The BDR

The
Broadcasters' Desktop Resource

... edited by Barry Mishkind - the Eclectic Engineer    

Davicom Cortex360

Notes from all over: what has been happening in Broadcasting

A link to Current Happenings       

 

2015

2014

2013

20127

2011

2010

2009

2015

  • 12/27/14 - Urbana OH based Hughey and Phillips has purchased TowerSentry in Lakeland FL, to enhances the products and services they provide in the obstuction lighting industry. The manufacturing and services are to remain in place. (Thanks: Mike Shillhahn)
     
  • 12/21/14 - Dayton Industries, manufacturers of monitor receivers - including a very popular line for SCA reception, has announced they are closing, although they will have limited warranty/repair support for an undetermined period. Phone calls to the company are currently not being answered.
     
  • 12/19/14 - The FCC has movd on two issues, the NPRMs for the contest rules and the NPRM for Public Files. The FCC NPRM on the contest rules has been published in the Federal Register and the comment period is now openuntil February 17th - with Reply Comments due by March 19, 2015.
     
    In the other NPRM the FCC signals that it intends to get most, if not all stations and cable systems to post their Public Files on the Internet. There is language in the NPRM to "phase in" the process, letting small market stations hold off for two years - and possibly exempting non-comm stations entirely. The comment period will begin as soon as the NPRM is published. 
     
  • 12/15/14 - If you are waiting for parts, support, or money from Energy-Onix, do not hold your breath. A local news report, in Valatie, NY says the village is suing what is left of Bernie Wise' company for a "large part" of a community loan of $500k. Bernie died late last year, and his son Jack apparently was unable to operate the company - he recently (see 9/29/14 below) closed the doors and walked away. Village officials are planning to foreclose on the factory - likely leaving little for anyone else. 
     
  • 12/15/14 - The FCC seems to have decided it has heard enough on Net Neutrality, and according to staff will not issue a Public Notice seeking further comment. (See 6/3/14, below - John Oliver fostered a pile of comments.) After millions of comments, they reason, what else can be said?
     
  • 12/12/14 - A couple of residents in Whatcom County, WA are seeking to amend the zoning regulations for their area so to prevent "high wattage" transmissions from radio and television stations. All sorts of reasons are offered as justification, from preventing interference to health issues. A station with a CP for 50 kW (10 kW-N) is the immediate target, but the filers allege there is no need for any broadcast tower or antenna to exceed - are you ready? - 25 feet and a maximum of 1500 Watts. 
     
    BDR Comments: NIMBYs, BANANAs, and NOPEs stand aside! Over the years, all sorts of strange efforts have been made by activists to block construction of radio towers. Although early reports from attendees at a hearing on Dec. 11th indicate the proposal may not fly, we might need a new acronym for this one.
     
  • 12/11/14 - FCC Chairman Wheeler has apparently pushed through, on party lines, requirments for radio stations and cable systems to place their Public Information Files online. The matter, reported to being done "on circulation," was quickly approved by the three Democratic members of the Commission, while the Republican members were left in the dust.
     
    BDR Comments: This is among the most controversial moves the Commission has made in recent times, in direct opposition to comments by the NAB and many others, who note the "melt down" of the FCC system when the requirement was made for TV stations. Can they handle the load? Will it be used to "catch and fine" stations that miss a filing date? What of small market stations without wideband Internet access?  This one may have more to come.
     
     
  • 12/10/14 - The flagship station for the Worship Radio Network, WMDR-FM, Oakland, ME, lost its tower in the snowstorm this morning. A guy wire on the 200-tower snapped under the snow, ice, and wind, taking down the tower and antenna. The station engineer, Joel Epley notes that it could be May before the road is clear enough for a 4x4 to enter. Temporary repairs by snowmobile are planned as soon as the weather clears.
     
  • 12/9/14 - A partial resolution to WCIS problem: a 27-year-old man was arrested in connection with vandalism of the WCIS site (see 12/4/14, below), as well as theft of truck.
     
  • 12/8/14 - The Lincoln Financial Media Group has been acquired by Entercom Communications. The deal, $105 million in cash and stock, covers 15 radio stations in four markets, Atlanta, San Diego, Denver, and Miami.
     
  • 12/5/14 - One of the effects of solid state transmitters has been the reliance on a single transmitter. A West Virginia TV station has been off the air since Thanksgiving morning, A notice on the website says "We are currently experiencing technical difficulties   WOAY-TV has experienced a catastrophic failure at our transmitter, we are currently working to fix the problem, but waiting on equipment. We don't have a set time frame for when it will be fixed but we can assure you we're working our best to get it done. Sorry for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience."
     
  • 12/4/14 - A North Carolina station was knocked off the air when thieves broke in and wrecked both of the station's transmitters, ATU, and other copper. Some $50k in damage (video here) put WCIS-AM off during a fund-raising event, until a replacement transmitter can be found and repairs made. (thanks to Stoney Owen/WKBC)
     
  • 11/24/14 - Continental Electronics has ended 24/7 parts and support hours. The change, which took effect over the past weekend, is designed to "improve the support experience." All calls outside of normal business hours (M-F, 8A-4:30P, Central time) will be returned the next business day.

    BDR Comments:  Although many of us learned transmitter troubleshooting from Ken, Dave, Richard, J. Fred, and John, few are actually doing it at zero dark 30 any more. The good news is that CE will continue to provide tech support and parts for their products - just during business hours.
     
  • 11/21/14 - The FCC has started a Rule Making to update contest rules (now nearly 40 years old). It is expected that a lot of the rules will now be permitted to be posted on the Internet, rather than read at "triple speed." On the other hand, stations do need to remember there often are state laws regarding contests, some of which may be more expensive to violate than FCC rules. Do not expect an "NAB Gift" surprise, the Reply Comments extend into late April. Nevertheless, being able to use the Internet in some fashion to allow proper recitation of contest rules will be a boon to broadcasters.
     
  • 11/19/14 - A $10k reward has been offered in a vandalism case in Kennewick, WA. Last Saturday, someone broke in around 1 AM and set fire to the site, located behind Kamiakin High School in Kennewick, and set fire to the building housing three stations. One of the three stations was said to be off for "a while."

     

  • 11/14/14 - iHeart Media has announced they will be discontining CCSS satellite service operations. Current contracts will be fulfilled and CCSS will help clients to migrate to other providers, but no new clients will be accepted. The closure of CCSS will not affect Premiere Satellie Services. 
     
  • 10/31/14 - The FCC has announced a couple of initiatives for radio, one desired, one not so much. The Commission will begin their November meeting with a discussion on "modernizing contest rules." They also are starting the process to see if they want to put radio stations' political files - or perhaps even the entire Public Information File - online.
     
  • 10/31/14 - No, it is not as bad as the ebola, although stations that have been hit might argue the point. Still, more than 20 markets have reported stations getting smacked with Ransomware. The perpetrators do seem to have found a mechanism that has crippled more than a few broadcasters.

    BDR Comments:  We repeat: do not panic. The sky is not falling. But, please take steps to prevent complete loss in the case of infection.
     
  • 10/30/14 - This is the weekend. DST ends in most states. Take a moment now to stop and plan for your automation and traffic systems,  the remote control (and power change times), and any other critical function that could be a hour "off" after this weekend. It is time to "Fall Back!"
     
  • 10/29/14 - It was two years ago that Hurricane Sandy rolled ashore in New Jersey, dumping tremendous flooding and damage on NJ and NY, along with 22 other states and parts of Canada. With the floods came the loss of power, cell phones, Internet, etc. It was broadcasters who came through to deliver news and helpful information to anxious people - some sitting in the dark and waiting for help. Paul Rotella, President of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association, used the occasion to recall the efforts of broadcasters in the state and how they "continue to serve the public ... every day of the year, not just during emergencies, where our service is unparalled, but always..."

    BDR Comments:  That is why broadcasters are such a valuable resource - and should continue to strive each day to do even better.
     
  • 10/28/14 - Still more reports of ransoware taking down broadcasters are coming in. A cluster in Michigan, another station in North Texas lost some six hours when the on-air computer locked down. Also reported: an infection running through a WAN.

BDR Comments:  Do not panic. But, especially in light of how easy any station can be infected (see next item), concern and planning definitely are called for.

  • 10/24/14 - A computer security research firm has announced finding poisoned links/ads on Yahoo and AOL, among other places on the Internet. So .. as you read the item below from 10/20 and 10/21, check this link, and see why care is so important.
     
