Broadcast Technician Career Information
What a Broadcast Technician does
Broadcast and sound technicians install, test, repair, set up and operate the electronic equipment used to record and transmit radio and television programmes, cable programmes, and motion pictures. They work with television cameras, microphones, tape recorders, lighting, sound effects, transmitters, antennas, and other equipment.
Some broadcast and sound technicians even produce movie sound tracks in motion picture production studios, control the sound of live events, such as concerts, or record music in a recording studio.
In the control room of a radio or television broadcasting studio, sound technicians operate equipment that regulates the signal strength, clarity, and range of sounds and colors of recordings or broadcasts. They also operate control panels to select the source of the material. Technicians may switch from one camera or studio to another, from films to live programming, or from network to local programming. By means of hand signals and, in television, telephone headsets, they give technical directions to other studio personnel.
Broadcast and sound technicians in small stations perform a variety of duties. In large stations and networks, technicians are more specialized, although job assignments may change from day to day. The terms 'operator,' 'engineer,' and 'technician' often are used interchangeably to describe these jobs.
Transmitter operators monitor and log outgoing signals and operate transmitters. Maintenance technicians set up, adjust, service, and repair electronic broadcasting equipment.
Audio control engineers regulate volume and sound quality of television broadcasts, while Video control engineers regulate their fidelity, brightness, and contrast.
Recording engineers operate and maintain video and sound recording equipment. They may operate equipment designed to produce special effects, such as the illusions of a bolt of lightning or a police siren.
Sound mixers or rerecording mixers produce the sound track of a movie, television, or radio programme. After filming or recording, they may use a process called dubbing to insert sounds.
Field technicians set up and operate broadcasting portable field transmission equipment outside the studio. Television news coverage requires so much electronic equipment, and the technology is changing so rapidly, that many stations assign technicians exclusively to news.
Chief engineers, transmission engineers, and broadcast field supervisors supervise the technicians who operate and maintain broadcasting equipment. Broadcast and sound technicians generally work indoors in pleasant surroundings. However, those who broadcast news and other programmes from locations outside the studio may work outdoors in all types of weather.
Technicians doing maintenance may climb poles or antenna towers, while those setting up equipment do heavy lifting. Technicians in large stations and the networks usually work long hours under great pressure to meet broadcast deadlines, and occasionally work overtime. Those who work on motion pictures may be on a tight schedule to finish according to contract agreements.
You can control the sound of live events such as Femina Miss India, music concerts etc, work in a radio station, work in a recording studio where you record for television shows, advertisements, etc, in the production depart in television stations, produce movie sound tracks in motion picture production studios
People seeking beginning jobs as radio and television broadcast technicians are expected to face strong competition in major metropolitan areas, where the number of qualified job seekers exceeds the number of openings. There, stations seek highly experienced personnel. Prospects for entry-level positions generally are better in small cities and towns for beginners with appropriate training.
Beginners learn skills on the job from experienced technicians and supervisors. They often begin their careers in small stations and, once experienced, move on to larger ones. Large stations usually only hire technicians with experience.
Television stations employ, on average, many more technicians than radio stations. Technician jobs in television are located in virtually all cities, whereas jobs in radio are also found in many small towns.
An increase in the number of programming hours should require additional technicians. However, employment growth in radio and television broadcasting is expected to grow somewhat because of the fast growth in the number of new radio and television stations.
Technicians who know how to install transmitters will be in demand as television stations replace existing analog transmitters with digital transmitters. Stations will begin broadcasting in both analog and digital formats, eventually switching entirely to digital.
Employment in the cable industry should grow because of new products coming to the market, such as cable modems, which deliver high speed Internet access to personal computers, and digital set-top boxes, which transmit better sound and pictures, allowing cable operators to offer many more channels than in the past. These new products will cause traditional cable subscribers to sign up for additional services.
Abilities & Traits Required
Broadcast and sound technicians must have manual dexterity and an aptitude for working with electrical, electronic and mechanical systems and equipment. They also need good people skills, analytical skills, problem-solving skills and an eye for detail.
They should be patient, thorough, safety-conscious, able to work well under pressure, and able to communicate effectively with their clients. Good eyesight (with or without glasses) is essential. They should have normal colour vision, as many wires are colour-coded.
Experienced technicians can become supervisory technicians or chief engineers. A Master's degree in engineering is needed to become a chief engineer at a large TV station.
The best way to prepare for a broadcast and sound technician job is to obtain a technical degree in engineering or electronics. This is particularly true for those who hope to advance to supervisory positions or jobs at large stations or the networks.
In the movie industry people are hired as apprentices and they work their way up. Employers usually hire experienced freelance technicians on a project-by-project basis. Reputation and determination are important in getting jobs.
Television stations usually pay higher salaries than radio stations; commercial broadcasting usually pays more than public broadcasting; and stations in large markets pay more than those in small ones.
Starting salaries are in the range of Rs. 18000-25000. With two to three years experience in handling sophisticated equipment and software it could move to Rs 25000-45000 a month.