This speaks volumes as to the state of radio engineering as a career. As of December 15th 2016 SBE Chapter 18 is inactive. The Society of Broadcast Engineers was founded in 1964 to serve broadcast engineers across the world. They celebrated their 50th anniversary only 2 years ago. But even with 5,100 members and 114 local chapters... they are now losing ground.
I received an email last week confirming that the SBE chapter serving Philadelphia is shutting down. Philadelphia is a top 5 market with a population of over 1.5 million. The Philadelphia–Camden–Wilmington MSA includes more than 6 million. They are served by 91 radio stations. Even in this market engineers are pulling away from the profession. Chairman William Gellhaus wrote:
"After discussions with John Poray of SBE HQ over the last two years and much consideration, I have decided to put Chapter 18 into "inactive status" for the foreseeable future. What this means is that there will be no further SBE-sponsored meetings, no local certification exams or other activities..."
Gellhaus went on to note that meeting attendance had "shrunk to only 5 or 6 people." I hesitate to think what this may mean for the rest of the country and our industry. He went on to note the decline of similar groups:
"We are not alone in the decline of local chapter participation. The Acoustical Society chapter shut down many years ago, AES was put to sleep seven years ago - only to be resurrected several times. ITVA and other once-active professional societies have seen their local memberships dwindle, causing them to close their doors."