  • 10/24/14 - An EAN was sent was part of a radio show from Nashville. The tones, from the National EAS Test in 2011, tripped receivers in many markets - especially those conforming to the FCC's edict that EANs run "immediately" regardless of time-stamp. More info and audio are here.
     
  • 10/21/14 - Another station, this time in Arkansas, has reported being hit by ransomware. The warnings in the next item are worth repeating... do not have mission critical computers "live" to the Internet. Make backups away from your LAN. Train staff to stay away from dangerous situations and sites. Make backups away from your LAN. Should we say it again? Make backups away from your LAN.
     
  • 10/20/14 - Life imitates art which imitates life: The day after a network program featured a plot where Russian hackers held a law firm's files ransom, the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters reports a cluster of member stations lost at least seven hours of airtime when a ransomware virus demanded payment (of $500 in bitcoin) to restore the files on their automation system. One report indicated a possible cause was the stations were still using XP on machines exposed to the Internet, but most experts dismiss that idea. The owner estimated costs of "tens of thousands of dollars to replace computers and software."

    BDR Comments:  No, mission critical systems do not need to be connected to the Internet. Period. Another thing - and too many are in danger here, because ransomeware can traverse your LAN - when was the last time you did a full backup that was not on your network?
     

  • 10/20/14 - Sadly, a Long Branch, NJ radio tower has been used not once, but twice this year for suicide. Following a similar incident in April, a man climbed the WWZY tower and "stepped off" to his death. 
     
  • 10/15/14 - Customers of the recently shuttered LARCAN company seems to have some parts and support options again. Joe Wozniak and Bill Meechem have announced the opening of Maple Leaf Systems and Service.  Although there is no web site announced as yet, the telephone area code indicates the new company is in the Philadelphia area: 610-692-7283
     
  • 10/14/14 - Some changes at PTEK in San Jose, CA. Larry Longhurst  has been named as President of the FM transmitter manufacturer and additional engineering talent has been added to the company.
     
  • 10/10/14 - The huge backlog of renewals waiting at the FCC got a major reduction as some 700 renewals were granted - part of the FCC dismissing thousands of complaints that had stacked up so long, some stations were on a second "renewal" without a full license.  The FCC says it will triage future complaints and prevent such backlogs from reappearing.
     
  • 10/10/14 - Alpha Media will purchase the Buckley Communications stations in California - Bakersfield and Merced. With these six stations Alpha Media will total over 70 stations.
     
  • 10/6/14 - Is a replacement for the CDBS coming soon to the FCC?  The new "Licensing and Management System" (LMS) is already being implemented for Full Power TV stations, but the plan is to have radio as well, using a new Form 2100, which the FCC hopes will replace all forms.
     
  • 10/6/14 - Rick Neace, an industry veteran who has operated SRS Electronics, a repair and support company for Marti products, closed up shop last week due to serious health issues. No new units are being accepted for repair, all those in the shop have been boxed and returned. While the company is closed for business, the phone is being answered and messages are being taken.  If you wish to send a card, the address is:
    • Rick Neace                              Need Marti repair/service?
      SRS Electronics                       Here is what you need to know.
      1501-D N. Main Street
      Cleburne,Texas 76033
       
  • 10/3/14 - The Digital Radio Mondial (DRM) consortium is hard at work on a new receiver that will be manufactured in India. The Avion AV-DR -1401 follows on a major transmitter installation program in that country. If successful, DRM could receive one of its biggest boosts yet. (Interestingly, the FM side of that radio, in some places, is reported to be include the 78-87 MHz frequencies.) Here is another look at the unit.
     
  • 10/3/14 - Have you been to a conference at the Marriott's Gaylord Grand Ole Opry Hotel in Nashville and found you could not access the Internet from the conference rooms? Seems Marriott was jamming frequencies to increase revenue. This week they got a good slap from the FCC: a $600,000 Consent Decree.
     
  • 10/3/14 - Beasley Broadcast Group announced they are to swap (no cash) 5 stations in Philadelphia and Miami for 14 stations from CBS Radio in Philadelphia, Tampa-St. Petersburg, and Charlotte. The deal is anticipated to close by the end of the year. Until then, the stations will continue as they are now.
     
  • 9/30/14 - With a newly issued judgement against Sirius/XM in a California court, Flo and Eddie now are targeting Pandora. The California case, which is about royalties on songs prior to 1972, is being appealed. However, the quest from songwriters to wrest more money from satellite and Internet broadcasters continues.
     
  • 9/30/14 - Two radio stations in the Seattle market are planning a series of lengthy tests of digital only AM transmission from Thursday through next Tuesday (Oct 2 - 7). KRKO (1380) and KKXA (1520) will partner with NAB Labs for the tests. Stations owner Andy Skotdal says analog listeners will hear only silence during the tests which will run between four and seven hours at various time during day and night over the weekend.
     

  • 9/29/14 - The Fall Solar Transit is upon us. Some locations will experience interruption of their satellite audio delivery as soon as this coming weekend. To identify your exposure to outages, you can input satellite and your location here.
     

  • 9/29/14 - Energy-Onix has apparently joined the ranks of the companies that have left the broadcast industry. For well over two weeks now, no one has answered the telephone nor responded to enquiries by email or USPS mail. The E-O website is still up, but those seeking parts and support seem especially to be left in the lurch.
     

  • 9/26/14 - The NAB has posted information about Floor Passes for the 2015 Spring Convention in Las Vegas.  If you would like a free pass, click here before October 31st. The link uses a SA01 code. If the URL doesn't automatically do it, it works this way: Enter name and email, then on the next screen use SA01 in the box on the right. Then the Exhibits-only 3-pack) will show $0.00.
     

  • 922/14 - AES will be holding its Fall Convention in Los Angeles in October, from the 9th to the 12th. A free floor pass is available.
     

  • 9/20/14 - The FCC Media Bureau turned down a request to move an FM translator 70 miles to service an AM station in Indiana - a station on 1230.
     

  • 9/17/14 - Numbers are still being added up, but the combined NAB/RAB Radio Show drew several hundred fewer attendees this year than last, with the semi-official total of about 2100 (compared to 2304 last year). Organizers are hoping Atlanta (the 2015 site) will attract more attendees. In contrast, IBC in Amsterdam had an attendance of over 55,000.
     

  • 9/12/14 - In an unusual arrangement, the NAB Fall Radio Show closes in Indianapolis today - and on the same day, the IBC in Amsterdam opens. If you call some of the exhibitor companies for information, you will need to be understanding that their personnel are being "stretched" this week. Some new products are here.
     

  • 9/12/14 - The NAB Fall Show had a lot of discussion about the AM Improvement issue. Of course, in the recent months, AM Improvement seems to mean FM translators for AM stations. Many have pointed out the contradiction in terms. Little has been done to improve AM, but translator owners have had a windfall as AM seems to be turing into FM. Is this what Commissioner Pai is advocating?
     

  • 9/11/14 - "All Digital AM" broadcast tests have been going on for a while now. The early reports are rather interesting in that they "glow" with the "benefits" of digital. Others point out the issues of dropouts, especially with Directional Antenna systems.
     

  • 9/6/14 - West Virginia will be the test bed for the FEMA IPAWS CAP system. A sort of "National" test using the NPT code is scheduled to be done on Wednesday September 17th, except it will be only sent to stations in WV. At least that is the plan. A rebroadcast of the meeting about the test is here.  The WVBA posted this message.
     
    Test Info:
     2:00 PM EDT on September 17. Event Code: National Periodic Test (NPT)
    Originator Code: Primary Entry Point (PEP). Location Code: All of West Virginia

     

  • 9/5/14 - With the September 23rd deadline fast approaching, some stations have been confused about which fee to pay. Clarence Beverage points out that Appendix E makes it simple - identify the population within the principle community contour (city grade contour). Most engineering programs with the 2010 Census Data can do this.
     

  • 9/4/14 - As the Patent suit over HD radio works its slow way through the US Patent Office, Delaware Radio Technologies continues to sue various radio entities - except iBiquity. iBiquity filed a counter suit over the summer, claiming they own HD radio and not DRT, but DRT is petitioning to have their suits heard first, perhaps hoping to get money before iBiquity is able to demonstate DRT's patents are not viable.
     

