Broadcasters' Desktop Resource

... edited by Barry Mishkind - the Eclectic Engineer    

Paravel Systems L.L.C.

NAB 2011

The Word from The Portals

Almost every year, the FCC brings a "present" for broadcasters.  This year it was a bit hard to tell if it was a present or a penalty.
  • Chairman Genkowski seemed a bit "tone-deaf" in his speech to broadcasters. His vision includes the auctioning of TV spectrum to pursue his wireless broadband plans. Although Genkowski said he was sensitive to broadcasters' concerns, there were no real specific answers provided as yet to what he plans to do. Promises for "models" to demonstrate where the FCC thinks they are leading are still not out, as of mid-April (after the NAB).
  • The long-promised Part 11 NPRM for a re-write was not in evidence. We are still being told "real soon now" (RSN), or "very, very close" ... but - maybe they mean it this time?
    During the Wednesday morning Q&A during NAB, the FCC folks suggested that they might fast-track the process and have the new Rules in place by September 30th. Or not. Either way, about 1/3 of broadcasters and 3/5 of cable operators have already purchased and installed CAP-EAS units.
  • And the posting promised by FEMA for mid-March to list all the EAS receivers that passed their Conformance Acceptance never happened. In fact, we are now told that the manufacturers themselves will be filing information to list their products on the FEMA Knowledge Base ( Digital Alert Systems, Trilithic, and Sage all passed the CA, and should be listed shortly.
  • The FCC has indicated they plan to seek comments on the need to revise or eliminate the Public File.  This is part of the tri-annual requirement to justify the Public File to the Office of Budget and Management (OMB), especially the burden for the collection of information. Comments will be accepted through June 17th.
  • Other FCC actions of late that were talked about at NAB:
    • The renewal cycle and the "question" where stations are asked to declare they were in Violation. (It only refers to violations the FCC has found and cited).
    • The new Policy that stations cannot accept advertising that discriminates. (This one is going to be tested in Court. Check with your DC attorney if you want guidance right now.)
  • FCC's Media Bureau Chief, Peter Doyle, says he is not pleased with the current adoption rate for HD Radio, which he put at around 16%.
  • Meanwhile, Ibiquity's CEO issued statements expressing his impatience with the industry that has not fully embraced his digital transmission system. While claiming 2100 stations using HD Radio and that listening to HD stations now accounts for over half of all radio listening, he wants broadcasters to move faster. 



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