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Network Operations Center (NOC) Technician more...
Location:Washington, DC
Company:National Public Radio (NPR)
First posted:May 23, 2017


A thriving, mission-driven multimedia organization, NPR produces award-winning news, information, and music programming in partnership with hundreds of independent public radio stations across the nation. NPR listeners value information, creativity, curiosity, and social responsibility - our employees do too. We are innovators and leaders in diverse fields, from journalism and digital media to IT and development. Every day, our employees and member stations touch the lives of millions worldwide.


The NOC Technician will operate the Network Operations Center (NOC) transmission facilities and execute the Public Radio Satellite System (PRSS) transmission schedule. Technicians will provide oversight and control over the satellite carriers on PRSS satellite space. The technicians are responsible for attending to urgent PRSS scheduling and operations requirements outside of standard business hours.  Technicians are responsible for arranging for alternate routings or further intervention by others to restore service and preliminary minor troubleshooting of PRSS and external customer transmission equipment and operational problems. Technicians will provide quality assurance inspections for audio files or services. Technicians will monitor hardware and facility operational conditions and proactively seek help to keep systems operating consistently.

The NOC Technician works under direct supervision of the Network Operations Center Manager, but may also take direction from the NOC Supervisor, Senior Manager, Operations, and/or the Director of Engineering ("Management").

Essential Duties Include:

1. As the "Duty Technician," executes the schedule of the Public Radio Satellite System (PRSS). Operates PRSS schedule and switching applications in what can be a high-pressure, schedule and time-driven environment.

Ensures audio continuity for Producers, arranging for alternate audio routings and executing messaging related to Transmissions. Coordinates transmissions from other PRSS facilities.  Each technician is expected to assume the overall operation and control of the PRSS NOC as the "Duty Technician." The "Duty Tech" is ultimately responsible for all operational activity in the NOC. The Duty Tech is expected to be thoroughly familiar with the daily schedule and to ensure that the necessary equipment and materials needed for program transmission are available at the time specified.  The Duty Tech has the authority to assign other technicians to assist in operational activity.  The Duty Tech is expected to understand and follow the NOC Standard Operating Procedures, to be demonstrably familiar with the operational systems within the NOC, and to bring problems or potential problems to the attention of Management as soon as possible.

2. Generates, maintains and updates transmission and resource assignment information in the various operational documents and systems in the NOC as required. Coordinates the daily operations of the NOC with other technicians and support staff and keeps Management apprised of important operational issues

The technician is expected to review and compare the data for each transmission in the Transmission Log and grid to the NOC Automation Switcher schedule, and to the program pages in the ContentDepot Portal - verifying that the information is correct and accurately stored in the NOC Automation Switching applications.  Each technician is expected to review and keep current and available all pertinent data necessary to maintain ongoing System operations, passing along such information as necessary to management and fellow techs, and coordinate information updates as necessary between the Distribution Scheduling facility and the NOC.  Each technician is expected to post summaries of the day's activities onto the NOC Operations Log (a.k.a., the "D-Sheet").  These postings are expected to be a factual representation of such events, free from speculation and editorial comment.

3. Operate all technical equipment within the NOC, including program capture and reproduction equipment; automation switching and scheduling equipment; audio and video satellite, IP and RF transmission and monitoring equipment; and maintain a professional work environment.

The technician is expected to be demonstrably familiar with and able to operate all the equipment in the NOC including, but not limited to: the NOC computer-assisted automated routing and scheduling system; ISDN, IP Codecs and other audio codec units; all audio recording, storage, and playback devices; spectrum analyzers, monitors and control systems; audio test equipment; RF carrier measurement equipment; digital and analog modulators and demodulators and control systems; and related PRSS equipment and software. Each technician is expected to promptly learn the functions of and to properly operate any new equipment, software or facilities that are installed in the NOC.

4. Maintains understanding of Company policies and of the Standard Operating Procedures in the NOC. Assists in the development of operational documentation and in training new technicians on the work rules, SOPs, and duties of various shifts.

