NTA Convention: Expectations Exceeded, Say Translator Owners


Once May 22 concluded, organizers of the National Translator Association‘s conference were more than pleased with one of the more difficult decisions it has had to make — hold an in-person event in Utah, or cancel it due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The former choice was taken, and NTA President John Terrill is thrilled with the response.

Terrill tells the Weekly Tech Roundup that Community Engineers from as far away as Guam and Alaska traveled safely to Salt Lake City for the association’s annual event.

So did some of the industry’s top presenters, with in-person and Zoom-delivered sessions covering topics ranging from basic LPTV operations to NextGen TV and ATSC 3.0.

“Attendance expectations were greatly exceeded as members, exhibitors, and presenters met with COVID distancing, but face to face,” Terrill said. “We know it was risky, but we thought we had to live with COVID.”

At the conference, NBC VP of Technology for the Western Region Doug Lung presented practical ways for translator TV stations to convert to ATSC 3.0-based digital signals.

Joel Wilhite, the Sr. System Design Engineer at Harmonic, covered all the concerns and questions for small broadcasters to join the transition from digital to NextGen broadcasting.

Another conference highlight: the on-site appearance of former FCC Video Division Deputy Chief Hossein Hashemzadeh, who answered questions and worked the packed room through such current Commission concerns as white space technology and checking the FCC database of analog stations to ensure your license is not on the analog list.

Another FCC D.C. notable — Jean Kiddoo — reported on repack payments and encouraged everyone to “close out” their repack reimbursements by certifying that reimbursed payments were paid to the vendors listed in the Form 399 applications.

“The attendance to the first major convention for broadcasters during the pandemic is a clear notice that upcoming conventions may experience the same pent-up interest we had,” Terrill said.