Broadcast Tech + Engineering NewsCCBE 2019 highlighted by discussion on future of radio

CCBE 2019 highlighted by discussion on future of radio

The Association of Central Canada Broadcast Engineers (CCBE) held its 69th annual Career Development Conference from Sept. 26-29 in King City, ON that saw delegates attend from as far away as England, France, Italy, South Africa, and even Australia.

It featured a full-day workshop by Nautel on HD Radio Implementation, a technology currently rolling out across North America which will allow broadcasters to provide up to four stations on a single FM frequency.

The keynote address was given by Jeff Detweiler from Xperi Corporation who talked about the future of radio and exploring the opportunities available to broadcasters in keeping radio front and centre.

There were two days of technical papers which were so well attended, additional seating needed to be brought in to accommodate. Some of the topics discussed included Control Protocols, Audio Compression, Media Asset Security, Centralization and Cloud-based Scheduling and Automation.

CBC Transmission presented some of the research they’ve been conducting developing RF chokes which can be installed on tower guy wires and can reduce the amount of non-ionizing radiation at anchor points, thereby limiting the need to erect expensive fencing in hard to access areas.

The conference also provided the opportunity to meet with suppliers to the industry and learn about new products coming onto the market. Similar to a trade show but in a more relaxed environment, vendors hosted suites to showcase their products. This year a “Jam Session” was hosted by Applied Electronics where people could participate in an open-mic style performance.

The annual awards banquet allows broadcast engineers the opportunity to recognize their peers for outstanding achievement in the industry.  The CCBE Engineering Excellence Award is presented to an individual or group who has displayed a high standard of engineering accomplishment in Canadian broadcasting. This year’s recipient was Frédéric Vendette, director of radio engineering for Bell Media Quebec, for completing an FM antenna replacement in Quebec City; adding auxiliary transmitters in Montreal, St. John & Drummondville; and stabilizing major grounding issues at CKGM in Montreal. Vendette was also the recipient of a Bell Bravo Award this year after a lightning strike took out CFZZ-FM in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. He and his team were able to restore the transmission signal and get the station back on-air with minimal impact to listeners and advertisers.

The Bob Norton Ambassador of the Year Award is named in memory of the first recipient, Bob Norton, who was an icon of the Canadian broadcast community and delivered the first technical paper of the CCBE back in 1951.  This year’s award went to Darrin Paley of Ron Paley Broadcast.

The CCBE Lifetime Achievement Award is given to an individual who made outstanding contributions to the Canadian broadcast community throughout their career.  This year’s winner was Russ Jenkins from Bell Media who, at 77 years old is still very much a valued and important team member at CKLW in Windsor. Jenkins served in the Royal Canadian Navy where he learned about high power radar, going on to a more than 50-year career in broadcast engineering that started at CKWW Windsor. He also spent a decade teaching electronics at St. Clair College.

The CCBE George McCurdy Bursary Award is given to a student of the Broadcast Systems Technology Program at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) who is working towards a career in broadcasting.  This year’s winner was Matthew Nystrom, who graduated this past June.

The conference wrapped up with the Annual General Meeting which saw Ron Combden ascend to the position of Vice-President. I [Sean T. Craig] will move from the Secretary position to replace Ron as Treasurer.

Next year’s conference, the CCBE’s 70th, will be held a little earlier, running from Sept. 17-20.  More details will be made available at in the New Year as arrangements develop.


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Sean T. Craig
Sean T. Craig
Sean T. Craig is the Vice-President of the Association of Central Canada Broadcast Engineers (CCBE) and an engineer with Bell Media Radio Peterborough.

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