Category Archives: Engineering

Day Two Engineering Preview – GLBC

Day two of Engineering Sessions at GLBC begin at 8 a.m.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016
8:00 – 11:00am 
SBE Exam for CNBT and CBNE

Registration for the SBE Exams closed on April 1.

10:00 – 10:30am
New Technologies and Design Concepts in Radio Automation (Not Your Dad’s Automation System)
Presented by Don Backus, Broadcast Electronics

Don Backus
Don Backus

Many current radio automation systems trace their roots back to the mid and early 1990’s and have maintained features, implementations, and designs that date back 15, 20, or even 25 years ago. As radio’s needs have changed over that time, so has the technology available to radio automation manufacturers. This session will look at modern automation technologies and how they can benefit radio broadcasters of all market sizes. From AoIP to powerful database structures to flexible operation and redundancy configurations to simple yet powerful user interfaces, today’s (and tomorrow’s) radio automation technologies offer much to streamline workflows, save and generate revenue and improve on air sound while improving the ability to be as ‘live and local’ as possible.

10:30 – 11:00am
Evolution of Solid State FM Transmitters
Presented by Don Backus, Broadcast Electronics

It wasn’t too long ago that solid state FM transmitters became widely available, eliminating the need for costly tubes, but at a higher initial cost. As time as gone by, several generations of solid state transmitters have produced higher efficiencies and decreased costs, but generally at lower power levels. Now there are several higher power solid state options in much more compact form factors with new technologies designed to improve efficiency, reliability and serviceability in the field. This session will look at some of the new tech in FM transmitters and discuss the benefits to radio stations.

10:00 – 11:00am
Working with the Future of Video Data Today
Presented by Jon Rutherford, Sr. Solution Architect at Key Code Media & Matt Linstad, Quantum

Join us for an open discussion/presentation on the current and future technologies for working with your growing video data content. We will look at the best-in-class options while helping to identify the areas that could be phased in over time due to budget limitations. Having a full understanding of the critical components needed to have a successful and scalable solution will help you plan better for your current needs and prepare for the future.

11:30am – 12:30pm
ATSC 3.0 The Future of Broadcast Television
Presented by Rich Chernock, Chairman of the ATSC Technology Group on ATSC 3.0 & Chief Science Officer, Triveni Digital, Inc.

Rich Chernock
Rich Chernock

Work is nearing completion on a next generation broadcast digital television system, known as ATSC 3.0. ATSC 3.0 provides a flexible and more efficient physical layer, mobility, UHD images, new solutions for audio, incorporation of new user technologies such as second screen, and hybrid use of broadcast and broadband delivery for services.

This presentation will provide a high-level view of the fundamental architecture of the next-generation broadcast system, how an ATSC 3.0 TV station will be different from today’s ATSC 1.0 station, and what new opportunities ATSC 3.0 will bring to broadcasters.

11:30am – 12:30pm
Trade Secrets of a Guy with a Network Analyzer
Presented by Jeremy Ruck, Jeremy Ruck & Associates, Inc.

The network analyzer is the most important piece of test gear in the arsenal of the RF engineer. In this presentation we will look at the theory behind the device, examine some operational techniques, and consider some real world cases.

Register on-site for GLBC if you haven’t registered in advance!

12:30 – 2:00pm
Exhibit Hall Walk-Around Lunch

2:30 – 3:00pm
The State of IP for Television Broadcast, Production and Distribution
Presented by Robert Erickson, Grass Valley, A Belden Brand

This session is an overview of current and future IP technologies used in broadcast environments. The presentation will include the compelling reasons for the migration from baseband to IP for real time video transport and the challenges that broadcasters will face in making this migration. Erickson will also discuss the current state of standards in the IP broadcast facility, detailing out the main competing standards for the compression and transport of broadcast video and audio. The discussion will also focus on ways to leverage current IT technologies, such as system virtualization and distributed routing architectures will conclude the presentation.

2:30 – 3:00pm
IP Codec Redundancy
Presented by Jacob Daniluck, Tieline the Codec Company

As ISDN & POTS are becoming more expensive to install it may be time to start planning on switching your old POTS/ISDN Codecs. It time to start thinking about an IP Audio Codec which includes some of the following: IP Network Redundancy and/or Alternate Transport Type Redundancy. Exploring these types of technology can help reduce expenses while maintaining audio quality between studios, transmitters, and remotes.

