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Saturday: Ennes and Other SBE Events

The centerpiece Ennes program of the year takes place the Saturday before the floor opens at NAB2007.

The centerpiece Ennes program of the year takes place the Saturday before the floor opens at NAB2007. SBE’s Fred Baumgartner and John L. Poray have details of the society’s plans at the convention.

Saturday: Ennes Workshop (Plus SBE Events)

SBE/PBS Put Their Attention on Audio for Both Radio and Television

by Fred Baumgartner and John L. Poray, 3.14.2007

One in a series of day-by-day descriptions of events at the upcoming Broadcast Engineering Conference of NAB2007.

This overview of SBE activities at the show is provided by SBE for Radio World readers. Fred Baumgartner, CPBE, is trustee of the Ennes Educational Foundation Trust. John L. Poray, CAE, is executive director of the Society of Broadcast Engineers.

There are many good continuing education opportunities for broadcast engineers in North America. The Iowa DTV Symposium, the Broadcasters Clinic in Madison, Wis., and the Bos-Con SBE Regional Convention in Marlborough, Mass., come to mind.

From its first years, the Society of Broadcast Engineers has sponsored, encouraged and supported efforts to provide such education.

If you have put in a certain time in the business, you have a few Harold Ennes books on your shelves. He wrote the first set of engineering “manuals” for broadcast engineers; upon his passing, the Indianapolis chapter of the SBE created a non-profit trust for the furtherance of the SBE’s educational goals.

The Ennes Educational Foundation Trust is sponsoring one-day programs in Sacramento, Atlanta, New York, Boston and Tampa this year. SBE members within 300-miles of an Ennes program receive a mail announcement before each program. Many of SBE’s Sustaining Members provide presentations for these programs and underwrite the costs.

The centerpiece Ennes program of the year is the Saturday before the floor opens at NAB2007.

All things wiring

It’s unlike anything else that happens at NAB. There is no call for papers; rather the Ennes and Public Broadcasting Service teams get together and ask themselves what it is that engineers can most benefit from. A topic is picked and speakers are recruited.

This year we go after audio. Interestingly, this will be the first year that National Public Radio will join the SBE/Ennes and PBS assemblage. No other gathering, anywhere, finds so many broadcast engineers in one place.

Attending the program requires a full NAB conference registration; but SBE members and those with a PBS or NPR affiliation enjoy a substantial discount for pre-registration. Look at for Ennes information and NAB2007 registration.

Bright and early at 8 a.m. (that’s Las Vegas Convention Center Time) on April 14, the “pre-program” starts with the traditional beginner’s tutorial – Audio 101, as it were.

At 9 a.m., the program begins with Steve Lampen of Belden, an RW contributor, who covers 100 things you should know about audio wiring. A popular presenter, he is asked constantly to speak at Ennes road shows. He brings a new presentation focusing on audio, both digital and analog, from microphone to speaker. Of all broadcast engineering skill sets, the ability to design, construct and maintain the audio infrastructure is critical to the success of any radio, TV or newer media engineer.

It’s difficult to have a program about audio without recognizing the role Dolby and compression in general play. Rocky Graham, the company’s director of broadcast products, and Mike Babbitt, director of customer support, plan tutorials about digital technologies for audio and using metadata, respectively.

Steve Church of Telos Systems is known for his interest and innovations in audio over his career. We asked him to provide a tutorial on the recent trend to build audio facilities not on shielded pairs but Internet Protocol connections, switches and commonly available IP infrastructure.

Tim Carroll, founder of Linear Acoustic, is familiar for his work on multichannel sound for high-definition systems, telephone interfaces and processing. Making the transition from stereo or mono to surround sound can be more complicated than making the digital transition. His presentation deals with our struggles to deal with the level and image shifts.

It’s hard to get Birney Dayton, who founded nVision, to talk – unless he has something important to say. Along with Jay Kuca, director of product management, the pair will take on the trials and tribulations of bringing multichannel sound to a DTV facility.

Radio folks, do pay attention. While TV is arguably “nothing more than radio with a light,” there are any number of movements afoot to bring multichannel sound to radio. Frank Foti has presented on this topic at Ennes road show sessions. Others have their opinions. The Ennes NAB program is designed for engineers who may be working in radio or TV today and streaming mobile or other new media tomorrow.

The program finishes the day with Roger Charlesworth, who has worked with Conan O’Brien and David Letterman and brings a futuristic view of what audio for broadcast will be.

It has been some time since the SBE/PBS Ennes program has addressed audio topics. Some years ago, we had Sirius and XM chief technology officers on our dais. For radio, TV, mobile and all of the new media, this will be an interesting year for broadcast engineers, and so much of that is about maturing audio.

This is a good year to join 500 of your peers and spend a day immersed in the opportunities that a career in broadcast engineering brings.

Other SBE events

During the convention, members can connect with the SBE staff, Board of Directors and Certification Committee members at the society’s exhibit booth.

The booth will again be on the second floor concourse of the South Hall near the entrance to the exhibit floor and NAB Broadcast Engineering Conference rooms.

It will feature the “CertPreview” exam preparation software programs that now include the AM Directional and 8-VSB SBE Specialist exam sections.

Also available will be SBE-published books including the “SBE Television Operators Handbook,” “Handbook for Radio Operators” and the “SBE Chief Operators Handbook.” The booth also will have a selection of broadcast engineering-related technical books at member-discount prices, and many SBE logo items including pins, shirts and hats.

Booth hours are Sunday 2-4 p.m., then Monday to Thursday during NAB exhibit hours.

In addition to the Ennes Workshop, SBE will present a number of meetings. On Tuesday, the annual spring Membership Meeting highlights the week. It will be held in Room S226/227 of the convention center. This year’s Membership Meeting is sponsored again by Microwave Radio Communications (MRC), an SBE Sustaining Member.

The following meetings will be at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel unless indicated:

Board of Directors Meeting
Sunday, 8:30 a.m. to noon
Conference Rooms 1-2

SBE/NFL Game Day Coordinators Meeting
Monday, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Conference Room 1-3

SBE Frequency Coordinators Meeting
Tuesday, 10 a.m. to noon
Conference Room 11-12

EAS Meeting
Monday, 2-4 p.m.
Conference Room 4-5

Membership Meeting
Tuesday, 5-6 p.m.
Room S226/227, LVCC

SBE Certification Exams
Tuesday 9 a.m. to noon (pre-registrants only)

Members of SBE can register for the NAB convention at a special “partner” rate, a savings of $200 off the NAB non-member rate.

To get the discount, register using the regular online form found at NAB2007 show registration. When you reach the “Profile” section, check the “Partner” box and select SBE from the drop-down box. The discount is only available using the online registration method.