The BDR

The
Broadcasters' Desktop Resource

... edited by Barry Mishkind - the Eclectic Engineer    

Paravel Systems L.L.C.

Notes From All Over -
        ... what's happening in Broadcasting:
  • 9/14/17  - Industry eyes move to Amsterdam, where IBC is convening at the RAI Convention Center.
     

  • 9/13/17  - According to FCC and other reports, some three dozen stations were knocked off the air by Hurricane Irma. Most problems were flood issues rather than loss of towers - Florida stations have been to this dance a few times! About a dozen are back up, with other awaiting the water to recede. On Monday (18th), FCC Chairman Pai and Commissioner Clyburn are to visit the state.
     

  • 9/12/17  - Gordon Smith, head of the NAB, has agreed to a contract extension through 2023.
     

  • 9/8/17  - The NAB reports attendance was down a bit this year - likely due to the hurricanes in Texas and Florida. Appropriate to the confusion of late arrivals and early leavers, about 2000 were in Austin, compared with 2272 in Nashville, and 2170 in Atlanta (2015).
     

  • 9/6/17  - ... and now Florida. Maybe. There is so much speculation where Hurricane Irma will hit, that we just have to wait another day or so. Meanwhile Florida is getting ready. The FEMA has begun to set up, but some broadcasters are readying their plans to ride out the hurricane, as they have been doing since the mid-1920s.
     

  • 9/6/17  - The Fall NAB Radio Show was in Austin this year. Keynote was Ajit Pai. Among the "gifts" to broadcasters, a promise the Main Studio Rule soon will be history, along with an immediate end of the requirement (you may have forgotten, but it is still on the books) that each station have a printed copy of the Rules and Regulations. Pail promised more is coming. At the same time, the station owners were not unclear about what they want: removal of the sub caps that limit what they can own in one market. Additionally, there was pleasure to hear that over 60 pirate stations were "cited" in the FCC's  whack-a-mole operation.
      

  • 9/117  - The FCC announced that 2017 Regulatory fees - although still unpublished - are due on September 26, before 11:59 PM, lest a 25% penalty and interest fall on you, with a possible "red flag." 
     

  • 8/29/17  - The nearly unprecedented rainfall on Houston and surrounding areas from Hurricane Harvey has stressed most broadcasters. Some sites were flooded, but reports seem to indicate most transmitter sites (like Senior Road, where most FM's are) continue to be accessible and operating. Channel 11 got flooded out of their studio.
     
    Overall, nine stations were reported off the air, but most stations have survived, often sharing programming and pitches for donations to the people left stranded. The biggest challenge: getting staff to and from the studios over blocked and damaged roads. 
     
    This might be a good time to check your plans should an unexpected disaster hits your station(s). For that we offer up a couple of disaster recovery articles well worth your time.

    The Cellular industry did not do as well. By today, according to the FCC's Disaster Information Reporting System, nearly 400 cell sites (5% or total sites) are down. with some others limited to text only.
     

  • 8/28/17  - Tom Osenkowsky passed away Sunday. One of the nicest and more talented guys in broadcasting, with a wonderful sense of humer.


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  • 8/16/17  - Fire broke out on the antenna mast of the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada. The 4AM fire was extinguished about 3 hours later after calling some 30 firefighters to climb up into the cramped mast. Power to all the radio and TV facilities was cut during the fire.
     

  • 8/10/17  - The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association has announced the dates for the 2017 Broadcasters' Clinic in Madison. October 10-12 are the dates, with special room rates until September 28th.
     

  • 8/4/17  - Mooretronix is temporarily on "hold" while owner Bob Moore is recovering from a motorcycle accident in Alaska.  
     

  • 8/3/17 - The total number of applications in the latest Window for AM Improvement was 1081.  
     

  • 8/2/17 - the FCC is now back to Five members as Brendan Carr and Jessica Rosenworcel are confirmed.

