Meet WICR's Director of Engineering, Joe Boehnlein

Updated: Sep 23, 2019

(Former WICR Director of Engineering, now WFYI host of A Blast from the Past)

"My favorite thing about radio is that, like books, the sky is the limit for what you can dream up in your mind and then share with your audience."

What is your role & job title at WICR? I am the Director of Engineering for WICR and its multiple digital channels. I am responsible for making sure that all channels are on air, including the online streaming channels, and that all studio equipment is operating correctly.  I also make sure that the station is compliant with FCC regulations.

What does a typical day as Director of Engineering look like for you? There is nothing typical about each day.  That’s part of the appeal for me. One day I might come in and get bombarded with issues that have either happened overnight or in the morning when everybody arrives at work.  Another day, I might come to work and have a day that is smooth sailing with no problems. That allows me to progress with other projects for the station. Another day, I might get a phone call at 2 AM letting me know that we’re off the air and that I need to head up to the tower site to fix a problem. There’s really no “typical” day for me.

What’s the best part about your job? The best part of my job is tinkering with technology. “Tinkering” is the most appropriate word that I can use.  Getting our power output to be the highest it can be while still maintaining compliance, allowing our emergency alert machine to wake up radios and send text alerts to radios, tweaking our audio processor to give the highest quality audio while still maintaining our licensed bandwidth are all examples of things that need to be tinkered with to get the best outcome.

What is the most challenging part of your job? The best part of my job is also the most challenging part of my job. Technology has known flaw of failing occasionally. Keeping up with technological updates, figuring out issues, and providing creative workarounds can be the most challenging but also the most rewarding part of the job.

What is your favorite thing about working in radio in general?

​I’m a big believer in the imagination.  I’m a big believer that we can produce images in our heads and minds that can take us anywhere.  Radio is often referred to as “the theatre of the mind.” My favorite thing about radio is that, like books, the sky is the limit for what you can dream up in your mind and then share with your audience. The audience can then interpret something completely different than what you had intended and are they wrong? They have their own mind and can recreate what they are “seeing” with your words. The War of the Worlds, although not the best example of something you SHOULD do, illustrates this point extremely well. This theatre of the mind can be used in formats ranging from old time radio shows to current Top 40 formats if we would only allow our talent to be creative.

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