there either live or on-demand. For radio, they include presentations about hybrid radio and digital radio from the likes of Audi, Radio DNS and Xperi.

The site also features presentations and acceptance remarks for the NAB’s Engineering Achievement Awards including the radio award to Jeff Welton of Nautel and the Digital Leadership Award to J.D. Crowley of Entercom.