  • 7/25/17 - Did you know the FCC has to be re-authorized from time to time? This is, in fact, one of those times, and Congress needs to re-authorize the FCC or it goes out of business. The last time the FCC was re-authorized was 1990. This term would run through 2022.
     

  • 7/23/17 - Congressional Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.)  just introduced The Viewer Protection Act of 2017, offering $1 Billion or so relief to reimburse TV stations as well as FM stations that are harmed by the coming Spectrum Repack activity. 
     

  • 7/14/17 - Estimates for the costs of the Spectrum Repack have now exceeded the amount budgeted by the FCC and Congress by about $500 millon. The FCC is to "vet" the proposed expenses and give approval or not. Meanwhile the 39-month clock to implement changes appears to be running.
     

  • 7/13/17 - With the upcoming Window for some AM stations to acquire FM translators, the FCC has arranged for a web-based tutorial on how to file the applications - and who is eligible.
     

  • 7/3/17 - ETRS V2 - The FCC announced in a Public Notice that they want every station to register (again) for the upcoming NPT later this summer.

    The FCC Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau notice tells all EAS participants they must create an FCC Username within the FCC?s Commission Registration System (CORES) to access the 2017 EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS). While further information is coming, it looks like all stations have to 'start over' with ETRS, unless the FCC changes things in the next couple of months.

    At least, it will allow easier entry - they say - for multiple station sites.
     

  • 7/1/17 - The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved the FCC's change in paperwork requirements - specifically ending the need to save in the Public Information File and correspondence received by the station.
     

  • 6/29/17 - It is now official: President Trump picks Brendan Carr for the open seat on the Commission. His nomination will go forward, paired with that of Jessica Rosenworcel, to the Senate for confirmation.  

  • 6/22/17 - In amongst all the bureaucratic stuff going on, the FCC has been busy with some items that affect broadcasters - :

    • The Commission has now formally adopted the Blue Alert - another law enforcement problem code - and issuing an NPRM shortly.

      The BDR Notes: Many see this as either just political pandering or a "feel good" addition to EAS. The FCC continues in total non-motion on the Part 11 (EAS) re-write, expected only six or seven years ago.
       

    • In testimony before Congress, Commissioner Mike O'Rielly continues the "war" against pirates, but seeking more "tools" to combat the "whack-a-mole" pattern in recent years.
       

    • Chairman Ajit Pai has managed a reduction in expenses and employees at the FCC. Telling Congress he can "do more with less." Pai called it a normal response to the pressures to make government more efficient - although he noted the FCC "pays for itself" by fees, etc. and essentially does not cost the government. A graph in the budget shows the lowest number of employees in a long time.
       

    • Chairman Pai also has stated that the FCC desperately needs re-organization of its structure to deal with current regulatory needs.
       
      The BDR Notes: This is an understatement. The Bureaus and staffing reflect the way things were several decades ago (can you say pre-Internet?) and truly need attention. Both procedures and Staff need help in reducing the tremendous delays in handling matters that currently define many Commission issues.
       

    • The new head of the Enforcement Bureau was announced: Rosemary Harold. Chairman Pai notes his hope that the EB can get back on track after the previous head opted for huge fines and little action.
       

    • The comment period on the deletion of the Main Studio Rule is getting ready to close. The initiative has has gotten heavy support from companies large and small.
       
      The BDR Notes: But will access by Internet email or voicemail be sufficient for stations to truly serve their listeners. The old rule of two people sitting around all day at a "studio" has been outdated since satellite program delivery blossomed. On the other hand, many point out that there really needs to be easy access to a live person for the station to truly be a part of its community.
       

    • The "Random" EEO Audit list was released this week.
       
      The BDR Notes: Do we really have to point out this is a political hot potato? The pressure for EEO matters is from Congress. Although the FCC has made a change that will help many stations - using the Internet for advertising openings - the tree-killing paperwork and hassles connected to the EEO rules are enormous time and financial burdens. Perhaps the current FCC leadership will manage more positive changes. The FCC announcement and list is here.
       

