Broadcasters' Desktop Resource

... edited by Barry Mishkind - the Eclectic Engineer    

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

  • 8/6/20 - It used to be that any station that had a "unique" transmission site they had to make it available to other potential users or the FCC would not renew their license. The latest FCC Report and Order deletes that requirement.

  • 8/4/20 - The FCC will enforce the planned 4% to 5% increase in regulatory fees for this year. Dismissing calls for setting the fees aside, Chairman Ajit Pai says they may make some alternative payment terms should broadcasters have trouble making the full payment on time.

  • 8/3/20 - The SBE announced its National Meeting will be held online, and the technical sessions and expo are cancelled for 2020.

  • 7/14/20 - FCC Chairman Ajit Pai officially marked the conclusion of the RePack process and told carriers that they could begin to deploy 5G services on the 600 MHz band. It is true a few TV stations have not completed their move as yet, but as Pai announced, it is time for 5G.

  • 7/8/20 - The Madison (WI) Broadcasters' Clinic for 2020 has been cancelled. The WBA is considering an on-line "virtual" session. (Hat tip: Phil Langston)

  • 7/7/20 - Short fuse: The FCC just released a Public Notice and List of C-Band Registered dishes. They want to have users verify the data, ahead of any potential reimbursement for filters, etc.  Here is the key: if you have a registered C-Band dish, you need to verify the data on file by July 16th. If you are not listed or have a "0" in the "Filing State" (Column D), you should contact the International Bureau immediately at, referencing IB Docket No. 20-205

    Note: Alaska and Hawaii are not included at this time for 5G changes.

  • 7/1/20 - There has been no indication as yet from the FCC that they are going to allow a delay for stations to upload both their Issues & Programs lists that need to be filed from Q1 - and now, Q2, too - by July 10th.

  • 6/30/20 - The Portals is history. The FCC circulated a memo to staff that they will not be returning to offices until at least August 27 - and then not at the Portals, but at the new building they have been planning for several years.

  • 6/27/20 - The FEMA has opened a new web page "OpenFEMA" which is a database of all activity on IPAWS since June 2012. The Public Announcement is here.  Documentation is here. And more about OpenFEMA is here.

  • 6/19/20 - The FEMA announced today that the 2020 NPT for the IPAWS has been cancelled. The next test will be in 2021.

  • 6/9/20 - Upcoming web presentations:
                   Each Tuesday in June: presentations by Nautel.     
                   A series of six webcasts from Rohde & Schwarz on RF Transmission.

  • 6/9/20 - The FCC is continuing its 2020 EEO Audits. The Public Notice, requirements, and the list of the 35 stations randomly "selected" are here.

  • 6/3/20 - The NAB has announced that the 2020 NAB Radio Show in Nashville and the NAB NY have been cancelled. Looking ahead, the plan for the Radio Show in New Orleans is for September 21-24, 2021. In a related note, the January CES is still "on" for 2021, with both on-site and digital sessions.

  • 6/2/20 - The pair of letters DHS issued in March to help broadcasters access transmitter sites and get fuel during the Covid-19 crisis have officially expired. However, we are told a new letter has been released. Most state broadcast associations have links to the letters. Of course, for those of you with First Responder status, this may or may not help - as would be driving a marked station vehicle.

  • 6/1/20 - The FCC has announced that the five satellite service providers have agreed on an accelerated clearing of the C-Band in favor of 5G installations. This could shorten the transition period by two years. How this affects stations/services will depend upon location and will be announced by the services.

  • 5/25/20 - ATSC 3.0 service has been launched in Las Vegas, joining six other cities now hosting the new transmission standard.

  • 5/25/20 - Malware attacks have escalated yet again, according to reports. The seventh annual Cyber Threat Defense Report notes that more than four of five large companies have been hacked this year, and ransomware has hit over 62% ... with as many as 2/3 of victims paying the ransom.

  • 5/21/20 - Like so many other conventions, the IBC (Amsterdam) has been cancelled for this year.

  • 5/20/20Many stations are getting calls from satellite companies and filter companies. Should you be buying one now? Karen Johnson explains why you should be careful and informed about your options as the C-Band changes start to happen.

