Broadcast Engineers: A Dying Breed?

A recent paper (PDF) from the Society of Broadcast Engineers paints a stark picture for the vocation of broadcast engineering.
The SBE notes that the number of broadcast engineers (especially those employed full-time) has been in a steady decline since the 1980s. This is when the FCC began getting rid of rules that required engineers to hold specific (and often multiple) qualifications to work at radio and television stations. Broadcasters could thus get by with fewer engineers, and many jobs which engineers used to do could now be done by lesser-qualified staff.
Following the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, as the radio industry consolidated many stations were clustered into centralized facilities. This further decimated the ranks of broadcast engineers; those still left found themselves responsible for multiple stations. Many broadcasters have done away with employing a full-time engineer altogether, preferring instead to contract the work out.
In addition to this trend, those still in the field are aging rapidly. Nearly three-quarters (73.9%) of working SBE members are 46 years old or older; the average age of an SBE member is 54.
Although the number of younger people entering the field seems to have picked up a bit over the last few years, “the raw numbers fall far short of what is needed to replace those who are retiring or leaving the field.”
The SBE says that “in some markets, a shortage of engineers has been developing….Station and engineering managers report that jobs they advertise sometimes don’t attract enough candidates, qualified or otherwise; sometimes, no candidates at all.”
Furthermore, the skill-set of the broadcast engineer is changing. It’s no longer just a job of maintaining transmitters and studio equipment: the digitalization of broadcasting has made knowledge of computers and network administration increasingly important. Broadcast engineer and blogger Paul Thurst has written on this trend, and notes that “The old days of the RF guru are coming to a close.”
The number of broadcast stations continues to rise, while the number of qualified engineers to oversee them is dwindling; meanwhile, those still working find themselves with much more to do, less resources to work with, and an expansion of engineering responsibilities more generally.
Can this trend be reversed? And what does this say about the technical integrity of broadcasting today?