  • 6/14/17 - President Donald Trump has signaled (by a tweet) his intention to nominate former Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel to a return engagement as Commissioner  for a five-year term. Among the names being suggested for the third Republican seat is Brendan Carr, a former staffer for Mr. Pai and currently the acting FCC General Counsel.
     
    By the way, terms for both Chairman Ajit Pai and Commissioner Mignon Clyburn run out at the end of June. It is expected President Trump will nominate both for a new term.
     

  • 6/7/17 - The next AM translator Window was announced by the FCC. It opens on July 26 and is designed for Class C and Class D radio stations - low powered and daytimers that did not participate in last year's translator-fest. WINDOW: The FCC says the Window will be open from July 26 to August 2 - One week! A "freeze" on FM minor applications will also be in force..
     

  • 6/6/17 - The FCC has released information on the Main Studio Rules. The Comment Period is from now until July 3rd. Reply Comments will then be accepted until July 17th. The matter is known as Docket 17-106, where you can comment.
     

  • 6/2/17 - The FCC and OSHA have produced a booklet on tower safety. A free download, you can get it here.
     

  • 6/1/17 - The EAS you do not want: According to Philadelphia's NBC 10, there was an accidental nuclear warning issued to two New Jersey counties in late May. Then Emergency Managers decided to use Reverse 911 to tell residents there was no such emergency. (According to the EMs, only 50% of the robo calls were answered - likely many by voicemail.) Is this an example of "Failure to Communicate?"
     

  • 5/19/17 - The FCC set several things in motion this week:

    Comments are already rolling in on eliminating the Main Studio Rule. While most are in favor, some, including Commissioner Minon Clyburn noted the main studio is often the only physical tie a broadcaster has to the local community and by eliminating the rule, "we are embracing a world in which automated national programming is the new normal."
     

  • 5/9/17 - First came the wave of stations with large directional antennas selling the land, leaving the stations as daytimers with minimal or no night power at all. Then came diplexing, which allowed many stations to sell more land, and end up with more downgrades.
     
    MDCL power management came along next, where stations saved significant electrical costs by varying the carrier power.
     
    Now, iHeart's KXMR, Bismark, ND, is asking the FCC for permission to abandon their 50 kW daytime authority and site to run 4 kW around the clock from the night-time site. With such great conductivity in the upper mid-West, 4 kW is more than enough to cover Bismark. A quick guess is the electric bill will drop almost 80%, which could be attractive to some other stations. By the way, this 92% daytime power reduction is a "minor modification."
     

  • 5/9/17 - The NAB is asking again that the FCC alter the spectrum repack time-table. Noting the effect on many FM stations, the NAB asks for more "flexibility" on the proposed timeline.


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  • 5/8/17 - Sinclair Broadcast Group has signed a deal to acquire the Tribune Broadcast Group. The 42 TV stations in 33 markets, along with WGN America cable channel and some additional assets, including WGN, Chicago, will add to Sinclair's 173 TV stations, for a total of over 215. The reported price: $3.9 Billion.
     

  • 4/24/17 - The FCC gave the industry a present with a ruling that stations can use the Internet to recruit new workers. While this reduces the number of outlets needed when seeking a staffer, the Commission still expects stations to do "outreach" within the community, especially when organizations request notification of openings.
     

  • 4/22/17 - According to MarketWatch, Bob Pittman plans to warn iHeartMedia investors in the next quarterly report that its survival is uncertain - perhaps not lasting another year. The $20 Billion mountain of debt owed by the company continues to be a tremendous burden. 
     

  • 4/21/17 - The FEMA released its report on the 2016 EAS NPT in September. A copy can be seen here.  A test is expected to be announced during the NAB Show for this Fall, likely September.
     

