Broadcast engineers work in broadcast media — traditionally television and radio — to help ensure these transmissions meet organizational standards at all times. The engineer works to monitor, maintain, and repair anything that can interfere with the transmission signal. Additionally, they help modulate volume and (in the case of visual media) the color palette. The engineer ensures that remote broadcasts — those that take place on location outside the studio, such as with news reporters on scene — are also received and broadcast seamlessly over the airwaves.
One of the most important roles for a broadcast engineer is constantly monitoring broadcast quality and being able to diagnose any flaws or drop-offs in quality and address them. Much of this monitoring is now streamlined into digital suites that allow the engineer to get detailed feedback on current broadcasts' performance against acceptable baselines. Where there are discrepancies, the broadcast engineer takes action, typically involving repairing equipment.
A significant challenge for many engineers is that while they must be well-versed in modern digital broadcast methods, most employers also expect them to be able to keep older, analog gear running to specifications as well. Thus, broadcast engineers must keep track of advancements in the field of digital broadcasting equipment and techniques, while also stay able to handle older recording and filming equipment as necessary.
To work as a broadcast engineer, normally a person must have a degree in electrical engineering or another relevant field from a technical or vocational school. Most broadcast engineers work for years at smaller broadcast outlets, earning practical experience before applying for jobs in larger markets that offer higher pay and better benefits. Broadcast engineers typically work in a studio and engineering shop environment. While the bulk of their work is during regular daytime hours, emergencies affecting broadcast quality can put them on call at all hours of the day and night.
Broadcast Engineer Tasks
Install, maintain, modify and repair multimedia hardware, software and other broadcast technology systems.
Set up and operate links for outside broadcasts.
Investigate new techniques and equipment.
Analyze and rectify technical faults.
Perform routing and monitoring multiple A/V feeds to and from company facilities.