Technology & Events
Also known as: Systems Engineer, Project Engineer
Career Level: Mid-Level
What Do They Do?
Broadcast Engineers look after the technical equipment in a radio station: maintaining it, fixing it when it breaks, and bringing in new equipment when required.
There are different types of Broadcast Engineers who work within radio and audio – from Audio Engineers who literally look after microphones and studio desks, to the Transmission Engineers who make sure the giant radio transmitters are functioning.
There are also Systems Engineers who join it all together, connecting the microphones, mixers and playout systems together to create the final signals the audience gets to hear.
Support Engineers can look after everything, or may specialise in certain areas such as playout, IT or electrical systems.
Project Engineers look at future proofing technology in studios, fitting “just one more microphone” or installing a whole extra studio. Operational Engineers can build and operate outside broadcasts and other broadcast events.
The tasks involved with this role will vary from station to station and project to project, but it will involve a lot of problem solving, understanding broadcast systems and getting stuck in to fixing and building things.
Who Do They Work With?
- Engineers will work across the radio station – with any programme teams or presenters that need help, and with operational teams.
- They will also liaise with members of their engineering team, including schedulers and co-ordinators who make sure that shifts are staffed by people with the right skills.
- They will likely report to a team leader, or directly to the Head of Engineering.
What Skills Do I Need?
- Engineers need to be patient and calm as they’re often working in high pressure situations
- Engineers are inquisitive by nature and have a deep curiosity and understanding of technology.They are born problem solvers and they want to help.
- Engineers will have an understanding of the technical aspects of working in a live radio broadcasting environment and knowledgeable about production processes
- Engineers are able to adapt to different broadcast environments and work flexibly.
- Engineers are enthusiastic about learning new systems and absorb new processes quickly.
- Engineers have a thorough knowledge of broadcast systems and technology, health and safety protocols, and broadcast workflows.
- Engineers are flexible and willing to work long and sometimes erratic hours.
- Engineers are creative to bridge the gap between editorial ambition and the practical reality of making something work.
- Engineers need good communication skills so they are able to explain something very technical to a lay person.
- Engineers need to drink a lot of tea (we’ve been assured this is the case by two independent sources!)
How Do I Get This Job?
There are some courses that will teach you the specifics about Broadcast Engineering, however more general engineering experience can be transferred into a job like this.
Many Engineers will be educated to degree level in something like Electronics Engineering, Computer Science, Media Technology or Physics and may have completed an apprenticeship in a relevant field or volunteered in Hospital, Community or Student Radio. Training is provided to ensure Engineers are familiar with specific broadcast equipment and can respond to any unusual requests.
Mixing the band at college, church or the local pub is a great way to try your hand at this awesome career!