3:00 – 3:30pm
LTE Interference from FM Stations
Presented by Jeff Welton, Nautel

Jeff Welton
Jeff Welton

As the LTE rollout continues nationwide, complaints of interference to LTE stations from licensed FM broadcasters are becoming almost commonplace. This session will discuss the reason for the interference, the legalities of the situation and provides some ideas to help resolve existing interference issues or reduce the possibility of future issues. Practical solutions are heavily based on the real life experience of Michigan engineer Walker Sisson, who was involved first hand in an LTE interference complaint.

3:00 – 3:30pm
Spectrum Auction: Legal Update for Engineers

The spectrum auction will bring about headaches for both management and engineers.  Get the latest legal lowdown on the engineering aspects of the auction and repacking.

4:00 – 5:00pm
EAS State Update 2016
Presented by Don Bouffard, Engineering Specialist, Emergency Management and Homeland Security- Michigan State Police &
Gary Blievernicht, Michigan EAS Chairman

Join MSP and others for the update on the latest EAS developments, requirements and tests.

Register on-site for GLBC if you haven’t registered in advance.

Day One Engineering Sessions Preview – GLBC

The Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference (GLBC) Engineering Sessions kick off on Monday morning:

Monday, May 2, 2016
10:00am – 4:00pm

Advanced IP Networking & CBNE Study Topics
Presented by Wayne Pecena, Society of Broadcast Engineers

Wayne Pecena
Wayne Pecena

Advanced IP Networking for Broadcast Engineers and CBNE Study Topics is an intensive instructor-led full-day tutorial. It is assumed that attendees will have a basic understanding of IP Networking fundamentals. This course will focus on a deeper understanding and application of the principal fundamentals in a real-world IP networking environment. Emphasis will be placed upon designing an IPv4 Addressing plan, IP Subnetting, Ethernet Switching, VLAN implementation, IP Routing, and Network Security practices. Additional topics will include an overview of related content often found on the Society of Broadcast Engineers CBNE examination including a practical case study exercise designed to help prepare for CBNE exam essay question(s). This tutorial should not be considered as a certification exam preparation class. The goal of this tutorial is to provide a practical understanding of IP network design principals and provide a useful review of likely certification exam content.  Read more here.
Register on-site for GLBC if you haven’t registered in advance. Registration opens Monday Morning at 9 a.m. on the main concourse.

4:00 – 5:00pm
Michigan Emergency Manager Association & Broadcast Engineers State Meeting

At Beer & Bull Welcoming Reception 2015 (L-R) Gary Blievernicht, WKAR-AM/FM/TV (East Lansing), Geary Morrill, AlphaMedia (Saginaw), and Eric Send, Midwest Communications (Traverse City).
At Beer & Bull Welcome Reception 2015 (L-R) Gary Blievernicht, WKAR-AM/FM/TV (East Lansing), Geary Morrill, Alpha Media (Saginaw), and Eric Send, Midwest Communications (Traverse City).

5:00 – 6:00pm
Exhibit Hall Preview Reception

6:00 – 8:00pm
Beer and Bull Welcome Reception – Waterfront Bar (at Lansing City Market).  Sponsored by Spartan Sports Network and Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Register on-site for GLBC if you haven’t registered in advance. Registration opens Monday Morning at 9 a.m. on the main concourse.

Read a summary of Day Two Engineering Sessions here.

Engineering Spotlight: Michael Kernen, Greater Media (Detroit)

We’re pleased to begin a new spotlight series featuring the hardworking engineers at our stations.  To nominate an engineer for a spotlight, please email Alisha Clack at

MichaelKernen_400Michael Kernen
Michael Kernen is Chief Engineer for Greater Media in Detroit and oversees radio stations WCSX-FM, WRIF-FM, and WMGC-FM.  He started at WRIF 28 years ago, the last 23 under Greater Media’s ownership after they acquired the station.

