Broadcast and sound engineering technicians set up, operate, and maintain the electrical equipment for radio and television broadcasts, concerts, sound recordings, and movies and in office and school buildings.
Broadcast and sound engineering technicians typically do the following:
These workers may be called broadcast or sound engineering technicians or operators or engineers. At smaller radio and television stations, broadcast and sound technicians may do many jobs. At larger stations, they are likely to specialize more, although even their job assignments may change from day to day. They set up and operate audio and video equipment, although the kind of equipment they use may depend on the particular type of technician or industry.
Although some of the duties of broadcast and sound engineering technicians are similar, there are some differences.
Audio and video equipment technicians set up and operate audio and video equipment. They also connect wires and cables and set up and operate sound and mixing boards and related electronic equipment.
Audio and video equipment technicians work with microphones, speakers, video screens, projectors, video monitors, and recording equipment. The equipment they operate is used for meetings, concerts, sports events, conventions, news conferences, as well as lectures, conferences, and presentations in businesses and universities.
Audio and video equipment technicians may also set up and operate custom lighting systems. They frequently work directly with clients and must listen to, understand, and provide solutions to problems in a simple and clear manner. In addition, many audio and video equipment technicians are self-employed and must spend time marketing their practice to prospective clients.
Broadcast technicians set up, operate, and maintain equipment that regulates the signal strength, the clarity, and the ranges of sounds and colors of radio or television broadcasts. They operate transmitters to broadcast radio or television programs and use computers to program the equipment and to edit audio and video recordings.
Sound engineering technicians operate machines and equipment that record, synchronize, mix, or reproduce music, voices, or sound effects in recording studios, sporting arenas, theater productions, or movie and video productions. They record audio performances or events and may combine tracks that were recorded separately to create a multilayered final product. Sound engineering technicians operate transmitters to broadcast radio or television programs and use computers both to program the equipment and to edit audio recordings.
(Information on foley artists, a type of sound engineering technician, can be accessed from the Occupational Outlook Quarterly.)
The following are examples of types of broadcast technicians and sound engineering technicians:
Recording engineers operate and maintain video and sound recording equipment. They may operate equipment designed to produce special effects for radio, television, or movies.
Sound mixers, or rerecording mixers, produce soundtracks for movies or television programs. After filming or recording is complete, these workers may use a process called dubbing to insert sounds.
Field technicians set up and operate portable equipment outside the studio—for example, for television news coverage. This coverage requires so much electronic equipment, and the technology is changing so rapidly, that many stations assign some of their technicians exclusively to news.
Chief engineers, transmission engineers, and broadcast field supervisors oversee other technicians and maintain broadcasting equipment.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition