Broadcasters' Desktop Resource

... edited by Barry Mishkind - the Eclectic Engineer    

Henry Engineering

Notes From All Over -
        ... what's happening in Broadcasting:

  • 2/13/20 - The FCC has announced its budgetary plans for Fiscal Year 2021, with the FCC keeping 1,448 Full-Time Equivalent employees and asking for a 1.2% budget increase to $343,070,000. Additionally, the FCC has asked for almost $135 million for spectrum auctions. You can read the FCC's plan here.

  • 2/11/20 - It was sixty years ago when Congress began efforts to stop or curb Payola in the broadcast industry. DJs Wesley Hopkins of KYW in Cleveland and Stan Richard from station WILD in Boston testified at hearings, each admitting to receiving $12,000 or more in 1958 and 1959. They claimed the money was "listening fees" from the record companies for "evaluating the commercial possibilities" of songs.
    On February 11, 1960, President Eisenhower condemned Payola. Quickly Congress piled on, saying Payola was an abuse of the public trust - the airwaves being the property of the people of the USA. The FCC moved to make Payola a crime. Among those affected: Dick Clark (American Bandstand) and Alan Freed, a DJ in Cleveland. Clark recovered his career, Freed did not.

  • 2/7/20 - Chairman Pai has outlined his plans for C-Band. He wants to pay satellite providers nearly $10 Billion, plus "transition" costs. The Commission has now released several documents, including a "Fact Sheet" ...  185 pages of material on how the Commission sees things developing. As satellite providers are on board, this will likely be voted during the February 28th Open Meeting. An auction is posited toward the end of 2020. Broadcasters may not like sections like paragraphs 119-121, 130-131, and 139.

  • 2/6/20 - Next Thursday, Feb 13th is World Radio Day, this year set to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of Marconi's first broadcast. A three-hour live program is to be broadcast from WPSC FM (in partner with Outside Radio in Bologna, Italy) from Villa Griffone, Italy - Marconi's home - in cooperation.

  • 1/27/20 - The President signed the PIRATE Act, which raises the fines for unauthorized opertation to $2 million.

  • 1/27/20 - Senate Commerce committee has passed the SMART Act, which seeks to set parameters for an auction to re-align 280 MHz of the 3.7 - 4.2 GHz or C-Band. The Spectrum Management And Reallocation for Taxpayers Act assigns payments to satellite carriers and receivers for costs of movement to allow 5G operations in the area. (This bi-partisan Bill, cannot, of course, go anywhere until the Senate Impeachment Trial is over. )

  • 1/27/20 - More layoffs have been reported this week, now totaling about 1500 from iHeart. Ohio Senator Brown has said he would start hearings if iHeart cannot explain why huge bonuses are being paid to executives while so many are laid off.

  • 1/17/20 - The FCC has noted that at least 15 stations in Florida and the Virgin Islands failed to file renewal applications and are in danger of being deleted on February 1st - over half of them LPFMs.

  • 1/15/20 - Major layoffs have been reported in small to medium markets around the country at iHeart Media. Reports seem to place the size of the cuts to 850 to 1000 persons. Several have commented that this was the sad but expected logical outcome for large companies from the  elimination of the Main Studio Rule on January 1, 2018. Some small/medium market stations have lost their entire air staff - many with long years of tenure - and will be programmed centrally. 

  • 12/20/19 - The FCC has changed the renewal process a bit. Due to the recent decision by the US Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit), stations are now required to show compliance with 73.3555, which had been deleted by the FCC, but is now back in place, and will be added back to the renewal form, when the Office of Management and Budget gives approval.
    In the meantime stations with pending applications - or those filing before the updated form is readied - are required to file an amendment via the LMS database showing compliance with 73.3555, or explain as necessary before any action on renewals will happen.

  • 12/18/19 - FEMA and WEA start working together. The day after the FCC PSHSB issued a notice that the FEMA IPAWS was not ready to support certain improvements to the WEA as previously expected, the FEMA announced: "We successfully turned up IPAWS support for WEA 2.0 at 3:28 this morning. The first WEA 2.0 message processed through IPAWS was a Snow Squall Warnings in central NY issued at 15:19 UTC"  If the cellular companies get on board, the warning systems will be in position to reach more people in case of emergencies.


Henry Engineering

It takes less than 30 seconds to sign up for our free one-time-a-week Newsletter. Just click here .
Looking for the article index list?  It is right here - just click and see!

  • 12/13/19 - The FCC has released further information on the Auction 106 of FM CPs on April 28, 2020, and additionally noticed an FM Minor Change Freeze from January 29 to February 11, 2020.

  • 12/13/19 - We do not normally spend a lot of time reporting on pirate stations. They usually ignore the FCC until a Field Agent turns up, leading to an NAL, which they do not pay, and they tend to pop up elsewhere. Today, two Public Notices announce forthcoming NALs for $600k.

  • 12/12/19 - The FCC has moved past a Rulemaking and has issued a Report and Order to address several aspects of NCEFM and LPFM applications and licensing, to remove some restrictions on LPFMs, change the definition of minor changes, and change comparison processing and licensing rules..

  • 12/2/19 - FCC's approach to C-Band is becoming clearer, but not something broadcasters are going to like.