  • 4/20/17 - FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn has said she will stay on the FCC past her June 30th term expiration. (FCC commissioners can stay on until the end of the next Congress.) Speculation had been that she might step down to prevent the FCC from having a quorum to do business. At this point, she could well serve into around 2020.
      

  • 4/13/17 - The clock is running on the move to AMC18. Since this slot requires 2 degree dish specifications, a number of stations are reporting problems with the new slot. Several companies are hard at work helping stations in the transition deal with small dishes and frozen hardware, etc.   (See 3/20/17, below)
     

  • 4/12/17 - The FCC released new figures on the number of stations. With all the actions last year for LPFM and translators, their numbers jumped.
                AM - 4,666, compared with 4,725 in 2014 and 4,301 in 1970
                FM - 6,754, compared with 2,157 in 1970
             LPFM - 1,924, compared with 724 in 2014 and 0 in 1970
    Translators - 7,542, compared with  0 in 1970
     

  • 4/11/17 - The FCC is stepping up its publicity about its Consumer Complaint Center, with a demo on how to file a complaint or gain information. A summary of complaint data is here.
     

  • 4/11/17 - A petition from Prometheus asks the FCC to rescind the new siting ruies claiming that they could allow 1 mV/M contours to where translators could cause problems for LPFM stations.
     

  • 4/11/17 - Roy Stewart, a former Chief of the Media Bureau and 44 year veteran at the FCC has passed away. His obit is here.
     

  • 4/10/17 - As we approach the Spring NAB Show, speculation is growing that the FCC will announce the next set of translator windows - or action to remove the sub-caps on AM/FM stations. Many expect the announcement in Las Vegas.
     

  • 4/4/17 - Broadcast manufacturer and consultant - and a really nice person - Ron Nott has passed away at 83. His obituary is here.
     

  • 3/30/17 - The APRE (Association of Public Radio Engineers) has announced their Engineering Achievement Award for 2017. The award is being given to Dan Mansergh, the Chief Technology Officer for KQED, San Francisco.
     

  • 3/27/17 - GatesAir made a huge sale to Cumulus - 70 transmitters, some AM and some FM.
     

  • 3/23/17 - Two stations are officially going "dark" this week. WGPC in Albany, GA was damaged by a storm and the owner, Cumulus, has decided not to rebuild the station. In Chattanooga, TN, WFLI's owners are signing off on March 31 after 56 years. A history of WFLI and video from 1992 here.  UPDATE: The Benns family did sell. $100,000 cash for the license. A move may be in the future.
     

  • 3/20/17 - The "Adjustment Period" is running for stations to realign their satellite dishes from AMC-8 to the "mid-sky" AMC-18 before June. This is the time for stations to stop and check their dishes. For more than a few, the hardware may be difficult to loosen, the dish may have obstructions - or - the dish may not support 2-degree spacing of satellites, something not so important in the old slot.  Companies such as Mark Johnson's LiNKUP can identify problems and make adjustments now, while there is time to do so without panic.
     

  • 3/17/17 - Need your FM fear the Repack? Of course, not all information is in, but the CPB studies for NCEFM staions suggests a number of commercial stations will also be affected - from downtime during repack or loss of site.
    It is probably worth checking with your consultant.
     

  • 3/10/17 - International Crystal Manufacturing in Oklahoma City announced it will close, after 66 years, as they were running out of stock.
     

  • 3/15/17 - A week after a judge ruled against the Cumulus debt restructuring, iHeart has put out a proposal to do something similar. Some investment counselors are saying bankruptcy is inevitable, with Cumulus now down to 58 cents a share and asking staffers to join the sales efforts.
     

  • 3/14/17 - This FCC announced Chairman Ajit Pai will address the NAB Show on April 25th. He is expected to discuss the changes he is seeking to make the FCC more responsive to broadcasters.
     

