Broadcasters' Desktop Resource

... edited by Barry Mishkind - the Eclectic Engineer    



Greetings from the your friends out on the Desert...

Here are some things you might want to know about:


The FCC got most folks' attention this week with the $1 Million consent Order with iHeart Media. The issue was the Bones-headed choice to run a copy of the 2011 National EAS Test as a "bit." Fortunately, stations will not be fined, largely due to the confusion created by the FCC Rules (11.51 and 11.52), and failure of the FCC and the FEMA to clarify matters and solve the issue.

What made this example of mis-using the alert tones worse than all others was that it came from a satellite-fed program and used the EAN code. Hence, it ran on a bunch of stations (some reports say 70+) and cable systems far from the site of the broadcast, creating alarm in many markets.

A close reading of the FCC Rules says stations must relay an EAN immediately, but also must observe the alert's headers. This led to a short delay by some stations during the 2011 Test, as the FEMA sent out the wrong timestamp. In response, the FCC issued a Public Notice repeating the relay must be immediately. So far, so good. No one  - except broadcast professionals - ever expected that someone would try to run the 2011 Test again.

By the way, all the recent babble about "strict time" and "fuzzy time" did nothing but obscure the real solution: add a "virtual red envelope" to verify EANs. Like the vaporware Part 11 re-write, this could have been quickly implemented nearly four years ago - and would have prevented the spread of the fake Test. Period.

One of the little "secrets" of the Enforcement Bureau has been that many fines were uncollectible merely because the EB waited too long to try to collect. The Statute of Limitations ran out. A filing this week seems to indicate the new EB Chief has another statement to make (in addition to no fake EAS tests nor obscene images on TV): if you don't pay, we will ask the US Attorney to file against you. As an example, a $17k suit just was filed against Birach Broadcasting in Michigan. Others may follow - especially if the EB starts moving the process along faster to prevent NOVs and NALs from "timing out."

There is a DX10 and an FM20B up for sale, some STL dishes, and someone wants a UPI teletype machine. Need something? Need to get something off your shelves?  Just click here. Listings are free to individuals.


Do You Remember?  This week in history:


Broadcast related:

  • 38 years ago (1977) Star Wars exploded in movie theaters.
  • 57 years ago (1958) Jerry Lee Lewis' child bride became known in London. How old was Myra? ****
  • 60 years ago (1955) the Chuck Berry recorded "Maybellene."
  • 171 years ago (1844) Morse Code was demonstrated from Washington to Baltimore with the famous line: "What hath God wrought?"

These events also might toggle a memory cell or two (!):

  • 80 years ago (1935) Babe Ruth hit his last home run.
  • 132 years ago (1883) the Brooklyn Bridge opened. It was immediately offered for sale by Rich Wood.


**** Myra was 13 years old when she married Jerry Lee Lewis. There was uproar - after three poorly attended shows, the rest of the tour was cancelled. In the US he became blacklisted.


For all you over-precise folks, worrying that you might miss the Leap Second later this month, here is something to worry about:

Some models of GPS receivers, including the Jackson Labs LTE-Lite GPSDO, had a firmware bug and have already applied the Leap Second. So, even with all that planning, you might be off by a second!

Solution: relax.  Take a breath.  Oops!  The Leap Second has passed.

Meanwhile, you can read this "discovery," from John Hartzell:

Please enjoy your weekend!


... and now for something completely different:
... all the extra stuff .. some important ... some just interesting.

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