[mythtv-users] CALM Act in US

Russ Van Winkle russ.vanwinkle at gmail.com
Thu Oct 15 02:02:26 UTC 2009

On Wed, Oct 14, 2009 at 12:13 AM, Brian Wood <beww at beww.org> wrote:

> I still think a human operator is likely to be the best answer, though the
> proverbial "optimum listening environment" is seldom encountered in the real
> world.

As a former master control operator, I fear that this 'best answer' is
highly unlikely to be adopted.

1)  Increased use of automation has led to more and more broadcasters
relying on a single operator to supervise multiple stations, sometimes
in multiple markets.  This is even more prevalent in radio than
television, BTW.  It's hard enough to listen to ONE feed with
sufficient attention to quality, whilst accomplishing the various
other tasks a master control op needs to do in the course of a typical

2)  The operator is, at least in the small-to-medium markets I worked
in, generally a low-paid, minimally-trained entry-level person.  (I
recall when I interviewed for one particular position, the person was
astounded to have an applicant with *any* previous experience.  Of
course, the fact that the station's want-ad was written by the sales
staff, and was headlined 'make money watching TV' may have contributed
to that.)

This is even more apparent in the production area.  At least one local
newscast staffs their studio with minimum-wage interns who have little
to no technical experience.  I cringe regularly at overmodulated audio
due to the audio person's inability to do more than switch sources in
and out, without checking levels.  (And don't get me started on the
lack of spelling skills the graphics person displays!)

I expect things are different in large markets, and at the network level.

Russ D. Van Winkle

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