  • 12/2/19 - New York Broadcasters are mourning the loss of the loss of John Lyons, one of the major broadcast engineers in New York City, who passed away from a heart attack last Friday at the age of 71. Over the years Lyons worked for many New York City stations, including operations at the Empire State Building. Most recently, he was in charge of engineering for the Durst Organization and was instrumental in the work on the broadcasting facilities on the new World Trade Center as well as the 4 Times Square site.

  • 11/26/19 - WKRP LIVES!  Forty-one years and the TV series still rings true to so many in our industry. We offer you two links to what is perhaps the most famous TV episode ever about a broadcast station. It kind of makes everyone a bit nostalgic for radio of the 1970s. The late Gordon Jump, as Station Manager Arthur Carlson, had the line everyone remembers: "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."  If you have not seen this in a while, just remember: no turkeys were harmed in the filming - and Stan Freberg would have approved the episode.

  • 11/22/19 - This will be interesting. At their November meeting, the FCC has officially proposed to allow all-digital AM operations. Among the comments in the NPRM, this would reduce interference from LED lights and encourage music formats. You might have thoughts on this...

  • 11/17/19 - It is not too early to set your plans in motion for the 2020 NAB Spring Show. Next year, it will run Sunday through Wednesday. If you want to register and get a free floor pass, cleck here: LV8845

    Henry Engineering

    It takes less than 30 seconds to sign up for our free one-time-a-week Newsletter. Just click here .
    Looking for the article index list?  It is right here - just click and see!

  • 10/30/19 - If you find pockets of interference against your AM from LED stoplights or bad transformers, you might welcome the FCC's "Radio Frequency Service Interference Complaint Portal."  There are three categories: Public Safety, Enterprise, and Consumer. Let us hope that reports filed there get some definite action.

  • 10/30/19 - Another NPRM (19-310) has been opened, this one regarding the amount of duplication of programming -  traditionally called "simulcasting." The Commission wants to know if the rule, 73.3556, needs to be modified or deleted.  

  • 10/25/19 - The FCC has opened an Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM MB Docket 19-282) seeking comment on changing rules that prohibit license renewal for stations that own sites but will not make the site available for other broadcasters. The rules, dating to 1945, were initially made at a time when fewer sites existed. Still, according to the FCC, they have seen no instance where the rules are needed. 

  • 10/24/19 - Another round of power cuts have been made in California " to reduce and/or prevent fires." More generator sales and more angry people. Richard Rudman's tips on keeping your plant operative during these and other emergency situations is worth your time. Here are some good tips.

  • 10/15/19 - When Guidance is Hard to Find: For years the FCC has stated that using the Self Inspection Checklist - and passing each part - will virtually guarantee a station will have no problems, violations, nor fines. This is especially important during License Renewal Season. The Checklist was also the foundation for all ABIP inspections.

    Yet, those folks paying attention will notice the Checklists posted on the FCC site are still dated 2009. A lot has changed, making some items outdated, others contradictory. Unfortunately, despite repeated efforts to get help from the FCC EB and others to clarify items on the Checklist, the best we have gotten so far is "when the Checklist is updated, it will be posted on our site."


  • 10/14/19 - The station may run PSAs, and some staff may work with various service clubs and charities. Not too often do we see the technical guys getting "out there," too. Our BDR picture this week displays how one person reached out. We are still looking for a picture of him pushing it.

  • 10/14/19 - If you planning to file Forms 301, 302, 318, 319, 340, 349, or 350 online, be aware of the transition from CDBS to LMS. On September 25, seven different applications relating to CPs and licensing for radio stations changed and/or moved from the existing CDBS database system to the FCC's newer Licensing and Management System (LMS). If you go looking on CDBS, you might no longer find the applications until you navigate to LMS. On LMS, use the "purpose" to find the applications, as the Form numbers are not shown on the LMS.

  • 9/12/19 - It is clear now that Entercom is suffering from an apparent major network system attack over the past weekend. The company will not confirm, but reports seem to indicate the entry point was a programming side computer. One report says a ransom demand for $500k has been received.
    At last report Entercom email is finally back on line (employees had been told to use personal email this week for necessary communications). Internet is marginal, IT personnel have been putting in long hours, warning people not to connect laptops to the networks. One report displayed what appears to be an internal memo, describing the situation and telling employees not to say anything outside the company. Progress, but you had better believe they will be more careful going onward. And, yes, telephones still work.

  • 9/11/19 - The FCC has released information for FM, LPFM, and  translator stations affected by the television RePack. Your costs may be reimbursed. The information is here. Detailed information is here, also, the required eligibility criteria, the form and forms tutorials, and a filing dates, including a preliminary October 15th deadline are included.

  • 9/10/19 - Consolidation in Tower-land: Grain Management has sold some 400 towers on 100 leases to American Tower Corporation (ATC). The $500 million deal  is said to put ATC on pace to add some 6,000 sites before this year closes. (Did you know ATC now holds approximately 171,000 sites around the world - 41,000 in the USA? ATC was founded as an outgrowth of American Radio Systems in 1995.)

