Broadcast Technicians

Broadcast Tech

Broadcast technicians set up, operate, and maintain the electronic equipment used to transmit radio and television programs
Broadcast Tech
Why Should You Consider This Career?

You get the power to spread information through thin air. Work independently with electronics, audio and technology

That's $3,300 per bi-weekly paycheck
That's 2000 new jobs in Utah per year (30% growth)
Less Physical                                         More Physical
Less Training                                          More Training
More Structure                                     Less Structure
Audio Engineer, Board Operator, Broadcast Engineer, Broadcast Maintenance Engineer, Broadcast Operations Engineer, Broadcast Technician, Control Operator, Production Engineer

Broadcast Tech Career Guide: Salary Insights, Overview, and Steps to Join the Trade

Broadcast technology is an exciting and dynamic field that offers a wide range of career opportunities. Technical professionals who work in this industry play a crucial role in ensuring that television and radio broadcasts are seamless and of high quality. From operating cameras to setting up sound equipment, broadcast techs are instrumental in the success of any media production.

Overview of Broadcast Techs | What do Broadcast Techs do?

Before we dive into the details, let's take a closer look at what broadcast techs actually do. These professionals are responsible for the installation, operation, and maintenance of broadcast equipment. They work behind the scenes to ensure that everything runs smoothly during live broadcasts or recordings.

Broadcast techs are skilled in various areas such as video, audio, lighting, and engineering. They work closely with producers, directors, and other technical staff to set up and troubleshoot equipment. Whether it's adjusting camera angles, testing audio levels, or troubleshooting transmission issues, broadcast techs are the go-to experts for all things technical in the broadcasting industry.

When it comes to video, broadcast techs are well-versed in the latest camera technologies and techniques. They understand the different types of cameras, lenses, and accessories needed to capture high-quality footage. They are skilled in setting up multi-camera systems and coordinating shots for live events or studio productions. Additionally, they have a keen eye for detail and are responsible for ensuring that the video output meets the desired standards.

Audio is another crucial aspect of broadcasting, and broadcast techs play a vital role in ensuring clear and high-quality sound. They are knowledgeable in various audio equipment, including microphones, mixers, and audio processors. They understand the intricacies of sound engineering and are skilled in adjusting audio levels, reducing background noise, and enhancing the overall audio experience for the audience.

Lighting is often overlooked but plays a significant role in creating the right atmosphere for broadcasts. Broadcast techs have a deep understanding of lighting techniques and equipment. They know how to set up and control different types of lights to achieve the desired mood or effect. Whether it's creating a bright and vibrant setting for a live sports event or a dramatic and moody ambiance for a talk show, broadcast techs ensure that the lighting enhances the overall visual experience.

Engineering is a fundamental aspect of broadcast technology. Broadcast techs have a solid understanding of electrical systems, signal flow, and transmission technologies. They are responsible for setting up and maintaining broadcast infrastructure, including routers, switches, and servers. They also troubleshoot transmission issues, ensuring that the signal reaches its intended destination without any disruptions.

Aside from their technical expertise, broadcast techs also possess excellent problem-solving and communication skills. They are quick thinkers and can handle high-pressure situations with ease. They work closely with the production team, understanding their requirements and translating them into technical solutions. They are also the first line of defense when technical issues arise during live broadcasts, and their ability to troubleshoot and resolve problems efficiently is crucial to the success of the production.

In conclusion, broadcast techs are highly skilled professionals who play a vital role in the broadcasting industry. Their expertise in video, audio, lighting, and engineering ensures that live broadcasts and recordings are executed flawlessly. They are the unsung heroes behind the scenes, working tirelessly to ensure that everything runs smoothly and that audiences have an exceptional viewing experience.

Broadcast Tech Salary | How much do Broadcast Techs make?

When considering a career path, it's important to have an understanding of the earning potential. The salary of a broadcast tech can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and the size of the broadcasting company.

On average, entry-level broadcast techs can expect to make around $40,000 to $45,000 per year. With experience, this figure can increase to an average of $55,000 to $65,000 per year. Senior broadcast techs with advanced skills and years of experience can earn upwards of $80,000 per year.

However, it's important to note that these figures are just averages and can vary significantly based on various factors. For example, the location of the job plays a crucial role in determining the salary of a broadcast tech. In major cities with a high demand for broadcast professionals, such as New York or Los Angeles, salaries tend to be higher due to the cost of living and the competitive nature of the industry.

Furthermore, the size of the broadcasting company also impacts the salary range. Larger companies often have more financial resources, allowing them to offer higher salaries to their employees. On the other hand, smaller local stations may have more limited budgets, resulting in lower salaries for broadcast techs.

