1395481499© Paul Dykes

Transmission Engineer

Industries:
TV
Personality type:
Engineer
Departments:
Studio and Broadcast Technology

Jamie Keddie, Broadcast Engineer at ITV News

The lowdown

  • Supervising the transmission of television programmes
  • Overseeing all incoming feeds from outside broadcasts and other sources, and all outgoing transmissions
  • Ensuring that all transmission equipment is maintained and fit for use

Is this role right for me?

To do this role, you will need to:

  • have advanced electronic engineering skills
  • have a basic understanding of media formats, including analogue, tape and digital
  • be aware of the requirements of a variety of transmission facilities, equipment and media
  • possess a good understanding of broadcast technology and equipment
  • have advanced IT skills
  • have effective management skills
  • have excellent team working skills
  • possess effective communication and negotiation skills
  • have a high level of organisational skills
  • have knowledge of the requirements of the relevant health and safety legislation and procedures

What does a Transmission Engineer do?

Transmission Engineers (sometimes known as Operations Managers) supervise the transmission of television programmes, working in the Master Control Room (MCR).

They are responsible for the overall day-to-day management of broadcasters' transmission facilities. This is a supervisory role, overseeing all incoming feeds from Outside Broadcasts and other sources, and all outgoing transmissions.

Transmission Engineers manage all staff in transmission areas, scheduling shifts and work patterns, and recruiting and selecting freelance staff when required. They liaise with other departments about scheduling, and to negotiate the use of facilities and equipment. They ensure that safety plans and risk assessments have been prepared and are followed in the transmission areas.

They ensure that all transmission equipment is serviceable and fit for use, working in close collaboration with maintenance staff. They may carry out some frontline maintenance if necessary.

They are responsible for quality control of transmission output, including all vision and audio sources, and must be able to troubleshoot any problems quickly and effectively, often during live transmissions. They may need to liaise with personnel in remote sites to resolve any operational or technical problems.

Will I need a qualification?

You will need a formal engineering qualification to be a Transmission Engineer. Relevant degrees include electronic engineering, IT networking or computer programming. However, broad-based degrees are more highly valued.

If you are considering taking a media technology course in higher education, the following courses have been rigorously assessed by the TV industry and awarded the Creative Skillset Tick for the high standard of education they provide and the degree to which they prepare you for a TV career:

Media technology courses awarded the Creative Skillset Tick

What’s the best route in?

You will usually need at least 5 years' experience in broadcast media technology environments. You could start your career as a Junior Engineering Assistant and progress to become a Tape Operator and/or a Machine Room Operator, progressing from there to become a Transmission Engineer.

Where might the role take me?

You will usually continue to work in engineering roles and progress to more senior roles within this specialised area of work, or into senior operational or technical management roles within broadcasting companies.

Interested? Find out more...

Websites

  • BBC Academy - College of Production - information and advice on the skills required to make engaging TV, including interviews with producers in music, speech, factual and comedy about what it takes to work in TV 
  • BECTU - the UK media and entertainment trade union with information on pay and conditions, training, and access to individual advice on personal and contract issues
  • BKSTS - (the moving image society) organises events, courses and demonstrations of new equipment, and publishes Image Technology
  • Chief Engineers of Facilities Forum (ChEFF) - represents the views of the UK TV facilities industry on engineering and operational matters
  • Digital Post Production

Publications

  • Broadcast - the weekly newspaper for the UK TV and radio industries
  • Televisual - the business magazine for the broadcast and production industry

Books

  • How Video Works - Weynand & Weise - ISBN 0-240-80614-X
  • Broadcast Engineer's Reference Book - Joe Tozer - ISBN 0-240-51908-6
  • Video Systems in an IT Environment - Al Kovalick - ISBN 0-240-80627-1
  • All books available from Focal Press

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