1/18/17 - It took four rounds, but
the Spectrum Auction seems to be headed to a conclusion.
Broadcasters offered to vacate 84 MHz for about $10 Billion -
bidding by cellular oprators finally closed in the $18 Billion
range. (For earlier bids, see 12/6/16, below.) Some more procedural
items remain, and then we will know more on how it will all
1/12/17 - Court tells American Tower they
cannot evict stations in WY and ID owing $500k.
1/11/17 - The FCC
Open Meeting on January 31st has one item on it as of now:
dealing with Public File issues - specifically the requirement for
saving correspondence from the public. What happens will depend on
who is still on the FCC after the Inauguration of the new President.
Coming soon: Will there be an interim or permanent Chairman named?
1/11/17 - The
Association of Public Radio Engineers is seeking nominations for the
next annual APRE "Engineering Achievement Award" in April.
Nominations can be submitted on a form at
www.apre.us by March 15, 2017.
1/11/17 - Bill Sacks
has passed away after a lengthy fight against several cancers. A
well-known broadcast engineer and manufacturer of audio gear
(Straight Wire Audio), Sacks made some of the best quality pre-amps
and other audio products.
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30 seconds to sign up for the free one-time-a-week BDR Newsletter. Just
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1/5/17 - Outgoing
President Obama submitted Jessica Rosenworcel's name for nomination
to the FCC. She had been serving since 2012, but was never
confirmed. The temporary appointment ended when Rosenworcel moved
out last week. Now, she c ould be back...
The PSHSB (Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau) of the
FCC has released its first look at the 2016 NPT in September.
94% of 21,000+ stations reported reception of the test, with 85%
successfully relaying it. Over 2/3 reported no problems at all - all
in all an improvement from 2011.
The International Swaps and Derivatives Association
ruled against iHeart in its most recoopent action on their debt
service - paying off about 78% of what was due on December 15th. The
company has reported 27 quarters of losses and, is trying all sorts
of maneuvers to juggle the $20.5 Billion that it owes.
- Cumulus and iHeart have been reported to be working hard to
put off debt payments and restructure debt. The road is perhaps best
described as "rocky." In fact, just 10 weeks since Cumulus did an
8:1 reverse stock split (see 10/11/16 below)
the stock has again closed under $1.00.
- EEO is the subject of many groans as stations try to jump
through all the various and complex hoops that are part of the
FCC has issued a Public Notice seeking comments on whether
stations can use just the Internet to recruit new employees, rather
than the current complex and easy to violate rules. Comments due by
12/15/16 - Public
Information File reminder: If you are in the top 50 markets and not otherwise
exempted from the new requirement, all Public Information File
materials from before June 24th that are not on the FCC online
Public File site must be uploaded by December 24th. If you are not
certain which group you are in, a call to your DC attorney is a good
idea. (Thanks, Cary Tepper)
12/15/16 - FCC
Tom Wheeler announced today he was to step down entirely as an
FCC Commissioner on January 20th after three years in the top spot
at the agency. Up in the air: Jessica Rosenworcel. She lost her seat
when the Senate adjourned without re-confirming her. Now, it is up
to the incoming Administration whether to re-submit her name to the
12/7/16 - An FCC
Commissioner is ready to get out the weed whacker! Ajit Pai, in
a speech to the Free State Foundation, hopes the FCC will soon
"fire up the weed whacker and remove " rules that should go. He noted
"one way the FCC can do this is through the biennial review, which
we kicked off in early November. Under section 11, Congress
specifically directed the FCC to repeal unnecessary regulations. We
should follow that command."
12/7/16 - Calling itself the "leading
voice for diversity and inclusion" The
Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (“MMTC”)
has petitioned the new Trump Administration with
12 "imperatives "leading up "to the humane decommissioning of
the AM Band." While the MMTC says that is not for three or four
decades, they include the thought that the AM band can be
sold off to raise money. A "midpoint" might be to either shrink the
AM band or widen channels to 20 kHz, or both.
12/6/16 - The FCC's Spectrum Auction
is entering the fourth round. So far, instant replay suggests:
1st Round: asked $88.4 Billion, bid $23 Billion
2nd Round: asked $56.5 Billion, bid $21 Billion
3rd Round: asked $40.3 Billion, bid $19.7 Billion
The next set of bids is due to start after Dec 13th.
12/1/16 - iHeart Radio has entered
the "pay for play" service with two options - iHeart Radio Plus and
iHeart Radio All Access - between $4.99 and $9.99 a month. According
to iHeart, the streams will be open for 30 days with the official
launch on January 1st.
just sent several Puerto Rican stations a letter telling them to
discontinue their AM Synchronous operations within six months. This
is in regards some licensed operation for as long as 13 years,
albeit under "experimental" licenses.
The station's engineer, wrote the FCC relating some of his station's
history and his activities, and asking how this is in harmony with
"Commissioner Ajit Pai is urging broadcasters to use synchronous
boosters as a way to improve their service contours. "
The FCC did issue a Public Notice indicating that, if there is
enough interest, they might open a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
According to the FCC comments on Rulemaking 11779 will be
accepted for 30 days and reply comments for 15 days afterward.
The page on the ECFS for entering comments is here.
Dale Gehman has passed away after a long bout with cancer. Dale was
an ABIP inspector and consulting engineer. For some years, he worked
for the AL and PA Associations of Broadcasters.
(Thanks: Tim Portzline)
As the Wheeler Commission's time dwindles, Congress last week made
sure there will not be any major (read: Controversial) changes in
the next two months. HR 5982 - The Midnight Rules Relief Act - would
allow incoming governments to drop any Rules passed in the final 60
days of Congress. Seeing no way out, Wheeler pulled four items off
the agenda this past week.
A major change in the satellite world is coming up in 2017. AMC8 has
reached the end of its life. But here is the important point: All
services will relocate to AMC18 - at a very different place in the
sky: 105 degrees instead of 139. Furthermore, the new satellite will
require a 2-degree compliant dish for reception. Stations need to
plan ahead as current dishes may be "frozen" in place after 35 years
of pointing at 139 degrees.
(Thanks Dave Dickson, Skyview)
The new services will be lit up on February 1st for acquisition,
with dual service until June 30th, when AMC8 is turned off and all
stations must be moved over.
According to the Nashville Business Journal, CBS is planning
something in Nashville, something involving as many as 200 jobs and
a $5 million investment. Curiously, CBS does not own any stations in
Nashville - yet.
Mike Callaghan, a 40-year veteran of
the LA market, passed away Saturday night. He was 72. Callaghan had
retired from iHeart in 2013.
11/2/16 - The Cumulus 8:1 reverse split is in
danger of failing to prevent Cumulus stock from delisting. Just two
weeks after the reverse split too the share price from 30 cents to
$2.40, the CMLS closed at $1.05.
10/12/16 - Want more
exercise next time you are in Las Vegas? The Nevada General Assembly
has voted to authorize both an expansion of the Las Vegas Convention
Center and a new NFL Football stadium. The LVCC will grow by 1.44
million square feet. $1.4 Billion is to be spent on the new space
and upgrades on the current halls.
11/2/16 - DST "fall back" is just around the
corner: Nov 6th.
(The "jump ahead" next Spring is on March 12th, 2017.)
11/2/16 - With the 2nd window closed, the FCC
reports 1091 applications were received to mate an FM translator to
an AM station. The AM Improvement, as the FCC calls it has put an FM
signal on about 1/4 of all AM stations in the US. The FCC is still
processing them as fast as it can, with 95% of the first window's
applications already approved.
