(By Charese Fruge’) Lucretia Lee-Arceneaux is a Regional Broadcast IT Engineer for iHeartMedia. She’s responsible for maintaining traditional radio and digital broadcasting electronic systems and equipment, including but not limited to, RF switchers, transmitters, transceivers, studio consoles, and associated audio equipment. She responds to equipment outages, malfunctions, and related technical issues. Basically, she keeps radio stations online and on air for her company.
Originally from Colorado, Lee-Arceneaux moved to Atlanta in 2008 where her career started shortly after enrolling in Audio Engineering School In 2014. “I learned production for television, film, and broadcast radio,” she explains. “I attended SAE Atlanta and worked for an independent internet-based radio station where I did it all: Producing shows, board opping, creating the music for the shows, and equipment maintenance. I eventually went back to school for media broadcasting at the Colorado Media School in 2016.
“From there I worked at a production studio in Colorado (thank you, Box Studios) and a studio in Atlanta as an assistant engineer, photographer, videographer, editor, and director of music videos. I became an apprentice with the National Association of Broadcaster’s Leadership Program in 2021 leading me here today working in my dream career as a Broadcast IT Engineer for iHeartMedia.
“I’ve always wanted to be in broadcasting since I was around 7 years old, whether it was radio or television. I just didn’t know much about the engineering side of broadcasting or what it was even labeled,” says Lee-Arceneaux. “I’ve always been a technical person, fixing electronics around the house, working on cars, etc. I knew that I didn’t want to just record people in a studio as much as I wanted to be more involved with live radio. So, I joined the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) and started learning more about radio engineering. I also joined the Society of Motion Picture Television Engineers (SMPTE) and began to learn more about IP television and networking.
“I was amazed by what went into the transmission of radio and television. Becoming a virtual apprentice in the Technology Apprenticeship Program (TAP) with the National Association of Broadcaster’s Leadership Program at the end of the pandemic allowed me the time and opportunity to learn all of the nuances happening in radio and television, landing me a position at iHeartMedia a few weeks before graduating from the apprenticeship.”
Lee-Arceneaux’s first introduction to technology was working as a security guard for Facebook in Georgia at their data centers, an introduction to cyber security, and data. “We became more than security guards there,” she says. “We were security operations specialists (chest poked out), learning the importance of and protecting the building, social media users, and their data from possible threats, both physically and virtually.”
So far, Lee-Arceneaux’s biggest challenge in the business has been similar to many women. “I would say one of my biggest is being ‘heard’ in this industry. There aren’t many women in these spaces, so it’s often hard to find your voice,” she explains. “The way I handle this is by just putting in the work and contributing my ideas and influence wherever possible. I believe that the work speaks for itself.”
With Lee-Arceneaux’s area of expertise, I think we are all interested in hearing what she thinks about the impact AI will have on our industry. “I use it all the time!” she exclaims. “I am a creative first! I love creating images, speeches, and business logos and I’ve even created captivating poems using AI.
“Does it play into the engineering side of the business? Absolutely! AI plays a major role in this and any business as long as it’s used responsibly. It’s another tool – a great tool that’s giving hosts and creatives the space and freedom to create more content and businesses. Radio personalities are loaning their likeliness and voices to AI for shows, commercials, and even radio drops without having to constantly record. And it sounds flawless.
“I absolutely love AI and I can’t wait for it to fully evolve. I know people are concerned with the possibility of AI taking jobs. But that’s far from the truth. I’ve always believed that you have to get behind these technologies so that you can fully understand them and play with them until you gain a better understanding of them. AI is learning us as we are learning it. Machine learning. We are the machine’s teachers!”
As far as her thoughts on another priority for the industry in 2024: engaging the younger demographics, Lee-Arceneaux says, “I think we should engage the younger generation by showing them how they can own their own platforms first, whether it be social media platforms or content platforms. That’s what will empower every generation to build their own networks and not just followers.
“Is the younger generation interested in the engineering side of the industry? Sadly, I don’t think they are, but what they don’t know is that they are currently engineering every day. Once we start to make engineering fun for the younger generation, I believe they will become more interested in it. I would love to mentor young girls and get them more involved in engineering, networking, and RF. We can’t design the studios of the future without our future’s impact.
“As far as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the industry, the needle has moved a few inches, but we can do more to push that needle a little further by encouraging women and minorities to get more involved and excited about engineering by giving them the incentives to spark their interest. We have women in software engineering and other parts of engineering. But it would be nice to see more women in the broadcast engineering and RF spaces as well as systems engineering spaces.”
As for what keeps Lee-Arceneaux up at night? “Creativity! Creating music, creating AI images, and reading tech specs always keeps me up at night. Just the other day, I stayed up for a whole weekend reading Netflix’s Tech Stack and trying to duplicate it in VS Code. I’m still working on that. These are the joys of being a recent empty nester.
“I find balance by allowing myself time to meditate and create. I always allow myself to have ‘me’ time without guilt. I turn off phones, detach from social media, and cleanse my mind. I find my balance when I reset.
“My next big project is completing my blockchain development course in which I have about 8 more weeks to go and getting more invested in over-the-top television OTT and the development of those platforms for podcast and television networks.
“You can follow me on LinkedIn. I’m available and open for advice and ideas. I love sharing information and being an inspiration and I love being inspired.”
Charese Fruge’ is an award-winning Content, Broadcast, and Marketing executive with over 20 years of experience in markets like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, San Diego, and Las Vegas. As the owner of MC Media, she works with radio brands and individual talents, especially young women, helping them grow their brands and negotiate on their own behalf. Find her at @MCMediaOnline. See more Women to Watch here.