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  • 5/19/20 - Major trouble in Chicago: a four-foot flood swamped the basement of the Willis Tower early Monday morning, causing the ComEd power substation to fail. The failure was so severe that the entire building was evacuated, and the FAA notified there were no tower lights. Many stations decamped to the Hancock Building, but, in some cases, manufacturers were racing to provide spare transmitters. No relief is expected until the weekend.

  • 5/18/20 - Sad to say, we have lost another broadcaster who has helped a lot of us over the years. Bob Groome passed away a week ago Sunday. Cancer took him at 77.

  • 5/15/20 - 32 Bipartisan senators have urged the FCC to reconsider its grant to Ligado as "harmful and hurried." This is the proposal to locate Ligado's satellite operations next to the GPS frequencies.

  • 5/13/20 - The FCC has adopted its new set of Public Notice Obligations for broadcasters. The main effect is that with online notices, augmented by on-air directions to the notices; no longer are printed notices in the newspaper required.  

  • 5/12/20 - The FCC has released its report on the 2019 NPT EAS test. It looks iike 82% of radio broadcasters and 68% of TV stations filed Form2/3 on reception. You can see the whole report here.

  • 5/5/20 - As the industry reels from layoffs all over the place, the FCC has offered a bit of help in bringing staff back - waiving the EEO requirement that broadcasters engage in a "broad outreach" to fill any full-time job position. Because of the COVID-19 crisis, the FCC will allow a limited waiver to the rehiring of station employees that were laid off due to the pandemic, if the employee is then rehired within nine months of being laid off.

  • 5/5/20 - Start of a trend? A petition at the FCC is requesting that FM boosters be allowed to originate limited amounts of programming separate from the main station. The original petition is supported by the NAB. Meanwhile, some 24 owners calling themselves Broadcasters for Limited Program Origination have added a petition to further expand the alternate origination to translators. The NAB is not currently in favor of this.

  • 5/5/20 - A series of copper thefts around Omaha and Nebraska City - including some severe damage done to some of the equipment - show that site security is still important, especially now with the reduction in technical staffing at so many stations. With a lot of transmitter sites in rather rural or isolated areas, not having some sort of security - even the relatively cheap video doorbells - is just not smart. Although there is no "one fits all solution," Kevin Kidd has some suggestions that you should consider.

  • 4/30/30 - The FCC has been planning a move to 45 L St. NE for some time, and the delay is now extended by the COVID-19. Today they announced they will have a new FCC Seal to be used as they move to their new site.

  • 4/27/20 - The FCC is considering increasing the Regulatory Fees charged to stations. An average of 4% to 5% is planned to be discussed at the May 13 meeting. Of course, the COVID-19 situation may put this on the backburner for a while.

  • 4/23/20 - The FCC plans to change 73.3580 regarding public notice on the filing of applications. This is planned for the FCC's May Open Meeting.

  • 4/23/20 - The FCC has adopted changes to the 6 GHz band to allow unlicensed WiFi systems.

  • 4/23/20 - The FCC has amended Parts 73 and 74 in order to update and improve several regulatory aspects, giving more flexibility for LPFM licensees, solving some issues and stating their position on some requests. This is in response to Media Bureau Dockets 19-193 and 17-105.

  • 4/22/20 - Public Radio Satellite Services (PRSS) is currently in a program to replace receivers. PRSS announced a delay due to both station staffing issues and problems in accessing the PRSS backup transmission site. Several more weeks of delay are anticipated, but delivery will commence this summer.

  • 4/20/20 - Ronan O'Rahilly passed away at 79. O'Rahilly was the founder of Radio Caroline in 1964, which began the "Pirate Radio" industry off the coast of England.

  • 4/9/20 - The FCC has issued an Order waiving the pre-filing public notice of the station License Renewal application for stations in Michigan and Ohio.

  • 4/8/20 - The FEMA has tried to reduce confusion on any use of EAS or WEA for use in advising people to reduce any non-essential travel: Any alerts should use CEM and NOT SPW. The thinking essentially is that Shelter-in-Place is "go somewhere and do not come out until authorities say so," and is not the same as "Stay-at-Home."