The 250 mile wavier is over, and as might be expected prices for translators
suddenly dropped from $25 k or $4 million to $5 k to $10 k. You do not
have to feel sorry for translator owners, they made a pretty good
pile of cash while the waiver lasted!
ORIGINALLY: 10/5/16 - Two
engineers interrupted what could have been a major
arson at Sandia Peak in Albuquerque, NM. According to police, if
the effort - called domestic terrorism - had succeeded, the
currently unknown suspect could have destroyed most or all of the
Some more pix.
UPDATE: The police now say it was not terrorism, but a rather
man with "mental illness."
As the Beasley purchase of Greater Media shakes down, a $24 million
has essentially brought back together the former Lincoln-Financial
under Entercom's banner. (Entercom got the rest of the former
Lincoln stations in
a deal last year.)
10/19/16 - The second
round of the FCC's Spectrum Auction has not gone as well as the
first. Only $21.5 Billion was bid, against the asking of $56.5
Billion. So, there will be another round of this auction.
10/12/16 - A driver
SUV into radio station WNRI in Woonsocket. No one was hurt, but
the office was a mess.
10/11/16 - Cumulus'
Board of Directors voted to authorise the 8:1 reverse split on the
company's stock. This prevented "delisting" on the NASDAQ stock
exchange. CMLS started the day at $2.38 and settled down a bit over
16% at $2.01.
10/5/16 - The APRE
(Association of Public Radio Engineers) is looking for
proposals to be delivered at the
2017 APRE Conference April 20/21, 2017. Deadline is Dec. 15th.
10/5/16 - The FCC had cited SCMS for
illegal marketing of a transmitter from BW Broadcast that was
not properly certified. However, after being questioned, the FCC
Enforcement Bureau backed down.
Cauthen of SCMS explains why broadcasters need not worry about
using BW Broadcast transmitters sold through SCMS. BW Broadcast CEO
also addresses the matter.
10/5/16 - The APRE
(Association of Public Radio Engineers) is looking for
proposals to be delivered at the
2017 APRE Conference April 20/21, 2017. Deadline is Dec. 15th.
10/1/16 - The trade
association NATE - The National Association of Tower Erectors - has
announced the availability of the new A10.48 Standard - Criteria
for Safety Practices with the Construction, Demolition,
Modification, and Maintenance of Communications Structures.
Orders can be made online here. This is recommended for all
companies involved in wireless and broadcast structures.
9/26/16 - FCC
Commissioners at the Nashville NAB Show gave broadcasters some hints
of some changes they would like to see brought to bear. Ajit Pai
said he would like to see the new C4 FM Class come to pass for
smaller, rural stations.
Other Commissioners also had recommendations.
9/21/16 - Cumulus has
begun the demolition of the WMAL transmitter building in DC.
Nevertheless, controversy continues with locals protesting the 75
acre sale and forthcoming development of $1million+ homes. Nearby
residents like the "park" around the towers, and want it left that
9/12/16 - Cumulus
planned 8-1 reverse split. The company, mired at about 35 cents
a share, hopes the resulting price of around $2.80 will stimulate
interest from the market as well as stop NASDAQ from booting it from
9/6/16 - The FCC has
final regulatory fees for 2016, including a lower increase for
the smallest stations. The short read: due date was September, but
appears to be 30 days after publication the Federal Register - as
paragraph 49 of the Report and Order.
The first iteration of the FCC's long publicized Spectrum Auction
did not bring the amount sought. The target: $88.4 Billion - the bid
totals: $23 Billion. The next step is to return to broadcasters to
see who will take less, then back to the bidders.
The San Diego Radio Broadcasters' Association has merged into the
Southern California Broadcasters' Association. The SCBA, now 168
stations, has been operating for 79 years.
8/29/16 - It
was part of the FCC's plan to reduce expenses by shuttering a bunch
of field offices. In January, the offices in
Anchorage, Alaska, Buffalo, NY, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, MO,
Norfolk, VA., Philadelphia, San Diego, San Juan, Puerto Rico,
Seattle, and Tampa, FL will be decommissioned. Employees losing
their jobs get first choice at openings in the remaining offices.
That will leave offices only in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Columbia,
MD, Dallas, Denver, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New
York, Portland, OR, and San Francisco.
The FCC promises to have specialized teams to attack pirate
broadcasters as a partial balance for closing the offices.
8/23/16 - If
you use the AMC-8 satellite to get programming, etc, it is worth
the satellite is nearing its end of life. (This is due to
station-keeping fuel running out after nearly 16 years in orbit.)
While news of AMC-8's death has been circulated, the new
satellite/location has not yet been announced for sure.
8/21/16 - WHPK, Hyde
Park (Chicago) was
knocked off the air by ... bed bugs. The University of Chicago
station has been silent since August 5th. Officials say that
although the infestation was cared for by exterminators, university
policy was that the homes of all 70 DJs had to be inspected, lest a
repeat infestation occurs. The station is expected to return about
BIA/Kelsey reports that as of August 15th, 1727 AM stations are
using 1961 FM translators, with nearly $4 million spent on
translators since the Second Window opened.
8/18/16 - The CEO of
Emmis, Jeff Smulyan, has made a third try in ten years to take the
company private. This offer is for $46.5 million, or $4.10 per
share. While Smulyan has, in effect, majority voting power, he and
the board are not in full agreement for Emmis nor for NextRadio.
8/16/16 - The NAB has
urged the FCC to be much more active in resolving the spectrum noise
problems from manmade resources. In their comments to the FCC, the
NAB says the lack of real enforcement has permitted a long list of
manufacturers and products to avoid ensuring their products conform
to Part 15 requirements. On the other hand, it was noteworthy that
the cellular companies made a point of listing FM Broadcasting as a
source of noise and interference - mostly relating to their LTE
build-outs. Thus far, in many cases, the cell companies have tried
to locate next to full power broadcasters and then bully them to get
to something like -138 dBu, far past the 80 dBu level in the Rules.
articles here might be of help to stations fighting cell
NATE (The National Association of Tower Erectors) has announced
A10.48 Safety Standards. The minimum safety and operational
standards should provide better working conditions for tower crews
and safer projects for companies.
The text of A10.48 is being compiled for publication in the near
GatesAir has gone to ebay for 24/7
sales of overstock and clearance parts.
8/1/16 - Day 1 of the
second Window for "AM Improvement" saw 243 applications for
moving/modifying FM Translators, and 42 new applications to transfer
control of a translator.
8/1/16 - Charlie
Morgan passed away this week at the age of 92. Morgan was the SVP of
engineering for Susquehanna Radio and an active participant on the
NRSC committee for over 20 years, including acting as Chairman until
info is located here.
7/25/16 - Sometime
early in 2017, broadcasters - and others - can purchase an Intermet
URL and email address with the top level domain (TLD) of .radio
... The administration of the .radio domain will be handled by the
European Broadcasting Union.
7/24/16 - The
Massachusetts House has passed a Bill (4109) regarding those who
would broadcast without a license (pirates). Broadcasters hope the
State Senate will deal with it before adjourning on July 31.
7/22/16 - A reminder:
The Window for Class C and D stations seeking to get an FM
Translator ends on the 28th. On the 29th, the new Window
opens for all classes. Note: in case of conflict, the earlier
applications win - but stations are allowed only one translator
Beasley Broadcast is buying Greater Media in a $240 million
deal. 21 stations in 7 markets are involved, with $100 million in
cash and at leat $25 million in stock going to Greater Media
shareholders. Perhaps among the more important data: Beasley revenue
will grow by nearly 150% - $106 million to $247 million.
7/13/16 - The FCC is
patting itself on the back over its pirate radio actions this year.
