Originally posted by MarcS
I was wondering, what's your typical day like? How much work does it take to keep the station running? Is it really a constant hands-on affair? What uses up most of your time (other than responding to our questions)?
Every day is different. That is one of the reasons why I like what I do. Since I am the Transmitter Supervisor, I have a 8:30 to 5:30 schedule, but I am on call 24/7 to run to the transmitter if trouble develops. We have engineers that work from 4AM to 1 PM and 2PM to 11PM and your "9 to 5" workers. We have a shop of 7 engineers. We run 7 hours of news a day so sometimes I have to do things with the newscasts or other maintenance issues.
Today I got in at 8:30 and prepared for tecs from Time-Warner Cable. They are running fiber optics from our studio to their headend so if we loose the transmitters (analog and DTV), we will still be on the cable system. We have 80% cable and sat penetration in our market so we have good back up. The tecs got there at 9 and we finished up the connections and checked out the fiber link. We are doing some work on our news set and so I helped in some demolition on the Sports area. Ate lunch and then went to the transmitter where I have been doing some changes with some internal wiring after we added our new digital microwave and then had to pick up some equipment stored at the transmitter and took it back up to the studio. Met with my boss on some ideas I had for emergency conditions to be able to stay on the air and then it was time to come home, 5:30.
Some days are more hectic than others like if there is any transmitter maintenance (we have 2 transmitters so I can shut one down to work on the other one in the middle of the day) then I do that until it is finished, but since November sweeps started today we do not do anything that might effect our on air signal so for the next 4 weeks, it will be mostly light maintenance and meetings and log paperwork.
9/11 was the strangest. I had a dentists appointment at 9:30 so I was at home when the towers were stuck and I just happen to be watching FOX News Channel with it happened. I went on to the dentist and told them I needed to get in and get out. They hadn't heard about the attack and they got me out in 20 minutes! A record! On the way to the station, (the second tower had just fallen) my boss called on the cell phone that FOX wanted all Transmitter people at the transmitters and to lock ourselves in and to report any strange activity.
I got to the transmitter about 20 minutes before the second tower came down and watched TV just like everyone else the rest of the day. Of course the only info I had coming in was our rebroadcast of FOX News Channel.
After that, we started beefing up the back ups and we added a DirecTV receiver at the transmitter so that we can take our off air signal we send to DirecTV on the air if we lost our microwave link and if we didn't have a microwave truck to send the studio signal to the transmitter or if we lost the studio, we could put FOX News Channel on the air from the transmitter, stuff like that. FOX is very big in back ups and we talk constantly about how we can make things better.
It isn't your normal 9 to 5, but I have been doing broadcasting for 25 years and have been at the TV station for 11 1/2 years. I can't see doing anything else. Ah, the life!