  • 9/2/14 - The FCC released the 2014 schedule of Annual Regulatory Fees for broadcasters - due no later than September 23rd (missing the deadline will incur an automatic 25% fine). Two interesting changes from past years: (1) The FCC will accept credit card payments only, and the AM Expanded Band stations that had been exempted from the fees in prior years now must pay up like all the other stations.
     

  • 8/29/14 - The CRTC in Canada has announced that all stations relay emergency messages from the National Public Alerting System. Previously a voluntary matter, the NPAS receivers similar to those used in the USA must be placed in operation by March 31, 2015 (Native, community, and campus broadcasters have a deadline of 3/31/16.
     

  • 8/27/14 - A new industry grouping - or cooperative, although one press release seems to indicate an eventual merger - links six companies: Jampro, BW Broadcast, SCMS, Orban, StreamGuys, and Daysequerra. These companies are planning to explore ways to cooperate more closely and assist each other in sales. The name of the group is BIG ... really ... the "Broadcast Industry Group."
     

  • 8/27/14 - GM appears to be focusing more on streaming audio than HD Radio. On the web site
    GMAuthority.com, several models for 2015 like the Chevy Traverse include notes like "Completing the deletions list is the removal of three features: HD radio ... " The same seems to apply to the  Chevy Impala, GM Sierra, Buick Enclave, and others which will not have HD in them (some also appear to omit satellite radio as well). Instead, GM seems to be heading to a commitment for 4G LTE in cars. 
     

  • 8/25/14 - Nautel announced that effective today Peter Conlon has stepped down from the company and Kevin Rodgers will now serve as President and CEO of the company. The company stresses that it will maintain "business as usual."
     

  • 8/13/14 - Radio Disney announced plans to sell 23 of its 24 stations, aside from KDIS in Los Angeles, which the company plans to keep. The plan is to take the format to a digital distribution (Internet, Satellite, mobile), where the vast majority of their listeners get it now. In the past 10 years, Disney has sold some 36 other stations, including 22 to Citadel, which then sold itself to Cumulus.
     

  • 8/11/14 - The NAB announced that NAB President Gordon Smith will interview FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai during the upcoming Fall Radio Show.
     

  • 8/6/14 - We knew it was just a matter of time.  Cary Tepper draws out attention to: "a two-page Public Notice issued yesterday by the FCC seeking the expansion of Online Public File obligations to cable and satellite TV operators. But neatly tucked inside this Public Notice is the following:
              'We also seek comment on whether the Commission should initiate a rulemaking
               proceeding to require broadcast radio stations to use the online public file,
               and on an appropriate time frame for such a requirement.'"

     
    Tepper says: "It is no surprise that the FCC is moving in this direction since all commercial TV broadcasters are now required to post their public files online on the FCC's web site. Public comments on this matter are due August 28, 2014 should you wish to submit your opinion. Reply comments are due September 8, 2014. Subsequently the FCC will need to initiate a formal 'Notice of Proposed Rule Making' and follow that up with a ruling."
     
    Tepper does not expect the online Public File obligations to hit radio broadcasters this year but thinks it will likely be required in 2015.  Questions? Ask Cary here.
     

  • 8/5/14 - Hot on the heels of the Journal/Scripps announcement, Ganett has announced a similar move: they will shortly be breaking the company into two - a broadcast/digital unit and a publishing (newspaper) unit.
     

  • 7/31/14 - Journal Communications and E.W.Scripps have agreed to merge companies, then spin off separately the newspaper printing operations and the broadcast/digital side. A video message from Journal Chairman and CEO Steven Smith is on the Journal home page. 
     

  • 7/27/14 - UPDATED WITH LINK TO THE FCC COMMENTS page: C4, anyone? If you agree - or not - with Mark Wesolowski that another increase in power for Class A stations (Remember 3 kW?) is needed and a "C4" will do the trick, you have until August 18th to comment on the Petition for RuleMaking RM 11727. Approximately 1/3 of all Class A stations may be able to upgrade according to Wesolowski. Read and make comments here.
     

  • 7/24/14 - Those of you who have stuggles with zoning bodies and local politicians may find the continuing situation in Rutland, WI of note. The local Board of Supervisors again voted against a new tower for the second time.
     
    BDR Comments:  Interestingly, a new state law may yet give the station life - if the CP does not run out first.
     

  • 724/14 - Townsquare Media went public today ... opening at $11 a share (the original estimate was about $12-16), and settling at $10.25 on the first day of trading.
     

  • 7/21/14 - Clear Channel hass announced a deal with AdsWizz to supply inserted targeted ads in the iHeart streams.
     

  • 7/14/14 - The FCC's EAS NPRM is now published in the Federal Register, starting the clock on comments. Check it out here.
     

  • 7/14/14 - Transmitter manufacturer LARCAN TTC abruptly closed it doors July 10th, laying off all employees and cutting off all the phone lines. The company, a descendent of Canadian General Electric, became LARCAN in 1981. It purchased Wilkinson and TCC, and was eventually taken over by a Chinese company, Sumavision. The company website does not mention anything, but all phone calls go to a disconnect sounder or a voicemail box. Support options are not yet known, although some employees are seeking to salvage something and/or lease the name.
     

  • 7/5/14 - The FCC is overloaded with paper - proceedings, applications, complaints, etc. So, what can a government agency do? The solution chosen - and not for the first time - is to just "clean house" by deleting what are deemed to be "dead" - no action in a long time or no paperwork filed in years. The FCC deleted about a thousand proceedings in 2011, another pile about the same size are slated for termination. Participants in dockets slated for termination have 30 days to make their case (see Docket 14-97).
     

  • 7/1/14 - A lawsuit has been filed to blunt the efforts yet more Patent Trolls in the broadcast industry. iBiquity has filed suit against Delaware Radio Technologies and Wyncomm LLC, who claimed last year that, together, they "own" three patents that would require broadcasters and car makers to pay them to use digital radio technology.
     

  • 6/24/14 - Townsquare Media LLC, a consolidator with 312 stations has filed for an IPO worth approximately $144 million. Planning to list on the NYSE as TSQ, the company, an LLC under the Oaktree Capital roof, has approximately 2500 employees in 66 markets.
     

  • 6/23/14 - More unlicensed 5 GHz frequencies would be available if Sen. Marco Rubio's new Bills pass.
     

  • 6/17/14 - After Tom Wheeler announced at the FCC Open Meeting that he was not a dingo, John Oliver returned to the topic, in rather scathing terms. (see 6/3/14, below for the first salvo.)
     

  • 6/13/14 - Some good news on the Patent Troll front: at least one federal judge in New York has had enough.  US District Judge Denise Cote has awarded what may be as much as $200,000 to FindtheBest.com after their battle with Lumen View Technology over an alleged patent infringement where Lumen View had demanded $85,000, then $55,000, for a license. Lumen View also complained that FindtheBest had called them a "patent troll," calling it a "hate crime."
      

  • 6/12/14 - The FCC has sent out another series of "random" letters asking some stations for a EEO audit. Reports continue to indicate there is more interest in meeting the "letter" of the law than the intent. 
     

  • 6/6/14 - Update: Paul Gregg died early last week. The family has released the autopsy report: heart failure. There is still an investigation surrounding the circumstances, which were described as "suspicious." For more information - and no speculation - about Paul, click here.
     

  • 6/4/14 - The FCC announced they had missed the last page in the new filing fee schedule that was to be effective this week (June 6), so a corrected Public Notice has been sent to the Federal Register. The full fee schedule now will go into operation on July 3rd. The previous filing fee schedule is located here.  The increases are generally 8%. (Thanks: Cary Tepper)
     

  • 6/4/14 - The FCC has released a technical change in the regulations surrounding the CALM Act, to ensure television programs do not have commercials running louder than the programs themselves.
     

  • 6/3/14 - Focused on interest in Net Neutrality, John Oliver did a 13 minute rant on Net Neutrailty on his HBO program Last Week Tonight this week, including a line about how picking the new FCC Chairman was "the equivalent of needing a baby sitter and hiring a dingo." Oliver encouraged viewers to take advantage of the FCC Comment system (FCC.gov/Comments). Apparently more than a few did, as the page crashed. Want more information? Click here. The FCC announced their site crashed due to a web-based database attack on the 17-year-old commenting system.
     

  • 6/3/14 - Sprint has been touting NextRadio on its newer offerings as a "free emergency FM radio." Now AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile will be offering it on their newer HTC One M8 cell phone.
     