Saying 91 enforcement actions so far this year represents a major
goal, Chairman Wheeler pointed out that over 20% of the Enforcement
Bureau's activities were aimed at pirate stations. After promising
action on pirates in return for closing more than one-half of the
field offices, broadcasters continue to wonder about the ultimate
results. Interestingly, at least 76 of those 91 actions were in the
NYC general metro area.
7/12/16 - Not far from
Villa Acuna, Mexico (home to legendary 250 kW XERA) a small market
owner has grown tired of promises from regulators who say they want
to help small market stations.
George Chambers of DKXQK, Comstock, TX turned in his license and
cancelled a CP. A station owner since 1982, Chambers says, "I
have seen the FCC go from a governing and licensing agency to a
money-grabbing small-business killer with unjustified regulatory fee
increases yearly, and the threat of excessive fines daily."
Chambers noted that it was a burden for small market stations to
deal with "the continuing changes and demands being made by the
FCC-FEMA-FAA-ASCAP-BMI-RMLC-SOUND EXCHANGE-SESAC-EAS-IPAWS and many
more possibly to come in the future- this is killing us!"
(more in Exhibit 4, at the bottom.)
7/11/16 - NBC Radio
News is back on the air, through a deal between iHeartMedia and NBC
News. Initially, some 850 iHeart stations and 1000 affiliates are
said to be signed up.
7/8/16 - DaySequerra
has purchased Orban, effective today. Orban reorganize as Orban Labs
Inc, as subsidiary of DaySequerra and will move to West Berlin, NJ
over the next quarter.
7/5/16 - CBS has
indicated they are to offer an IPO to spin off the radio division -
all 117 stations. According to the Wall Street Journal, this is
after the corporation took a major ($484 million) value writedown on
the division in Q4).
7/4/16 - A bog fire at
Burns Bog in Western Canada has caused great damage and take down at
least one radio station.
CHMJ Vancouver (730) had its transmitter site was overrun
and a few minutes after the picture in the link, was
engulfed in flames and lost one
of its four towers. An emergency antenna has been put up, and CHMJ
is also running as an HD3 in the area.
6/22/16 - The FCC has
asked for comments on dealing with the radio interference (aka: the
noise floor). With more devices emitting radio energy the question is
what to do, who to do it, and who will pay. The FCC's opened the public
notice June 15, with comments due by Aug. 11. The
Docket is 16-191.
6/28/16 - The FCC
announced the first round in the Spectrum Auction has $86.4 Billion
to be paid to television stations participating. Some industry
analysts think the wireless companies may not be willing to go that
high... and a second round may be necessary.
6/15/16 - The US Court
of Appeals has moved back to the FCC's side on the matter of
- for the moment. After a vote of 2-1, Chairman Wheeler said he was
pleased the Court saw it his way. The lawyers will likely continue
6/14/16 - The FCC's
new rules require most stations in the Top 50 markets to begin
placing their Public Information Files on-line on the FCC Server by
June 24th. All current materials much be uploaded after that time,
with older materials uloaded by December 24th. A demo page gives
a preview of the OPIF
(Online Public Information File). The FCC is also re-arranging
their online database, said to be improved, to replace what has been
done by TV stations thus far.
6/3/16 - The Office of
Management and Budget has approved the implementation of online Public
Files (OPIF) for radio stations. An
FCC Public Notice and upcoming (June 13th)
web presentation aim to answer questions.
5/27/16 - Congress is
the SANDY Act, (the name refers to the "Superstorm" that
inundated New York and surrounding areas with major destruction. The
part that is of large interest to broadcasters is the intention of
providing "First Responder" status to engineers and other staff
working to keep stations on the air. The House has passed the SANDY
Act, the Senate has been asked to take it up.
5/26/16 - The FCC EAS
Rulemaking now is proposing to eliminate the requirement that public
correspondence be kept in the file.
5/23/16 - The FCC has
released its proposed reulatory fees for the next fiscal year. In
addition to some significant jumps in fees, the FCC is going to add
a new category of over 6 million, and expects stations in the top 10
markets to pay double that of stations in the 26-50 sized markets.
Top ten TV market station fees will jump to nearly $61k this year.
Here is a look at radio fees:
5/17/16 - Reports from
around the country indicate a series of attacks and virus infections
Ubiquity airOS radios. The problem involves a firmware exploit
that was discovered and "patch," but has been aggressively used
recently to attack thousands of sites.
Removal tools are available and being implemented.
5/11/16 - The studio
building for KHKC, Atoka, OK suffered
damage from a direct hit from a tornado. The station manager and
his daughter were not harmed, but the station is off the air.
5/9/16 - Even
broadcasters can become annoyed with the prevalent pattern of spot
breaks - up to ten or more spots in a row.
Some TV companies are already edging toward reducing the spot loads
that viewers are asked to sit through. Perhaps a lot of this is due to
DVRs that can skip entire breaks. Or radio streaming with few or no
5/9/16 - The
proposed Charter Comm-Time-Warner Cable merger got FCC approval.
California State approval is the last step.
4/29/16 - E.
Harold Munn Jr. passed away this week, at the age of 87. He was the
founding member of what is now Munn-Reese, serving clients from 1950
until his retirement in 1992, when he sold the business to Wayne-Reese,
although continuing to provide advice and direction afterward. More
4/26/16 - iHeart
has filed with the FCC to formalize selling 49% of KLAC, Los Angeles
(570), the current LA Dodgers' radio home, to the LA Dodgers.
4/14/16 - Paul
Schafer - the "father of broadcast automation" has passed away February
23rd at the age of 90. In the early 1950s, Schafer developed remote
control systems for radio stations and then moved to program automation.
The first system, in 1956, in Bakersfield, CA, was a couple of Seeberg
record players teamed with an Ampex machine to run KGEE
overnights, with the system moving to the next event upon detection of
4/11/16 - Broadcast
Electronics announced today that the company is
fully owned by its VP Engineering, Brian Lindermann. Lindermann has
acquired all outstanding units and is 100% BE, under the company name
4/7/16 - Another
spate of hijacked Barix boxes was noted this week, as a Colorado station
transmitter feed re-directed to a profane audio source.
(Also here) Several other cases were reported, and a lot of
conversation developed regarding passwords, firewalls, and station
security. That makes this a good time to review your own security
arrangements. Some Internet sites
devoted to it show scores of IP addresses for Barix boxes and other
places for hackers to "play."
3/30/16 - A
sad sign, another one of the state news networks, which used be almost
everywhere, has closed. The MRN -
Michigan Radio Network - stopped feeding 60 stations after 36 year.
A competitor, the MNN - Michigan News Network is expanding efforts to
pick up the slack from its WWJ headquarters.
3/24/16 - The
EAS NPRM was published in the Federal Register this morning. Comments
are due on or before May 9, 2016 and reply comments are due on or
before June 7, 2016. NOTE: There is a new docket number, replacing
04-296. It is 15-94. If you go to the
ECFS, be sure to use 15-94.
3/23/16 - The NAB has
announced that their
Radio Engineering Achivement Award will be given to Andy Laird this
3/22/16 - Cumulus is
seeking to spin some of their debt into new instruments which might even
include some equity interest in the stations themselves.
3/15/16 - Could the FCC be
disbanded? While some might wish for that, Senator John Thune (R-SD) has
noted that the FCC is the oldest independent agency agency in the
government, last "authorized" 25 years ago. Thune's current suggestion
is to reauthorize the FCC for two years - and then see how the political
3/15/16 - The CEO of CBS,
Les Moonves, has indicated that he is looking at the potential to
sell part or all of the 117 CBS radio assets.The announcement to
"explore strategic options" has set off a wild round of speculation
about who and how much will be generated to the CBS bottom line, as the
corporation struggles to get ready for the post-Sumner Redstone era.