  • 8/19/19 - The FCC PSHSB has released a Report on the 37 hour Internet failure on the CenturyLink system in December 2018. For those that think the Internet is the only way EAS should be distributed, this, along with the reports of Internet failure during fires, etc, should be illuminating.
    The event, on December 27th, affected over 22 million users for some 37 hours. Over 17 million people lost access to 911, millions of other calls misfired.
     Apparently a bad packet with a "broadcast address and no expiration date" was the cause.  

  • 8/15/19 - The new rules/procedures for handling interference between FM stations and translators are now in effect. The new criteria includes a protected zone of 46 dBu. In effect, outside the zone, interference complaints will not be admitted. Overly simplified, in general, the 45 dBu is about 83 miles for 100 kW Class C, and 35 miles for Class A stations. There is a new "threshold" of non-connected complainers before the FCC will look at issues. One good point: if there is interference, translators will be allow to move almost anywhere on the band to cure it. (Public Notice)

  • 8/7/19 - Today was the 2019 NPT and early reports are that it shows a lot of work is needed. Much more information is on the EAS Page.

  • 8/5/19 - Another attempted copper theft resulted in a death in Tulsa over the past weekend (another recent one was in late May), and an arrest of the thief's girlfriend for murder. Wondering how to protect your ground system? For a good answer, we revisit Jay White's discussions about Gorilla Snot.

  • 7/30/19 - An extension of time has been granted for those wishing to comment on the FCC's EEO review. Comments are now due September 30, with Reply Comments due November 4th.

  • 7/22/19 - The FCC issued a Public Notice late on Friday to seek some more "focused" comment on the proposals to give some of the C Band to G5 interests. The Comment and Reply deadlines are short (August 7 and 14, respectively) so if you want to let the FCC know what C Band means to you, the time is short.

  • 6/27/19 - Cumulus announced the sale of WABC, New York City, for $12.5 million (yes Million) to Billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis' Red Apple Group. Meanwhile, Cox is selling its radio stations to Apollo, which took the Cox TV stations previously.

  • 6/19/19 The FCC has been politically pressured into playing whack-a-mole with pirate operators, with almost daily reports where someone was told to "stop it." Furthermore, the FCC almost never receives the fines levied. On the other hand, the Mexican government and regulatory agency Institute of Federal Communications (IFT) take a rather stronger tactic.

    The newspaper El Manana reported that government agencies cooperated to take five unlicensed
    stations off the air in the city of Reynosa, confiscating the transmitters, antennas, and computer gear. Further reports indicate another set of five stations in other cities were closed and equipment confiscated.
    The IFT noticed there were some 200 other unauthorized stations in the country, but did not indicate any timeline to visit them. (Thanks Bruce Earl)

  • 6/17/19 - Fire destroyed the Nevada Broadcasters' Association (NVBA) offices. The blaze, early in the morning Monday, started on the second floor, but totally ruined the entire building. No one was injured but CEO Mitch Fox noted most files and records were stored in the Cloud and employees were able to access them from home. (Thanks: Adrienne Abbott)

  • 6/16/19 - The eternal EAS problem: will the Emergency Managers use it when needed? A Newsy (Scripps) video takes a look at a few of the recent wildfires and notes the level of unprepared status in many locations.

  • 6/4/19 - Applause to the Chattanooga City Council for setting things straight after an employee hit a guy wire in mid-May and destroyed the WNOO 1260 tower. The city has already agreed to make the station whole, paying for a new tower and any loss of income.

  • 5/28/19 - Commissioner Michael O'Rielly says some 100 to 150 unlicensed radio stations continue to operate illegally in New York City. The FCC recently sent another round of warning letters - and some NOVS - to pirate station operators in New York, Pennsylvania, Florida and Connecticut, telling them to be prepared for fines, equipment seizures and criminal prosecution.

  • 5/21/19 - According to reports, three well known US AV companies got hacked themselves!  Names were not immediately available, but following claims by Russian hackers Fxmsp a warning has been issued. This means hackers know the way these AV programs operate and can bypass them easily. This is not good news for computer users.

  • 5/15/19 - The so-called "Pirate Act" was said to be advancing in the Senate.
    The BDR says: this is, of course, popular with owners. But, will it help with the real problem?


  • 5/6/19 - Users of Satellite receive dishes should be interested in the FCC Public Notice issued on May 3rd. The FCC is asking questions regarding C-Band potential interference by 5G systems and whether they should auction or not auction parts or all of C-Band. The Commissioners seem to be siding with the 5G industry, ready to take part or all the 3.7 to 4.2 GHz band. Still it is seeking comments that may reduce the footprint they take away from broadcasters. The latest deadline is end of May.

  • 4/20/19 - The industry has lost two giants in the technical area this month: Ron Rackley and Glen Clark. Obits are found here.

  • 4/12/19 - President Trump held a news conference to announce new initiatives on 5G. Chairman Pail also spoke and announced several aspects of what he called a "5G Fast Plan", including opening new frequencies for 5G, a new auction of 354 MHz of specturm, $120.4 billion to build rural Internet, improving fiber optic use, and ensuring 5G antennas can not be tied up in local zoning issues. 

