Listen to the interview (approx. 1 hr, 30 min.) or download it.
Graduated in 2014 with a major in Music Production & Engineering. Principal instrument: guitar.
Position: Broadcast Engineer at BAMTech Media, originally a subsidiary of Major League Baseball, BAMTech provides internet-based broadcast/streaming services to many clients, including at least one other sports league. Working the 4pm – midnight shift, when most games happen, Bills job involves making sure signals are flowing correctly both in and out and quickly troubleshooting/fixing anything that goes wrong.
Overview: During Bill’s last year at Berklee he as heavily involved with the BIRN, working as an engineer and having his own show. Bill was aware of how hard the studio world was, and wasn’t sure he was a good fit for it. After graduation he moved home to Westchester, PA and looked for an “alternate” music-ish job, either near home or in New York, where is girlfriend (now wife) was. The QVC shoppng channel was based near his home. He saw an ad online for a part-time broadcast engineer, applied and got the job.
The hours were unsteady; Bill tried to make a name for himself by improving their sound quality, but gradually came to the realization that it wasn’t a priority for QVC. He asked his boss when a full-time position would open up, and when his boss couldn’t give a positive reply, Bill started looking for new jobs and soon after moved to New York to be with his girlfriend while continuing his job search. BAMTech replied to an application he had send months before for a position working the night shift, they hired Bill despite his limited experience. Bill spent many free hours studying the equipment. Soon other folks on the night shift moved to other positions and he proved himself, resulting in a promotion to full-time engineer and being moved to the primary shift.
You can see Bill’s LinkedIn profile here.
Choice Quotes: “What I like most about my job is the problem solving element and creative-but-linear thinking. That’s the same as when I was in MP&E. You have to think in that way when diagnosing and fixing a problem…or finding a creative work-around. There’s an excitement to doing that–especially in a live environment. I also really enjoy the people and corporate atmosphere: we’re very laid back when nothing’s going wrong, then all come together determined to fix something the moment it does.”
“Learning music helped me in that when your’e learning the rules, you learn to work within a complex system. Within the rules that it has, but also to expand on that and expand the rules without breaking the product. I have met engineers who will never reach their potential because they don’t have that process.”
“If you decide to pursue something, through yourself 100% into it. Then while doing it, every 6 months or so, think critically about your situation and be open with whoever is in charge. Meet with your manager as to what your career path is looking like and be willing to change your path. IF you do this, it’ll look like steps rather than meandering. You’ll make progress. You run into difficulties if you put on blinders and get stuck at a dead-end thing, or if you are constantly leaving things on the table because your’e feeling unsure
Bill at work. When I got the job, so much was unfamiliar–I knew how to read equipment manuals. I downloaded all the equipment manuals and signal flows from the company wiki. I’d work for 8 hours learning experientially then would spend an hour or two each evening studying manuals. At first it felt like a lot at once, but pretty quickly once I was on the overnight (after 3 weeks of training) there was a lot of downtime, so I spent that doing a lot of learning. Pretty quickly I was getting the hang of things, and other engineers would come to me!”
Bill at Berklee. “As a student, I wasn’t outgoing enough to find lots of bands to record with,b ut the BIRN was a great way to explore that. Doing it live didn’t matter at the time much to me, but my experience with the BIRN was a great background. BAMTech really needed someone to work the night shift. I eventually mentioned VNC, a super-easy internet-related task I did at the BIRN and they were like ‘OK GREAT!!!’ Also there were lots of audio veterans who had swtiched over to broadcast, so that was a big plus.”
Bill and his wife at their wedding. He’s generally very happy, but cautions that almost no job is perfect, “I work the weekend a lot. They give me other days off, but often they’re not consecutive days. You have to go with the flow. It’s not the best for work/life balance, but I really like this job, so it’s a trade-off.”
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