Following a lively and ever-changing technical career in broadcast television in Syracuse and Denver, chief broadcast engineer Patrick Moochler of communication studies works to provide top facilities here for the broadcasters of the future.

Where did you grow up?

Auburn. I went to Auburn High School, then Cayuga Community College. 

When did you become interested in broadcasting?

It's kind of a funny story. I went to Cayuga Community College to become an architect. I was into drafting. Every day on the way to class, I'd go through the atrium of the building that housed the drafting program. There were kids playing hacky sack and throwing Frisbees inside the building. I wondered, "Who are those kids?" They were having a lot more fun than I was. (Laughs.) Somebody told me about their radio and TV program, and I said, "Maybe I'll try that." I met some of the students and professors, and I was immediately hooked. Those kids were so full of life. Once I saw all the equipment, I was definitely hooked. I took a general approach (at first): I was interested in photography; I had my own radio show for the two years I was there. I did an internship at WIXT-TV, which is Channel 9 still, but different call letters (WSYR). That led me down the path of music and television and electronics. 

Where did you work before coming to SUNY Oswego?

WIXT offered me a full-time job, summer relief, and then they kept me on. I stayed there for five years. I started as a master control operator -- entry level -- then worked my way up to maintenance engineer, fixing electronics. I moved for an opportunity to go to Denver, at KWGN-TV, the Tribune affiliate. It was a great job, and it led me to the next big opportunity, at KUSA-TV, the NBC affiliate in Denver. I was the remote operations technical manager. I got to be close when Pope John Paul II and President Clinton met for World Youth Day at Cherry Creek State Park -- that took us months and months of planning. The job took me to two Super Bowls -- San Diego and Miami -- with Denver (Broncos). I got to do the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Celebrities? Every major league baseball, basketball and football player -- I covered sports on a weekly basis. John Elway -- just a super nice guy. I was in (7-foot-2) Dikembe Mutombo's house. It was just weird -- the countertops were about 5 feet high. (Laughs.) Then there's all the bad stuff that goes along with the job: I was one of the first people at Columbine; covered the Jon Benet Ramsey case. I was in Denver from 1991 to 2002. 

Did you get along with the on-air personalities?

I've been blessed with really solid individuals. In the broadcast industry, there are egos, but those people seem to be very grounded. Some of my best friends are on-air talent.

Where did you go next? 

I went back to Auburn. I was one of the seven original crewmembers to start what was then called News 10 Now, the Time Warner 24-hour cable news in Syracuse. To run my own station was a highlight of my career. Syracuse's opening got pushed back a year, and we launched stations in San Antonio and Houston, as well as Albany.

How did you learn of the position at SUNY Oswego?

I believe it was through a connection of (assistant professor and broadcast veteran) Michael Riecke -- a common friend of ours who was still at Time Warner (now Spectrum). I started here in 2012. They were very happy to find me.

What attracted you to the job at SUNY Oswego?

The opportunity to help kids. I like showing them that this business can be really challenging and fun. In my role at News 10 Now, many of my employees were right out of college -- I hired them all. I saw the facilities here -- the bones were there, and I knew I could take the program to another level. 

What are you proudest of so far in your tenure here?

Two things: The new studio, Studio A, in Lanigan. That was pretty much my project, with the help of (former School of Communication, Media and the Arts Dean) Fritz Messere. He had the vision and really wanted to make it happen. Our students in the advanced track do some fantastic work. They do long-form stories, five to six minutes, and follow them through to the end. Our broadcast journalism students do a newscast every Friday. During the week, they come up with news stories and, on Friday, they put them together and produce the show. Number two would be WTOP -- we just rebuilt that facility last summer. It's all high-def, just like Studio A is. I got to do two studio builds and work with the integrators and design the facilities.

What are your day-to-day duties?

I pretty much facilitate any technical needs the students may have. I oversee the studio, all of the portable ENG (electronic newsgathering) equipment -- all of our cameras that go out in the field -- and the reservation system for them. I oversee the purchasing of all our equipment, the specifications of what we're using. I'm responsible for all the software updates for all the computers for the broadcast lab in Lanigan and the machines in the MIDI lab in Hewitt. I'm the technical adviser for WTOP and WNYO. Communication studies has an equipment committee, and I serve on it. I was on CTAB (Campus Technology Advisory Board) for a couple of years. Off campus, I'm on the board of directors for my hometown's regional public access station. It's called ARMA, Auburn Regional Media Access. We're finally getting some traction -- we're finally at a point where we can unveil the studios to the public.

What do you think about the faculty and staff you work with?

Top-notch. I'm blessed with them. We have been lucky enough to retain Shaun Secaur, our latest hire, as broadcast engineer. Our audio professor, Jeff Bradbury, and I started at the same time -- we've hit it off very well. Michael Riecke is a fantastic guy; I just think the world of him.

What are your interests when you have some down time?

Realistically, it's shuttling my kids to and from sporting events. I like mountain biking. I used to play mandolin. I go to see music events -- jam bands like Two-Hour Delay. Also, I'm a big Widespread Panic fan; they're national. I enjoy researching and finding new wines.

What can you tell us about your family?

My wife's name is Amy. We have two wonderful children: a 16-year-old son, Jack, and a 14-year-old daughter, Maura. Jack is a lacrosse player, also a cross-country runner who has gone to the national championships two years in a row. Maura is a fantastic swimmer -- we're going to the states this weekend. She swims for the YMCA and on the Auburn varsity as an eighth-grader.