  • 4/11/19 - According to Chairman Pai (bottom of Page 3), 37% of AM stations have CPs for translators, with 459 of 1707 already on the air. It has prompted the FCC to developed new procedures to deal with the interference issues that have arisen in the more and more crowded FM band. On the other hand, there is still no meaningful effort toward using Channel 6, for example, to solve several problems.

  • 4/11/19 - Oops - PRSS notified users of an EAN that was not.

  • 4/2/19 - Details are a bit sketchy, but the Townsquare Media Group has been hit by CryptoLocker in at least four markets. Stations lost their playout systems and were either running the audio side of some youtube videos or converted to talk radio.

    This is a good time to warn everyone about the dangers of allowing staff to access the Internet or email on machines that carry mission critical programming.

  • 3/29/19 - The FCC tossed a wrench in the renewal process this year. If you were getting your station's renewal forms ready, especially if you are in DC, MD, VA , or WV, please take note:
    The FCC is changing the renewal forms, and the new 303-S and 391 for the CDBS are going to be superceded by new forms for doing the renewals on the Licensing Management System (LMS) site. Unfortunately, the FCC advises the LMS and forms will not be ready until about May 1st. Reports are that a number of renewal efforts under way will need to be redone.


  • 3/28/19 - A Petition was filed with the FCC to set a Rulemaking for the use of the all-digital mode of HD Radio on AM as a "next step" in AM Revitalization, using MA3 mode (no dual programming, with analog audio).

  • 3/18/19 - If you are caught in the Spectral RePack of television stations, the FCC has made some arrangements for reimbursing FM, translator and LPTV stations. The Public Notice is here.

  • 3/13/19 - Carl Lamm is 92 years old - said to be the longest continuous broadcaster on the air, atg 72 years. But March 29th will be his final broadcast on  WTSB, his station in Smithfield, NC. He will officially retire and take the station off the air on March 31st.

  • License Renewal Season Begins
  • 3/7/19 - The NAB has announced this year's Engineering Achievement Award winners. For radio, it is Garrison Cavell, President of Cavell, Mertz & Associates. The TV award will go to Cindy Hutter Cavell, Gary's wife, also of CM&A. She will be the first woman to receive the NAB Engineering Award.

  • 3/6/19 - The NAB has announced a schedule change for NEXT YEAR (2020). The Spring Show will run from Sunday thru Wednesday.  The NAB has noted the changes match the needs of the exhibitor and attendees who have been getting started over the weekend in the past years.

  • 3/1/19 - It was predicted. While the FCC dispatched investigators to see what was causing C-Band  interference in Jacksonville, FL, and now authorizes AT&T to test in Texas, Commissioner O'Rielly may have confirmed what was feared: the books were cooked from the beginning.

    O'Rielly said, to the NAB State Leadership Conference in DC last week, there is "near certainty" that reallocation of the C Band will happen. Inside Towers reported his comments that "a good portion" of 3.7 - 4.2 GHz is under discussion, to be done with expanding unlicensed services in the 6 GHz band.

    "O'Rielly said details need to be worked out, but the C-band discussion is now about finding the best mechanism for reallocation and determining how quickly it can occur.  He asked broadcasters for their help to make that happen. "
    Got a comment? Let us know.

  • 2/14/19 - Cumulus Media has announced a $103 million cash sale of six stations. WPLJ New York, WYAY Atlanta, and WRQX Washington DC, WXTL Syracuse NY, WZAT Savannah GA, and KFFG San Jose CA to EMF. Additionally, Cumulus will trade stations with Entercom in New York and Springfield MA. Cumulus is in debt reduction mode, facing a $1.1 Billion payout in May 2022.

  • 2/8/19 - The FCC has eliminated the requirement that stations post licenses at the transmitter or control point.

  • 2/8/19 - There is a report of FCC agents visiting Jacksonville, FL to investigate C-Band interference to several broadcast downlinks from terrestrial sources. According to the report, the interference was in the 3.7 GHz region, causing one high-speed Internet company to be turned off.

  • 1/31/19 - Geoffrey Starks, having been sworn in as a Commissioner, brings the FCC back to full strength. Starks is a former FCC staffer. 

  • 1/29/19 - The FCC - along with other agencies - it opened on Monday. Good information is here. However, a Public Notice today pushed the deadline for filings due from January 3 to 28 are now due on Feb 11.

  • 1/9/19 - The FCC did close as "planned." There is information on the FCC Front Page and here. Some had reported being able to upload their Issues & Programs list to the OPIF, but it turns out that was a link to a DEMO page/site the FCC used to let people see what to do. (1) This will not update your station's file! And (2) at last report it was shut down.

    The deadline for the Issues & Programs filing - and any other filing - will be on the day AFTER the FCC reopens.


  • 12/22/18 - We really hope you have seen the discussion on the OpenChannel. Recent events suggest any station presenting itself as "local" and "serving the community" needs to evaluate how they and local EMs would react during a rapid disaster.

    Most are aware the Camp Fire in Northern California was among the largest and most deadly fires in history. Most are not aware that EAS was not used - and the opt-in reverse 911 failed as much as 95% of calls. But the most stunning quote, in a local newspaper, comes from the local Sheriff:
    "In a meeting held on the third day after the fire began,
            Sheriff Kory Honea regretted the system failures, saying 'In the heat
            of this, moving so fast, it was difficult to get that information out.'"
    This epitomizes the major problem with mandatory EAS and voluntary EAS by broadcasters and the totally voluntary warning programs for Emergency Managers. In Northern California, the result was approximately 100 fatalities.