  • 3/13/17 - This past week, at least two more stations were added to those who have been hacked. A Sage box at WZZY in Winchester, IN was hacked with a "Zombie Alert" and a Long Island religious station had its RDS hacked.

    Both cases appear to have involved gear exposed to the Internet without a firewall. It is getting more and more dangerous to operate without keeping your gear from being improperly exposed.

    One quick check to see if you have open ports is the free check from Gibson Research.
     

  • 3/8/17 - It appears the standoff between Rich Broadcasting and American Tower (ATC) is headed to an end. Websites for KMTN, KZJH, and KJAX invite listeners to get the station on their computers. Rich Broadcasting, in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, has owed ATC rent for its three stations for up to five years, but says ATC is charging rates far above similar sized markets, where stations are paying as little as 1/6 what ATC is seeking from Rich. Wednesday, the stations are still on the air, but Rich has no idea for how long.
     

  • 3/8/17 - FCC Chairman Pai was nominated to serve a further five years on the FCC by President Trump. Pai's comments.
     

  • 3/3/17 - A reminder that directional stations need to be alert to construction in their area: an 11-acre solar array is said to "severely distort" the pattern of WADB, Asbury Park, NJ. (Note Exhibit 34, at the end.)
     

  • 3/1/17 - Nautel announced their yearly gathering at the NAB has been changed from the Flamingo to the Paris  Convention Center due to construction at the Flamingo hotel. The Nautel Users Group (NUG) will meet at 9AM on Sunday April 23 in the Vendome A ballroom. Some 400 are expected to attend. Paris is at 3655 S. Las Vegas Blvd, and is on the Monorail.
     

  • 2/28/17 - The former Chief Engineer for Chicago NPR station WDCB, John Valenta, pleaded guilty to felony theft - taking $400k over the past 16 years. The plea agreement specifies at least six years in prison. The theft ran for many years until a new station manager came in and discovered the problem. (- thanks Tom Taylor)
     

  • 2/24/17 - A real sign of change: the FCC has permitted a company owned 100% by non-Americans to control broadcast stations. The Australian couple Richard and Sharon Burns' company, Frontier, has two stations in Alaska and two in Texas. Will newspaper/broadcast combos be next?
     

  • 2/17/17 - Console manufacturer Wheatstone has purchased the assets and intellectual of Pacific Research and Engineering from GatesAir. Wheatstone now is the home for Auditronics, Audion/VoxPro, PR&E, AudioArts and Wheatstone brands. The new PR&E line will be represented exclusively by SCMS in the USA.
     

  • 2/15/17 - The "Future of Radio Audio Symposium" left attendees thinking the future was bright. FCC Chairman Pai told the North American Broadcasters Association, meeting at the NAB headquarters, that "under my Chairmanship, radio will not be neglected.  Pai's comments are here.
     

  • 2/9/17 - FCC Commissioner O'Rielly has brought more suggested changes to the table, including bringing old proceedings to a close (some a decade old) and an amnesty window for fixing issues without incurring fines.
     

  • 2/8/17 - And the FCC is making more changes. Chairman Pai  has noted his approval of reversing former Chairman Wheeler's Net Neutrality stance. Stating that market must determine the direction, Pai sees no trouble with the "zero data" rates for some cell services, if using their services, and has closed investigations into the matter.
     
    Other changes include telling EB Staff not to make Consent Decrees without a full Commission vote.
     

  • 2/8/17 - Several Florida stations were knocked off air by severe weather. Repairs are in progress as the stations worked to get back on in some fashion.
     

  • 2/7/17 - The FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai has acted on two changes to enhance transparency. He accepted a suggestion from Commissioner Clyburn to issue a one-page fact sheet to summarize proposed items on FCC meetings. Also, agreed was to no longer allow Staff to make "substantive edits" to any item after circulation but before consideration at a meeting.
     

