The 2011 Bernard J Lechner Award

awardNBC Universal’s Jim Starzynski, an engineer who has worked tirelessly on TV commercial loudness and other audio issues with digital television, is being honored by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) as the 2011 recipient of the ATSC’s highest technical honor, the Bernard J. Lechner Outstanding Contributor Award. The presentation was made today during the ATSC’s annual meeting at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.

“Jim’s leadership in audio loudness activities has been vital to the ongoing work of the ATSC and the television industry,” said John Godfrey, Chairman of the ATSC’s Board of Directors. “On behalf of the ATSC board and membership, our congratulations to Jim as this year’s Lechner award honoree.”

Jim led the effort to develop the ATSC A/85 Recommended Practice “Techniques for Establishing and Maintaining Audio Loudness for Digital Television.” The Commercial Advertising Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act requires the FCC to mandate use of A/85 for commercial advertisements.

The Lechner Award is bestowed once a year to an individual representative of the membership whose technical and leadership contributions to the ATSC have been invaluable and exemplary. The title of the award recognizes the first recipient, long-time broadcasting technology leader Bernard Lechner, for his outstanding services to the ATSC.

Starzynski is Principal Engineer and Audio Architect for NBC Universal Advanced Engineering, working on HDTV and overseeing audio technologies and practices for all NBC Universal broadcast and cable properties. He is responsible for establishing NBC’s audio strategy for DTV and works with leading manufacturers to develop next-generation audio and video systems. Previously, he served for more than 20 years in various engineering roles.

Starzynski has worked on many facilities at NBC, including the Today Show’s sidewalk studio, audio facilities for Saturday Night Live and Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and the all-digital network broadcast operations center. Jim was a key contributor to the design of CNBC’s World Headquarters in New Jersey, where he was responsible for satellite and audio systems. He has been honored with four Emmy Awards for technical achievement for the 1992, 2002, 2004 and 2006 Olympic Games broadcasts.

Starzynski is currently chairman of the audio subcommittee of the North American Broadcaster’s Association and chairs the ATSC technical subgroup S6-3 on digital television loudness. He has been instrumental in ATSC work associated with the CALM Act recently was passed by Congress. He is on the board of directors for the home audio division of the Consumer Electronics Association and is a frequent contributor to Broadcast Engineering magazine. He is also a member of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers and the Audio Engineering Society.

Past recipients of the ATSC Lechner Award:

  • 2000 Bernard Lechner, Consultant
  • 2001 Rich Chernock, Triveni Digital
  • 2002 Regis Crinon, Microsoft
  • 2003 Glenn Adams, Extensible Formatting Systems, Inc
  • 2004 Graham Jones, National Association of Broadcasters
  • 2005 John Henderson, Hitachi
  • 2006 Art Allison, National Association of Broadcasters
  • 2007 Mark Eyer, Sony
  • 2008 Michael Dolan, TBT
  • 2009 Wayne Bretl, LG Electronics/Zenith
  • 2010 J. Patrick Waddell, Harmonic

Lechner is the retired Staff Vice President, Advanced Video Systems, RCA Laboratories. His 30-year career at RCA covered all aspects of television and display research, from early work on home video tape recorders in the late 1950s, extensive development of flat-panel matrix displays in the 1960s including pioneering efforts on active-matrix liquid crystal displays, advanced two-way cable TV systems and pay-TV systems in the early 1970s, electronic tuning systems and CCD comb-filters for TV receivers in the mid-1970s, automated broadcast cameras and CCD broadcast cameras in the late 1970s and early 1980s, to HDTV in the mid-1980s.

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