BEC Delivers In-Depth Radio Sessions

The Broadcast Engineering Conference (BEC) is six days of tech heavy educational sessions jammed with the information broadcast engineers need to survive in a fast-changing technical environment.

The conference, co-produced by NAB and the Society of Broadcast Engineers, gives broadcast engineers and others a chance to hear case studies and review white papers, conference planners said.

This year’s BEC schedule for radio, which began on Saturday and runs through Thursday, delivers in-depth tutelage on diversified technology like FM on-channel boosters, Radio Data System delivery envelopes, AM transmitter synchronization, IBOC system architecture and AoIP utilizing the so-called audio cloud.

“The Broadcast Engineering Conference highlights advanced technologies, applications and implementation challenges,” said John Marino, vice president of Technology for NAB.

The hot technology trends to be addressed at the conference include audio over IP and cyber security in the broadcast plant, Marino said.

“Audio over IP not only offers simplified studio construction and upgrades, but it also provides flexibility when reconfiguration becomes necessary,” Marino said, “and recent hacks and file locks have prompted broadcasters to look carefully at how their facilities can be made more secure from cyber intruders.”

Today’s “AM Radio Boot Camp” is a back-to-the-basics session that starts at 10:30 a.m. and offers introductory presentations on AM transmission.

Alan Jurison

Alan Jurison

“Many of the RF engineers with extensive AM knowledge have retired or will be retiring shortly. That has resulted in many bright people with engineering experience in other areas moving into AM with a station under their responsibility,” said Alan Jurison, session chair and senior operations engineer for iHeartMedia.

The session will include an overview of AM, the peculiarities of AM, RF-related problems and the important elements of an AM transmission facility.

An “Introduction to AM” with Ron Rackley, principal with duTreil, Lundin & Rackley Inc., begins the day and is followed by presentations on AM antenna systems, ground systems, monitoring and antenna arrays.

“The goal behind this nearly all-day course is to be immersed in vital AM topics,” Jurison said.

The afternoon offers the sessions “Technical Regulatory Issues for Broadcasts,” 1 p.m., and “Emergency Alert Text Messages via Radio,” 1:30 p.m.

Tuesday’s BEC session “Radio Connectivity” begins at 1 p.m. and will be led by iHeartMedia’s James Leifer. Presentations include a look at the use of wide-area IP networks as a cost-effective option to transport broadcast audio.

In addition, ways to improve audio over IP reliability and how to create an “audio cloud” to store and transport audio will be a part of this session.

Skip Pizzi, senior director of new media technologies for NAB, chairs the session “RF Matters,” which consists of four half-hour presentations.

Wednesday’s BEC sessions feature the “RF Boot Camp,” which runs from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m., and will be complimented with the Technology Luncheon at 12:30 p.m. and the Amateur Radio Operators Reception that evening at 6 p.m.

David Layer, senior director of Advanced Engineering for NAB, is BEC chair for Thursday’s “Radio on the Move” session beginning at 9 a.m., and featured updates on the work of several National Radio Systems Committee subcommittees.

Discussion of TagStation, a commercially available metadata service, and the implementation of Artist Experience in HD Radio will highlight the conference’s final session.