Technicians are expected to be on-site, available and ready to work at their scheduled in-times at their assigned place of work. Techs are expected to understand NPR Company policies, and to adhere to them.  Techs are expected to learn, study, and remain current on the NOC Standard Operating Procedures and follow them when performing their duties.  Techs are expected to assist in the training of new technicians as necessary and as requested by Management. Techs are expected to submit work records (electronic time sheet) and vacation requests to Management per the stipulations in the NABET contract.

5. Monitors and tests for audio and RF continuity and technical quality and continuity of streamed transmissions, recorded media and file-based audio. Confirms the proper audio routing and transmission paths for events, and properly documents and reports any discrepancies.

Each technician is expected to be familiar with the flow of the signal paths monitored in the NOC.  The tech is expected to verify the start of all transmissions and to provide frequent spot-checks of audio continuity for all transmissions scheduled on the ContentDepot stream system, and other Distribution-scheduled services. This includes, but is not limited to: Public Radio transmissions; occasional shared-use events; special live events; and events for which the NOC is providing downlinking, turnaround, or passthrough service. The technician is expected to follow NOC Standard Operating Procedures in establishing phone contact with the facility originating the program, and in confirming audio continuity and quality when possible at least fifteen minutes prior to the scheduled transmission time.  The technician is expected to anticipate possible problems and to be ready to substitute an alternative transmission path when necessary and possible, alert appropriate personnel in case of service disruption and message the Public Radio community. Each technician is responsible for monitoring the RF operational parameters of all carriers on the PRSS transponders and to initiate corrective action as necessary if a service is found to be operating outside contractual parameters.

6. Coordinates with clients to ensure that services and media meet customers' requirements and contracted specifications and provides customer service as necessary.

Each technician is expected to provide an exemplary level of customer service to system clients - producers, stations, in-house personnel - in a professional and courteous manner, providing information when appropriate, referring clients to the proper resources, and reporting problems to appropriate personnel.  Each technician is also expected to use good judgment when discussing PRSS issues with clients.

7. Performs basic preventative equipment maintenance. Provides troubleshooting for problem transmissions, systems and media. Executes basic system operational and functional tests (file uploads, "Smoke Tests", system messages, etc.). Reports unresolved problems to appropriate personnel.

The technician is expected to verify quality of service for the entire transmission system by regularly checking and testing all key components to insure error-free operation.  Each technician should be ready to assist as necessary in problem isolation and correction concerning transmissions, equipment, operating systems, power levels, and producer, station, and/or commercial customer complaints. When deficiencies are found, the technician is expected to identify the problem as clearly and concisely as possible and to take steps necessary to resolve it by: rerouting service to any alternate path available; and/or by notifying the appropriate personnel (such as: Distribution Marketing Staff, Distribution Management, Satellite Services, Audio Engineering Shop, Distribution Information Services or Operations and Engineering Management), checking and testing transmission and messaging systems, and uploading/downloading test files as necessary.  The tech is expected to document the details of each situation and its resolution on the Satellite Operations log.

8. Inspects incoming audio programs and verifies that pre-recorded program audio media and/or files to be transmitted from the NOC meet published specifications and are available for transmission at the specified time. Technicians shall spot-check file-based programs that have been delivered through the ContentDepot system for continuity, quality, and completeness. The technicians will report any discrepancies found to NOC management, the NOC Specialists, and/or the producer or distributor of the program. Deliver impairment messages and updates to appropriate parties via proper channels and systems. Also regularly monitors status of the program file delivery systems and immediately reports any problems to appropriate personnel.