Experience is another significant factor that affects the earning potential of a broadcast tech. As professionals gain more experience in the field, they acquire valuable skills and knowledge that can lead to higher-paying positions. Moreover, with each passing year, broadcast techs become more proficient in their roles, making them more desirable candidates for higher-paying jobs.

It's worth noting that these figures only represent the base salary of a broadcast tech. There may be additional opportunities for earning bonuses or overtime pay, especially during live events or when working on special projects. Additionally, freelance work can offer additional flexibility and potentially higher earning potential. Freelancers often have the freedom to negotiate their rates and take on multiple projects simultaneously, which can result in higher overall earnings.

Overall, while the average salary range provides a general idea of what broadcast techs can expect to earn, it's crucial to consider the various factors that influence these figures. From location and company size to experience and freelance opportunities, there are numerous variables that can impact a broadcast tech's salary. By understanding these factors, individuals can make informed decisions about their career paths and negotiate fair compensation for their valuable skills and contributions to the industry.

A Day in the Life of a Broadcast Tech

Ever wondered what a day in the life of a broadcast tech looks like? Let's explore a typical day on the job.

Each day starts with preparations for the upcoming broadcast. This involves ensuring that all equipment is in working order, setting up cameras and microphones, and conducting tests to ensure quality and reliability. The broadcast tech meticulously checks every piece of equipment, from cameras to cables, to make sure everything is functioning properly. They also take the time to clean and organize their workspace, ensuring that everything is in its right place.

As the broadcast begins, the tech supports the crew by monitoring audio levels, adjusting lighting, and troubleshooting any technical issues that may arise. They constantly keep an eye on audio meters, making sure the sound is clear and balanced. They work closely with the lighting team, adjusting the lights to create the perfect ambiance for the broadcast. If any technical issues occur, such as a microphone malfunction or a camera glitch, the broadcast tech jumps into action, swiftly finding a solution to keep the broadcast running smoothly.

During live broadcasts, broadcast techs are responsible for staying alert and reacting quickly to any technical glitches or unforeseen circumstances. They need to be adaptable and resourceful in finding solutions to keep the broadcast running smoothly. Whether it's adjusting a camera angle on the fly or troubleshooting a sudden audio drop, the broadcast tech remains calm under pressure and ensures that the audience doesn't experience any disruptions.

After the broadcast, there is typically a debriefing session where the tech discusses any issues or improvements with the rest of the team. This allows for continuous learning and improvement in future productions. The broadcast tech shares their observations and insights, suggesting ways to enhance the overall quality of the broadcast. They take notes on any technical difficulties encountered during the broadcast and brainstorm ideas on how to prevent them in the future.

In addition to their role during live broadcasts, broadcast techs also maintain and repair equipment to ensure its longevity and functionality. They regularly perform routine maintenance, such as cleaning and calibrating cameras, checking cables for wear and tear, and updating software. If a piece of equipment needs repair, the broadcast tech takes it apart, troubleshoots the issue, and fixes it. They keep meticulous records of all maintenance and repairs, ensuring that the equipment is always in top-notch condition.

A day in the life of a broadcast tech is filled with excitement, challenges, and the satisfaction of delivering a flawless broadcast. Their attention to detail, technical expertise, and ability to think on their feet are essential in creating a seamless viewing experience for the audience. So, the next time you tune in to your favorite TV show or live event, remember the dedicated broadcast techs who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make it all happen.

Ideal Traits and Skills for a Broadcast Tech

Being a successful broadcast tech requires a specific set of skills and traits. Let's take a look at some of the key qualities that can help you thrive in this field.

First and foremost, technical aptitude is a must. A good understanding of audio and video equipment, as well as broadcast systems, is essential. This includes knowledge of different types of microphones, cameras, mixers, and video switchers. A broadcast tech should also be familiar with signal flow and routing, ensuring that audio and video signals are properly sent and received throughout the broadcast chain.

Strong problem-solving skills and the ability to think on your feet are also crucial since technical issues can arise at any moment during a live broadcast. Whether it's troubleshooting audio dropouts, adjusting camera settings on the fly, or fixing a faulty cable connection, a broadcast tech needs to be able to quickly identify and resolve problems to ensure a smooth broadcast.

Additionally, communication skills are vital as you will be working closely with a team of professionals in a fast-paced environment. Clear and effective communication is necessary when collaborating with directors, producers, and other crew members to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the broadcast runs smoothly. Being able to listen actively and follow directions is equally important, as it helps to avoid misunderstandings and errors that could impact the overall quality of the production.

Working in the broadcast industry often means dealing with tight deadlines and high-pressure situations. The ability to work well under pressure and meet deadlines is essential in this field. Broadcast techs need to be able to handle the stress that comes with live broadcasts, where every second counts and there is no room for mistakes. Being able to stay calm and composed under pressure is crucial for delivering a professional and seamless broadcast.

