Broadcast engineers, tech suppliers and other experts will gather for four days of networking and learning, starting Thursday at the 2019 CCBE (Central Canada Broadcast Engineers, Technologists & Technicians) Conference.
This year’s conference features a wide-ranging agenda with presentations on everything from HD Radio implementation to media asset security and free apps for broadcasters.
“It’s a very valuable opportunity for technicians and engineers in both radio and TV to gather in one place and experience workshops that get into detailed tech and products, but also government regulations, transmitters and the more traditional side of broadcasting,” Lorne Anderson, CCBE president, told Broadcast Dialogue.
“It’s a terrific opportunity to get together and talk shop. To nerd out and talk about the experiences engineers are having at their properties, both on the technical side in terms of the problems people experience and the solutions they come up with…products that have or haven’t worked. There’s a lot of learning that goes on and relationships formed, so once the conference is over you can go home with a few names and phone numbers of people you can communicate with…there’s also a lot of networking that goes on that’s a very valuable part of the conference,” said Anderson.
Anderson says this year’s agenda includes discussion on how IP is maturing, new products coming onto the market and compression audio processing. He acknowledges with more centralization of stations, the role of the broadcast engineer has changed, contracting in some areas and expanding in others.
“As equipment becomes more reliable and doesn’t break down as often, attention goes to other things than just repair. When I started you had to adjust tape machines on a weekly basis, now we put computers in and they tend to last for years,” explained Anderson, who has been a broadcast engineer since 1983, and currently oversees five Bell Media radio properties in Winnipeg and Brandon.
“While equipment has become more reliable and needs less attention, at the same time it is more sophisticated so there are different kinds of demands and different things we have to put our attention on. Our skill sets are increasingly expanding outside the control and production rooms and inside the offices…handling IT for the whole operation,” said Anderson.
New product releases are a large part of the conference. Anderson says being able to go to three different rooms and see three different automation systems, for example, is not only helpful for discovery but allows engineers making large investment decisions to ask questions face-to-face.
“Suppliers don’t just sell products, they recommend them to us and filter out selections and choices that aren’t to our advantage,” said Anderson. “You can talk to people on the phone, but it’s better to meet people in person. They get to know you a bit better and know the needs of your station and make proper recommendations. The vendor suites are a very valuable part of the experience. With technology, it’s one thing to go to a website, it’s another to get a demo and visual explanation from a supplier first hand and be able to ask questions as they come up.”
The CCBE Conference is happening Sept. 26-29 at the Kingbridge Conference Centre in King City, ON. Find the full program agenda here.
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