    (Yes, the Part 11 re-write is underway - for some eight and a half years now - but thus far, the only real change is the FCC mandating the BLU code upgrade. There is some rumor that the FCC will define "immediately" real soon now. The BDR recommends: Do not hold your breath.)

    Whose fault is it that the situation has come to this? What led to the Sheriff acting and talking the way he did?: Money? Politics? Kingdom building? Lack of strong effort by broadcasters and EMs to reach out and talk? Yes, all this and more. Just look at the State Senate Hearing in California a few weeks back. As Richard Rudman notes, there is a big disconnect out there

  • 12/21/18 - Clear Channel Outdoor has been freed from iHeart. This week, iHeartRadio reached an agreement to fully separate Clear Channel Outdoor's business from iHeartMedia, which was alleged to use its 89.1% of Clear Channel Outdoor outstanding common stock to push money around, even as the parent company struggles through Bankruptcy Court..

  • 2/7/18 - The FCC has begun sending out mass emails with virtually every email address associated with stations, reminding them of the need to review their Public Files to ensure everything is correct and up-to-date. Comments include ensuring items were filed in the right folder - and on time.
    Good reminders: the Q4 Issues and Programs list is due by the 10th. And, it is worth your time to ensure the correct email address is attached to your files. (Many of the emails in the FCC records are bad or for persons who passed away.)

  • 12/7/18 - Barry Thomas has passed away in Denver.

  • 12/6/18 - WARNING (EAS) IMPROVEMENTS Reports at the FEMA and the FCC indicate that some attention is needed to improve warnings. At the California Senate Hearing, the problems of warnings via telephones and multilingual issues. Richard Rudman covers the discussion - with information that will help ialmost any state/local make changes for the good.

    Interestingly, Commissioner Rosenwordel commented after the FCC Open Meeting that reports and fixes should be coming a lot faster ... as she notes some of the reports take a year or more. Some of what was learned from last year's fire in CA might have saved lives in this year's terrible fires, such as the Camp Fire. The same might be said for the slow walk out of Hawaii.


  • 11/26/18 - Liberman Media has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

  • 11/20/18 - The FCC's Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Revitalization of the AM Radio Service has been published in the Federal Register. Comments must be submitted no later than Tuesday, January 22, 2019. Reply Comments must be submitted no later than Tuesday, February 19, 2019.

  • 11/8/18 - Stations at Seattle's Tiger Mountain site were sending smoke signals, after a fire caused major damage to the master antenna. SBE16 reported six stations moved to auxiliary sites to stay on the air. (thanks: Kent Randles)
    In a report by ERI after inspecting the antenna, it was noted that one of the brass bolts welded to one of the radiating elements had broken due to storm or vibration and fallen inside the fiberglass insulator. Arcing grew larger and caused a fire to ignite in the plastic radome. This fire then grew further, melting the ends of the element and the other radomes.

The initial cause of the arcing and fire was determined to be loss of air pressure and the difficulty in making a timely response to the site.

ERI's report shows why regular antenna and tower inspections are so important. Tom Silliman's discussion is located here.

              (photo: Craig Lockwood)

  • 11/8/18 - The FCC and the FEMA have agreed to allow EAS participants to monitor Sirius XM as an alternate monitoring assignment for Presidential Alerts.

  • 11/8/18 - Drawing on some of the things known while the FCC continues preparing its report, the NAB has formulated a four-page letter: "Ten Steps to Disaster Preparation and Recovery Guide."
    This is well worth downloading and reviewing to see how well you are prepared.


  • 11/8/18 - This coming week, the FCC likely will decide what could be the future of the C-Band frequencies. Some 16,000 dishes are now registered but the worry is that the 5G folks have
    stacked the deck. The open meeting is scheduled for November 15th. Kudos to companies like SES that proactively sought to help alert the industry.


  • 11/3/18 - IBM has agreed to pay $33 Billion for the Red Hat Operating System (Thanks: Glen Clark)

  • 10/31/18  -  Over 16,000 C-band sites have now been registered. Whether this is enough for the FCC to back off its efforts to squeeze 5G providers into the C-Band remains to be seen. Broadcasters registered over 10,000 dishes since the issue was raised this year, tripling - and more - the number of registered dishes. Now, we await the FCC's November meeting and the vote on the proposals.

  • 10/18/18 - The FCC is telling the wireless carriers they need to do better when disasters strike. Chairman Pai specifically noted the slowness of some carriers to get in with temporary facilities.

  • 10/10/18 - In the wake of Hurricane Michael, the FCC has again activated the DIRS to offer aid to stations which have suffered damage from the storm, etc. The FCC encourages stations to register on the DIRS before any emergency, so contact and aid can happen more rapidly. The DIRS reporting system itself is here.

