Western Carolina University


The national Society of Broadcast Engineers recently announced that three students in Western Carolina University's broadcasting program have earned its certified television operator professional certification.

The three senior students earning the professional certification are Charles E. Newcomb, son of Allan and Anne Newcomb of Charlotte and graduate of Northwest School of the Arts; Jeffery Satterwhite, son of Jerry and Nancy Satterwhite of Hickory and graduate of Tri-City Christian School; and Brandon Tigue, son of Rachel Tigue of Hope Mills and graduate of South View High School.

All three students are communications majors at WCU in the broadcasting concentration. Students must pass a rigorous written examination to earn certification. 

“The SBE exam is difficult and requires a lot of technical knowledge and expertise, and students must pass with a minimum score of 90 percent to earn the SBE certification. For a student to accomplish this while still in school is outstanding,” said Pat Acheson, assistant professor of communication who launched the SBE certification program at Western. Acheson is the director of studio operations for Western's Center for Applied Technology television studio.

The certification is designed to professionally recognize those qualified to serve as television master control room operators. Many television stations now require certification for employment as a master control operator or member of the technical staff. The 5,000-member SBE is a nonprofit professional organization formed in 1964 committed to serving the broadcast engineering industry.

To earn the certification, the students studied the latest technology and broadcast practices, including video file servers, automation and centralized or “hub” broadcasting.  Other areas of study included operating a television station, keeping logs, tower light regulations, staying on the air, Federal Communications Commission regulations and legal requirements, television signal fundamentals and closed captioning. Students also learned the operation of the Emergency Alert System for times of local, regional and national emergency.

SBE representatives say that Western is the only university in the southeastern United States to offer this level of professional certification to students prior to graduation.

“Today's marketplace professional certification is fast becoming a requirement for employment in addition to a four-year degree,” said Acheson. “The SBE certification is a good indicator to a potential employer of a student's knowledge, skills and his or her level of professional commitment. It can help students enter the broadcasting industry at a much higher level than other graduates.”

For more information, call (828) 227-7491, or visit the Web site www.wcu.edu/as/ctd .

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Last modified: Thursday, October 5, 2006
Copyright 2006 by Western Carolina University