While some historical call letters may be put in play, still few expect
anything to happen quickly, especially on any large scale sale .
(Thanks, Gary Bodnar)
3/9/16 - iHeart is
under pressure from creditors - not exactly news. However, a few
creditors seem desiring of forcing iHeart to pay up quickly.
Meanwhile iHeart hustled off to court to try to stop things - or at
least slow them down.
Alpha Media, with its acquisition of Digity has leapt into 4th
place in size among US radio companies. Alpha now has 251 stations
in 53 markets.
2/19/16 - The latest
provisions for AM stations to use MDCL (Modulation Dependent Carrier
Level) to save electricity has now gone into effect. Stations may
implement MDCL and then notify the FCC within 10 days on a Form 338,
located on the ECFS (Electronic Comment and Filing System).
2/18/16 - Cumulus
announced this week that Conrad Trautmann will be their new SVP of
Technology and Operations, as Gary Kline exits. Trautmann had been
head of operations for Westwood One, which Cumulus had purchased. He
now takes over the entire technical operations nationwide.
2/18/16 - Broadcast
stocks continue under general pressure, with Emmis (EMMS) at 51.7
cents and potential delisting in June (Companies can do a reverse
stock split to avoid this). In addition, Cumulus (CMLS) continues
its residence in the cellar, at 32 cents a share (but up almost 100%
from 19 cents in November, IHRT (iHeart) at 82 cents, .
2/16/16 - NXP
Semiconductors, the top supplier of automotive semiconductors, has
completed tests of the DRM transmission system, and announced its
availability for use in cars. Currently, AM radio covers 99% of
India's population, while FM only covers 45% of listeners.
2/15/16 - The new
Contest Rules, approved by the FCC in September have been published
in the Federal Register, and will go into effect. Among the major
changes: publishing the contest rules on a station's website, and
removing those nasty, unintelligible, sped-up statements at the end
of promos. Cary Tepper's
analysis is here.
1/29/16 - The FCC
the latest EAS NPRM. It goes mto areas that surprised most EAS
1/29/16 - The FCC has
mandated radio stations begin putting their
Files on the FCC website.
1/26/16 - The NAB
Hotel Office has announced room rates during the NAB Spring Show
will rise on February 1st and Feb 15th.
1/26/16 - The NAB has
joined the podcaster world, with a bi-weekly series of podcasts on
topics considered timely for broadcasters. The
15 minute podcasts are free for all to listen for two weeks,
then go behind the NAB paywall.
1/13/16 - PRSS (Public
Radio Satellite Services) is again planning to adjust program levels
on January 26th. The level adjustment - 6 dB - originally was
planned for last February, but postponed. The change should occur at
1:59PM EST. Stations with questions can contact the PRSS Help
Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or
Carpenter passes away. The designer and builder of the first FM
Stereo station in Washington DC.
1/7/16 - Selling off
physical assets - like Cumulus' land sales or the sale of tower
sites/towers to raise money - might be compared to burning the
furniture to a desperate effort to stay warm. However, it is
proving to be a popular tactic. iHeart Media has added another
assest sale: the outdoor company. Is there money there? Just five
markets, Seattle, Cleveland, Memphis, Des Moines and Reno will bring
some $458.5 million of badly needed cash flow. Similar additional
asset sales are said to be in the works.
Sadly, this has not stopped a whole new round of staff reductions at
a number of large radio/TVcompanies. Softness in Q4 2015 income has
led to from a few to several dozen staffers being dismissed at
different companies as they continue to trim their labor costs.
12/30/15 - As
one might expect, emergency and disaster response can be a political
area. Just as Congress closed up for the last recess, it sent a Bill
to the President designating non-commercial stations as eligible for
special funding to recover from disasters. What these stations are
to do while waiting for the money is not explained, although the
money might help in future preparations.
12/30/15 - While AM broadcasters struggle to
survive, in some countries, the battle is over: ARRL reports that
German AM (MW) stations will shut down at year's end, ending a
process that has been going for
since the end of
2014. Radio France is also slated for shuttering, saying
listener numbers have become "marginal."
12/25/15 - Stevan White of SW Commercial
Electronics in Amarillo, Texas passed away from a sudden heart
attack. The family is closing down his contract engineering
12/23/15 - The FCC
announced the filing window dates for FM translator modification
applications relative to the AM Revitalization Proceeding.
The first modification filing window will open January 29, 2016 and
close on July 28, 2016 and will be open to Class C and Class D AM
radio stations only. The second modification filing window will
open July 29, 2016 and close on October 31, 2016 and will be open
to any Class AM radio station.
Applications will be processed on a first come, first served basis.
If you are on file first but a conflicting application is filed
subsequent to your application, your application will get priority.
Therefore, it is important to get your application on file ASAP.
The attached Public Notice includes twelve (12) questions & answers
on important topics related to this proceeding and the preparation &
processing of these applications. (Thanks Cary Tepper)
12/21/15 - Broadcast Electronics reports that Tim
Bealor has retired after over 40 years at the company. Since 1975,
when he started as a technician, Bealor has worked at most every
position at BE, and has long been a welcome face at NAB shows. Most
recently, last August, Bealor was appointed Director Emeritus.
12/15/15 - Due to a not as yet fully explained
WGHQ-AM, Kingston NY's program line was dropped by Verizon over
the weekend. According to the station manager, Verizon claims it
told WGHQ in March that they were going to discontinue the program
loop. Curious. (Thanks:
12/14/15 - George Marti, whose name is synonymous
with "remote broadcast gear," has
passed away in Texas.
12/14/15 - Security has become more and more a
concern at stations across the country - even in the smallest towns.
You may recognize Pahrump, NV - about 60 miles down the hightway
from Las Vegas - as the home of Art Bell's programs. It is also the
location where Bell reported being shot at again by a stalker.
his website, Bell points out his family is more important than
his radio show - and has decided to retire once and for all.
12/8/15 - Are
you planning to move from ISDN to IP? Tieline has built an ePub to
help you understand the technology and options.
It is free to download.
12/7/15 - The FAA has released its latest update
to it Obstruction Marking and Lighting Rules - Advisory Circular
70/7460-1L is effective immediately aside from one aspect, with
revision K now cancelled.
Among the principal changes in this AC are: 1. The height of a
structure identified as an obstruction has been lowered from 500
feet above ground level (AGL) to 499 feet above ground level.
2. New lighting and marking standards are provided to reduce impact
on migratory bird populations.
3. Medium-intensity white and medium-intensity dual obstruction
lights are now authorized on towers up to and including 700 feet
AGL. (Thanks, Jack Mallaney)j
12/3/15 - In an address to the inaugural dinner
to give an award regarding efforts to advance "Internet
Commissioner Pai noted the continuing partisan disagreement
relating to the direction Internet regulation has taken in recent
months. While talking about it may not solve it, it does explain
some of the Commission's decisions.
12/1/15 - It
used to be well-known: do not say certain things on the air relating
to rating periods and, if you learn about someone who has a book,
Do not do anything stupid, like paying them to list your station.
That is at the heart of the million-dollar lawsuit between Nielsen
and Todd Clem, aka Bubba the Love Sponge. According to the amended
suit, Clem "tampered" with the ratings in at least two states,
apparently tweeting exhortations and instructions to listeners with
diaries. Nielsen has also delisted Clem from at least one set of
All-in-all, a good reminder to make sure your staff knows the rules.
11/24/15 - It was 37 years ago when perhaps the
most famous TV episode ever about a broadcast station aired. Repeat
after us: "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly." It
seems appropriate to remember WKRP this week.