  • 2/7/17 - The Spectrum Auction action continues with the FCC lifting some "silence" orders. Among the companies that have said something, Fox announced they expect to get $350 million and not change their operations, Sinclair is expecting $313 million, Tribune is expecting about $190 million, Gray is anticipating $90.8 million, and Central Michigan U will shut its station for $14 million.  The top count for one station: $244 million for WRNN, Rye Brook, NY, a family owned station. The 39 month transition is to start March 30th.
     

  • 2/3/17 - The "New" FCC has moved quickly to rescind the rules on political ad record keeping and due diligence that were passed in the last days of the Wheeler Commission. In a statement, it was noted the Media Bureau did not have the authority to issue such rules.  (Thanks Cary Tepper)
     

  • 2/3/17 - The NCC arm of the FCC has reached out to warn stations using Barix boxes to make sure they are protected. A spreadsheet appeared with over 240 IP addresses responding to "Barix," asking for those who know to let others know of the danger.

    2/2/17 - Entercom will sign off KDND 107.9 on Feb 8th and turn in the license. According to the Sacramento Bee, Entercom hopes this will end any FCC action related to the ill-fated "Hold your Wee for a Wii" contest, especially in connection with the merger with CBS.
     

  • 2/2/17 - Entercom has entered into a merger arrangement with CBS Radio, which, if approved by shareholders and regulatory agencies, is expected to close later this year. The combined company will be known as Entercom, headed by current Entercom President David Field. The result of the merger will be the second largest radio organization, with 244 stations in 23 of the top 25 markets. The combined value was said to be $1.7 Billion. Of course, some divestiture will likely be expected.
     

  • 2/1/17 - The Voice of America (VOA) is 75 today. Originated during WWII, the first broadcast was to Nazi Germany. Now, the VOA services reach some 236 million around the world via over the air and Internet feeds.
     

  • 1/31/17 - The Ajit Pai-led FCC voted unanimously to delete the requirement that broadcast stations keep copies of all correspondence from the public in the Public Information File. Pai had previous said he was readying the "weed whacker" to eliminate outdated "rules that should go."
     

  • 1/24/17 - And now the FCC is moving - to a new building at 45 L Street. The current site (since 1999),The Portals, was considered to be a bit more isolated than desired. Among the new neighbors for the FCC in the area called NoMa (North of Massachusetts Avenue) is NPR. Move-in is expected to be complete by November 2019.
     

  • 1/23/17 - President Trump has nominated Ajit Pai to be the new FCC Chairman.  Both Commissioners Clyburn and O'Rielly supported the nomination.
     

  • 1/21/17 - Several stations around the country apparently had been hacked yesterday. For example, the Louisville Courier-Journal said WCHQ-LP had its program hijacked for a profane loop that attacked Donald Trump, for about 15 minutes. In WCHQ's situation, it was their Barix STL that was hacked.  Other stations said to have been compromised, according to radioinsight.com: including WIAH-LP Evansville IN, WMGC Murfreesboro TN, and KCGF-LP San Angelo TX. The station manager at WCHQ commented that all of them were using Barix boxes which had not been protected.
     

  • 1/12/17 - Court tells American Tower they cannot evict stations in WY and ID owing $500k.
     

  • 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 conclude.
     

  • 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.
     

  • 1/9/17 - Norway announced that they were going to shut down all analog FM radio by the end of the year. Bureaucrats say there are now enough DAB receivers to justify ending the FM service.

     

  • 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...
     

  • 12/28/16 - 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.
     

  • 12/23/16 - 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.
     

  • 12/20/16 - 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.
     

  • 12/19/16 - EEO is the subject of many groans as stations try to jump through all the various and complex hoops that are part of the Rules. 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 Jan 30th.
     

  • 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 Chairman 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 Senate.
     

  • 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.
     

  • 12/1/16 - The FCC 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.
     

  • 11/23/16 - 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. More info here. (Thanks: Tim Portzline)
     

  • 11/22/16 - 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.
     

  • 11/20/16 - 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.
     