Brief Engineering Resume:
Michael:  My love for music lead to an interest in radio. My uncle is Dick Kernen (V.P. Specs Howard School of Media Arts) and I would frequently get up a 5am on Sunday mornings to go with him to help with his Sunday morning live radio talk show. My cousin Bob Kernen (V.P. and C.O.O. at Jacobs Media) and I would screen the phone calls and a few times I even ran the board. Radio hooked me and with my uncle’s connections I got an old Gates console from a WXYZ-AM junk trailer and Bob and I used it to build an “FM control room” in my parent’s basement when we were 14.

I took all 6 semesters of electronics at Dearborn High School, as well as every media class and computer class offered and uncle Dick convinced me to attend the then Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts where I took everything they offered at the time – TV/Radio & Broadcast Electronics. I worked as an electrician during that time.

My first real broadcasting job was at WHYT and WJR doing whatever they’d let me do –programming board-op, promotions assistant, engineering assistant, running ballgames, and running Paul Harvey. I took a full-time job at Ron Rose Productions for about a year and then moved to WRIF where I’ve been since 1988.

Q: How did you get started in broadcast engineering?
Michael:  The part-time job at WHYT and WJR as an engineering assistant.

Tell us something about yourself that very few people know…
Michael:  I have a titanium plate in my head!

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Michael:  From my uncle Dick “quit driving around in a van with ladders on the roof! Call Hal Buttermore!” (Then CE of WHYT)

MSU Student Radio WDBM-FM (The Impact) Gets New Antenna

Photo courtesy of WDBM General Manager Ed Glazer

Michigan State University’s student-run radio station WDBM-FM (88.9 The Impact) replaced their 30-year-old broadcast antenna last week at the tower site in East Lansing.

Ed Glazer, General Manager of the station, said the old antenna outlasted its 15-year lifespan, but in recent years had been suffering from “diminished efficiency.”

The new antenna, which cost between $10,000 and $15,000 was paid for by the station’s general fund.  Workers from JT Tower Service, Clarksville, Michigan spend several hours in mid-Michigan’s chilly spring air working high on the station’s 300-foot tower removing and replacing the old antenna.  WDBM’s antenna is mounted on one tower of the WKAR-AM directional array.

More than 100 student volunteers work at the station, which has a music format consisting of alternative, rock and independent music as well as specialty music programs.  The station has been broadcasting since 1989.


Engineering: Barix Box Advisory

On April 6, The Alabama Broadcasters Association shared this with us…from one of their members:

“Someone is attacking Barix Boxes. Within the past 24 hours, several radio stations and at least one radio network have been compromised. The Barix receiver is pointed to an obscene podcast and its password changed so it can only be reset manually. This appears to have been in the planning stages for some time by the person doing it – apparently they have been accumulating passwords for some time. MAKE SURE that your password is of sufficient strength! Barix Boxes will take up to 24 characters…. In at least two cases six character passwords were cracked.”

Updated 9:16am on 4/7/16:  Apparently the reported Colorado signal hack was related to this Barix story.  Read about the KIFT signal hack here.

The stream programmer who had their explicit content aired on the Colorado radio station did their own investigation into the incident and provides some insight here.

Updated 2:10pm on 4/6/16:  Jason Walther, CE of Townsquare Media (Lansing) adds: “Best advice is to change your password to the web interface, and hide it behind a firewall that only exposes the ports needed to receive the stream (aka: port forwarding)

When these boxes are connected to a plain static IP and no changes are made, they are an easy target.

Also, if you have a Comrex Access unit that sits open with “Accept Incoming Calls”, you will get hacked the same. It is easy to disable incoming SIP connections.

SBE Releases New Engineering Handbook

SBEhandbookThe Society of Broadcast Engineers and McGraw-Hill Education have released the SBE Broadcast Engineering Handbook: Hands-on Guide to Station Design and Maintenance. This new book offers detailed practical information on video, audio, and broadcast transmission systems from dozens of the field’s foremost experts. Featuring everything from basic principles and formulae to the latest technologies and engineering trends, this hands-on resource offers practical and up-to-date coverage of all major broadcast technologies for radio, TV, and related fields.

