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Making Waves

by Gary Stigall, Chapter 36 Chairman  

The time: a summer night in 1977. The place: KASH in Eugene, Oregon. It was after midnight and I had my head in the base tuning unit of tower two, when I heard the metallic put-put of a VW bug coming down the road to our station-in-the-park. Ted Hicks of KUGN had been tuning around on his radio and heard us off the air and just wondered what was going on. He helped with whatever trouble I was probably in, then hit the road. I was as green as a willow sapling and he was my Guardian Angel. Chris "Ichabod" Murray of KZEL (is his pager number still 342-9LSD?) likewise became an "Elmer," giving free advice about all kinds of technical problems. He showed me his station, a kind of AOR "den of iniquity" with its awesome collection of rock albums and smell of incense. 

I have to believe that SBE is about helping each other across competitive lines. It's about training, about establishing credentials through certification, about coordinating emergency alerts, about coordinating radio spectrum, and about talking shop over pizza and sodas. 

We've had an awesome year at this chapter. We have a steady meeting attendance that has topped forty. Our newsletter circulation is approaching 200, and has added two pages. We've gone from eleven sustaining members to twenty-two. The web site is up and steady. We do a lot of talking shop. 

Frankly, I've had a pretty good time. Through construction of the web site and writing these stories, I've been learning HTML and polishing off the old journalism training to put down some words. Fortunately, I get about as much satisfaction out of the task as the time that is put into it. Some members have stepped up to the plate to take on largely thankless tasks. Ron Foo continues to set, copy, and distribute the printed newsletters, with help from John Barcroft. Fred Gotwald as secretary/treasurer gets the mail, scans graphics, and is working with me to improve the capabilities of the web site. And Bob Vaillancourt volunteered not only to serve as vice-chairman, but to share with us some of his knowledge about serving your "customer," whether in-house or out. Oscar Medina took on the task of Certification Chair without hesitation. 

Yet I think we all deserve a little more. Just a bit more participation by a few more members would GREATLY change this chapter from a fair one to an excellent one. Due to lack of initiative, our EAS and frequency coordination efforts take place largely outside the chapter while those functions are a part of SBE elsewhere. In other chapters, several members, not just one or two, share their knowledge of engineering events in the market for their newsletter. For examples, look at the websites of Chapters 67 in Dallas , 38 in El Paso , or 124 in Northwest Oregon

Having one person report the news of San Diego's broadcast engineering community should trouble you as a critical reader. I'm not so comfortable with it myself. You can help with just an hour a month or less of your input. This isn't an English paper. Spelling and grammar errors can be edited out in seconds--not an excuse! Here's what kind of help we could use (and it's not all about writing): 

  • Program Chair , organizing the demonstrations and talks given during meetings. Involves less than an hour a month corresponding with prospective presenters. 
  • Education Liaison, working with schools to get student participation and awarding money from our scholarship fund. Be a hero. 
  • FCC beat reporter. Interpret the importance of the FCC rules and local license changes to us. 
  • Historian. Maybe it's just me, but this is one of the most interesting subjects in broadcasting. You could build a book from a series of columns. 
  • EAS reporter. Attend the meetings, summarize the postings on the SD_EAS e-mail list in a column. An hour a month? 
  • DTV reporter. Watch the internet and ask around locally for progress on this fascinating change in the industry. 
  • Industry reporter. Our local manufacturers and sponsors are under-represented in our columns, though well represented in attendance. There are awesome products coming out that solve real problems in broadcasting. You'd have to surf the 'net for updates, collect PR releases, and summarize. 
  • "Heard on the Street" reporter. Those of you who converse a lot with your colleagues could do a great job with little effort. Doesn't mean you have to expose competitive information, just let us all know what's being accomplished in stations around San Diego. The best radio reporter would likely be a Jacor employee. 
  • Autobiographer. I agree with Oscar Medina that this could be a great project: Everyone gets a turn writing about his career, its twists and turns, failures and triumphs. Fascinating reading, and a great way to get your name out in the community network. A one-time only project for each of us. 
What's in it for you? Well, what is the value of networking? What is the value of self-esteem? Of accomplishment? What is the importance of getting your work out into the larger community of engineers? Who will get hired first when you find yourself out on the street someday? 

Of course you have only so much time to give. Think of your priorities. Family first. Chores second. NFL Football or reruns of Home Improvement third? 

Please take a minute to let me know how you can help make your chapter better. Come talk with me at the next meeting, or write to sbe36@broadcast.net
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Web site contents ©1998 Society of Broadcast Engineers Chapter 36 San Diego. For more information, to become a member or a sponsor, or to make suggestions or comments, e-mail sbe36@broadcast.net  

P.O. Box 710702, San Diego, California 92171-0702.  

Edited by Gary Stigall. Updated 31-Oct-98.