Cut to Les Nessman.
longer version with
11/23/15 - Have you been stunned by some of the
recent fines announced by the FCC EB - $600k, $718k, $750k, $1
million, and others? Here is the catch: in testimony before the
Walden Subcommittee - you know, the one about trans-parency and
efficiency at the FCC -
it was revealed that the FCC has collected a total of $0.
Various excuses were offered, relating to the "procedure" to arrive
at the issuance of NALFs. Unfortunately, the FCC's history is not
reassuring. It was not so long ago that the FCC had to give up on a
huge pile of fines because by the time they were ready to ask the
Justice Department to act, the Statute of Limitations had expired.
Right now, it seems the FCC is a rather large dog with a loud bark -
lots of publicity about their fines - but no bite, as its teeth are
stuck in "the process.
11/17/15 - Yet another hearing by the House
Communications and Technology Subcommittee, and more promises from
the FCC to be transparent and proactive. A lot of discussion
concerned the continuing issue of pirates, with FCC Chair Tom
Wheeler asking for help, since currently enforcement amounts to
"whack-a-mole" frustration. Another topic was how to get
telecommunication services back up faster after a local disaster
For the second year in a row, a House Bill reform the way the FCC
interacts with broadcasters was passed in the House. H.B. 2583 hopes
to do better than the one that died last year in the Senate.
10/29/15 - The Empire State Building celebrated
50 years of FM operation, with a light show and simulcast of Steely
Dan's "FM (No Static At All)" on WCBS-FM.
You can watch
10/23/15 - In a Friday Afternoon surprise, the
FCC has released the
First Report and Order on AM Revitalization. Among the key
items are the end of the "Ratchet Rule," Two AM only Windows for
translators, modified AM Proof rules, efficiency standards, and
modified AM Protection Standards.
from Laura Mizrahi and Clarence Beverage.
10/22/15 - The FCC this week moved to raise the
amount of "foreign ownership." In simple terms, the old 25% limit is
raised to 49.9% ... largely due to investment pressures to
make broadcast investment easier and to reflect that so many
corporations where the individual ownership is not easily
10/20/15 - The FCC released information regarding
the upcoming Auction of TV spectrum, Among the interesting aspects
the values attached to some of the stations. The big example is
if WCBS-TV took the money and just signed off, they would likely get
$900 million. Other amounts pertain to those that would
release spectrum and share another station's spectrum.
Interestingly, some markets, like Las Vegas do not appear to have
any wanted bandwidth.
10/19/15 - As if there was not enough controvery
over the Nielsen PPM system and the Voltair processor, Nielsen has
filed a lawsuit against "Bubba" Clem who apparently was working with
a PPM user to distort the ratings reported. Neilsen is asking
10/14/15 - The weeklong FCC server makeover has
the Commission asking folks to "test out" the new fcc.gov site. Can
you find the information you need?
10/7/15 - In a speech, FCC Commissioner Pai has
thrown his support behind the 250-mile wavier for moving translators
bought by AM station ... and while still hoping for a real "Window"
for new applications, acknowledges that Chairman Wheeler's objection
to a Window is prevailing right now.
10/6/15 - Wheatstone has acquired Audion Labs -
10/5/15 - A new radio news network began this
morning. Fox Headline News started operations - on Satellite Radio -
Siruis Channel 115.
9/29/15 - The Fall NAB Radio Show begins in
Atlanta. AM station owners are hoping they will get a translator
Window, FM station owners are looking to hear more about the Voltair
9/29/15 - As the Fall NAB Show starts, it will
be without Lew Dickey as CEO of Cumulus. With its stock at a
six-year low and dropping as low as the 68 cent range, Dickey
stepped aside as Chairman/CEO in favor of Mary Berner, formerly CEO
of the Reader's Digest Assn. Dickey is still on the board, analysts
are cautious. Cumulus is still not out of the woods, with a market
cap around $170 million chasing at $2.4 Billion (with a B) debt.
9/22/15 - The FAA has notified users that by
December 15th, all NOTAMs will be time-stamped with a time code
expressed as a 10-digit code (YYMMDDHHMM) for both origination and
termination - EST being defined as "Estimated." More information is
9/22/15 - Brazil is in the process of moving AM
stations to the FM band, specifically the 12 MHz originally occupied
by Channels 5 and 6 - 76 to 88 MHz. Shively Labs has announced new
field-assembled wide-band antennas for the new service.
9/18/15 - The FCC has approved changes to the
Contest Rules, which will be implemented 30 days after publication
in the Federal Register. Essentially, these changes will permit
posting of rules on the Internet, rather than read and speed them to
the point of non-intelligibility.
9/8/15 - A lot of frustrated users of the
FCC.gov website found out that the scheduled "downtime" was only a
"serving suggestion." Due back up today,
latest from FCC spokesmen is that they expect the system to be
back sometime Thursday.
Of course, this has caused a lot of frustration for people who were
prompted to pay their yearly Regulator Fees - and could not
understand why they could not even find the right page. Others knew
about the downtime, but had applications to file, etc., and have
been stymied in gaining access. Thursday? We will see.
iBiquity is being purchased - for $172 Million - by DTS, inc, a
high-end audio company that
makes a good deal of money by licensing technology.
9/2/15 - TFT is said to be in the process of
attempting to restructure finances and, at the moment, is not
shipping product. All staff was laid off, and the Florida owners are
not responding to email questions.
8/28/15 - "The
Mouth from the South" has been silenced.
Dave Hultsman, a fixture in the industry for six decades and
over 50 straight NAB Spring Shows, passed away in Birmingham, AL
from the oral cancer that has wreaked havoc on him over the past
couple of years. A "memory page"
8/28/15 - The FCC has placed "contest rules" on
the Sept 17th agenda. This should permit placing rules on the
Internet, instead of the rapid read/time compression of the rules on
8/25/15 - It is
never nice to see a tower come down unexpectedly.
WYKX, 104.7 in Escanaba, MI. lost about half its tower this week
during a storm. (Thanks: Blaine Thompson)
This is not the first problem at WYKX. In January, a snake got in
and took the station down.
8/21/15 - The
FCC announced that
database maintenance and upgrades will be conducted over the Labor
Day weekend, beginning Wednesday, September 2. Tjis means no
applications can be filed from then until Tuesday the 8th. Filing
deadlines during the September will be extended, but others who need
the CDBS or EDOCS may wish to get their filings in prior to the
8/13/15 - The
FCC Chairman has
action on AM Improvement and the Contest Rules. With the August
vacations at hand, we probably need to wait until Fall to hear
anything substantial, but this week, the FCC "Circulation List"
includes "Revitalization of the AM Radio Service." This means the
final version currently developed has been blessed by the Chairman
and the other commissioners are reviewing the proposals in
preparation for a vote to issue a Further Notice of Proposed Rule
Making (FNPRM). AM stations certainly will be pleased and hope for
relatively quick action. (Thanks Ron Rackley)
8/12/15 - The
FCC issued a
Report and Order making some changes to the rules governing
wireless microphone use. There will be both licensed and
unlicensed bands made available to users.
8/7/15 - The FCC
was busy this week, taking several actions that affect broadcasters
and their facilities. The bidding procedure for the 2016
Incentive Auction of the TV bandwidth, the filing deadline for
Biennial Ownership reports (Dec. 2),
new rules for unlicensed services (microphones) in the 600 MHz
band, and the
results of FM Auction 98 (29 of 131 CPs did not get a bid).
8/6/15 - Hot on
the heels of iHeart Media selling off hundreds of its towers for
cash now, Townsquare has done the same at 41 sites with 47 towers.
