This week, as we all return to work, I am grateful to have a phone filled with photos from this year’s WABE conference in Vancouver. Many will assert that the location and venue provided a refreshing change, and my hope is that the momentum, conversation, and warm atmosphere will support those working behind the scenes in media as we navigate the unique challenges we face. The Shipyards District, situated on the banks of North Vancouver, provided the food and backdrop that has me regretting I did not stay longer and use up some vacation days. We could not have done this year without our amazing list of vendors and our sponsors. WABE would like to sincerely thank the following for supporting the organization and its members.
The free exhibit hall at WABE provided an opportunity to connect with new friends, and we welcomed numerous new faces into our community. While I couldn’t manage to attend every presentation, I did gain some valuable insights that have now become solidified. One takeaway for me was the recognition that beyond a protective filter on the lens, I really hadn’t thought about how much they can affect video—something I will genuinely consider, thanks to a presentation by Ron Engvaldsen from Brins & Sawyer.
Gary Shumyla conveyed the importance of recognizing that only you know what’s on your notes when speaking in front of a group. His advice to relax and speak slowly during a presentation resonated with me. Furthermore, thanks to Paul Andrews from DPA Microphones and Gerr Audio, I now have a better understanding of the proximity effect, and I will pay more attention to mic placement in the future.
Erin Ruttan and Mark Corl shared compelling use cases for ATSC 3.0 that could rekindle interest among broadcasters in the value of their TV spectrum. Although I couldn’t attend every session, I encourage any tech professionals who attended and found a topic intriguing to consider writing an article for this publication. The conference offered a wealth of knowledge, from engaging full-room discussions with the CAB to exploring topics such as AI in Media and navigating technical changes in the media landscape, just to name a few.
A moment I was particularly proud of was that we were able to announce the launch of the SAIT Online Course – Media and Entertainment Technology (MET) Certificate of Achievement. This course requires no prerequisites, is delivered online asynchronously, and is available to anyone anywhere in the world. The MET Certificate provides learners seeking expertise in the dynamic field of Media and Entertainment Technology. This program comprises five specialized courses, each focusing on critical aspects of Broadcast Technologies, providing participants with a well-rounded understanding of the industry. This certification is suitable for aspiring professionals and those already working in media and entertainment who wish to enhance their technical knowledge and skills.
Minimum Required for Certificate:
MMDA 001 Video Systems and Standards and Instrumentation
MMDA 002 Video Imaging Recording and Playout
MMDA 003 Entertainment Automation
MMDA 004 Acoustics and Audio Systems
MMDA 005 High Power RF Systems
While this program is not a replacement for the Broadcast Engineering program at SAIT. which shut down in 2020, it is an opportunity for anyone who needs technical knowledge and language to have a successful career working with media, entertainment, or broadcast technology. If you sell, install, repair, support, design, or are new to the industry, this course offers you a touchpoint and the language for many technical topics. Because I was not a graduate of the SAIT Broadcast Technology program, it has taken over 20 years working to collect this knowledge with just an Electronics diploma in my back pocket.
As part of the WABE conference, we take time to acknowledge the hard work of those who rarely see public acknowledgment. The WABE Awards this year were highlighted by a moving speech from Ian Gunn, who helped us celebrate ChiChi Liu from Burli with a Sheila East Women in Broadcasting Award. The Sheila R. East award recognizes a woman whose outstanding level of professionalism, perseverance, and dedication has greatly benefited the Broadcast Industry. This individual’s commitment to broadcasting, equality, and the development of young colleagues in our industry has been exceptional. Their contributions to Canadian Broadcasting are invaluable, and WABE is proud to honor ChiChi Liu.
Our 2023 Spirit Award is given to those individuals who have made a significant contribution to WABE, the convention, the executive, or in providing exemplary service in some way, to the WABE organization. It is intended for those individuals who embody the WABE spirit through action such as dedicating countless volunteer hours to the organization, continually and relentlessly advancing the mission of WABE, or to our external community, assisting with the annual convention, serving on the WABE Executive committee, and reining in volunteers to ensure that WABE remains viable and imperative. This year, the award went to Oliver Eichel of the Knowledge Network.
Our Ambassador Award recognizes individuals who have contributed significantly. These are the people that give before we’ve asked, are always there when we need them, and who are unabashed supporters of our organization and our cause. This year it was awarded to John McKay of Grundy Telecom. We also recognized our WABE members whose contribution to the industry has spanned decades and are retiring from the industry: Darrell Norton, Legislative Assembly of BC, and Vic Araujo and Gerry Persoon of Global BC.
The AGM this year was an opportunity to share WABE’s Strategic Plan and our new Vision and Mission Statements which our executive committee has been working on in the background to strengthen and direct our regional industry association to a future that has everyone who works with the technology our vendors supply know about the conference and what a special opportunity being a part of this committee of professionals is all about.
I woke up Monday morning to an industry friend sharing Broadcast Dialogue’s article about the announced CBC job cuts anticipated in the coming months. I reached out to those I know in the industry to find out how they are doing, and while the news is tough, I had an unexpected response: “People in our industry are very resilient, and we all seem to come out of it in the end, perhaps leaner but always stronger.” Nothing about working in television, radio, media, production, film, or live entertainment has ever been a straightforward path. What I do know is that people still love to watch content from blockbuster movies to listening to songs while they do dishes, from hearing stories about the world to hearing stories from their community. We also love to relate to each other what we have heard, read, or watched and these shared experiences often enrich our lives. I also know that more places are making content than ever before. People with the skills I have that I learned while working in radio and television are now helping a wide range of organizations take on the technical challenges of making great content.
In thinking about what WABE can do for those who may be looking for new opportunities this year, we hope to use our voice to ask anyone who has a position open or is looking for skilled technical professionals who work media technology to make sure in the coming months to repost openings and opportunities you see so that this skill does not leave our industry for good.
For everyone I hugged, shook hands with or allowed me to introduce myself for the first time at this conference, I thank you for your membership and your time to attend and I hope you took away some knowledge and ideas you can use in your career.
WABE would also like to thank our Media Sponsor, Broadcast Dialogue, for allowing us to have our voice heard.
All my best Regards,