  • 11/16/16 - 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.
     

  • 11/6/16 - 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 site. Some more pix.

    UPDATE: The police now say it was not terrorism, but a rather unfortunate man with "mental illness."
     

  • 10/19/16 - As the Beasley purchase of Greater Media shakes down, a $24 million has essentially brought back together the former Lincoln-Financial group 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 rammed his 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. Bob Cauthen of SCMS explains why broadcasters need not worry about using BW Broadcast transmitters sold through SCMS. BW Broadcast CEO Scott Incz 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 now 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 way.
     

  • 9/12/16 - Cumulus announces a 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 listings.
     

  • 9/6/16 - The FCC has released the 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 stated in paragraph 49 of the Report and Order.
     

  • 8/31/16 - 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.
     

  • 8/31/16 - 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 knowing that 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 August 29th.
     

  • 8/19/16 - 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.
     
    Two articles here might be of help to stations fighting cell companies.
     

  • 8/12/16 - 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 future.
     

  • 8/8/16 - 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 2009. More 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 application!
     

  • 7/19/16 - 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 Net Neutrality - 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 the case.
     

  • 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 working on 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 are affecting 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 major 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 breaks.
     

  • 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 information here.
     

  • 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 "silence."
     

  • 4/11/16 -  Broadcast Electronics announced today that the company is now fully owned by its VP Engineering, Brian Lindermann. Lindermann has acquired all outstanding units and is 100% BE, under the company name IIC Acquisitions.
     

  • 4/7/16 -  Another spate of hijacked Barix boxes was noted this week, as a Colorado station had its 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 year.  
     

  • 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 winds blow. 
     

  • 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.
     

  • 2/26/16 - 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 released the latest EAS NPRM. It goes mto areas that surprised most EAS advocates.
     

  • 1/29/16 - The FCC has mandated radio stations begin putting their Public 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 prsshelp@npr.org or 800-971-7677.
     

  • 1/8/16 - Bob 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.
     

2016
 

  • 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 all remaining 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 business.
     

  • 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 reason, 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: Harold Hallikainen)
     

  • 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. On 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)
     

  • 12/3/15 - In an address to the inaugural dinner to give an award regarding efforts to advance "Internet Independence" 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 ratings.

    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.  A longer version with the setup.
     

  • 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 (storm/flood/blackout/etc).
     
    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 it here
     

  • 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.
     
    Analysis here 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 identified.
     

  • 10/20/15 - The FCC released information regarding the upcoming Auction of TV spectrum, Among the interesting aspects are 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 $1million+.
     

  • 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 - VoxPro.
     

  • 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 controversy.
     

  • 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 found here.
     

  • 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, the 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.
     

  • 9/2/15 - 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" is here.
     

  • 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 the air.
     

  • 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 shutdown.
     

  • 8/13/15 - The FCC Chairman has promsied 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 the 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 FCC 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 going on.
     

  • 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 future.
     

  • 7/9/15 - 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 iheartmedia.com
     

  • 6/25/15 - 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. Meanwhile, 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 Beverage!)

    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. Check 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 pirates 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 what 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 Legislature passed 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+ hours).
    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 ahead. 
     

  • 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.
     

  • 4/30/15 - 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 accordingly.
     

  • 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 are here.
     

  • 4/20/15 - Norway has announced that they 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 2017.
     

  • 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 Commission should 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 not ignore.
     

  • 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 notice.
     

  • 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. Despite requests from the Republican commissioners, word is that the vote will be party-line.
     

  • 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.)
     

  • 2/17/15 - 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 frequency" easier.
     

  • 2/13/15 - 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.
     

  • 2/11/15 - 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 user.
     

  • 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 illegal.

    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 language! 
     

  • 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 in February.
     

  • 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 hence 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 Rick Neace.
     

  • 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 Harris)

2015
 

There are a lot more older news items and events - located here

 
 

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