Townsquare gets nearly $23 million, but here is the big deal: a
yearly rent of $41 and a split of revenue with Vertical Bridge which
will market space on the remaining towers (something over 250). The
deal covers 35 years.
8/4/15 - Those
who thought the major consolidation was over will be interested to
learn that Larry Wilson's Alpha Media is in the process of buying
the 116 stations of the Digity chain for $264 million. The combined
total upon closing would be 251 stations, putting Alpha as the
fourth largest group in the country.
8/1/15 - One of
the nicer guys in the business, Tim Bealor, has reached 40 years at
Broadcast Electronics. While Tom Beck takes the reins as President,
Bealor will stay on and will become Director Emeritus.
7/28/15 - AT&T
has agreed to activate the FM Chip in their 2016 Android Phones. The
NAB quickly issued a statement
announcing and applauding the action.
7/28/15 - A
nasty hack: someone managed to change the feed to
the RDS on Houston station KBXX, sending the "N Word" out to
startled/shocked listeners. The RadioOne station was alerted from
outside (who monitors their own signal these days?) and issued
apologies to their hip hop audience.
7/27/15 - A slow
start on Auction 98. After three days, there has not been a single
bid for over 25% of the CPs offered. While there is still time, one
has to wonder if we have reached the point of diminishing returns
for FM Auctions. The
FCC Auction page is here.
7/24/15 - The
approved the AT&T acquisition of DirecTV. The deal, said to be
worth nearly $49 Billion, does have some FCC "goodies" such as a
push to put more capacity into schools and libraries, words that
supposedly address potential Internet data caps, and an initiative
to offer discounts for broadband to low income.
7/23/15 - And
they're off! Auction 98 is officially under way, with bidders
picking from among 131 potential CPs. For information on where
bidding stands, etc, the
FCC Auction page is here.
7/21/15 - The
word from Nielsen is ... sort of non-word: as expectd, the ratings
organization announced in a private web seminar that they will not
support nor endorse the Voltair processing system, which is marketed
as a way for talk stations and those with "soft" audio, like
classical music, to not be left behind in the ratings. On the other
hand, Nielsen says they will be altering the PPM encoding procedure
early next year to overcome any perceived problems with PPM. In
other words, the debate about problems with "soft" audio is still
7/9/15 - We
noted (6/19, below) that the FCC is expecting stations to correct
wrong information - and will not protect any license where the
information is incorrect. We hope you checked your licenses.
Is it a small problem?
There are some 1800 bad licenses shown in the ULS data base. Many
are defunct (no longer used) or missing just the receive
coordinates, but others could be a landmine for stations in the
According to FCC data, there are now 6,366 FM translators on
the air. Sales of translators have been very "hot" in recent months,
as AM owners seek to grab translators and FM operators seek to put
HD2 and HD3 programs on a signal that can be heard.
7/7/15 - If you
send email to a friend or colleague with a clearchannel.com address,
expect it to bounce. Existing addresses were converted this week to
Standard General, a hedge fund involved in the recent Radio Shack
bankruptcy is now the owner of the Radio Shack brand name,
trademark, and intellectual property, including the customer lists.
The cost: $26.2 million, bid at auction in May. Standard General did
keep 1700 Radio Shack stores, which now feature Sprint services.
lawyers are still fighting over the money.
6/19/15 - TV Stations: check
your coordinates! As part of the upcoming spectrum
auction, the FCC WTB is telling stations that it is
important that they verify their transmission coordinates
by June 29th. Many errors are being correct, some going back
decades. (Thanks Clarence
Radio stations might take this as a hint that they should
double-check their coordinates (and remember the conversion
to NAD27). There have been cases where appiications have
been filed and granted that might not have happened if the
"protected" station had accurate coordinates on file.
6/15/15 - It is the summer
convention season, and there are several programs worthy of
your attention, from the NJ Broadcasters' Association in
Atlantic City to the Broadcast Depot Education Workshop in
Miami, and places in-between.
dates and locations here.
6/10/15 - They did not wait
long: New York broadcasters, supported by New Jersey
broadcasters, have asked the FCC for help in shutting down
in a letter signed by 33 Members of Congress. The letter
notes the large number of pirates in just Brooklyn and the
Bronx, and asks the FCC to do
Chairman Wheeler promised the House Energy and Commerce
Committee this week: stepped up enforcement and a
broadcasters' round table.
Florida broadcasters are said to be considering a similar
petition to the FCC.
6/9/15 - After 40+ years of
providing FM antennas, unparalled support, and educational
opportunities for broadcasters, Bob Surette will be retiring
from Shively next month. It is too early to say exactly what
form Bob's activities will take, but broadcasters can
certainly hope his appearances, inciuding the various
iterations of the so-called "Bob and Tom Show" with Tom
Silliman will continue.
6/8/15 - Want a home where a
major part of the broadcast industry started? The
home formerly owned by Art Collins, founder of Collins
Radio is for sale in Cedar Rapids. (Thanks: John Hutson)
6/2/15 - And now the other
shoe (see 5/5, below) finally drops
on the Pandora purchse of KXMZ, Box Elder. SD. The FCC
has approved the sale (rejecting the ASCAP and other
oppositions). Next step, the lawyers and royalty wars.
Pandora purchased KXMZ largely to get the "Broadcast" rate
for streaming music, even as the music industry is on a
fullly-loaded mission to get more cash from broadcasters.
5/30/15 - The Oregon
a Bill, now signed by Governor Brown, giving broadcast
engineers "First Informer" status. This will help them deal
with access issues during emergencies, when it is important
that they get to a transmitter site.
5/28/15 - The FCC loves to
collect EEO information from stations. On June 1st, the first of the
FCC Form 397 EEO Mid-Term Reports for this year are due.
This applies to radio stations with more than 10 fulltime
empllyees or TV with more than five fulltime employees (30+
The Form must be filed four years after the due date of the
unit station’s last license renewal application. First Up:
DC, MD, VA, WV. Next up: NC and SC.
5/28/15 - The FCC has
announced iits plans for the
Fiscal Year 2015 Regulatory Fees.
5/26/15 - TV stations are
breathing a bit easier after the FCC extended the deadline
fo them to implement the Audible Crawl Rule to at least
November 26th. Stations would be required to audibly present
transcriptions of the video crawl during emergency alerts or
face stiff fines.
5/6/15 - Patent Troll Alert:
Delaware Radio Technologies, et al, have dropped their HD
lawsuits against 14 broadcast companies. The suits were
dismissed late last month.
5/5/15 - And a shoe finally
drops, so to speak,
on the Pandora purchse of KXMZ, Box Elder. SD. The FCC
has discarded potential objections to Pandora's stockholder
percentage US vs foreign, and permitted the sale to go
5/4/15 - Cumulus has announced
it has a buyer for their WMAL site in Bethesa, MD. The
company plans to use the proceeds to reduce their debt, but
the long term status of WMAL is unclear.
Boss Radio is 50 years old this weekend. Go ahead, say
it: " ... and the hits just keep on coming!" Boss Radio
changed contemporary radio in a way nothing has since.
4/28/15 - Tom Wheeler, the FCC
Chairman, has expressed support for Pandora in its
application to purchase KXMZ-FM in Rapid City, SD. The
purpose of the purchase is to qualify Pandora for more
favorable royalty terms, as a broadcaster.
4/23/15 - The FCC has
announced a freeze on FM Minor Change applications from May
18 to May 28, 2015. This is to facilitate the Auction 98,
which is scheduled to begin July 23rd. Stations should plan
4/22/15 - There has been a lot
of discussion in the past week or so regarding the new
Voltair audio processor from Frank Foti and 25/7. The basic
argument is that formats with lengthy periods of silence can
lose ratings points on the PPM service from Nielson, due to
the inability to send the "hidden" tone data. The Voltair is
said to correct that. Nielson says it is not needed, but
will not provide scientific information as yet.
