Broadcast Engineer Job Description
Working primarily in television and radio, Broadcast Engineers are responsible for the installation, maintenance and operation of all broadcast-related equipment. They also provide technical support in the arenas of film, concerts and music recording, ensuring the quality production and transmission of both audio and video.
Broadcast Engineers typically work within broadcast or recording studios, although they also may work in event spaces, such as hotels, entertainment venues and arenas. They serve a support role, typically reporting to the Lead Engineer, Technical Support Manager or Director of Engineering. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the position is expected to achieve an average growth of about 7 percent through 2024.
Broadcast Engineer Duties and Responsibilities
In order to provide technical support for all broadcast equipment, a Broadcast Engineer performs many different tasks. We analyzed job listings for Broadcast Engineers in order to identify these core duties and responsibilities.
Install Broadcast Equipment
The Broadcast Engineer is responsible for receiving and installing all new audio and visual equipment. They must be capable of reading and understanding schematics and technical manuals in order to effectively follow installation instructions.
Maintain Broadcast Equipment
The Broadcast Engineer is responsible for performing regular maintenance on all broadcast equipment as well as preventative maintenance. This includes performing regular software and hardware updates. Broadcast Engineers must be extremely knowledgeable regarding all broadcast technology in order to effectively care for equipment and ensure that it does not fail.
Often working within time-sensitive environments or for live broadcasts, the Broadcast Engineer must be able to quickly troubleshoot and diagnose video and audio issues. This includes performing extensive testing before a recording or transmission, as well as solving any problems that arise once a broadcast has begun. They may also have to communicate with third parties, such as the equipment vendors, in order to troubleshoot and resolve technical issues.
Repair Broadcast Equipment
Once a problem is diagnosed, the Broadcast Engineer, sometimes in conjunction with other team members, is responsible for finding a solution and completing repairs to the equipment until it is functioning well again. Often these repairs must be completed in a timely manner. The Broadcast Engineer is also responsible for identifying when repairs are not possible and new equipment must be ordered.
In order to stay updated with changing technologies and maintain excellent broadcast quality, the Broadcast Engineer must come up with solutions for continual broadcast improvement. This includes providing the company or studio with recommendations for equipment updates, enhancements and modifications, and then performing them. Broadcast Engineers also make suggestions for new technology and equipment when necessary.
Broadcast Engineer Skills
Broadcast Engineers must be able to solve complex problems in a timely manner. Often working on strict deadlines or within live production environments, Broadcast Engineers must be calm under pressure, have excellent time management skills and the ability to recall extensive technical knowledge quickly. They must be detail-oriented in order to identify and prevent potential technical issues. They must be able to prioritize and shift work priorities quickly, maintaining flexibility and quick response time.
Core skills: Based on job listings we looked at, employers want Broadcast Engineers with these core skills. If you want to work as a Broadcast Engineer, focus on the following.
- Having broadcast or IT experience
- Obtaining some technical education
- Becoming proficient in Windows, Apple, and Linux operating systems
- Possessing computer network or network security knowledge and training
- Exhibiting experience in maintaining and operating transmission equipment
- Having knowledge of audio and video software and applications
- Demonstrating an ability to interface with clients and other departments
Advanced skills: While most employers did not require the following skills, multiple job listings included them as preferred. Add these to your Broadcast Engineer toolbox and broaden your career options.
- Flexible schedule and ability to support a 24/7 operation
- Project management experience
- Experience in live production environments
Broadcast Engineer Resources
We searched the Web to find the best industry resources to help you continue exploring a career as a Broadcast Engineer. From thought leaders to industry groups, this list is packed with opportunities to learn, connect and engage.
On the Web
Engineering Radio – Blog from an experienced radio engineer
Phil’s Technical Blog – Broadcast engineering and IT blog
Nablabs – Major broadcast blog
NAB – National Association of Broadcasters
SBE – Society of Broadcast Engineers
NASBA – National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations
Broadcast Engineer Books
Audio in Media – Broadcast production
A Broadcast Engineering Tutorial for Non-Engineers – Beginner’s guide
Broadcast News Handbook – An overview of the broadcast news industry
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