The handbook features in-depth tutorials that stress key topics throughout, complete coverage of radio and television technologies, and is written from the perspective of the broadcast engineer. More than 50 authors have contributed their expertise to the ten sections of the book. The handbook has been deftly assembled by Jerry Whitaker, editor-in-chief. He is vice president of standards development for the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) in Washington, DC, and also the author or editor of more than 40 technical books.

The book covers every aspect of broadcast engineering in seven sections: Regulatory Issues, RF Transmission, DTV Transport, Information Technology Systems, Production Systems, Facility Issues, Broadcast Management, plus three reference annexes.

The book is available from the SBE Bookstore. SBE members can purchase the book at the member discount price of $159 through the SBE Bookstore. The book is also available through and online retailers for $199.

Engineering Spotlight: Dave Grant, Cumulus Media (Grand Rapids)

We’re pleased to begin a new spotlight series featuring the hardworking engineers at our stations.  To nominate an engineer for a spotlight, please email Alisha Clack at

Dave GrantDave Grant
CPBE, Chief Engineer, Cumulus Media, Grand Rapids.  Approaching 4 years, but this is his second time working for WLAV; was the CE for WLAV-AM/FN from 1986 to 1993.

Brief Engineering Resume:
Dave: My first radio job was screening calls for a sports talk show on WKBZ-AM (Muskegon). From there I started running Tiger games and eventually got a job as an on-air announcer at WLRQ-AM in Whitehall. (side note, WLRQ, currently WKLQ, is now owned by the Cumulus Muskegon cluster!) From there, I went next door to the FM station owned by Regional Broadcasting at the time. It was automated, so that left time to tinker with equipment. I became more interested in engineering, and started helping the regional engineer whenever anything needed repair.

I have been really fortunate to have had a couple of great engineering mentors over the years, and opportunities to work with them on a contract basis for a lot of different stations early in my career. This gave me a very broad education on repairing and troubleshooting a myriad of different types and brands of equipment. After that, I went to my first real full-time engineering job in Florida, and spent two years at two different stations before returning to be the Chief Engineer for Liggett Broadcasting. After that, I went to WLAV and spent seven years before the station was sold. I then decided a change would do me good and went into telecom working for a small local competitive telephone company. They were bought and sold many times before eventually becoming part of Verizon. All the while I kept a couple contract stations, I just couldn’t get radio out of my system.

I spent fifteen years in telecom, with the last two years working in Baghdad under contract with the U.S. government. After that ended, I began looking for full-time work again and eventually landed at Cumulus.

Q: How did you get started in broadcast engineering?
Dave:  I love music and grew up listening to the Big 89, WLS. Around age 13, my family moved to Muskegon and we lived near the WTRU-AM studios and transmitter site. I rarely could tune in WLS at home, so WTRU became my station. I listened to that station a lot, and originally was more interested in being an announcer. Eventually I would be an announcer for WTRU, but as it turns out, I didn’t much care for it. Engineering had already taken hold.

Tell us something about yourself that very few people know…
Dave:  My on-air moniker was Dave Lee.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Dave:  Always treat people well, you never know when you might end up working for them. Karma is everywhere.

Engineering Spotlight: Keith Bosworth, Cumulus Media (Detroit)

We continue our spotlight series featuring the hardworking engineers at our stations.
To nominate an engineer for a spotlight, please email Alisha Clack at


Keith Bosworth
Chief Engineer for Cumulus Media (WJR-AM, WDRQ-FM, WDVD-FM) in Detroit.

Brief Engineering Resume:

2003 Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts
2004-2013 Cumulus Media, Toledo
2013-Present Cumulus Media, Detroit

Keith shares his broadcast history:

“I started working as a Board op for Cumulus Media Toledo at WTWR (Monroe, MI) in 2004. Every time the Engineer (Kevin Hawley) would come in, I would watch him and I was a little savvy.  A few months later I was asked by Kevin if I would like to lend a hand installing new transmitters that were coming in for Cumulus Toledo. Halfway through the installs, he asked if I would like to be an assistant engineer, because as he put it, I was a good learner. Although to this day I tell him he was a good teacher.

After being at the Job for a few years and soaking up all the knowledge I could Kevin left to go to WJR. At that point, I was on my own and became Chief Engineer and IT of the eight station cluster in Toledo, which I did for 7-8 years on my own. When the position at Cumulus Detroit opened up, I applied for it and got it, but not until they found a replacement for me in Toledo.