4/21/15 - Scott Mason, long
time engineer for CBS in LA has passed away.
More info here.
4/21/15 - Some notes about the
new Enforcement Burieau Chief
4/20/15 - Norway has announced
will end analog FM transmissions by 2017. A rollout is
slated to being in early 2017, eventually leaving only
digital next year, and transmission to DAB - on a different
band 174-204 MHz - is anticipated to conclude by the end of
4/17/15 - A Trenton, New
Jersey Townsquare Media station identified and then notified
police about a pirate station in its area. NJ, by the way,
like Florida, has a law that local enforcement can go after
pirate stations. Lindon NJ agents did.
The result is the end of one pirate, at least for now.
4/9/15 - At least one of the
FCC Commissioners, Michael O'Rielly, has opined that the
make it easier to get rid of pirate stations. O'Rielly
sees no real benefit to the community at all by pirate
operations, and hopes to make it easier for real stations to
sue. Noting that it takes the FCC years to even issue a fine
against many of these stations, O'Rielly wants to give full
authority for legal stations to sue pirates.
BDR Comments: Although
most pirates have few assets, it might be a good idea to
clarify laws to permit stations to initiate proceedings,
either to get court orders to shut down or confiscate the
pirate stations with local law enforcement personnel. It
certainly would provide faster relief than the Enforcement
Bureau. It could be interesting.
4/7/15 - The NAB is on the
move from its long-time place at 1771 N Street NW to South
Capital and M Street SE, directly south of the Capitol and
just north of the Washington National's ballpark.
4/6/15 - iHeartRadio (formerly
Clear Channel) closed on the sale of some 367 tower sites,
generating $360 million in cash. iHeart will lease back the
sites at $20.8 million per year (and forgo about $10.7
million in rental fees to other companies) . The new
landload, Vertical Bridge Holdings (based in Boca Raton)
will also rent space to cellular and other services. The
initial lease term is 30 years, with options for three more
five year terms. There were 44 other tower sites that were
not part of this sale; supposition is that they did not meet
some requirement for transfer, either legally or possibly
structurally, in terms of meeting all the FAA standards.
BDR Comments: Among
the site are some you will easily recognize: WOR, WHAM, WHO,
KFI, KOA, WHAS, WTAM, WTVN and WLW. Eventually, these sites
might follow KABC and WMAL to the sell-off of land, as land
prices could exceed the stations' value.
4/2/15 - As you walk the floor
at NAB, you might notice some low level discussion of a
streaming service coming later this year: What Apple is
going to do with Beats Music.
A lot of folks wonder why Apple would enter the online
streaming game, but realize that when Apple does something
like this, they have a definite, thought out goal in mind.
When iTunes was started, Apple not only re-invented the way
music was sold, they went to great lengths to improve and
include the best codec available at the time: AAC-LC
256kbps, and they also went so far as to publish actual
mastering standards as Mastering for iTunes.
The question is what can Apple do to improve on the existing
streaming sources? Some of the buzz suggests that Apple will
"pass" on the existing formats of the major players and will
be heavily promoting a place to discover new music hosted by
top notch air talent. The European Union has already been
prodded to check it out.
One thing is for sure, Beats - or whatever name is used -
will not be half-baked, but a well-thought out product, of
interest to listeners - and something broadcasters should
4/1/15 - Scripps has
completed its purchase of Journal ... and will soon spin the
broadcast side out from the print side.
3/22/15 - Buckley Broadcasting fades into history
with a double thud, as the KIDD towers are dropped.
Video of the first stick down is here.
3/22/15 - Canada's broadcast regulatory agency,
CRTC, will require cable systems offer a-la-carte
programming. Calling bundles too expensive, the CRTC
will demand users can "pick and pay" for what they want.
Blackouts will not be permiited.
3/22/15 - The NAB Spring Show will kick off by
awarding Jerry Lewis with the NAB's Distinguished Service Award during
the Opening Keynote session on April 13th.
3/19/15 - The "hearings
continue" in Congress for the FCC with some testy comments between
Congressmen and the FCC Commissioners. Net
Neutralilty, transparency, and FM
radio chips in cell phones were among the major issues pressed. It is
especially noteworthy that the House subcommittee chair is a
broadcaster, Greg Walden. He also commented specificallyon
the recent plan hatched to cut most of the field offices as a bad idea.
Wheeler said he is not ready to mandate FM chips activation.
Perhaps expectedly, Wheeler also found disagreement in the testimony of
his Republican colleagues.
3/19/15 - Have we already lost the war? An
interesting report suggests that only 80% of in-car listening is to
traditional radio .. and ... wait for it ...
within three years will drop to 60% The report, from Amy Yong, a
broker for the Australian Company Macquarie Capital, sees services like
satellite radio and Pandora grabbing more listeners, especially as 4G
wireless is expected in as many as 39% of new cars.
3/16/15 - The FCC has announced
Auction 98, with 131 allocations available, is now scheduled for
July 23rd. All are in the commercial band, and a freeze on applications
that affect these allocations has been put into place.
3/16/15 - The reviews of the proposed mergers
between AT&T/Direct TV and Time-Warner/Comcast have been put on hold. A
lawsuit prompted the FCC to put everything on hold for a while.
3/12/15 - The conference call for all field agents,
set by the EB for this afternoon, was called off with only one hour's
3/12/15 - Major concern is being voiced in the
aftermath of a reported
memo at the FCC seeking to close most field offices and lay off at
least 1/2 the staff. The memo, from EB Chief Travis LeBlanc and
Managing Director Jon Wilkins, citeing a study by outside consultants,
proposes a focus on rf spectrum enforcement - and reducing field
offices by 2/3 and staff by 1/2. Their position is that a "fresh look"
is needed at the Bureau, citing changes in technology. The process is
the same one that saw a large number of FCC engineers leave in 1995/6,
when the Commission de-populated the monitoring stations.
3/9/15 - Apple announced the Apple Watch and their
new HBO streaming video service, for some industry watchers, the most
important news related to a lower key plan to stake out a place on new
car control screens for Apple audio streaming.
3/5/15 - Nautel
will show off their new NX 5 and 10 kW transmitter models with a web
broadcast next Wednesday, March 11th.
Sign up free here.
3/3/15 - Rubbing elbows with the FCC?
If you go to the Spring NAB Show, it is possible as the entire slate of
FCC commissioners will attend this year. Will they listen to Radio?
That is another question.
3/3/15 - The Grant County (WA)
Sheriff's Office announced the arrest of a transient who had vandalized
a station belonging to Cherry Creek Radioi north of Quincy. Kyle
Richard Schulz had about $10k in transmission gear in his vehicle, as
well as methamphetamine and the proceeds of another burglary.
2/26/15 - The
Las Vegas Convention Authority has purchased the Riviera hotel,
and will destroy it on the way to adding the another 1.8 million
square feet of display space. The hotel closes May 4th.
2/26/15 - Vote one:
the FCC voted 3-2 to overturn state laws preventing municipalities from
building their own wireless networks. Vote two: Chairman Wheeler's
proposal on Net
Neutrality also was passed 3 to 2.
2/25/15 - The vote
on Net Neutrality is expected on Thursday.
from the Republican commissioners, word is that the vote will be
2/25/15 - The PRSS
(Public Radio Satellite System called off the planned change in audio
levels, scheduled for Thursday the 26th. The changeover date now has
been delayed for several months until late Spring or early Summer to
accommodate more checks and preparation.
