If you have recently watched a television show, listened to music, watched a movie, or seen a live show then you have witnessed the work of a broadcast technician. This is the person who is involved in setting up, operating and maintaining the electronic equipment of all these types of media and more.
The broadcast technician, also known as a sound engineering technician, is responsible for ensuring that information is transmitted from one place to another. The amount of people that this information is transmitted to can be as few as one and as many as billions. This requires a wide range of electrical and electronic equipment. Advances in technology have caused many types of this equipment to be replaced with software and computers.
The broadcast technician is in charge of the equipment that produces the signals in television broadcasts. Elements of these signals include the strength, clarity, and the range of sounds and colors to be transmitted. The job also can include operating the controls that change where the source of the signal is coming from.
Sound engineering may seem simpler since there is no visual signal to transmit. This is not the case. The audio signal that broadcast technicians are in charge of is usually synchronized with some visual presentation such as a play, sporting event or movie. The sound engineer for audio music must bring all different the elements together into the unified sound coming from the speakers.
Specialized occupations under the field of broadcast technician include radio operators, who oversee radio communications and ensure that all of the machinery used to transmit radio waves is in good working conditions. Most of the time, there are many broadcast engineers needed to work on a job. When this is the case, chief engineers, transmission engineers and broadcast field supervisors are the people who supervise them.
A broadcast technician works in a wide variety of conditions. These include television, radio and recording studios. Sometimes the job requires that they work outdoors and sometimes even in dangerous conditions. They also play important roles in movie production, during which they will be required to follow strict schedules and deadlines. The nature of all these types of work also makes it necessary to work lots of overtime hours, including weekends and holidays.
If one wishes to become a broadcast technician, the best routes are to receive education and training through technical schools or college. Many employers prefer technicians to have an associate degree. The rate of pay for television stations is usually higher than that of radio stations. The amount of pay is also relative to the size of the market a broadcast technician is working for.