August 14, 2010
Recent Specs Howard grad, John Dam, is our Operations Department intern. With the rapid growth in the complexity of our studios, the day-to-day maintenance and problem-solving had also multiplied.
For the Radio department alone, with 21 practice studios, 4 on-campus radio stations and a dual-workstation audio Production studio (and basically only one of “me”), it can be challenging to stay on top of things.
Radio now has heavier dependence than ever on the audio computer network. With Specs’ phasing out of older technology like MiniDisk and CD as well as deeper integration of Enco Systems’ technology (including cutting-edge products like “Presenter”), the chances of something going wrong are multiplied.
Today, all major stations in top 10 markets are relying on voice tracking, and advanced automation technology seven days a week. Specs Howard is of course, part of that evolution and John is gaining (and sharing) some advanced knowledge that we don’t normally have time to teach students in the regular program (and the students may not have the interest in this aspect of the industry in the first place).
What I do requires a little traditional broadcast engineering along with just a little IT computer knowledge, as well as knowing what it takes to put together a radio show.
I do that plus solve problems and in the process, coach everyone on how to use this technology (some of whom may have started their careers playing records and editing with razor blades and reel to reel tape!).
There are also students who come to us who may have never set foot in a studio anywhere. Our job is to turn these people into radio superstars. Plus, I plan for the future on top of all this!
Today, “RADIO” (at its very core) is a bunch of hard drives spinning at up to 10,000 revolutions per minute controlled by a microprocessor or two that you could hold into your hand. On screen (for us humans) are friendly icons and shapes that resemble older technology. These virtual “devices” do things required for radio like play and record on demand, control (and be controlled by) other equipment and manage and organize large collections of audio.
The concepts, however, are the same as they have always been! A student who works on and excels at Performance and Professionalism relentlessly (AND develops a comfort level with Technology) has the best chance of succeeding at a very high level in whatever they do.