  • 6/2/14 - Nostalgic for WKRP, that crazy station supposedly in Cincinnati? This Wednesday the Paley Center in Beverly Hills will host the WKRP 35th Anniversary Reunion of folks like Tim Reid, Howard Hesseman, and Loni Anderson plus creator Hugh Wilson and directors Jay Sandrich and Asaad Kelada. The event, to be streemed at 10:30 PM, will feature a panel discussion and questions from those in the audience, as well as from around the world.
     

  • 5/27/14 - "Net Neutrality" continues to be a contentious issue that worries some. They feel the FCC's approach assumes the public can be fooled. Is that viewpoint cynical or realistic? Here is one man's opinion.
     

  • 5/22/14 - One day before it was due to be voted on, Senator Patrck Leahy pulled his Patent Refore bill. The reason stated was opposition from a number of directions. 
     

  • 5/18/14 - AT&T  announced today that they plan to merge with Direct TV, subject to government approval. The deal is said to be worth nearly $50 Billion. Here is another report, this one from Broadcasting & Cable.
     

  • 5/16/14 - The FCC is planning change the way wireless microphones are licensed. Companies with more than 50 may get them licensed (and have priority). Users with less than 50 wireless  microphones shold be able to continue "as they do today, on an unlicensed basis."
     

  • 5/15/14 - The issue of Net Neutrality was one of several items on the FCC's plate at their open meeting this morning. The issue is tangled is politics and finance - and many observers suggest it will continue that way. Part of the problem is the way the FCC chose to regulate the Internet ...  long before knowing what it would be today. Meanwhile, the Commission has continued its approach to the Spectrum Auction. The NAB immediately expressed their disappointment saying, among other things, that broadcasters will not be guaranteed full compensation.
     
    The FCC open meeting can be seen here.  Want to see the NPRM?  Start here   The FCC plans to seek comments for the next four months.  Want still more?  Washington Post   Gigaom  Forbes
     
    One last thing: You were not thinking money is involved were you? Really? 
    (Thanks: Glen Clark)
     

  • 5/7/14 - The FCC's new filing fee schedule has now been printed in the Federal Register, so they take effect early in June. The increases are generally 8%.
      

  • 5/7/14 - As if the MAD (Mission Abstract Data, now Digimedia) patent troll against broadcasters using computers to store music was not enough, James Logan's PersonalAudio is suing Fox, CBS, NBC, and Adam Carolla for patent infringement for podcasting. Although the US Supreme Court is looking at the whole patent troll business, each time one of these deals pops up it costs a lot in legal fees. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has already filed a challenge at the US Patent Office.
     

  • 5/6/14 - Another new name has joined the larger consolidators. Digity will own at least 110 stations as it closes on Three Eagles Communications' 48 stations. The fast growing consolidator is owned by Dean Goodman. Adding to his "Goodradio" and NextMedia stations, Goodman is specializing on small to medium market stations.
     

  • 5/5/14 - It was a familiar theme when FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai spoke to the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters: the FCC needs to help broadcast as much as broadband. Commenting on the benefits of the "one to many" mode of broadcast, Pai said the Commission needs to provide assistance for AM stations soon, and stop kicking the can down the road and address the ownership rules.
     

  • 5/2/14 - American Tower Company has announced the purchase of Richland Towers. The $386 million deal means that ATC adds 60 additional sites to its large group of existing sites.
     

  • 4/28/14 - The Request for Comments regarding requiring muiti-lingual EAS accouncments has been pushed back to May 28th. This is something every Manager and Program Director needs to see and should file a comment. See Richard Rudman's comments here.
     

  • 4/24/14 - The FCC appears to be dancing a bit regarding their plans to change rules regarding Internet service and Net Neutrality after a Wall Street Journal article suggesting the big players were getting ready for a new revenue stream in offering preferred access. Late in the evening (post 10 PM EDT), FCC Chairman Wheeler felt it necessary to circulate a statement and calling for a media briefing this morning to explain that "behaviour harmful to consumers or competition ... will not be permitted." According to Wheeler, the new rules will be similar to the old rules, except for the language the courts struck down.
     

  • 4/17/14 - Larry Wilson's broadcast companies continue to grow. L&L (Live & Local) and Alpha Broadcasting are merging into Alpha Media, which, in turn is scheduled to purchase Main Line Broadcasting, which will bring Alpha Media to 68 stations.
     

  • 4/17/14 - It only took eight years, but a pirate station in Boston finally was silenced by US marshals. Touch 106.1 FM has been run by a former police officer and mayoral candidate, who admitted he had no license for the 100 Watt station, but along with MA Governor Deval Patrick - a frequenct guest on the station, accuses the FCC of an effort to "silence the community." Patrick has reached out to the FCC for a solution. A previous $17k fine was ignored by Charles Clemmons, Jr., the founder. The current owners operated out of a non-profit run by Clemmons' mother. The raid followed complaints Clemmons used the station in an unsuccessful mayoral bid.

    BDR Comments: One has to wonder if this will turn into another "Harry Reid Wavier" where a pirate is given an LPFM license? It certainly shows that a large segment of the population is not really thrilled with the results of consolidation. Interestingly, Chairman Wheeler has indicated he sees no need for further consolidation at this point.
     

  • 4/6/14 - With considerable turmoil on the Internet, a number of Internet security professionals are warning about an exploit, dubbed "Heartbleed," that compromises millions of computers running OpenSSL, VPN, and various OSes. Since an informed response is a safe response, your IT folks should do a check. Several quick checks are available and you can find them here. However do not think this is the only threat: The Identity Theft Resource Center has counted 204 data breaches just in the first three months of 2014, with a loss of 4,238,983 records related to sensitive personal information.
     

  • 3/31/14 - The FCC has added 100 MHz in the 5 GHz band for unlicensed Wi-Fi operations. Increased power and outdoor operation are among the changes in rules for U-NII gear. (Thanks, Chip Fetrow)
     

  • 3/26/14 - The just released BIA/Kelsey Investing in Radio Market Report" for 2013 reveals the industry grossed $14.8 Billion last year. The top billing station was WTOP at $63.5 Million. The Top Ten billing stations alone brought in $489.5 Million. The whole list and report is here.
     
    BDR Comments: Overly simplified, this is why, in the midst of continuing budget and staff reductions, the "corporate celebrities" in radio take home millions in bonuses and go to the NAB Show to get awards. But then most of them will admit, in a moment of honesty, that they are not broadcasters. If this is not the best indication the industry has changed into little more than a money game, it will be hard to find a better one. Well, that is aside from the continued growth of radio people whose careers were ended early so the bosses' bonuses could be a bit higher.  
     

  • 3/26/14 - The FCC has released the list of new application fees for 2014, subject to the usual printing in the Federal Register. The increases are 8% over current rates.
     

  • 3/25/14 - Two weeks before ending official support, Microsoft is pushing out reminders that support for XP ends on April 8th. A free migration tool by Laplink has been released to move personal information and files to a new Windows 7 or 8 machine.
     

  • 3/20/14 - Today is the last day to comment on the AM Revitalization. If you intend to do so, just head over to the FCC and file your thoughts.  FYI ... the Docket is 13-249 .. scroll down and select.
     

  • 3/17/14 - Harris Broadcast has announced that they will be splitting into Imagine Communications, based in Frisco, TX (Dallas), and GatesAir, the latter to continue the over-the-air broadcast products, headquartered in Mason, Ohio.
     

  • 3/13/14 - Hackers managed to access the RDS feed to University of Michigan's non-comm stations WFUM in Flint and WVGR in Grand Rapids, and, according to their Marketing Director, send a profane message via the RDS text. The station has issued an apology for the breech.
     

  • 3/8/14 - Emmis has decided to implement an Employee Retention Plan. Accoring to the 2012 plan, about 600 employees will qualify for stock awards totalling $3.24 million.
     

  • 3/7/14 - There are reports of a spot for Kingsford Charcoal set to start on Monday, March 10th, and containing EAS tones. Good advice: do not run it!  Check with your production people to ensure it did not get into your system.
     

  • 2/28/14 - FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has ended the so-called "Study" of newsroom policies and activities, instigated by Mignon Clybern while Acting Chair.
     
    BDR Comments: This was, of course, a non-started from Day One. Clybern, of course, swears she never meant to interfere with broadcasters nor the First Amendment. If that convinces you, hold on, we still have bridge in stock we could sell to you.
     

  • 2/24/14 - The NAB announced today that Jeff Littlejohn will receive the NAB Engineering Achievement Award at the Spring Show in April.
     

