‘Significant contributions’: Nevada County resident David Hershberger awarded 2021 NAB Engineering Achievement Award for Radio
David Hershberger says being recognized as this year’s recipient of a prestigious award in broadcast engineering for radio came as a surprise, despite spending around 20 years in the field.
After also spending around 20 years on television design projects, said Hershberger, he expected that having split his career evenly between the two areas would limit his chances of receiving such awards in either.
The National Association of Broadcasters last month presented Hershberger with the 2021 NAB Engineering Achievement Award for Radio, calling him “a true renaissance broadcast engineer” in an online event.
According to a news release from the association, the Engineering Achievement Awards, established in 1959 and awarded each year separately for radio and television, “are given to individuals who are nominated by their peers for significant contributions to advancing broadcast engineering.”
Among Hershberger’s most notable achievements, according to the release, are his co-development of the world’s first digital FM exciter and his holding of 21 U.S. patents. He wrote in an email that, in addition to those 21 granted, there are “more in process.”
“When I was a kid, I got into ham radio,” said Hershberger on his first venture into radio as he grew up in Illinois, recounting that, from a young age, learning the skills and science necessary to transmit information through radio appealed more to him than playing sports.
He continued to nurture the interest, earning a First Class commercial license through the Federal Communications Commission as a teenager. “It had a significantly difficult written exam you had to pass, and I was able to pass it at age 16,” said Hershberger.
‘IT’S ALL TEAMWORK’
Hershberger got involved with his local radio station as a high school student, and said having earned the FCC license got him in the door at the radio stations where he worked during the summers of his college years. He holds bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois and mathematics from Goshen College, as well as a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois.
Hershberger has been a Nevada County resident since 1983, when he began working for Grass Valley Group — a media technology company now known only as Grass Valley — where he would continue to work for over a decade alongside his wife, Sandy.
Hershberger retired in 2017 as senior scientist with Continental Electronics, and continues to work in consulting from his home near Nevada City.
Following his work with Grass Valley Group, and in addition to his time with Continental Electronics, he worked with Harris Broadcast and Axcera. While these were “not really local companies,” said Hershberger, he worked alongside a number of local people over the years.
At one point, while working remotely out of Nevada County for a Texas-based company, said Hershberger, he raised his hand and said that, if they were looking for people who were knowledgeable about television broadcast, he knew people in the area.
This resulted in the formation of a design center on McCourtney Road, with a team averaging four people working at a given time.
Local people he worked with at Continental and Axcera include Michael Pugh, Carol Rainbolt, Amrik Dhillon, Ron Alspaugh, Sara Kudrle, Jim Michener, and Howard Butler, he wrote in an email.
“None of this work happens in a vacuum,” said Hershberger in his acceptance video, on his achievements throughout his career. “It’s all teamwork.”
Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at email@example.com
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