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Broadcast Technicians Career

Career Description

Set up, operate, and maintain the electronic equipment used to transmit radio and television programs. Control audio equipment to regulate volume level and quality of sound during radio and television broadcasts. Operate transmitter to broadcast radio or television programs.

What Job Titles Broadcast Technicians Might Have

  • Audio Engineer
  • Board Operator
  • Broadcast Engineer
  • Broadcast Maintenance Engineer
  • Broadcast Operations Engineer
  • Broadcast Technician
  • Control Operator
  • Maintenance Engineer
  • Production Assistant
  • Production Engineer

What Broadcast Technicians Do

  • Report equipment problems, ensure that repairs are made, and make emergency repairs to equipment when necessary and possible.
  • Monitor and log transmitter readings.
  • Maintain programming logs as required by station management and the Federal Communications Commission.
  • Monitor strength, clarity, and reliability of incoming and outgoing signals and adjust equipment as necessary to maintain quality broadcasts.
  • Observe monitors and converse with station personnel to determine audio and video levels and to ascertain that programs are airing.
  • Preview scheduled programs to ensure that signals are functioning and programs are ready for transmission.
  • Play and record broadcast programs using automation systems.
  • Set up, operate, and maintain broadcast station computers and networks.
  • Select sources from which programming will be received or through which programming will be transmitted.
  • Install broadcast equipment, troubleshoot equipment problems, and perform maintenance or minor repairs, using hand tools.
  • Substitute programs in cases where signals fail.
  • Control audio equipment to regulate the volume and sound quality during radio and television broadcasts.
  • Design and modify equipment to employer specifications.
  • Record sound onto tape or film for radio or television, checking its quality and making adjustments where necessary.
  • Schedule programming or read television programming logs to determine which programs are to be recorded or aired.
  • Edit broadcast material electronically, using computers.
  • Develop employee work schedules.
  • Instruct trainees in how to use television production equipment, how to film events, and how to copy and edit graphics or sound onto videotape.
  • Align antennae with receiving dishes to obtain the clearest signal for transmission of broadcasts from field locations.
  • Regulate the fidelity, brightness, and contrast of video transmissions, using video console control panels.
  • Make commercial dubs.
  • Determine the number, type, and approximate location of microphones needed for best sound recording or transmission quality and position them appropriately.
  • Organize recording sessions and prepare areas, such as radio booths and television stations, for recording.
  • Set up and operate portable field transmission equipment outside the studio.
  • Give technical directions to other personnel during filming.
  • Prepare reports outlining past and future programs, including content.
  • Produce graphics for broadcasts.
  • Discuss production requirements with clients.

What Broadcast Technicians Should Be Good At

  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Flexibility of Closure - The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Control Precision - The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Finger Dexterity - The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Fluency of Ideas - The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Manual Dexterity - The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Originality - The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
  • Visualization - The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.

What Broadcast Technicians Should Be Interested In

  • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
  • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

What Broadcast Technicians Need to Learn

  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Telecommunications - Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Communications and Media - Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Median Salary: $40,080

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.