Media / Digital Media
Broadcast or Sound Technician
Broadcast technicians operate equipment used to transmit radio and TV programs. Sound technicians operate equipment for live performances.
Apprenticeship or traineeship
What does a Broadcast or Sound Technician do?
Broadcast technicians set up, operate, and maintain the electronic equipment used to transmit radio and television programs. They also control audio equipment to regulate volume level and quality of sound during radio and television broadcasts, and operate transmitter to broadcast radio or television programs. Sound technicians operate technical equipment to amplify, enhance, record, mix or reproduce sound in support of live performances. They may also assemble and maintain sound equipment.
Broadcast technicians would:
- monitor incoming and outgoing signals, and adjust equipment as necessary to maintain quality broadcasts
- observe monitors and converse with station personnel to determine audio and video levels and to ascertain that programs are airing
- report equipment problems, ensure that repairs are made, and make emergency repairs to equipment when necessary and possible
- play and record broadcast programs using automation systems
- control audio equipment to regulate the volume and sound quality during radio and television broadcasts.
Sound technicians may perform the following tasks:
- determine sound requirements
- set up, test and operate equipment in accordance with the acoustics of the area and select, place and adjust microphones
- monitor audio signals to detect quality deviations or malfunctions
- service, maintain and repair amplifiers, tuners, receivers, digital audio systems, turntables and pick-ups, reel-to-reel and cassette-type tape recorders and speaker systems
- build and install sound systems
- dub and edit tapes or digital media
- operate controls to maintain correct sound levels
- talk with performers and instruct them on microphone use.
Key skills and interests
To become a broadcast or sound technician, you would need:
- a good ear for detail in all areas of sound
- aptitude for working with computers and audio equipment
- a flexible attitude toward working hours and conditions
- the ability to work under pressure.
Working hours and conditions
Broadcast and sound technicians typically work full time. Some may occasionally work overtime to meet broadcast deadlines or set up for live events. Evening, weekend, and holiday work is common.
Broadcast technicians typically work indoors in radio, television, movie or recording studios, or offices and school buildings.
Sound technicians may work indoors or outdoors, depending on the performance.
How to become an Broadcast or Sound Technician?
Entry Level Education
To become a broadcast technician you usually have to complete an apprenticeship or traineeship in electronics and communications or broadcast technology. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require junior secondary school certificate or equivalent. You can also become a broadcast technician by completing a VET qualification in electronics and communications.
You can work as a sound technician without formal qualifications. You would get some training on the job. Your employment prospects may be improved if you have qualifications. You may like to consider a VET qualification in technical production, sound production, music or live production and services.
Employment of broadcast technicians is projected to grow slower than the average for all occupations. Employment of sound technicians is projected to show little or no change.
The television and movie industries will continue to need technicians to improve the picture quality of shows and movies. The movie industry is installing the latest technologies, such as digital or 3D screens, in movie theatres, and is converting existing theatres to new formats. This should lead to employment opportunities for broadcast or sound technicians.