  • 2/21/14 - Citing changes in the hobby radio market, Popular Communications magazine is merging into a digital magazine, CQ Plus, effective with the February issue.
     

  • 2/20/14 - FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has indicated he will find a way to make "Net Neutraily" work, despite a defeat in one court. Almost simultaneously with the court striking down the existing rules, Netflix complained of a 14% slowdown in video streaming on Verizon systems. Wheeler says he intends to find a way to prevent this from spreading.
     

  • 2/18/14 - A Public Notice from the FCC invites comments on "Process Reform," or possible ways to make the Commission more transparent and efficient for various users.

    BDR Comments: Along with AM Revitalization, the FCC is asking the public to believe they want to move faster than glaciers. If this process of fixiing the process does not become too politicized, some benefits might accrue. At least we can hope.
     

  • 2/17/14 - Hold on to your hats - the NAB has announced that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will address the NAB Show in April. 
     

  • 2/13/14 - The FCC announced that it will be closed today and tomorrow (14th) due to the snow system that has been over the East Coast. Everything is at a standstill, including the grants of LPFM CPs (a big item this month) and other actions. The agency should reopen on Tuesday.
     

  • 2/13/14 - The police in Wichita, KS have made an arrest in the homicide of a KSGO radio employee on Sunday.
     

  • 2/13/14 - It was announced that the FCC would not be very forgiving for many kinds of errors on the LPFM applications. This has proven to be the case. Just the wrong sign on a set of coordinates dropped the WCCX application - the listed coordinates would have placed the station in China. Could this be the pattern for all applications in the future? (thanks, Northpine.com)
     

  • 2/12/14 - Comcast and Time Warner Cable announced plans to merge - a deal said to be worth $45 Billion ($159/share of TWC, which appears to be an 18% premium) and involving 33 million subscribers, 1/3 of all cable households. Charter was also chashing TWC.
     

  • 2/7/14 - The FCC has announced an extension of the Reply Comments on AM Revitalization - until March 20th. The large number, 150+, of comments filed led to the a request by the AFCCE, and while they asked for 90 days, the FCC granted a 30-day extension.
     

  • 2/6/14 - Belden has announced it is buying Grass Valley for $220 million.
     

  • 2/6/14 - SiriusXM has had a good year. With quarterly revenue at $1 Billion and estimated penetration of 25% of vehicle (60 Milion), it is optimistic about continued growth. According to the company, they are currently converting 44% of trials to subscriptions.  On the other side, Pandora had a poor quarter, and its stock was down 10% Thursday from its year high of $37.95.
     

  • 2/4/14 - Sprint has announce two new models will run NextRadio - the FM application for their cell phones. On the Sprint web-site seven models are shown as "currently" able to run NextRadio. There are three or four other older models with the capability.
     

  • 2/4/14 - You know it is coming. But did you know a mobile Internet is being discussed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; a plan to require all new vehicles to become "inter-connected?" While the intent here seems to be focused on safety (one car "telling" the next what is it going to do), a wireless Internet could become a byproduct.
     

  • 1/31/14 - The NAB has announced that some of the hotels they have negotiated for the Spring Show are getting full. Current pricing is guaranteed only to February 5th.
     

  • 1/29/14 - A trickle of LPFM CPs is getting closer to a flood. Well over 50 CPs were issued in today's Public Notice from the FCC. Start on page 46.
     

  • 1/22/14 - A warning to Google Chrome users: a series of malware issues related to Chrome "Add-ins" has been reported. Bad guys are paying off - or just buying - companies with popular add-ins and adding code that spam ads or even worse. Also this week, a report that the Chrome voice recognition system can permit others to listen to you, even after you have left a web site. Google is now aware of the problems, but users are cautioned to be watchful and careful.
     

  • 1/23/14 - Lenovo has announced that they are buying the IBM low end server business. This is the company that took over the ThinkPads. Now they are moving in on the server side.
     

  • 1/23/14 - The AM Revitalization comment period is closed. Some 150 comments have been filed. Many have rejected the FM translator route as a long-term solution, but at the same time, there is a good deal of support for using Channel 6 (and 5) for AM migration. Opportunities to make "Reply Comments" should be open until February 18th.
     

  • 1/22/14 - Somewhat abruptly, LogMeIn, a popular application allowing remote access, has discontinued their free version, giving users 7 days from their next log-in to convert to a paid version.
     

  • 1/22/14 - What began as a web site ‘redesign’ almost three years ago is now ready to take the front and center stage.  As of the 3rd of February the FCC’s “transition mode” will be finished and the new front page of the site will be fully operation with all of the tools and links that many users have relied upon through the years. Howard Parnell, Chief of the Web and Print Publishing Division, comments that “during the past year less than 2 per cent of overall traffic to the web site occurring through the transition.fcc.gov front.”
     

  • 1/22/14 - The power of complaints against LPFM stations was shown this week. A new LFPM station got to use his CP for 14 hours, before a complaint shut him down. Previously a Part 15 operation, the station in Edgar, NE was told it was interfering with another station. Efforts to return to the CP authorized power is ongoing.
     

  • 1/17/14 - Canada has been experimenting with HD radio and the CRTC is accepting public comments until January 30th. This is the second effort in 15 years to bring digital radio to our Northern neighbors, having given up on the first in 2012.
     

  • 1/16/14 - As users figit about the coming End of Service of Microsoft's XP Operating System, an extension of 15 months has been announced for the anti-malware services for the OS.
     

  • 1/15/14 - Status report on Net Neutrailty: The DC Court of Appeals has knocked back the FCC's Open Internet Order. While the Internet providers (Verizon was the lead) like the idea of charging for faster access and priority, no changes are coming soon. This will be with the lawyers and courts for a while longer.
     

  • 1/12/14 - Clear Channel has announced the retirement of John Hogan and the simultaneous extension of Bob Pittman's contract for five years, presumably to show stability as the company continues its financial moves. Hogan, meanwhile, gets to count his golden parachute - something like $7 million, plus. Sorry about your coffee, there.
     

  • 1/8/14 - The FEMA IPAWS office issued a statement to try to resolve some of the comments recently about a proposal floated by FEMA that appeared to indicate a desire to privatize or outsize the IPAWS CAP services. Antwane Johnson wrote that IPAWS "does not anticipate that there would be any changes to the IPAWS-OPEN alert input or output interfaces and no impact to our alert origination and alert dissemination partners beyond normal planned functional improvements."
     

  • 1/8/14 - Wondering what is going on with DRM? A General Assembly of the DRM Consortium is scheduled for March, just before NAB. A status report and plans for the near future should be available to show where DRM adoption has reached.
    aa
  • 1/1/14 - The new year always brings some changes. While there was word that Winamp and Shoutcast were sold to Microsoft, TechCrunch now says the sale was to Radionomy - a Belgian aggregator of online broadcasts. This means that these two well-known applications may not be killed-off after all.

2014

Back to the top  

  • 12/30/13 - An interesting result of some legislation rolling through the Congress regarding patent trolls: Intellectual Ventures has listed some 32,000 of their 40,000 patents that they hold. The Senate Bill working its way through Congress would seek to reduce the number of lawsuits files - often against end users - by holders of patents, some of them tenuous.
     
  • 12/16/13 - Some good news about one of the industry's nice guys: Tim Bealor was promoted to President of Broadacast Electronics.
     
  • 12/15/13 - Larry Estlack lost his fight with Esopageal Cancer this morning. He was 64. More info to come.
     
  • 12/13/13 - Longtime broadcast manufacturer Bernie Wise passed away this date. He was 88. More info to come.
     

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  • 12/12/13 - Cumulus did close on their purchase of Westwood One (Dial Global). The $260 million deal was financed, in part, by the sale of some 53 stations in 12 markets.
     
  • 12/10/13 - The House Energy and Commerce Committee has passed a Bill (HR3675) to reform certain FCC processes. The Bill now goes to the full house. One feature that will make a difference: a requirement to prevent proceedings from dragging on for years. Meanwhile, the Committee was sending a warning to the FCC regarding a new initiative that was labelled "Fairness Doctrine 2.0," a $900k study to seek News Philosophy and proceedures of stations. The letter indicated the FCC had no business probing the news judgement of stations.
     
  • 12/6/13 - New FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has stated that the Incentive Auction for TV spectrum will likely be put off until mid-2015, due to difficulties in getting the process moving. He advocates solving a few issues before holding the auction. Gary Epstein, the Chairman of the Auction Task Force says minimum bids will be set high - reflecting what the FCC feels is the value to cell companies.
     