In my career, I have also rebuilt four of the studios in Toledo and had the pleasure of helping build some state of the art facilities like the new Westwood One TOC in NY, the Nash Nights Live Studio in Nashville, TN, and 16 new studios in San Francisco, CA.

Before I got into broadcasting, I was a Chef and still love to cook.

The best advice I was ever given: to be a good engineer, you don’t have to have all the answers, you just need to know where to find them.”

SBE Certification at GLBC ‘16

View More: Geary S. Morrill, CPBE-CBNT

SBE Chapter 91 Certification Chairman

As you may have heard, we have a unique opportunity presented at the upcoming GLBC.

Wayne Pecena, CPBE-CBNE, is the Assistant Director of Educational Broadcast Services in the Office of Information Technology at Texas A&M University. He will be presenting an in-depth Advanced IP Networking & CBNE Study Topics tutorial on Monday, May 2nd, and will proctor the CBNE exam at GLBC the following morning.

Because the Certified Broadcast Network Engineer (CBNE) exam has a five-year service requirement, it is important that all applications to take the exam be sent to the National SBE office by Friday, April 1.

The candidate for Certified Broadcast Networking Engineer (CBNE) must have five (5) years of suitable experience in broadcast engineering or related technology and must achieve a passing grade on the proficiency examination.

Some of the general areas of emphasis on the CBNE will be:

  • Audio/Video over IP for Broadcast
  • Digital Content Management
  • Video Systems in an IT World
  • Data Transmission Systems and Practices
  • General PC Hardware, interconnection, and backup

Final GLBC LogoThere is also the opportunity to write the Certified Broadcast Newtork Technologist (CBNT) exam for those not having that certification.

This certification is designed for persons who wish to demonstrate a basic familiarity with networking hardware as utilized in business and audio/video applications in broadcast facilities. People who have passed the CBNT® exam were tested on subjects related to:

  • Network topologies and layouts
  • Common network protocols
  • Wiring standards and practices
  • Maintenance, troubleshooting and connectivity issues
  • Challenges unique to broadcast-based networks

Both exams are of the “open book” variety, with the exception of one essay question on the CBNE exam. There is a discounted price for the exams for current SBE members, and Certification is good for 5 years. Non-members can also take the exam, and their fee includes a one year membership in the SBE.

Applications for the exam are here:

Certified Broadcast Networking Technologist® (CBNT®)
Certified Broadcast Networking Engineer™ (CBNE™ )

Additionally, there is more information on the exam process here:

FAQ Certification page

Find out about the Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference at



Engineering Spotlight: Tom Bosscher, WCSG-FM Grand Rapids

We’re pleased to begin a new spotlight series featuring the hardworking engineers at our stations.
To nominate an engineer for a spotlight, please email Alisha Clack at

Tom BosscherMy name is Tom Bosscher. I am the chief engineer for WCSG-FM, Grand Rapids, and I have been employed here for 20 years. They haven’t caught on yet.

My cousin Rick Bosscher and I taught each other electronics when we were ten years old. We received our amateur radio licenses when we were 13. In high school, Rick challenged me to go for the FCC 1st class Radio Telephone License, just for the fun of it. So we both did. The summer out of high school, WION in Ionia was looking for a licensed person to take meter readings for their directional AM. So, you could say I started my career at a 5,000 watt daytimer! A few months later, I was working full time at WOOD-AM-FM. I also was employed at WLAV and spent 13 great years working for Dave Gale at WCUZ. Dave and I started to work at WCSG as contract engineers in 1985, and ten years later it became a full time situation. Oh, my cousin Rick has been the RF supervisor for KFMB, San Diego for some 35 years.

Something most people don’t know? I have six sisters, three older, three younger. As a child, I was not allowed to talk. I’m still working on that social skill. On the bright side, at the age of 63, I have nine of the best grandchildren a guy could have. I also teach amateur radio courses for all three levels of licensing.

Best advice? Ask. Always ask. Ask those who use the equipment. And second? Inform. Always inform. Inform those who own the station. And third best? Learn how to fake sincerity.