What is the job?
Transmission Engineers work in MCRs, managing all staff in transmission areas, scheduling shifts and work patterns, and recruiting and selecting freelance personnel when required. They are responsible for effective communication between line management and transmission personnel. They liaise with other departments about scheduling workflow, and to negotiate the use of facilities and equipment. They ensure that safety plans and risk assessments have been prepared, and are adhered to, in the transmission areas.
Transmission Engineers also work with other MCR personnel to train new operational staff. Transmission Engineers must continually ensure that all transmission equipment is serviceable and fit for use, working in close collaboration with maintenance personnel. They may carry out some front line maintenance if necessary.
They are also responsible for quality control of transmission output, including all vision and audio sources, and must be able to troubleshoot any problems quickly and effectively, often during live transmissions. They may need to liaise with personnel in remote sites and sources to resolve any operational or technical problems.
Typical career routes
Transmission Engineers usually have at least 5 years’ experience in broadcast media technology environments, and may start their careers as Junior Engineering assistants, and progress to Tape Operators and/or Machine Room Operators, eventually becoming Transmission Engineers.
Engineers normally have an aptitude for, and interest in, engineering and usually continue working in engineering roles, and progress to more senior roles within this specialised area of work, or into senior operational or technical management roles within broadcasting companies.
Essential knowledge and skills
Transmission Engineers must have a basic understanding of media formats, including analogue, tape, and digital, and should be aware of the requirements of a variety of transmission facilities, equipment and media.
Key Skills include:
- advanced electronic engineering skills
- a good understanding of broadcast technology and equipment
- advanced IT skills
- effective management skills
- excellent team working skills
- effective communication and negotiation skills
- a high level of organisational skills
- knowledge of the requirements of the relevant Health and Safety legislation and procedures
Training and qualifications
Engineering degrees from Ravensbourne College or from other Universities offering recognised degrees in Electronic Engineering are useful for Junior Engineers or Junior Engineering Assistants, although in some cases IT Networking or Computer Programming degrees may be equally relevant. Broad-based degrees are more highly valued.
As good technical knowledge is extremely important, a formal engineering qualification is required. Personality and communication skills are important at entry levels.
Where to go for more information
- BECTU, the trade union represents Broadcast Technology personnel - www.bectu.org.uk
- BKSTS (The Moving Image Society); a membership organisation which runs events and training, and publishes Image Technology - www.bksts.com
- Digital Post Production - www.digitalpostproduction.com
- How stuff works - www.howstuffworks.com
- Broadcast, weekly newspaper for the UK TV and Radio industry - www.broadcastnow.co.uk
- Televisual, monthly business magazine for the broadcast industry - www.televisual.com
- How Video Works – Weynand & Weise – ISBN 0-240-80614-X
- Broadcast Engineer's Reference Book – Joe Tozer – ISBN 0-240-51908-6 Video Systems in an IT Environment – Al Kovalick – ISBN 0-240-80627-1
All books available from: www.focalpress.com