The position she holds today may be unique.Â But itâ€™s the way she got there that is even more amazing. Ling Ling Sun is the Chief Engineer here at WOSU TV. She is a Chinese immigrant and one of only a few women in broadcast engineering — even fewer reach the status of Chief Engineer.Â
Ling Ling grew up in Harbin, China, the capital city in a northeast province of the country.Â Her formative years in the â€˜70s were at a time when the Cultural Revolution enforced communism and the push for industry and new technology only had a resurgence when she was ready to go to college. Ling Ling knew the concept of television, but had never watched its programming until she visited a relative in Beijing who owned a TV â€“ she was 18 years old at the time.
<It was curiosity that compelled Ling Ling to attend the Beijing Broadcast Institute and earn her degree in Electronics Engineering. In the early 90s, her husbandâ€™s studies and the chance to pursue his PhD in the U.S. brought her to the States.Â A job at a public TV and radio station as a Broadcast Technician in the Northwest was the start of a string of positions where with kismet and â€œluck every step of the way and the grateful support of people who have guided me,â€ Ling Ling would be at the lead for implementing new innovations.
Ling Ling moved to Columbus when her husband was offered a fellowship with Ohio State, she became the Maintenance Supervisor for WOSU Public Media. Issues with naturalization forced Ling Ling to move to Canada for five years where she landed a role as a Senior Maintenance Technician.Â But drive and determination brought her back to the Midwest, and she returned to WOSU as a Maintenance Supervisor. Ling Ling was critical to the design and construction of our studios for WOSU@COSI. In July 2011, Tom Lahr, the long-time chief engineer at WOSU retired and Ling Ling was given an interim and then permanent position as Chief Engineer of WOSU TV.
It is â€œthe non-stop challenge, especially looking at technology in the last two decadesâ€ that has kept Ling Ling inspired and eager to lead her TV teams.Â This January, she was elected to be the Vice Chair of PBSâ€™ Engineering Tech Advisory Committee (ETAC), a role that Jim Kutzner says she was elected to by a nominating group through a â€œunanimous vote."Â
Kutzner, the Senior Director of Advanced Technology at PBS, believes that Ling Ling â€œalways has the goal to try to improve somethingâ€ and she is the â€œcream of the cropâ€.Â Her questions during ETAC meetings are always â€œprobing and challengingâ€ and she has a great understanding of her stationâ€™s needs which, says Kutzner, â€œis powerful for a leader, regardless of gender.â€Â At this juncture, Ling Ling says she just wants to â€œkeep learning.â€Â And WOSU Public Media is the proud beneficiary of her drive and commitment.
Ling Lingâ€™s story above was written by Meredith Hart, WOSU Marketing Director.Â Ling Ling was recently featured in the March 11 issue of Broadcasting & Cable, a national magazine for television industry leaders and in WOSU’s May 2013 Airfare, which was just distributed by WOSU to our members.