Eric Schwierske

Credentials: PBS Wisconsin

Position title: Special Projects Engineer

Major: Communication Arts (Radio-TV-Film track)

Certificate: Digital Studies & Environmental Studies

Graduation Date: December 2015


How did you end up at PBS Wisconsin?

Throughout college and after, I moonlighted at Monona Terrace as an AV technician working the many corporate and community events held there each year. I credit the technical training and experience I received there, along with mentoring from my many skilled coworkers, as the reason I ended up in my current position. The hands-on, technical knowledge I gained from working live events complimented the Communication Arts and Digital Studies production coursework. I also ran camera as a student for PBS Wisconsin (then Wisconsin Public Television) for their various live, multi-camera productions. As a staffer, I got to put to use the concepts learned in class while being taught by industry professionals.

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

My main task is to keep the equipment used in our production facilities running to ensure our remote and studio productions stay on schedule. I work on all of our systems: video, audio, intercom, livestream, graphics, shared file storage, etc. Gear always seems to break at the worst times so it is my job to be around to troubleshoot and fix whatever breaks as quickly as possible. That involves a lot of hands-on work in the equipment racks. I am also one of the operators during a production controlling livestreams and other various transmission paths, shading cameras or mixing audio. When I’m not fixing equipment or operating gear, I work with producers and other staff to develop workflows and signal-flows for upcoming productions. I mostly work on our multi-camera studio and remote truck productions. Lastly, I work with other staff engineers to plan facility and equipment upgrades and schedule when and how the gear will be installed. It is a balancing act since all of our systems are interconnected in some way.

How has Digital Studies influenced your career path?

The Digital Studies program helped reinforce my love for production and instilled the need to continually evolve to an ever changing media landscape. I’ve been able to apply this in my current role as my organization regularly delivers content to more and more platforms. Gone are the days of only delivering content linearly through broadcast television. There are also so many changes in the technology used to produce content. One of the biggest shifts coming to the broadcast industry will be the implementation of IP video and audio standards. This is a game changer for live video and audio routing during a production. New technology keeps me on my toes, learning something new each day.

Did you have a favorite Digital Studies class?

Yes! It was Communication Arts 468: Producing for Internet TV and Video with Professor Eric Hoyt. The combination of hands-on video production and guest speakers made this class an enjoyable change of pace. The small class size also allowed for a collaborative environment and meaningful feedback on our projects.

Do you have any advice for current students?

If you do not understand something, ask someone for help. There is no harm in asking questions and being curious.