2010 NAB Engineering Achievement Award Winners: Steve Church and Mark Richer

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2010 NAB Engineering Achievement Award Winners: Steve Church and Mark Richer

Mar 1, 2010 10:49 AM

Washington - Mar 1, 2010 - The NAB's Engineering Achievement Award was established in 1959 to recognize significant contributions that have advanced the state of the art of broadcast engineering. The award is presented at the NAB Show during the Technology Luncheon, which will be held on April 14 this year. This year's winners are Steve Church (radio) and Mark Richer (television).

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Steve Church
Steve Church is the founder and chief executive officer of Telos Systems (Cleveland, OH), a manufacturer of ISDN, coded audio and telephone interface products for talk shows, teleconferencing, audio production, remote broadcasts, and intercom applications. Among his innovations, Church is perhaps most renowned for inventing in 1984 the first broadcast studio product using digital audio technology, the Telos 10 telephone hybrid.

Prior to the Telos 10, the primary method used for putting callers on the radio was with a speakerphone, a crude, one-way approach at best due to the one-way audio path that resulted in the caller''s audio disappearing when the radio announcer spoke. Church was a station chief engineer then (working at WFBQ Indianapolis and WMMS Cleveland), and was determined to find a better way to support call-in talk radio.

Other notable products introduced by Telos include the Zephyr codec (1993), which combined MP3 audio and ISDN telephone technology, Zephyr NET, the first ISDN-based program distribution network and the first low-cost alternative ad-hoc audio distribution system in the world, and the Audioactive hardware streaming encoder, a hardware MP3 encoder with a built-in audio server.

In 1997, Church and his partner Frank Foti co-invented the Omnia.fm audio processor. In 2003, the company introduced the audio-over-Ethernet transmission system for broadcast, which became known as Livewire.

Church is also an author, having written chapters in the past two NAB Engineering Handbooks on broadcast telephony, and dozens of papers on different facets of broadcast technology from audio coding to audio wiring.

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Mark Richer
Mark Richer is the president of the Advanced Television Systems Committee (Washington, DC), the international, non-profit organization that develops voluntary standards for digital television (DTV), as adopted for DTV broadcasting in North America, South Korea and several other countries. ATSC member organizations represent the broadcast, broadcast equipment, motion picture, consumer electronics, computer, cable, satellite and semiconductor industries.

Richer has led the ATSC through the last decade, navigating a complex and sometimes difficult period in the transition from analog to digital television. He has been instrumental in maintaining the rapid pace of DTV standards development, keeping the ATSC moving forward as an organization, relevant and the leader in over-the-air DTV. Most recently the development of the ATSC Mobile DTV standard is a major accomplishment and important opportunity for the continuing success of broadcasting in the United States.

Previously, Richer was vice president and general manager at CDS, a division of Thomcast Communications. While at Thomcast, he created and managed Comark Digital Services, providing consulting, design and turnkey services for broadcast television stations making the conversion to digital technology.

Richer first joined the ATSC after 16 years with the Public Broadcasting service (PBS) where, as vice president of engineering and computer services, he was responsible for development of new technologies for PBS and its member stations, design of audio/video systems and management of computer operations. He was instrumental in the development of technological innovations, including Line 21 closed captioning for the deaf, for which he was awarded an Emmy for Engineering Development. He was also responsible for the selection and implementation of digital video compression and transmission technology and led PBS efforts in the area of digital and high definition television. Prior to joining PBS in 1979, Richer worked in various engineering positions in commercial and instructional television as well as for a major video/film production facility.

Richer played a major role in the early planning for advanced television in the United States, serving as chair of the System Subcommittee Working Party on Test and Evaluation for the FCC Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Service. In this position, he was responsible for testing proponent ATV systems, including that of the digital HDTV Grand Alliance, which ultimately formed the basis for the ATSC DTV standard.

Richer is a fellow of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He holds two patents and has a bachelor of science degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

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