The 2014 B&C Technology Leadership Award winners represent the diverse pursuits of the industry: Three honorees are from broadcast TV station groups, there’s one digital executive, and there are two top technologists at major programming groups.
What they share, of course, is a foundation of notable accomplishments in broadcasting, and they’re continually creating new workflows for news, sports and entertainment content that are strengthening the quality of television programming.
But their work also highlights how the boundaries between linear broadcast TV and newer digital media are blurring as the pace of innovation in digital media continues to accelerate. Some of the winners have spearheaded changes in ways the news is gathered, using smaller, more mobile cameras, vehicles and editing systems to speed the delivery of information to viewers over multiple platforms; others have built major facilities or have deployed new digital technologies that will help TV broadcasters and channels thrive in a rapidly changing digital landscape.
The award winners also stress how they’re each being honored for the hard work of many. As in the most successful working situations, theirs has been a collaborative process between engineers, producers and journalists, all designed to strengthen their overall businesses. In other words, they aren’t just experimenting with technology; they’ve found ways to harness it to the needs of their ongoing businesses, which have all been challenged by the shifts of a rapidly changing media landscape.
The six winners will receive their awards at a reception held on April 7 at the 2014 NAB Show in Las Vegas.
VP of Engineering, CBS Television Stations
Some of the reasons why Jeff Birch so richly deserves a 2014 Technology Leadership Award can be found by driving around the streets of New York City, where WCBS has deployed several innovative mobile trucks.
Executive VP/GM, Fox Networks Engineering and Operations
The role played by Richard Friedel overseeing the construction of the new tech infrastructure for the launch of Fox Sports 1 in 2013 would by itself be enough to earn him B&C’s annual technology award plaudits.
Senior VP, Operations and Technology, NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations
The head of technology for the NBCU owned stations, Jeff Morris says being involved in TV-related tech was something he wanted to do ever since he was a kid. “I always had a big interest in TV in general and very strong inclination towards technology,” he says. “So when I had a chance to put those two together, I jumped on it.”
Kerry G. Oslund
VP of Digital Media, Schurz Communications
Recently, Kerry Oslund became the coinventor of a smart newspaper rack that is now being tested by the South Bend Tribune, owned by Schurz Communications. The rack has a broadband connection and a display that can show out-of-home advertising and promote stories from the paper. Sensors allow for detailed counts of who has seen the ads.
Executive VP, Global Operations and Chief Technology Officer, Disney/ABC Television Group
Three of the hottest tech topics at the 2014 NAB Show—multiplatform content delivery, cloud-based technologies and filebased workflows—are also areas where Disney/ABC’s top technologist, Vince Roberts, has proven his mettle as an innovator, most recently with the launch of the Watch ABC App in 2013.
VP of Engineering, E.W. Scripps
When asked how he got into this business, E.W. Scripps VP of engineering Ray Thurber recalls being “a hopeless news junkie at a very young age” who soon became “fascinated with the technology that the newsrooms were using. Getting into engineering in support of the news department was something I always wanted to do.”