  • 10/9/18 - There are now some 7145 newly registered C-Band dish sites, according to Sherrod Munday, who provides this "look" at where they are located. The total is now approximately 12,000 dishes. Munday reports that of the 7352 dishes registered since April, 2858 were registered by the Church of Latter Day Saints since Sept 13th.
    There still is just over a week to register your dish, if you have not, perhaps to persuade the FCC that they should give more attention to interference from 5G operations. (Registration is free to NCEFM stations, $435 to commercial stations - but SES may reimburse you)

  • 10/8/18 - A Second NPRM from the FCC seeks comments on reducing protection levels for AM stations, specifically the Class A, 50 kW stations to their 0.5 mV/m contours. We will leave the math to the consulting engineers, but the main idea is to acknowledge that most Class A stations really are not programming to distant areas and do not need much protection outside their local market. (Thanks to Mark Earle)

  • 9/28/18 - It is not uncommon for FCC Commissioners to attend the Spring and/or Fall Conventions and leave a "gift" or two to the industry. Some have noticed Commissioner O'Rielly's comments that he (and presumably others on the Commission) are nearing a point of lifting all ownership caps. This is said to help broadcasters compete with the various satellite and digital offerings that are available.
    The BDR Notes: It is clear that broadcasting, whether over the air or via the Internet, has  changed over the years in major ways - and likely will never got back to the "Golden Age" or the "Rock and Roll" era tha many remember. Whether this is good or bad is yet to be seen, but it is clear one major effect is to reduce the head count in most stations, as well as the number of "fuil service" formatted stations.

  • 9/19/18 - If you had trouble reaching Wheatstone over the past week, they have now re-opened the factory after Hurricane Florence blew through. The factory was on a high piece of land in New Bern, NC. Reports are that while power outages affected almost everyone, about half the staff did not lose their homes to water or wind damage.

  • 9/18/18 - Robert Reymont has passed away at him home in Mesa, AZ.

  • 9/11/18 - With Hurricane Florence nearing landfall in the Carolinas, it is a good time for stations to register with the voluntary Disaster Information Recover System (DIRS), an FCC program to make it easy for stations to report damage and/or request STAs, etc. It is worth registering in advance. For more information, check here. The DIRS reporting system itself is here.

  • 8/30/18 - The FCC has announced the 2018 Regulatory Fees are set and due prior to September 25th. The full item, with fees listed is here.
    Of particular note: stations - mostly in small towns - with fees under $1000, and non-commercial stations are not required to pay. They may need to file a form, however, noting their exemption. Essentially the limit was raised to $1000 but, if you are unsure, contact the FCC or your DC attorney.

  • 8/29/18 - Another Certification update will be required for EAS Boxes prior to September 24th, or alerts and tests from the FEMA will not be received by stations. The update is described as minor and easy to do, but must be done before September 24th.

  • 8/22/18 - FCC Chairman Ajit Pai joined a tower crew in Colorado this week, climbing a 131-foot tower. With a message focused on worker safety, the  climb was pulled off without incident. Pai made the whole climb and posted pictures of himself on the tower on his Twitter account.

  • 8/2/18 - For the first time, a company has reported larger income from digital revenue than the radio revenue. Entrevision reported more than half of their $37.8 million income

  • 8/2/18 - The FCC has opened an NPRM to implement a Congressional Directive to provide $50 million in funds for FM and Translator stations on the air before April 13, 2017 that are affected by the TV RePack. The amounts are not yet set, nor the exact procedure. Comments should open soon.

  • 7/30/18 - Cumulus announced that their stock listing will return to NASDAQ on August 1st. This will be a new CMLS, with the old stock declared worthless as a part of the bankruptcy proceeding.

  • 7/19/18 - A major sale in Philadelphia. Entercom picks up WBEB from Jerry Lee Radio, LLC, and spins WXTU to Beasley Broadcast.

  • 7/13/18 - A Notice of Inquiry has been issue regarding a couple of hot topics: a C4 FM Class and allowing 73.215 to be used in all short-spaced situations. Comments are due August 13th, Reply Comments are due September 10th.

  • 7/12/18 - As expected, the FCC has adopted a NPRM to deal with proposed sharing of the C-Band frequencie with G5 broadband. A Comment period will happen after publication in the Federal Register.

  • 7/6/18 - The FCC and the FEMA have announced the 2018 National Periodic Test (PS Docket 15-94) and the requirement that all stations fill out Form One on the FCC ETRS site. The NPT is planned for September 20, 2018 at 2:18PM EDT.  There is a Q&A on the FCC ETRS site that helps figure out the Form.

  • 7/2/18 - The Net Neutrality debate is far from over. But some seem to be taking it a bit too far: a California man, Markara Man was charged in federal court for threatening a federal official: FCC Chairman Pai. Man threatened to murder a Pai family member via email in December. Man said he was "angry and frustrated" and wanted to scare Pai.

  • 7/2/18 - Hubbard Broadcasting has asked the FCC to permit all digital transmission on AM. The station is WWFD in Frederick, MD.  The letter from Hubbard to the FCC is here.

  • 6/21/18 - Thanks to the efforts of a number of industry folks, including Mark and Karen Johnson of LinkUp Communications, the FCC has announced an extension of time to register your downlink dish. The Public Notice is here.
    Broadcasters and cable systems now have until October 17 to register their dishes. The FCC has been asked, but not yet responded, to waive the $435 fee, especially for those companies that have dozens or hundreds of dishes to register.

