Anyone who knows me, knows I thrive on variety. Working on the back-up power generator was not my favorite activity, but I didn’t MIND it. The same for taking a drive for the AM stations to grab "Monitor Points." None of this work was pleasant in the winter months, but it was part of what I did, and sometimes I actually did look forward to “Monitor Points” and listening critically to our station.
The most positive thing about the Chief Engineer’s job was variety. The board operators (a nearly extinct position), would have to endure my wrath when they messed up the log, forgot to take readings or missed the EAS test or an entry in the Tower lighting log. At one station, I was also on-air regularly. That was fun!
When there was a power outage during the winter months, I was always the one who could get the generator going and transfer the equipment over to the back-up circuits WITHOUT FAIL! If the transmitter or station went down for any reason, I could always get things “back,” again WITHOUT FAIL. There was no problem I couldn’t solve, and failure was actually never an option.
In the middle of winter, I once dug up frozen ground to repair a coaxial cable for the satellite receiver. BUT....by the end of the afternoon, we were “back” on the network.
Today, everything is dependant on computers, and while I am not an IT guy, I do have specialized knowledge about the software radio uses. At one time, I could even log in to the transmitter sites of various stations. If they were directional operations, I could verify the operating status of each tower, determine the operating power, transmitter status, and verify the station was “legal.” I no longer have that capability or responsibility, although to a degree, I have it on an automation system from my office.
So what will I be doing in another 15-20 years?
More of the same. I will not be “retired,” I will still be working I hope.
The computers of today will seem primitive
It is hard to predict, but. I will have soaked up much more IT knowledge as it relates to what I do. Perhaps I will have accomplished my lifetime goal, in which case I will be doing even more. AM broadcasting may have become obsolete and that AM knowledge I have will have no use, but all the Programming and audio processing knowledge will have to be unpacked and updated.
“Coverage” may be only a fixed function either of how tall the tower is, or how much bandwidth the audio server can handle.
Change is not always pleasant, or desired. But it is something we can always count on.