WABE wraps 72nd annual convention

The Western Association of Broadcast Engineers (WABE) held its 72nd annual convention in Calgary, Oct. 4-5, at the Best Western Premier Calgary Plaza Hotel & Conference Centre. This marked the first return to an in-person convention since 2019 and was well received in a new two-day format for Western Canada’s premier broadcast industry convention and trade show.

WABE was honoured to present 10 awards this year and introduced the new Sheila R. East Women in Broadcasting Award presented to Darcie Harris of Rogers Sports and Media Edmonton. Two R.W. Lamb Awards were presented to Dale Coutts, formerly of Bell Media Calgary, and Kerry Pelser, recently retired from D.E.M. Allen & Associates Ltd. Both were also given Retirement Awards alongside Pat O’Connor of Global TV (Corus Entertainment) Winnipeg, Paul Kadonaga of Global TV (Corus Entertainment) Calgary, Jerry Pendree of Rogers Sports and Media and Wilf Rice of Airwaves Technical Services. A special thanks to John Bruins, a WABE Chancellor who MC’d the Awards Luncheon.

The exhibit floor was sold out well ahead of the show with 42 booths occupied by 35 companies showing off their latest products and services to over 200 visitors. There were a total of 21 sponsors for this year’s convention. Gold sponsors included Applied Electronics Limited, Deltech Communications, GS Broadcast Technical Services & Tieline, Pippin Technical Service, RCS Canada and Ron Paley Broadcast – DJB Radio. 

Eleven great technical sessions for delegates featured a wide variety of relevant topics for those supporting the technical side of content creation and OTA broadcast. Speakers providing insight on dealing with regulations such as Safety Code 6, new concepts like Radio In The Cloud capped with a well-attended panel discussion, Skills for the Next Ten Years. Invaluable tips and knowledge were shared during the sessions, not just by the speakers, but other media technical professionals on site.  And thanks to those who responded to our new QR code surveys, we have generated ideas for new topics for next year’s convention sessions to be held in Vancouver.

This year’s dedicated local convention committee consisted of Papers Chairs Amrita Rai and Randy Opperman, Rogers Sports & Media; Cameron Thomson of Rogers Sports & Media was the Exhibitors Chair; Dale Jubb of Bell Media was our Host Chair; Aaron Kerr of Bell Media acted as Session Chair and Dale Coutts lead special projects. Eric Becker of Applied Electronics advised us as Exhibitor Liaison. Leadership was provided by WABE President Rob Brown, Pattison Media; Past President Clint Hollinger, Rogers Sports and Media; Treasurer/Secretary Tessa Potter, SBL/True North Sports & Entertainment; and the incredible Kathy Watson, WABE Office Manager, who acts as a one-person orchestra behind the scenes.

Highlights from the AGM, including an executive shuffle with the first female president of WABE, Tessa Potter, elected. Cameron Thomson was acclaimed as Secretary/Treasurer. Rob Brown takes the role of Past President for the next two years. The executive will be working hard engaging stakeholders to make way for growth and a commitment to produce a five-year strategic plan. Looking to continue a 72-year tradition of promoting and advancing the dissemination of engineering knowledge, and to also become a broader association for broadcast and multimedia technology professionals supporting everyone creating content from the traditional over the air in all forms, post production, sports and even the streaming podcaster.

We are also pleased to announce that WABE has captured and sought permission to provide online access to the papers and presentations. Content is being edited and we are hoping in a few short weeks to announce how to access this content. This will be provided free of charge to all fully paid delegates and for a small affordable fee to those who were not able to attend.