The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) has elevated Stephen J. Brown, CPBE, CBNT, of Appleton, WI, to the membership rank of Fellow. The SBE Board of Directors elected him at its meeting held April 16, 2023.
Mr. Brown’s career in broadcasting began in 1975 when he began working for WAPL-AM/FM as a part-time announcer and engineer. In 1978, he was hired by Woodward Communications as assistant chief engineer, being promoted to chief engineer in 1980, and then director of broadcast engineering in 1985. In that capacity, he oversees 11 stations in multiple markets.
For many years, Steve volunteered his time as a Program Committee member for the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association in planning the annual Broadcasters Clinic. He is also a founding member of SBE Chapter 80 Fox Valley. From 2018 to 2022, he served two terms on the SBE Board of Directors, serving as Membership Committee Chair. He is SBE Lifetime Certified as a Certified Professional Broadcast Engineer and a Certified Broadcast Networking Technologist.
Recently, Steve worked with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development to create a youth apprenticeship pathway for media broadcast technicians. Steve created the list of broadcast technical competencies to prepare for their apprenticeships. While broadcasting has seen a decline in people working in the technical areas of broadcasting, Steve has taken active steps to fill those ranks.
His education includes an associate of science degree from the University of Wisconsin – Menasha, a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Lawrence University, and a Master of Science degree in engineering management from the Milwaukee School of Engineering.
Outside of broadcasting, Steve has worked as an electrical supervisor for the City of Appleton, WI, a member of the St Therese Parish – Appleton Finance Council, a media representative to the Outagamie County LEPC, and he is a founding member and past president of the Appleton Excel Volleyball Club.
The Fellow honor is the highest membership level in the SBE. Members must have made significant contributions to the broadcast engineering field or the SBE. Candidates are nominated by their peers. Since the Society‘s founding 59 years ago, 83 members have been honored with the Fellow rank.
One nomination letter says that “Steve is an engineer’s engineer and non-engineer’s engineer.” By this, the nominator explains that Steve is able to interact with everyone, from sales to programming. Several nominations also mentions Steve’s patience with everyone.
Another nomination says that Steve has shown great leadership in his career in radio engineering, saying, “He is a man [who] can be trusted. He is a ‘can-do’ guy.” Another nomination notes that “he is a person of his word. You can trust Steve to get it done no matter the task, or if it is out of his comfort zone.”
“Steve’s commitment to broadcast engineer is unrivaled, and that dedication extends beyond broadcasting,” said SBE President Andrea Cummis, CBT. “Steve deserves this honor.”
Steve’s honor was highlighted during the SBE Membership Meeting held on April 17 during the 2023 NAB Show. He will be recognized at the SBE National Meeting, which will be held in September in Columbus, OH. A list of all those who have been named SBE Fellows is posted on the SBE website at sbe.org/fellows.