LOS ANGELES—As I write this, I’ve been back from the NAB Show for about 10 days, and I’m still recovering.
My major take-away from the convention was that, though many consider radio broadcasting to be a “mature” industry (meaning low-to-no growth) there are many new applications of technology being applied to the field. Quite a few of those are being developed overseas, particularly in Europe, including some of the most innovative ones that I saw at the show.
I’ve moved around the country quite a bit during my career, and a positive aspect of that has been my exposure to different techniques used to solve similar problems. Yes — in San Francisco, and New York, and Los Angeles, everyone uses transmitters; but the finer details of how transmitter sites are built and maintained vary from area to area. For this reason, it’s very interesting to see how our European colleagues address similar problems. Just as you get some insight into life, in general, by travelling overseas, you can get insight into problems that are common to all broadcasters as you study more and more techniques used in solving them.
No one has a monopoly on good ideas. My advice to you (even though you didn’t ask for it) is to see how others approach the same problems you have; take your best solutions, take their best solutions, and apply all of them the next time you have an opportunity to do so.
Conversely, don’t necessarily do things “the way it’s always been done” just because it’s the most obvious way forward. Technology and techniques evolve over time. We’re no longer using wire with cloth insulation; we’re no longer using Christmas trees for wiring; and we’re no longer able to just shove a rack in the corner of the air studio with a modulation monitor and remote control and call it good.
One of the negative aspects of the mid-90s consolidation era was that we all had more stations heaped on us. But the flip side is that we’re all forced to learn about new technology used to let one person (or a small staff) handle multiple stations. Many of the techniques used to “increase productivity” are derived from the cellular and IT industries; it’s just the way of the world now.
In this issue of Radio, we’ve again presented articles that are meant for readers who are at different levels of experience. Lee Petro and Jeremy Ruck are discussing aspects of our business that will make the most sense to readers of longer experience; in my Tech Tips column, my aim is to help those who are beginners in the field; Trends in Technology, as well as the Field Report, should be of interest to all.
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