Finally, staying up to date with the latest technological advancements in broadcast equipment and software is essential for career development. The broadcast industry is constantly evolving, with new technologies and techniques being introduced regularly. A successful broadcast tech should have a passion for learning and be proactive in keeping up with industry trends. This could involve attending workshops and conferences, reading industry publications, or even experimenting with new equipment and software in your free time.

In conclusion, being a broadcast tech requires a combination of technical skills, problem-solving abilities, effective communication, and the ability to handle pressure. By possessing these traits and continuously staying updated with the latest advancements, you can excel in this exciting and dynamic field.

How long will it take to become a Broadcast Tech | Training and Educational Path for Broadcast Techs

If you're interested in becoming a broadcast tech, you may be wondering how long it takes to enter the field. While there is no set path, most aspiring broadcast techs pursue relevant education and training.

Many community colleges and technical schools offer programs in broadcasting or media production. These programs typically cover areas such as audio/video production, broadcast engineering, and equipment operation. The duration of these programs can range from one to three years, depending on the level of certification or degree you are seeking.

For those who choose to pursue a one-year program, the curriculum often includes courses on the fundamentals of broadcasting, audio and video editing, studio operations, and broadcast equipment maintenance. Students also have the opportunity to work on real-world projects, such as producing their own radio shows or creating video content for local television stations.

If you decide to go for a two-year program, you can expect to dive deeper into the technical aspects of broadcasting. Courses may cover topics such as signal processing, audio production techniques, broadcast transmission systems, and electronic media management. Additionally, you may have the chance to specialize in a particular area of broadcasting, such as radio production or television broadcasting.

For those who are aiming for a three-year program, the curriculum often includes a more comprehensive study of broadcasting principles and practices. Students may explore advanced topics such as broadcast automation, digital media production, multimedia journalism, and media ethics. They may also have the opportunity to participate in internships or cooperative education experiences, where they can apply their skills in real-world broadcasting settings.

Another option is to gain hands-on experience through internships or entry-level positions in broadcasting companies. This can provide valuable practical knowledge and help you network with industry professionals. Internships can range in duration from a few months to a year, depending on the program and the company. During these internships, you may have the opportunity to work alongside experienced broadcast techs, assisting with equipment setup, troubleshooting, and maintenance.

Entry-level positions, such as broadcast technician assistants or production assistants, can also be stepping stones towards a career as a broadcast tech. These positions allow you to gain practical experience in a professional broadcasting environment, while also learning from experienced professionals. Over time, as you develop your skills and knowledge, you can progress to more advanced roles within the industry.

While the duration of the educational path to becoming a broadcast tech can vary, it's important to note that learning and growth in this field are ongoing. Technology and industry standards are constantly evolving, so it's crucial for broadcast techs to stay updated on the latest advancements and continue developing their skills throughout their careers.

Necessary Certifications for Broadcast Techs

While not always required, obtaining certifications in specific areas of broadcast technology can enhance your career prospects. The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) offers different levels of certification for broadcast techs. These certifications cover topics such as audio, video, and broadcast networking.

When it comes to audio, SBE certifications delve into the intricacies of sound production, mixing, and editing. By obtaining these certifications, you not only showcase your expertise in handling audio equipment but also your ability to create high-quality sound for broadcasts. This is particularly important in fields such as radio, where the clarity and quality of the audio can make or break a listener's experience.

Video certifications offered by SBE focus on various aspects of video production and broadcasting. From camera operation and lighting techniques to video editing and post-production, these certifications equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to deliver visually captivating content. With the rise of online streaming platforms and the demand for high-definition videos, having these certifications can give you a competitive edge in the industry.

Another area covered by SBE certifications is broadcast networking. In an increasingly digital world, understanding the intricacies of broadcast networks is crucial. These certifications provide you with a comprehensive understanding of network architecture, protocols, and troubleshooting techniques specific to the broadcasting industry. By obtaining these certifications, you demonstrate your ability to effectively manage and maintain the complex network infrastructure that supports broadcasting operations.

In addition to SBE certifications, manufacturers of broadcast equipment also provide training and certifications for their specific products. These certifications demonstrate proficiency in operating and maintaining their equipment, making you a valuable asset to potential employers.

For example, a leading manufacturer of broadcasting cameras might offer certifications that focus on the technical aspects of operating their cameras, including advanced features and settings. By obtaining these certifications, you not only showcase your ability to use the equipment effectively but also your dedication to staying updated with the latest technological advancements in the field.

