FEBC International’s Engineering Service Team (EST) is a small and focused group of Broadcast Engineering professionals who come along side FEBC’s member fields to assist them in solving technical problems, planning for the future, preparing project plans and working hand in hand with national staff to increase their engineering capacity. The current team members have a total of decades of engineering experience and broadcast savvy. In this post I would like to introduce two of the team members, Vaughan and Owen.
Vaughan, in the picture at left with technical staff from FEBC Philippines has years of training and experience in the core digital infrastructure and software required to support major broadcast ministry operations. He covers a broad area of IT expertise including switching, digital storage servers, firewalls, routers and playout automation software including all the various supporting bits and user software for recording and audio processing. He also assists fields in analyzing their ability to recover from major disasters like fire, earthquake, volcano events and typhoons. In this day and age, where everything about the business of broadcast is digitized, having a plan to backup and be able to restore key assets from program audio files to financial records after a disaster is important. The need is high for FEBC compared to many of you since a lot of our stations are deployed around the “ring of fire” in the pacific where earthquakes, tsunami, and volcanic disasters are much more common.
Owen, at left with Voice of Love Chief Engineer Pagnan, hails from New Zealand. He is approaching 30 years of service with FEBC and brings serious expertise in broadcast structures to FEBC. He worked many years as a rigger on our major shortwave site in Saipan and brings that experience with towers, guy systems and antennas to the team. He is also very capable as a broadcast technician and assists our fields who have difficulty finding engineering talent by evaluating their facilities and providing advice on steps to take to repair and maintain their broadcast facilities and equipment. He also spends a lot of time literally on the road measuring signal quality and coverage of FEBC’s many local FM stations. The equipment needed to do drive testing is something that individual stations can’t afford, but FEBC, as a virtual network, has network level engineering and equipment resources that our fields can use. These resources are found in and held by the Engineering Service Team so that all of our fields can take advantage of them.
I traveled to Bankok in July for a week with two purposes. My major purpose was to continue to encourage our FEBC Thailand staff, especially new interim Field Director Noppakhun as they all continue to work through the difficult transition to new leadership. The staff have their hands full creating, distributing and following up with listeners in the 17 languages that are under their care. It is a two part ministry that reaches across boarders by Shortwave to bring the good news to Transnational Ethnic Tribal people and also works to reach the country in the Thai and Isaan languages via local FM.
All of the languages have programming available to computers and smart phones via audio on demand through phone apps. In Asia, especially to reach the younger generation, programming that is available via smart phone on the web is definitely required. FEBC Fields are pushing into this new technology area all the time especially in countries like like the Philippines where half of the population is less than 24 years old. It is shocking how many young people are in Asia, you can see the Rankings of countries by average population age.
I arrived ahead of the Executive Committee (Excomm) meeting of FEBC International to continue the work I started in June of organizing financial reports and requests for funding for FEBC Thailand so that the Director would be ready to present to his major funding fields, most of whom are also Excomm members. Director Noppakhun prepared a presentation to the Excomm describing the changes he was implementing and the scope and plans for the year of FEBC Thailand’s ministry. The proposed budget required to execute the plans was presented and funding commitments were received from the Excomm that will cover the ministry activity in Thailand for the new fiscal year.
My job at the Excomm meeting is to take notes and assist IC Chair Ed Cannon in facilitating the discussion. I also liaise with the local field staff to ensure things like lunch, the flip charts and other nuts and bolts needs for the meeting are procured and ready. Acting as executive assistant to the Excomm is one of the key parts of my job as International Service Coordinator. Many of the action items from Excomm meetings will involve the International Service Team, especially my administrative staff. Many of the most important issues discussed are confidential, so having the ISC as the note taker limits the number of non-essential staff who need to be involved in the private business of the Association.
Besides a full day spent working on the plans for FEBC Thailand, the Excomm also made significant progress on action items that had been requested by the International Committee (IC) during the IC Conference in April. FEBC is an Association not a corporation if you would like to know more about how that works check my “about FEBC International” web page here: About FEBC Intl