2/23/15 - The NAB
announced their 2015 Engineering Achievement Award for radio will go to
Tom King of Kintronic Labs. The TV award went to Richard Friedel. King
has been instrumental in a lot of efforts to improve AM broadcasting,
from the KinStar (low profile) Antenna to his work to address the
various issues faced by AM facilities.
2/19/15 - A retired
radio engineer in the Chicago area was
arrested for billing a station for hundreds of thousands of dollars for parts and work never provided
- including using his own outside company to issue invoices he then
marked "OK to pay." According to the Chicago Tribune, the engineer, John Valenta, had been
convicted of a felony for similar conduct at another station.
(Update: Valenta was indicted in early April.)
The WTB has announced
an NPRM regarding Part 74 RPU stations. The Bureau wants to bring
more digital tech to the RPU frequencies, and modify the Part 74,
subpart D of the Rules, especially to make designating the "center
The FCC has published the proposal for putting radio station
Public Files on
the Internet. Comments are by March 16th, with Reply Comments due
by April 14, 2015.
The NAB is supporting a measure by Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) to require
transparency from the FCC on several points - including publishing new
rules before voting on them and ensuring the cost/benefit of new
regulations makes sense. Of special note is the mandate to make clear
the status of "open rulemakings" - proceedings that crawl along for
years without doing anything. (While trying to foster AM Improvements,
Commissioner Pai and others have pointed out proceedings that are well
over a decade old - and growing older. Another "big" deal: letting any
Commissioner bring a Bureau Action to a vote by the Commission.
2/6/15 - Cumulus
continues its land selloff. As the holder of a number of legacy
stations, Cumulus has land now worth more than the radio stations.
Recently, the company
sold the land from under KABC, Los Angeles for somewhere between
$90 and $125 million,
depending upon who was speaking. Now, WMAL likely is set to move to
diplex somewhere, leaving behind its 75 acre home.
A local paper suggest the eventual sale price could be "hundreds of
millions" - not bad for a company that has been described as
"scrambling for cash."
BDR Comments: What can you say? It is legal - and not the
first time a company looked at land value and decided to take the
money. In the late 80s and 90s many companies built fortunes selling
off land under legacy stations for shopping centers and sub-divisions,
leaving behind stations with highly compromised signals - even left to
daytime only. This, as much as anything could be why many folks think
the FCC's AM Improvement move is too little, too late.
2/6/15 - Amazon is due to release Workmail in Q2
of this year. Said to be
a direct competitor to Gmail and Micrsoft Exchange, Workmail is, in
addition to email, planned to provide calendaring and resource booking,
contact lists and task management, and public folders for $4/month per
2/6/15 - The FCC really has not given proper
attention to the needs of wireless microphone users, according to the
NAB. They note the FCC's incentive auction may reduce the
available frequencies below the current level, deemed to be
insufficient in many cases.
2/5/15 - Major damage at KCBD-TV when an
airplane hit the station's tower and utility pole, kiling one, a
Lubbock doctor. About half the tower (about 400 feet) was lost,
kncking KCBD off the air, along with KJAK-FM. A
surveillance camera shows the hit.
- 2/4/15 - The
FCC's lease at the Portals is running out! The agency has
requested close to $200 million (much of that from auction income) to
either move or "re-stack" the current site. In addition, the FCC plans
to improve the computer systems.
- 1/29/15 - If you were hoping the FCC auctions would
dry up a bit, and discourage more of the auction business, you will not
like the report from the current wireless spectrum auction. The FCC
managed to bring some $44.9 billon (with a "B") to the US Treasury from
the current AWS-3 auction. Congress is going to be tempted.....
- 1/28/15 -
The FAA NOTAM website is up and running. A few folks who have used it
have commented that it is nice that you can specify a longer time
frame. But, it appears you have to register and renew passwords every
90 days. And, it is not coordinated with phone call reports as yet.
Looks like a few kinks to work out!
- 1/26/15 -
What can you say or do when station employees purposely violate the FCC
Rules - several times? In the case of WXNY-FM,
it will cost
$20k, plus a three year compiance plan. It is notable that the
participants announced on the air that what they were doing was
BDR Comments: In addition to the EAS aspect, this
incident also brings up an area that may be getting a closer look from
the EB: non-English programming. For many years, many stations operated
with the knowledge that it was almost certain no one from the FCC spoke
the language - or cared. Recent cautions by the EB about certain
Spanish language hosts who have had pretty foul mouths indicate some
sanctions may be coming. All-in-all, these points clearly call for
better overall control of the content of non-English programming. It is
the licensee that is responsible, even if they do not speak the
- 1/26/15 - An engineer in Phoenix learned how
short-lived Super Bowl credentials could be when he posted a picture of
himsef with them on a Facebook page.
NFL officials learned about it and pulled his credentials. Russ
Knight will no longer be going to the the Super Bowl, and like millions
of others, we be watching at home.
- 1/20/15 - A station in Michigan has apparently been
bitten twice this week with the Crptowall virus. The experience of
WAKV in Ostego, MI is a
reminder to have safe backups and a good policy on which machines
can access the Internet - and how. Once infected, a machine may be
"cleaned" but, unless it is done well, the virus may reappear and
destroy more files. Worse yet, if you try to pay,
it may not be so easy. This
article may help.
- 1/19/15 - The FCC is apparently ready
to tackle two major issues. At this time, the February 26th open
meeting will see action taken on Net Neutraliy and possibly
act to pre-empt state laws that prevent some cities from installing
municipal broadband systems.
- 1/14/15 - Clients of Clear Channel
Satellite Services will not be forced to quickly find a new home.
Satellite Holdings Inc, has officially taken over the company, renaming
itself Orbital Media
Networks, Inc. The company President, Sam Dibrell, Jr. says they
will continue operations at the same Denver location with the same NOC
staff and honor all existing contracts with CCSS clients, pledging to
seamlessly provide the same great service.
- 1/13/15 - The patents in question are
now expired, but the fight over money continues. This relates to the
Patent Troll war over HD radio, with both sides pressing ahead. In
fact, Wyncomm/Delaware Radio Technologies tried - but failed in its
efforts - to kill the lawsuit iBiquity launched against them. A judge
not only refused to vacate the November 2014 declaratory judgement
against Wyncomm/Delaware Radio, but also let the 14 radio companies
consolidate their lawsuits. (W/DRT would rather continue to press the
radio companies for settlements).
- 1/7/15 - Tests are now planned from
the new World Trade Center antenna to quantify over-the-air coverage
from the 1700-foot level of the spire. Transmitter rooms on the 89th
floor will be used to feed the antenna. The turnkey transmitter
installations are to be supplied by GatesAir to the Durst Organization,
which hopes to eventually lease space for 11 TV and 21 Radio stations
atop the tallest building in the US. A report on the tests is expected
- 1/7/15 - It is always sad to see a
station go dark. Usually financial problems are part of the problem.
When an old station has been operating with "non-conforming" zoning, is
it like a time bomb. KIDD, Monterey CA, had its time bomb go off, and
the station has gone dark. The all-sports station's towers had
reached a point where it was considered unsafe to change the beacons.
Without proper zoning, and the ability to rebuild on site, the towers
must come down. According to station management, the costs of moving
are too great, so there company has no plans to rebuild.
- 1/6/15 - We were saddened to learn of
the late November passing of
- 1/2/15 - Another three-letter call
sign has been dropped from its legacy home. CBS sold WIP (610) to
Beasley, which changed the call sign, which dates back to March 1922,
to WTEL. (WIP is not completely gone, it still exists - as WIP-FM - on
the newly renamed 94.1.) (Thanks to Phil
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events - located here