  • 12/5/13 - The House of Representatives passed the HR3309 Innovation Act, a patent reform bill, by  325-91 and is sending it on to the Senate. Perhaps some change is coming in the Patent Troll world. If it passes the Senate, some of the worst abuses may be slowed or stopped, including the practice of sending out demand letters without specifying exactly how and why the recipient is in violation of a patent. 
     
  • 12/4/13 - Two Congressmen have stated a desire to see an update of the Telecom Act, last updated in 1996, before the Internet was dominating communications. Representatives Fred Upton (R-MI) and Greg Walden (R-OR) want to see the current Rules reviewed and perhaps lead to a rewrite. The NAB and FCC Commission Ajit are in favor.
  • BDR Comments: At this moment, we would settle for the promised Part 11 rewrite. Taking on the entire Telecom Act is not going to happen overnight - unless they have to pass the law to find out what is in it.
  • 12/2/13 - The FCC issued a list of eight radio stations in California that did not file renewal applications and, if they are still on the air, are unauthorized. Fines may follow.
     
  • 11/27/13 - Would you like to "see" the LPFM applications in your area? Cavell, Mertz, has produced a Google Earth plug-in that plots the LPFM applications by frequency. Download it here.  Then start Google Earth. Gary Cavell says "the left hand menu bar should show "LPFMs by Channel" - (probably under an FCCInfo heading) - then expand that button and click on the channel / frequency of interest. You can zoom and pan in Google Earth as usual to see where these things are. Click on an applicant's balloon, and you can get more details - click on the Facility Id link, and you can drill down and see more." Don't know what frequencies are sought in your area? Just follow the CDBS link in the next item and add the state and/or city of interest. You will get a list of all the LPFMs in your area.
     
  • 11/26/13 - The large consolidators continue to juggle debt loads. The latest is a notice by Clear Channel, seeking to delay some loans due in 2016 to 2019 and 2021. According to Bloomberg, the company actually spent more than it took in last year and is in danger of running through its cash reserves. More alarming, the report says CC has not had enough operating income to pay interest expenses in any quarter since 2008 (other non-operating income had included sale of stations, etc, but this past year the only solution was to burn cash).
     
  • 11/26/13 - The Department of Defence as decided to defer to broadcasters as to the control of the Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS) frequencies in the 2025-2110 MHz band. The agreement reached shares the band, with broadcasters and DoD as co-primary users on paper, but broadcasters will have first priority and DoD will not interfere with transmissions.
     
  • 11/22/13 -  "Don't forget us." That was essentially the message to the FCC that formed the basis of the speech NAB's Gordon Smith gave at the Media Institute Luncheon. Noting the "abrupt policy priority shift" that happened in 2009, under Julias Genachowski, Smith talked about the Commission's current obsession with broadband, to the exclusion of things that would strengthen and help broadcasters. Smith mentioned Genachowski's list of his 50 accomplishments all related to broadband. Among Smith's hopes for FCC attention were those related how IP cannot help during disasters - only radio is there to communicate. But the FCC needs to help broadcasters with the same "verve" that it has had for the broadbanders.
     
  • 11/21/13 -  The LPFM Window is closed, with 2819 applications successfully filed, according to Austin Airwaves. This number was confirmed at an AFCCE reception by both Jim Bradshaw & Peter Doyle, but could be adjusted a bit as things settle. If you would like to see them, go to the CDBS applications screen, then
    under Service "FM Low Power" and
    use the dates "10/13/2013" to "11/17/2013"
    If you desire, filter by state and/or city
    It will return right about 2820 applications. Approximately two dozen are duplicates/triplicates; 1/3 are "singletons" and a list of them may be released by the FCC as early as next week.
      
  • 11/15/13 -  The FCC announced another after-effect of the October shutdown. Due to the lack of access to the database, the FCC has permitted commercial stations that were supposed to file their Form 323 biennial Ownership Reports by December 2nd to now file up until December 20th. (Non-Comms still have their original deadline.)
  •  
  • 11/15/13 -  Did you see the CDBS crash coming? The load of LPFM applications yesterday caused so much crashing of servers that the FCC extended the LPFM deadline yet again, to this afternoon.
     
  • 11/14/13 -  Selling off the land under old AM stations has been a trick used by a number of companies over the years. But this is a big one: Cumuius has said they are planning to sell the property where KABC has been for decades. The site in SW Los Angeles, is said to be worth as much as $90 Million. Would KABC's two towers stay - or where would they go - that is the question. No time frame was announced, but the LA Times shows the site in their article.
     
  • 11/7/13 -  The "New FCC" with Chairman Wheeler has announced its first open meeting. Your first look at the New Comission will be on November 14th. The first item relates to transfer of control of broadcast properties, including the foreign ownership factor.
     
  • 11/5/13 - MALWARE ALERT!: you might think this is just another scam to be ignored - the message from a rather nasty bit of new malware you should know about: CyberLocker. This has been called "ransomware" as, if it gets on your system, it will encrypt your key files, then demand a ransom for the key, to be paid in something like 100 hours - or they will just delete the key and leave you with all your files killed. Of course, even after some have paid, the key is not sent. Worse, it will move around a LAN and destroy anything connected.
     
    As Sgt Esterhaus used to say: "Please be carefui out there!" It really is important that your entire staff is careful where they browse or what files they open, even in email. Even your weekend operators - who often can be the source of infections. And do not forget have an off-network, off-site backup.

     
  • 11/5/13 - KMBI in Spokane, WA was knocked off the air when thieves stole copper from the station.
      
  • 11/4/13 - Another apparent Patent Troll has appeared on the broadcast horizon. Delaware Radio Technologies, LLC and Wyncomm, LLC have filed a Patent Infringement lawsuit in Delaware, naming Disney as the defendant.  Wyncomm claims several Patents, including Patent 5,506,866, gives them all rights to NRSC-5 and HD Radio, and Delaware Radio claims to be the sole licensing agency. If there is a Patent Troll going on, expect other entities to be named. . .
     
     
  • 10/31/13 - Here it is! Just in time for your weekend reading, the FCC released its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for the Revitalization of AM Service. The comment period is two months.
     
  • 10/29/13 - Sad news today from Cavell, Mertz, and Associates. Partner Richard Mertz passed away this morning, with wife and sons at his side, after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Gary Cavell tells us his partner "is now at peace." Memorial arrangements for set for Sunday, November 1st. Some more details are on the Cavell, Mertz site, here.
     
  • 10/29/13 - We now have a "full" FCC. The Senate voted this afternoon to confirm Tom Wheeler as the new Chairman and Mike O'Reilly as Commissioner, after discussions relieved a political concern that the Commission might push hard to impose new rules on political ads.

    BDR Comments: We hope that the FCC confirmations marks the start of a productive and broadcast-friendly approach to regulation. They would do well to start with the EAS rewrite and interaction with the FEMA and EMs, the LTE "interference issue" (see the 10/28/13 item below), and the AM revitaliation, among other issues.
     
  • 10/28/13 - LTE versus the world continues. AT&T lawyers got the Commission to cite a hair salon under Part 15 for "harmful interference" to an LTE site next door. The owner was not cooperating. In the footnotes, GE did offer to replace the lighting system that caused the interference, but the owner wanted to do it himself, seeking cash.
     
  • 10/28/13 - After 54 years, Broadcast Engineering is no more. Over the weekend, Penton announced the closing of the print and web operations, citing the depressed economy especially in the TV marketplace.
     
  • 10/23/13 - The 2013 FEMA Reauthorization Act has been filed in the House of Representatives. Among the provisions in extending funding and authority for the FEMA is language to strengthen IPAWS, including a provision mandating a National Test of the EAS CAP system once every three years (Section 102 (b)(2)(F)), and that the Public Warning system be made more resilient and secure (Section 102 (b)(2)(G)).
     
  • 10/22/13 - So, should we note that Apple's latest tablets were released today?  How about the announcement that the latest OS upgrade will be a "free" download?
     
  • 10/18/13 - We will not call it a complete guessing game, as the FCC has issued more guidance on filings and deadlines. Simply put, many are just moved 16 days - but that is an oversimplification. On the other hand, some of those who might have missed deadlines, like the license renewal deadline on October 1st, are still "alive."
     
    STA's that were expiring during the time the FCC was closed are extended to November 4th.
     
