This Month in SBE History: Engineer Certification and Ethics


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One of the founding principles of the Society of Broadcast Engineers is the establishment and continuation of high engineering standards in broadcasting. In the earliest days of the society, the organization looked to bolster the individual FCC licensing process and ensure that broadcast engineers were indeed qualified to take the responsibility placed upon them. The December 1964 issue of the Journal of the Society of Broadcast Engineers included an article that discussed need. In the article, R.J Hendrick suggested the need for better education and training to acquire an FCC First-class license. There was concern that the license-mill programs were diminishing overall engineering standards in broadcasting.

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At the January 1973 Board of Directors meeting, Ed Karl proposed creating a Code of Ethics for SBE members. That work resulted in the SBE’s Canons of Ethics.

The SBE continued to push for higher standards in individual licensing as well. As the FCC moved to eliminate individual licensing for broadcast station operators, the SBE shifted its focus from leaning on the FCC to creating its own voluntary certification process. In 1975, the SBE Program of Certification was approved.




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