December 1, 2020
The Society of Broadcast Engineers, the association for broadcast and multimedia technology professionals, has developed a response to the ongoing concern about new technical talent choosing broadcasting as a career by creating the Technical Professional Training Program (TPTP). As technology and the average age and tenure of technical professionals advances (as shown in the annual SBE Compensation Survey), there is concern to adequately fulfill the technical staffing needs in the long term.
In the past, part-time employees and smaller market stations served as a training ground for new talent. Streamlining the workforce, consolidation of ownership and a reduction in the electronic technology programs at trade schools and colleges have culminated in a looming crisis. The SBE is uniquely positioned to provide a solution.
Drawing on existing SBE programs, the society has assembled a valuable service to the broadcast industry going forward. The goal: Training new entrants to the field of broadcast technology. There are four elements that combine to create the new Technical Professional Training Program.
• The extensive Webinars by SBE collection developed and cataloged for on-demand use of SBE members is regularly expanded and updated to reflect the latest developments in the industry. The advent of SBE MemberPlus provides access to the library for a fixed annual fee.
• The SBE Engineering Handbook is a hard-copy reference volume for hands-on use in designing and maintaining technical facilities.
• The SBE Mentor Program provides new entrants to the technical broadcast field regular access and guidance from a seasoned professional – a personal touch not unlike days of old when the senior staff would take the new person under a wing to show him or her the ropes.
• The SBE Certification Program entry-level certification (Certified Broadcast Technologist) demonstrates a comprehension of regulatory and technical requirements of station operation. The SBE CertPreview for this certification level can be utilized by a mentor to curate the preparation experience of a mentee utilizing the Webinars by SBE library supplemented with the mentor’s knowledge and experience.
The SBE Technical Professional Training Program is a membership option that includes all the elements listed above in one package. Stations and media outlets can groom young talent to fast track their technical skills with one application and one purchase. The cost of the SBE TPTP is $475. This includes a one-year SBE membership with SBE MemberPlus, a copy of SBE CertPreview, a copy of the SBE Engineering Handbook, enrollment in the SBE Mentor Program, and the SBE CBT certification exam application fee to be taken later.
The program is designed to be deployable by group broadcasters, independent broadcasters and even state broadcaster associations. Ideally, the mentor would come from within the ranks of the organization in which the mentee is employed, but the mentor role can be filled by any qualified engineer willing to invest the time. The SBE will assist in arranging a mentor for the TPTP applicant.
On the announcement, SBE Education Committee Chair Geary Morrill, CPBE, CBNE, said, “The TPTP simplifies the steps to engage someone new to the technical career path in broadcasting and media. This bundles the individual membership and education offerings to help broadcast and media outlets engage the next generation of technicians.”
SBE President Wayne Pecena, CPBE, 8-VSB, AMD, DRB, CBNE, adds, “The SBE has significantly increased its education efforts over the last decade – and more. The TPTP is a natural step in making these efforts accessible and convenient to individuals for personal growth, and for groups to groom the next generation.”