    The LPFM Window: The FCC has extended the LPFM Window from now until November 14th.
     
  • 10/17/13 - A notice on the FCC website says that all filings have been delayed by the FCC closure will continue delayed until further notice.  The means everything from license renewals to the LPFM Window. Further information is expected next week and the FCC is suggesting that folks do not file applications seeking "relief" until the additional guidance is given.
  • 10/17/13 - The FCC has returned. Among the first notices was a listing of 14 stations in AZ, NM, NV, UT, and WY failed to turn in renewal applications on June 1st.
     
  • 10/17/13 - Microsoft has released Version 8.1 of Windows. It is a free download at microsoft.com
     
  • 10/10/13 - T-Mobile announced today that they are removing most roaming costs for international service. Data and text will be free, and calls will be 20 cents per minute, according to the statements made.
     
  • 10/7/13 - The 135th AES Convention in NYC later this month will feature a number of broadcast related seminars. Additionally, it has been announced that on Friday a special program remembering Ray Dolby and his inventions will be presented. Looking for a free floor pass? Just click here and use the promo code NYAES. Our thanks to David Bialik for this goodie. 
     
  • 10/1/13 - The halls are deserted in much of the Federal Government, including the FCC. And, as can be seen, quite a lot of planning (and staff time) went into the FCC's shutdown plan.
     
    Basically ... until Congress works things out, everything is on hold, including filings due at the FCC. The FCC Plan essentially seems to say that everything "missed" will be due on the first day after the government returns to work (Some outages must still be reported).
     
    Most links on the FCC site have been redirected to the "shutdown-page," with some barebones information, although a few remain. AMQuery appears to work at this writing, for example.
     
  • 9/27/13 - The FCC has been busy - and things are about to get busier. The LPFM Window is due to open in just over two weeks. The Commission says it is ready for the LPFM applications and has just about handled the translator backlog. (Between translators and LPFM, we could see 3000 or more new transmitters and antennas sold.)
     
  • 9/25/13 - Potential LPFM stations and others should be on the guard against a company calling itself FCCFrequency and selling 100 Watt transmitters from the Dominican Republic. Oh - one other thing - despite their name, they apparently neglect to tell customers they need a license from the real FCC to use the gear. The FCC is looking into the Fundacion Cristiana De Comunicaciones and is demanding some explanations. -Thanks Mike Langner
     
  • 9/24/13 - While it may be a bit early, the NAB has set up a hotel page for the 2014 Spring Show. (You will note rates are rising again!). Check it out, to help get your plans ready.
     
  • 9/20/13 - The NAB has filed comments with the FCC to try to protect the Broadcast Auxiliary Services (BAS) band at 2 GHz (2025-2110). CTIA wants to take some 15% of the band for auctioning. The NAB, in return, says that wireless companies already have plenty of spectrum, why destroy BAS to add to the stockpile?
     
  • 9/20/13 - Among the take-aways from the Fall Radio Show are the Acting Chairwoman's proposals for AM and Larry Wilson's saying "voicetracking is dead." Both aim to bolster local broadcasting.
     
  • 9/18/13 - The Fall Radio Show for 2014 has been announced for Indianapolis: 9/10/14 to 9/12/14.
     
  • 9/17/13 - The IBC closes today in Amsterdam. The total attendees topped 50,569, an increase of about 1,000 from last year.
     
  • 9/17/13 - Ibiquity has announced discounts on their licensing system that would bring the license fee down to $7500 with up to eight years to pay (the fee for HD2/3/4 is $1000/year or 3% of income). This beats the discount in 2007 ($10,000), offered prior to an announced fee increase to $25k in 2008.
     
  • 9/16/13 - A couple of station sales seem to show that some companies are actively picking up new stations - a sign of improvement in station trading, if not the rest of the industry. Larry Wilson's Live and Local just picked up five stations in Columbia, SC, and Nexstar and Mission Broadcasting picked up another five stations in IA and NY.
     
    BDR Comments: Dare we hope this will encourage more - as L&L's name says: "Live and Local" broadcasting? Otherwise, the continuing increase of empty studios around the country will do nothing more than continue to fuel the people a the FCC who think broadcast's time is past.
     
  • 9/9/13 - Something is going on at Talk Radio Network. After a weekend of leaked information, TRN announced it had shut down America's Radio News Network (ARNN). A lawsuit between TRN and WestwoodOne (Dial Global) is partially involved.
     
  • 9/9/13 - The LPFM Window definitely is getting closer. The FCC opened a filing Window today for the singleton translator applications that have been pending for some ten years. Applicants have until October 9th to file their Form 349 Application for Construction Permit.
     
  • 9/9/13 - Consolidation in the tower site business: American Tower has announced their plan to purchase Global Tower Partners for just under $5 Billion. A total of some 15,000 sites in the US and Costa Rica are involved.
     
  • 9/3/13 - There had been speculation about it, but today Dial Global made it official: before they sell themselves off to Cumulus, they are changing their name to Westwood One, reclaiming the original name of one of the companies that became Dial Global. Westwood One is remembered as a satellite syndication company with many programs and news networks, from Mutual to NBC and CBS.
     
  • 8/31/13 - What happens when the company fixing your gear closes? At least this time, the Sinclair Broadcast Group purchase of Dielectric Communications antenna factory has brought hope to three stations in Virginia, which have been on an auxiliary antenna at lower power since a storm in March damaged their antenna.
     
  • 8/30/13 - August closes with three transactions revolving around Cumulus Media. Townsquare Media has purchased 68 stations from Cumulus and Peak Broadcasting (after divesting or exchanging eight stations). The deal is said to be total $281 Million of small and middle market stations, and brings Townsquare up to third place in the number of stations owned: 312 stations in 66 markets.
     
    The sale will, in turn, provide cash for Cumulus to purchase Dial Global for a reported $260 Million. This will give Cumulus a major platform (DG includes the remants of Westwood One and some other radio news brands) to provide programming to their stations and others.
     
    The markets involved are: Battle Creek, MI; Cedar Rapids, IA; Danbury, CT; Faribault-Owatonna, MN; Kalamazoo, MI; Lansing, MI; Portland, ME; Portsmouth-Dover-Rochester, NH; Quad Cities, IA-IL; Rochester, MN; Rockford, IL; Waterloo, IA, Boise, ID, Fresno, CA, Dubuque, IA, and Poughkeepsie, NY.
     
  • 8/28/13 - Results are in from the SBE's annual election of officers. Joe Snelson is the new SBE President, Jerry Massey is the the VP.
     
  • 8/27/13 - SoundExchange has filed a suit against SiriusXM regarding royalty payments - as much as $100 million of payments. Much of the litigation concerns music that is now over 40 years old and already part of existing actions.
     
    BDR Comments: We hope that thinking about early 1970s music doesn't make you feel old!
     
  • 8/23/13 - Here is a good one. The FCC went looking for a station = and couldn't find it!
     
  • 8/22/13 - The old myth that "lightning never strikes twice" got a good brusing in Florida last month. WGSG in Mayo, FL got whacked not once or twice, but three times on July 31st. The report in Suwanne Democrat/Mayo Free Press tells the story of a non-comm station owner "understandably at wits end." WGSG is on the air - barely. (thanks, Blaine Thompson)
     
  • 8/19/13 - The FCC issued a Report and Order that updates the rules regarding MoM installations and construction near to existing stations.
     
  • 8/18/13 - A pirate station picked the worst possible place to set up: across the street from a fire station with firefighters unwilling to accept interference. According to the Brockton, MA Enterprise, when a Haitian programmed pirate started affecting radios in the firehouse, a delegation went over and offered to cut the coax. The station relocated rather quickly.
     
  • 8/15/13 - Sprint and Emmis have announced the availablity of cell phones with the FM chip activated. According to Emmis, two HTC models (One or EVO) will now work with Emmis' NextRadio app, which can be downloaded from this Google Play site. This is off-air reception, with no data usage.
     
  • 8/15/13 - The legal system at its best? Bet you thought the LightSquared effort to use a frequency band to do wireless Internet ended when the FCC declined to offer another wavier of the interference with GPS receivers and LightSquare declared bankruptcy. Not true. A successor company has now filed suit for $1.9 Billion in damages from Deere and other GPS industry groups for opposing the plans. Oh ... and so no one is left out, a $2 Billion suit was filed against Dish Network's CEO. (Thanks Dennis Gilliam)
     
  • 8/14/13 - FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai is to speak at the Radio Show Luncheon regarding his continuing support for local broadcasting, especially small AM stations.
     