  • 6/6/18 - Monroe Electronics, makers of the DASDEC EAS boxes, has alerted users to the imminent change in the FEMA certificate which will prevent reception of the tests and alerts. DASDEC and OneNet users are advised to replace the FEMA IPAWS digital certificate file as soon as possible, and will find field service information at:
    The BDR notes: This will affect ALL EAS users. And it happened June 24th. Update now!
    Trilithic has an update. Sage has an update. TFT 3320 units are reported as End of Life in 2015 and no known support is out there.

  • 6/7/18 - The FCC has added a five-year extension to the existing waiver for television stations that would otherwise had to aurally describe visual emergency information aired during non-news programming - including radar maps and other dynamic images. The FCC found that reliable systems to accomplish the original requirement were not working. The Order requires NAB to report in November 2020 as to the progress that has been made.  to be necessary.

    More information is in the FCC's Memorandum Opinion and Order / DA 18-553:

    6/5/18 - The FCC, reacting to requests, is to issue a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) about the matter. Docket/RM 18-184 is where you will find it on the FCC's ECFS pages. The NOI also includes the potential to add the 73.,215 calculations to all FM stations, instead of the current mileage separations. (Thanks Cary Tepper)

  • 6/4/18 - Cumulus announced today that they were out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, with about $1 Billion removed from the $2.34 Billion in debt when the bankruptcy started. Of course, all previous equity shares are not wiped out.  But the company is much less burdened by its debt.

  • 6/4/18 - A replacement for Mignon Clyburn has been nominated. Geoffrey Starks, assistant chief of the Enforcement Bureau will take the seat as the second Democrat on the Commission. Confirmation is expected without problems.

  • 5/31/18 - A crop duster hit a guy wire on a 1040-foot tower in Okarche, OK, NW of Oklahoma City, dropping the tower and killing the pilot. Story and pix here.   Story and video here.

  • 5/31/18 - Continuing this important issue: The FCC now reports about 5,000 registrations of C-Band dishes. But Chairman Pai seems to want to give the C-Band to broadband carriers.
    Even as many comments are coming it, the FCC needs to know how many FSS receiver dishes are out there for broadcasters' use. Industry leaders are hoping stations will register and comment to the FCC to end the "sharing" push by the 5G industry. 
    A quick primer on the C-Band situation How to navigate the Form 312 for Satellite DishesMark Johnson's Executive Summary of Comments that should spark your Comments to the FCC - WTB 18-122

    5/23/18 - Is the Repack in danger of running out of time? According to industry sources, only 5% of the 957 TV stations involved have been "repacked" in the past year - and there are FM stations that will be affected too. It might even take an extra three to five years to do the job, especially considering some of the dangers shown by the tower collapse on April 19th (see below).

  • 5/22/18 - Word from the FCC reminds radio stations that the Renewal season starts in late 2019, giving stations time to ensure their paperwork and their Onlie Public File submissions are correct and up to date. Recent checks indicate many stations have substantial problems with their Online Public Files. The FCC notice is a wakeup to put things in order as soon as possible.

  • 5/22/18 - The FCC is seeking comment on the FCC Regulatory Fees for Fiscal Year 2018. The FCC has released a lot of information with an NPRM for MD Docket 18-175, including the chart of fees on page 25. Interestingly, some classes of stations are set for fee reductions. In total, the FCC plans to raise $322,035,000 for FY 2018. Curiously, fees were due October 1, 2017, according to page 15. However, this may be a procedural matter, to be readjusted for FY 1018 and/or 2019.

  • 5/21/18 - In addition to the C-Band, the FCC is now considering taking some of the 2.5 GHz band from Education Broadcast Services and giving it to 4G LTE and 5G.

  • 5/10/18 - The FCC has made moves to adopt new rules ending the nearly 90-year-old requirement to post licenses "at the control point." Noting differences in today's operations - and easy availability of this information via the Internet - Chairman Pai wants to eliminate these rules. The NPRM

  • 5/5/18 - A new law presented in Congress would raise fines to $100,000 a day up to $2 million for pirate operators. The FCC also would be required to do enforcement sweeps twice a year and seize transmitters, etc., which might be much more effective that fines.

  • 5/1/18 - The Cumulus reorganization plan was approved by the US Bankruptcy Court in NY. Cumulus plans to emerge from Bankruptcy by the end of the Quarter, leaving some creditors with 14 cents on the dollar as the company sheds over $1 Billion in debt.

  • 4/26/18 - The FCC has imposed a freeze "to preserve the current landscape of authorized operations," while deciding on how much sharing will be permitted. During the freeze, the Commission is opening a 90 day window for existing users of FSS (Satellite to Earth) receive
    stations to register or for those no longer in use to advise the Commission.

  • 4/20/18 - Chairman Pai vowed, during his NAB talk, to clarify and simplify dealing with issues of interference caused by translators - many of which moved hundreds of mile during the AM Improvement windows over the past two years. Full power FMs will also need to take a look at this, as part of the NPRM is to reduce protection to contours rather than mileage.

