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The Sad State of Broadcast Engineering – Part 2

| December 4, 2013

By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
President
TALKERS
Technical Editor

raytomNEW YORK — Around Labor Day, I wrote an article that asked, “Where have all the broadcast engineers gone?”  I was inundated with responses, which is why it has taken me so long to write a follow up article.  Obviously, I hit a nerve with everyone.  I have heard from Australia, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Ireland.  Obviously, this is a universal topic and I have been overwhelmed.  That, and I’ve been working on a large project with not much time to put electrons to the screen.

Additionally, I was both surprised and not surprised at the bitterness in many of the responses.  Broadcast engineers are a unique group.  It’s difficult, though not impossible, to find a more dedicated group of people in any business.  We take it personally.  The station becomes part of us and is what we do.  And once that is disrupted, even if the person is in a much better place, it is taken personally.  I can relate.

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Just What the Heck Is a Codec?

| September 11, 2013

By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
President
TALKERS
Technical Editor

NEW YORK — Got a call recently from someone inquiring about IP codecs and looking for an explanation as to exactly what they are.  I was puzzled at first because to me, it’s an easy-to-understand topic.  But not everyone is as tech savvy as I am.

So first, let’s look at our old friend ISDN – you know, the thing that’s eventually going away (in New York at present, you cannot order an ISDN line from Verizon – they are no longer installing them).

We use the term ISDN to describe…an ISDN codec.  These are devices that have two main parts – the audio coding section and the transport section.

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DISTURBING TREND: Where are all the radio engineers?

| September 5, 2013

By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
President
TALKERS
Technical Editor

NEW YORK — Being that Labor Day has just passed, I was thinking about a disturbing conversation I had with a colleague last week.  He is an Engineer and had been looking for an assistant.  I noted recently that he was no longer running his ad and assumed he filled the position.

He and I had occasion to chat the other evening.  I asked how his new assistant was working out – and who he found.  His response?  “I pulled the ad because I could not find anyone!  There is no one out there!!”  He ended up hiring someone with IT skills who had an electronics background and is training him.

This tends to be a trend in the industry – a disturbing one.  If there are no engineers, who will be taking care of our broadcast facilities?

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CASE STUDY: How to Launch an Independently Syndicated Talk Show

| July 24, 2013

By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
President   
TALKERS
Technical Editor

NEW YORK — I’ve been promising for a while the story of “The Little Engine That Could.”  As many know, I work with an independently syndicated radio program, Ron Ananian: The Car Doctor.  This is the story of how and why we took it into independent syndication.  You could do this, too.

Car Doctor logoThe Car Doctor was a program offered on the WOR Radio Network.  With the acquisition of WOR by Clear Channel on December 20, 2012, The Car Doctor program was bounced from the schedule and was immediately taken into 30 day reruns to fulfill contract obligations.

Ron Ananian, program host, called me on Christmas Eve.  Obviously, he was upset – as was I.  Ron runs R/A Automotive in Waldwick, New Jersey.  He has been on the air for over 20 years as The Car Doctor.  He wanted the program to continue, and asked how we would go about doing that – if I wanted to get involved.  Yeah, I did.

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Listen to Your Syndicated Show on an Affiliate and You’ll Learn Something

| June 21, 2013

By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
President   
TALKERS
Technical Editor

NEW YORK — As I have mentioned in this column previously, I am involved with an independently syndicated program, Ron Ananian: The Car Doctor.  The program airs live on an independent network on Saturdays from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm, with some affiliates delaying the show until Sunday to broadcast.  The story of putting this together and making it work when The Car Doctor show was bounced from the WOR Radio Network lineup when Clear Channel purchased WOR is an article in itself.  And yes, that will be another article, because it is entirely possible to take a program into independent syndication and make it work.

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