Similarly, manufacturers of audio equipment may provide certifications that cover the setup, calibration, and troubleshooting of their products. These certifications ensure that you have the necessary skills to handle their equipment with precision, resulting in optimal audio quality for broadcasts.

By obtaining certifications from both SBE and manufacturers, you demonstrate a well-rounded expertise in broadcast technology. This not only makes you a more desirable candidate for potential employers but also opens up opportunities for career advancement and specialization within the industry.

Career Advancement in Broadcasting

As you gain experience and expertise in the field of broadcast technology, there are various opportunities for career advancement. With a solid foundation and a track record of successful productions, you can move into positions such as broadcast engineer, technical director, or even a production manager.

Some broadcast techs also choose to specialize in specific areas of broadcast technology such as audio engineering, lighting design, or transmission systems. This specialization allows for career growth and potentially higher salaries.

Why Choose a Career in Broadcasting?

Now that we've covered the specifics of what broadcast techs do and the career path, let's discuss why choosing a career in broadcasting can be fulfilling.

One of the most appealing aspects of this field is the opportunity to work behind the scenes in the entertainment and media industry. If you have a passion for television and radio, being a part of the technical production process can be incredibly rewarding.

Furthermore, the field of broadcasting is constantly evolving. With advancements in technology, there is always something new to learn, ensuring that the job remains challenging and exciting.

Lastly, the broadcast industry offers a sense of teamwork and collaboration. Working together with a group of professionals on live broadcasts can create a strong sense of camaraderie and accomplishment.

Frequently Asked Questions About Broadcast Techs

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about broadcast techs:

  • 1. What qualifications are necessary to become a broadcast tech? While a formal degree is not always required, completing a relevant program in broadcasting or gaining hands-on experience can be beneficial.
  • 2. How can I gain experience in broadcasting? Look for internships or entry-level positions in broadcasting companies to gain practical knowledge and network with industry professionals.
  • 3. Are there any certifications that can enhance my career as a broadcast tech? Certifications from organizations like the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) and manufacturers of broadcast equipment can enhance your skill set and marketability.
  • 4. What are the typical working hours for broadcast techs? The working hours of a broadcast tech can vary depending on the nature of the production. Evening, weekend, and holiday work may be required for live broadcasts or special events.
  • 5. Is there room for career advancement in the field of broadcast technology? Yes, with experience and specialized knowledge, career advancement opportunities such as broadcast engineer or technical director are possible.

Now that you have a comprehensive understanding of the broadcast tech career, including salary insights, daily tasks, necessary qualifications, and opportunities for growth, you can make an informed decision about pursuing a career in this exciting field. Whether you choose to work in television, radio, or online broadcasting, the world of broadcast technology offers endless possibilities for those with a passion for technology and media production.

At A Glance in US
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398,000 (35%)
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398,000 (35%)
398,000 (35%)
Audio Engineer, Board Operator, Broadcast Engineer, Broadcast Maintenance Engineer, Broadcast Operations Engineer, Broadcast Technician, Control Operator, Production Engineer
A Typical Day Icon

Your Typical Day:

  • 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.
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Wages in the US:

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Per Hour Base Income
Total Compensation
Your Responsibilities Icon

Your Responsibilities

  • Maintain recording or broadcasting equipment.
  • Notify others of equipment problems.
  • Operate communications, transmissions, or broadcasting equipment.
  • Maintain logs of production activities.
  • Monitor broadcasting operations to ensure proper functioning.
  • Operate audio recording equipment.
  • Coordinate activities of production personnel.
  • Edit audio or video recordings.
  • Operate control consoles for sound, lighting or video.
  • Train others on work processes.
Your Knowledge Icon

Knowledge You Will Learn

  • Computers and Electronics

Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming. 88/100

  • Telecommunications

Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems. 80/100

  • 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. 70/100

  • 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. 64/100

  • English Language

Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar. 61/100

  • Design

Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models. 46/100

  • Mathematics

Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications. 45/100

  • Education and Training

Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects. 43/100

  • Mechanical

Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance. 42/100

  • Customer and Personal Service

Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction. 37/100

Tools of the Trade Icon

Tools of the Trade

  • Video editors
  • Media control systems
  • Audio mixing consoles
  • Satellite receivers
  • Oscilloscopes
  • Microphones
  • Computer servers
  • Videoconferencing systems
  • Frequency analyzers
  • Notebook computers
  • Hard disk drives
  • Radio frequency transmitters or receivers
  • Camera controllers
  • Stage or projection or studio lighting system
  • Minivans or vans
  • Digital voice recorders
  • Digital camcorders or video cameras
  • Digital video disk players or recorders
  • Desktop computers
  • Personal computers
  • Modulators
  • Network routers
  • Video cassette players or recorders
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