  • 4/19/18 - A 1,980-foot tower for Ozark TV near Fordland, MO, collapsed and killed a tower worker.
    You can find an interesting drone-made Video here.


  • 4/17/18 - FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn has stated she wil leave the FCC by May 10th. She says she will stay in "public service," with many suggesting she plans to suceed her father in Congress for South Carolina.

  • 4/12/18 - Most of the FCC Commissioners addressed the NAB Show, and offered their ideas on what is important - and what they plan to do in coming months. FM translator interference has become an issue...  More in this article.

  • 3/29/18 - The FCC has now put into operation new rules on AM Proof of Performance.

  • 3/16/18 - Eric Small, known for his ModMinder and other products, was a pedestrian killed Thursday evening when an 80-year-old woman apparently lost control of her car and drove into a Florida supermarket. He was 71.

  • 3/15/18 - GatesAir has run into a problem with technology that is causing a delay in the manufacture of their AM transmitters. Several parts/ICs have gone obsolete, and rather than completely run out, and have no ICs for existing customers, the company has stopped production. New designs are being readied, but there is no firm date for resuming AM transmitter production.

  • 3/15/18 - The long slow-motion move to Chapter 11 was taken by iHeartMedia late yesterday. The corporation, burdened by some $20 Billion (more or less) in debt since 2008, is trying to shed a large part of it, although some shareholders and debt holders are not happy. Employees of the 850 stations now wait for the next step.

  • 3/7/18 - Trying to end a sort of legislative limbo, the US House has passed legislation which would reauthorize the FCC. It still has to go past the Senate, but this would be the first reauthorization in 28 years for the FCC.

  • 3/6/18 - The NAB has announced awards to be given out during the NAB Spring Show. Tom Jones, President of Carl T. Jones Corp. will receive the 2018 NAB Radio Engineering Achievement Award and Clay Freinwald will receive the 2018 Service to Broadcast Engineering Achievement Award

  • 2/22/18 - The FCC eliminated the need for stations to keep hard copies of the Rules for secondary services (Parts 74, 776, and 78). Instead of debate, the Commissioners agreed and approved it on circulation.

  • 2/9/18 - As Cumulus continues down the bankruptcy path, more and more details are leaking out. Last week we found out about a number of air talent who would not be continuing; this week we find that Cumulus owes about $600 million to unsecured creditors, including nearly a million to Broadcasters General Store. GatesAir is owed almost $46k. BMI is owed just under $800k. Of course, all of this pales in the shadow of the $2.4 Billion Culumus owes. The drama continues.

  • 2/8/18 - There is some consideration at the FCC to repurpose part of the satellite C-Band, due to a perception of "little use," based on the relatively small number of receive dishes that are registered with the Commission. While not mandatory, some consultants are recommending registration to show the Commission that the C-Band is still quite active.    2/8/18 - Is a C4 class coming soon? The FCC is circulating a proposed NRPM to allow many stations in Zone II to increase to 12 kW at 100 meters.

  • 2/7/18  - For those who are going through the "fun" of getting their public files online with the FCC, there is a nice video we have mentioned before that answers a lot of questions.

  • 2/6/18 - Jeffrey Wong wants people to know he is the Wong man to blame (pun intended) if anyone wants to blame him for the false ballistic missile alert last month. Wong was actually on another island when the alert was sent on January 13th.

  • 2/5/18 - The last Window for AM stations to seek FM Translators is closed. According to reports, 873 applications were filed, including 688 singletons. The FCC will be happy of that - they can work through the singletons much faster than any multiple set of applicants for a frequency. 

  • 2/5/18 - Cumulus, mired in Bankruptcy Court, has been delisted from NASDAQ. Although shares had been circulating at about 7 cents (an historical thing to hang on the wall?), there is really no value there, while the lawyers fight for the flesh of the company.

  • 2/1/18 - We are now down to one month from the deadline to put Public Files online. There have been some reports of issues on the uploading, so do not wait until the last minute. Get most/all of your files online now.

  • 1/24/18 - FCC Chairman Pai released a summary of the FCC's accomplishments during his first year in office.

  • 1/24/18 - Less than three years after E. W. Scripps Company bought Journal Broadcast and split the company into parts (Newspaper and Broadcast), it was announced that the company plans to sell the 34 radio stations it owns.

  • 1/19/18 - Albert Schuldinger was named to replace Peter Doyle as FCC Media Bureau Chief. Schuldiner was iBiquity's (now DTS) legal counsel for some 15 years.

  • 1/13/18 - Hawaii Emergency Management issued a false alarm about a missile attack this morning, declaring it was not a drill (image here). So far, reports have confirmed it hit the EAS, WEA, and local sirens. Apparently it took over a half an hour to issue a retraction, after a Hawaiian Congresswoman (Tulsi Gabbard, D-HI) initiated calling the EM HQ. There are currently conflicting reports why a retraction was not issued immediately, nor exactly how it happened, but officials are conferring.
    Here is one analysis worth a read.

  • 1/5/18 - The FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, will not be attending CES next week, due to security issues, mainly related to the Net Neutrality issue. So many death threats have been issued over social m edia that Pai's trip to Las Vegas was cancelled.


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


Back to the top



Home - Newsletter signup - Tech Mailing lists - Contact - Help