Getting 2024 Off To A Great Start
[January 2024] Every time the calendar rolls over, it reminds us to check where we are, not only in the stream of time, but in terms of the tasks we need to accomplish in the next month – or year.
For a lot of folks, part of why we love our jobs is that it is never boring.
Perhaps more so than in many other occupations, each day is different for broadcasters, whether you are the engineer or on-air talent. Something new always needs your attention, possibly some small matter, or a major issue affecting the whole transmission system.
Either way, once a new matter is brought up, your attention often can be diverted from what you are doing, and when you take care of (or schedule) the new item, returning to what you were doing can take some time – if indeed you remember where you were!
LISTS AND CHECKLISTS
As a result of being my father’s son, I make lists of the things I must do.
My father took that to the limit, as he was so busy, he made lists of his lists … and sometimes lists of his lists of lists! Me? – I end up with a pile of papers, pages, and small slips as I lurch from issue to issue. Occasionally, I sit down and try to (1) locate all the papers and (2) reorganize them into a smaller pile. Sometimes, with a need to balance home life with the website and some outside work I do, success seems somewhat elusive.
Personally, the only time I seem to be adequately organized is if I make a checklist and work my way done. Fortunately, with the computer, it is relatively easy to add a new important task to the top or relegate a task down the list as needed.
Unfortunately, I can end up with multiple checklists in various states of completion.
So, with the concept of a checklist in mind, let us see what will kickstart the year in a positive way.
By no means is this an exhaustive list, both because every site is different and because your plans will often be shaped by the budget with which you have to work.
That said, here is what is a good generic check list for 2024 (If you have suggestions of something we missed, please let me know, and I will add it to the checklist.):
Make sure any legal paperwork is up to date:
- Is a quarterly Issues & Programs List due? (Jan/Apr/Jul/Oct)
- Are the contact names and numbers in the LMS correct?
- Are all your Station Authorization documents up to date?
- Are all your transmitters at the site listed in the Authorizations?
- Are you at the correct frequency and power? (STL’s too!).
- Check the site fencing is secure, especially around the tower if AM.
Start a new “Maintenance Log” (the name is not important, the process is):
- Take a set of “normal” readings, so you have a record with which to compare over time.
- Note any gear out of service or in need of attention.
- Do you have documentation for all the gear at the site?
- Check that you have all the details needed if you have to call for service or support.
- Change the batteries in your transmitters and other key gear.
- Check the building integrity and absence of local critters.
- Check the air filters in the transmitter and air handler.
- Check the temperature of the RF filters and ¼-wave stub (carefully).
- Test the generator – under load – and the transfer panel!
- Is your test gear in good shape, calibrated, reliable?
- Schedule the yearly NRSC measurements (for AM).
- Schedule the Quarterly Tower Lighting System check (if lit).
- Schedule the ABIP inspection, if this is the year for it.
Some additional items to consider:
- Check the on-site tool kit, to ensure necessary tools are still there.
- Check the emergency food/water/first aid kits as appropriate.
- Check the tower and guy wires – periodically do a full inspection and tensioning.
- Check the ground system. Look for exposed radials or interrupted (missing) grounds.
- If you are new to the site, you might want to try to contact the previous CE, if possible for tips and traps on the site.
If you have any suggestions to add to this, please share it.
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