  • 4/5/20 - The FCC has responded to many queries related to Covid-19 and about station licenses that expired on April 1st, as well as ABIP certificates, etc: There will be no issue with stations. If your renewal was filed on time, all is well. The ABIP and other items are essentially on "hold" until the nationwide lock-downs end. Just keep your paperwork up to date!

  • 3/31/20 - Regulatory Alert! Many churches, especially, are trying to set up transmitters in their parking lots for Sunday services and/or Easter Services. Not to put too fine a point on it, the FCC Rules for FM means that you probably have only a few feet that can be broadcast legally. A Part 15 AM transmitter might get you several miles. Equipment might be hard to find.
    Of course, one might argue that putting so many in a parking lot might be a problem these coronavirus days - or that the FCC Field Agents are not likely to be out on Sunday. However, if an over-powered transmitter spits out harmonics or other things that might affect, say, airport frequencies, you might run into some issues. Perhaps the best solution is to partner with a local full-power station to run services...

  • 3/27/20 - The FCC has extended the deadline for the filing of Q1 Issues & Programs to the Online Public File until July 10th. For TV stations, as well, the Children's Programming Report is also extended. The FCC asks that station not wait until July if they can file sooner.

  • 3/25/20 - The current coronavirus pandemic has caused the FCC to change the schedule for Auction 105 and postponed Auction 106.

  • 3/24/20 - Pirate Hunters might apply. The FCC has included in its new budget $11 million to hunt down what it says are some 300 illegal stations on the air in the US.

  • 3/23/20 - As might be expected in this rather unusual time, visitors are not welcome at the FCC right now, nor are paper applications, filings, etc. The FCC expects most all "contact" to come on the web site. Anything confidential that must be sent on paper should go to the FCC's Annapolis MD address. Filings, like the Issues & Programs lists that are delayed by the pandemic, should be filed as soon as possible with a clear explanation. Check with your DC attorney for more info. 

  • 3/16/20 - This is not news to most, but CBS in NYC had to evacuate the facility. Also Cumulus in Atlanta had to quarantine their studios. There are many more. In some places, the authorities have mandated non-essential workers stay home. The point here is that *every* station should have a plan to deal with this sort of situation. What would you do if your studios became unavailable or there was a severe power outage? The time to put a plan in place is *now.*

  • 3/10/20 - The NAB has cancelled the Spring Show for April. NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith says "... keeping the community safe and healthy is NAB’s highest priority; therefore, we are deferring to the developing consensus from public health authorities on the challenges posed by coronavirus." The NAB is still weighing "the potential path forward." That means the cancellation may hold, or a rescheduling may be announced at some future time.
    In recent days, Adobe, Sony, Ross, Zaxcom, and others have cancelled attendance. Also potential attendees from Asia had been cancelling because they could not get into the US - or at minimum would be quarantined for two weeks.

    With many gatherings cancelled as well (SXSW, Concerts, etc), a number of universities closing their classrooms, and companies stopping travel plans, NAB's announcement is unfortunate, but expected. The NAB Show brings in $46-48 million each spring.

  • 2/27/20 - As expected Chairman Pai's plans for C-Band were passed. 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. An auction is now scheduled for December 8, 2020. Broadcasters may not like sections like paragraphs 119-121, 130-131, and 139. Only those that registered downlinks are being offered reimbursement at this point.

  • 2/27/20 - The FCC has also determined to find cell phone companies some $200 million for failing to protect users' locations. T-Mobile US Inc. is expected to be fined more than $91 million, $57 million for AT&T Inc., $48 million for Verizon Communications Inc. and more than $12 million for Sprint Corp.

  • 2/17/20 - With the election season underway, it is worth taking a moment to ensure you are in compliance with the FCC's rules on political advertising. Yes, there are rules about the price you can charge, but there is also a newer requirement that stations running political ads from third parties must now list all the issues presented in their on-line public file. Yes, this is a real stiff requirement. Some groups are working to kill it, but for the moment, it is best to comply.

    The entire FCC Order, from October is here. Note Page 3. We suggest that if you have any questions, a quick check with your DC Attorney is in order. They may already have provided some guidance on their website, or made arrangements to answer specific questions.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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...

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  • 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.

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


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