Each technician is expected to ensure that the pre-recorded program audio media and/or files scheduled for transmission from the NOC are available for transmission in a timely manner and meet the standards published in the PRSS producer guides. Each technician is responsible for properly preparing and loading each pre-recorded program transmitted during the time that they are the Duty Tech, according to the NOC Standard Operating Procedures. NOC Technicians are also responsible for quality control inspection of all program files (including Live With Subsequent File programs) transmitted to customers by the ContentDepot. A Technician will make every attempt to correct and report problems arising during media checking procedures tactfully and expeditiously to the appropriate customer, producer, coworkers, and management, and be able to efficiently edit and repost a file as necessary, and will immediately report any problems encountered with the file posting, delivery and/or ingest systems to appropriate personnel, and alert stations to these problems and subsequent corrections..

9. Performs PRSS resource scheduling functions as necessary.

Each technician is expected to be competent in the basic scheduling functions necessary to modify the PRSS operating schedule.  The technician is expected to be able to: schedule a transmission in the computer scheduling system; coordinate with appropriate PRSS facilities (i.e., ISDN, IP Codecs or other links, studios, etc.); schedule equipment within the NOC; confirm the appearance of transmissions in the station downlink database; transmit scheduling information to stations via station messaging systems; and to verify that the correct information is in the NOC Switching computer. The technician must be able to subscribe and unsubscribe to PRSS program subscriptions, and update the schedule for the NOC subscribed receivers and audio logging system. The technician will also be able to build, manage and modify the program templates and cueing commands in the NOC program switching automation system. Each technician is expected to maintain a good working relationship with PRSS administrative and marketing staffs, as well as with ContentDepot system users to ensure that all transmission related information is properly coordinated between the various parties.

10. May be required to operate the PRSS from the Backup Network Operation Center (BuNOC) in Saint Paul, MN.

The technician assigned to the BuNOC is expected to assume the overall operation and control of the PRSS BuNOC as the "Duty Technician." The Remote Tech is expected to be in contact with both the NOC and Management during travel to and from the location and during the work. The Remote Tech is expected to keep management informed of any special circumstances or problems related to the provision of services at the BuNOC. The Remote Tech is expected to account for expenses in a timely manner.

11. Perform "Help Desk" functions.

Each technician will always be prepared to take phone and email requests from customers needing support or information regarding ContentDepot content, operating systems or equipment, assisting the PRSS NOC Specialists. The technician will need to be knowledgeable of ContentDepot basic operational procedures and administrative functions to be able to assist users on first-level problem inquiries and to generate and follow up on trouble tickets. This role shifts into a primary responsibility after standard business hours and on weekends and holidays.

12. Performs special operational assignments and completes them in a professional and timely manner.

Each technician is expected to complete any assignments that are not part of the regular NOC Technician duties in a professional and timely manner.  The tech is expected to plan, follow-up, and prioritize as necessary to bring the project to successful completion.  The technician is expected to provide status reports on the assignment to Management. Technicians are expected to be called upon to provide information about and explanations of the facility and the PRSS to touring guests.



  • High School Diploma or GED required
  • Two years college preferred

 Required Skills and Experience:

  • Two years broadcast engineering experience required.
  • Operational familiarity with broadcast automation and scheduling software applications, computer terminals and with standard audio testing practices, operations, equipment and procedures required. Must be able to operate computers in both Graphical User Interface (GUI) mode and non-GUI mode.
  • Knowledge of radio/broadcasting/audio and electrical engineering terminology, automated audio reproduction, recording and switching systems and RF transmission systems preferred.
  • Must be able to work independently or as a member of a team. Must be able to work under deadline pressure.
  • Must be able to work rotating shifts throughout the broadcast week (24 hours a day, seven days a week).
  • Ability to travel, sometimes on short notice, required.
  • Public Radio experience preferred.


Does this sound like you? If so, we want to hear from you. All applications must include a resume and cover letter to be considered.

NPR offers a competitive compensation and comprehensive benefits package including health and wellness benefits, retirement, and work/life balance programs, as well as opportunities for career growth and development. 

Do you "Like" us? Follow us on Twitter at @NPRjobs, as well as #NPRlife for "behind the scenes" tweets about life at NPR from our employees.

NPR is an Equal Opportunity Employer that affirmatively seeks to hire veterans and people with disabilities.  All applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

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