  • 8/13/13 - The FCC has released its schedule of fees for the Fiscal Year 2014. Aside from the expected slight increase in fees, the big change this year is the elimination of the "UHF Discount," now that we have moved to digital television and UHF channels often are demonstrably better than VHF channels.
     
  • 8/10/13 - If you are following the Pandora purchase of a broadcast station and ASCAP's attack on it, a Petition to Deny, you might enjoy the latest filings. Lawyers love this stuff:  ASCAP's filing      Pandora/Connoisseur's response.
     
  • 8/9/13 - We hear the FCC has finally started to get its collective mind wrapped around the LTE Cell sites vs FM interference issue. The word is that the different departments were not communicating (really? Who'd a thunk that?) and that now there starting some effort to back away from citing FM stations. Of course, the EB would like to keep it quiet.

    BDR Comments: The BDR is pleased to see some sanity returning to the process. Let's hope that continues.
     
  • 8/9/13 - The FCC has provided new information about the upcoming LPFM Window, including a pair of web seminars to be held to help answer questions about the application process. The first seminar is on August 20th from 1PM to 2:30PM EDT and will cover how to set up and account on the FCC's site and file an application. More information, including where to see the seminar, is in the News Release here.
     

  • 8/8/13 - In recent years, the FCC has changed the Form 323 for the biennial Broadcast Station Ownership Report, to include set a single deadline date, get additional information - and to include more stations. This year, all commercial full-power AM, FM, TV, and LPTV stations - and entities with attributable interests are required to file their forms by November 1st. However, the FCC has released an Order delaying the deadline this year to December 2nd. Data must be accurate as of October 1st. Nevertheless, the FCC suggests filing as early as possible after October 1st.
     

  • 8/2/13 - President Obama has nominated Mike O'Rielly to be an FCC Commissioner, filling a vacany created by Robert McDowell's resignation. O'Rielly, an advisor to Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX), was said to be the "political balance" nominee for Tom Wheeler, slated to become the next FCC Chairman. His background includes working for Sens. Jon Kyle (R-AZ) and John Sununu (R-NH).
     

  • 8/1/13 - The FCC has given permission for the opening of a new toll-free area code: 844. It will start operation December 7, 2013, authorized to SMS/800, Inc.
     

  • 7/31/13 -  The 2003 translator proceeding is almost over - unless that light at the end of the tunnel is a train. The FCC has just opened a Window (the month of August) for all singleton translator applications left from 2003. The information is here. The full application form is available here.
     

  • 7/31/13 -  The nominee for FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, has passed the Senate Commerce Committee. His confirmation by the full Senate may come soon.
     

  • 7/23/13 -  FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai visited KDKA for a tour and history program today. His remarks continued his campaign to provide some help AM radio from the Commission. His remarks are here.

  • 7/16/13 -  Hubbard Broadcasting has purchased 10 radio stations in Seattle and Phoenix from Sandusky Radio. The $85.5 million deal is the second major sale in two days.  Larry Wilson's L&L bought six Jackson, MS stations from YMF Media. 
     

  • 7/15/13 -  Two Salem stations were damaged yesterday by a fire at their Bainbridge Island, WA site. according to the local paper, what sounds like an ATU shed fire knocked KLFE (1590), a two-tower DA and KNTS (1680). Partial service was restored to KLFE by the end of the day, while KNTS remained off for repairs.
     

  • 7/15/13 -  The FCC's Enforcement Bureau has extended the deadline for commenting on its indecency policy to August 2nd.
     

  • 7/10/13 -  Hot on the heels of Fox' WWOR eliminating their last news broadcast in favor of a magazine program, Senator Robert Menendez - D and Representative Frank Pallone - D both have asked the FCC to revoke WWOR's license. The license was originally "saved" decades ago during the RKO scandal by a special law granting renewal to a VHF station serving New Jersey.
     

  • 7/9/13 -  Several publications, including ZDNet and Wired have reported security holes in DASDEC EAS boxes. This is old information, as DAS had released firmware in April to resolve any issues. More information is here. All DASDEC units should be updated to V2.0-2 at the DAS site.
     

  • 7/9/13 -  Harris Broadcast has names Charlie Vogt as their new CEO. Vogt has experience in information technology and communications, including cable, most recently as CEO of GENBAND. another acquisition company. Vogt has received multiple recognitions in the IP and VoIP industries.
     

  • 7/3/13 -  Harris Broadcast will be announcing a new CEO next week. Harris Morris, has departed, effective immediately. No reasons were given in an email memo distributed to the company employees yesterday. Harris Broadcast is now owned by The Gores Group.

JUNE 2013

  • 6/28/13 -  Plans have been announced for the resumption of programming by a television station that is moving over 2000 miles from Wyoming to Wilmington, DE (see 3/18/13, below). In addition to the long move, the news report notes another unique attribute: both stations will still carry their "K" call sign, unless they change it after the move, something uncommon East of the Mississippi River.
     

  • 6/28/13 -  A reminder that the FCC NPRM into RF exposure guidelines is still underway. Some reports are that some announcements will be made in August, although the comment period is until September 13th.
     

  • 6/27/13 - .The California Historical Radio Society has learned that the building where they have been located - the old KRE building, and site of the movie American Graffiti -is being sold.
     

  • 6/26/13 - The buildout of 700 MHz LTE cellular networks is starting to have some impact upon FM broadcasters. In at least four instances FM transmitters have been accused of improper operation by cellular companies - and one FCC Field Agent issuing an NOV - even when the FM is operating well within the Rules and spectrum limits.
     
    A full length article is located here.

    BDR Comments: While this is early in the process, it is vital the NAB take the lead in investigating what is happening, how the FCC intends to proceed, and what broadcaster need to do to prevent expensive retro-fits, should a co-located or near-located LTE site claim interference. Remember - broadcasters do not step up - quickly - with a unified voice, the cellular industry will!
     
     

  • 6/24/13 - Journal Broadcast's Andy Laird is a real heavy-lifter. Now celebrating 15 years as CTO for Journal, and married for two, Laird has carved out a record setting place in a his non-broadcast pursuits. And he is not done yet!
     

  • 6/18/13 - Something many hoped to see was announced this morning. Sinclair Broadcast is purchasing the assets and intellectual property of Dielectric Communications from SPX. According to Sinclair executives, this will prevent disruption of the supplies and service to some 2/3 of all high power TV stations, as well as many radio stations.
     
    Coming so soon after the announcement by SPX that closed the division, the sale will keep in place the staff at Raymond, ME and preserve the knowledge and experience that reaches back to the days Dielectric took the RCA designs and set up as a separate company.
     

  • 6/17/13 - The 2013 LPFM Window was officailly announced by the FCC to take place October 15-29. Additionally, information on the requisite forms and other information were released here. Ladies and Gentlemen: Start your engines!
     

  • 6/17/13 - Another sign of changing times: WYFR, Family Radio's Shortwave service, will terminate on June 30th. Fourteen transmitters and 23 antennae at Okeechobee, FL will go silent, ending a history that started with W1XAL, Boston, MA in 1927, and had been run by Family Stations for the past 40 years. 
     

  • 6/13/13 - As the Pandora turns: Now BMI has decided to join ASCAP in going after Pandora, filing a lawsuit after negotiations failed.
     

  • 6/13/13 - If you let landscapers on the property, instruct them carefully: Radio Station KVTK (1570) in Yankton, SD was silent for a few days this week. A grass-cutting went very wrong when a guy wire was hit. The station's owner was on site - and got a view from just 20 feet away! 
     

  • 6/13/13 - Sprint has announced termination of the Nextel iDEN network will be done early on June 30th. Migration to Sprint's CDMA "Direct Connect" is one option.
     

  • 6/13/13 - The Gannett company has announced they are purchasing the Belo Corp. for $1.5 Billion in cash and assumption of $715 million in debt. According to the NY Times, Gannett will nearly double its TV station group to 43 (from 23), and enhance the share of revenue from broadcast and digital sources.
     

  • 6/11/13 - The Internet streaming company, Pandora, has purchased KXMZ in Rapid City, SD for $600k. This move into ownership appears related to the fight to get reduced royalty rates for the music played on Pandora. According to Pandora, it will put them on an equal footing with competitors such as Clear Channel and their iHeart service, which benefit from a different royalty rate given to broadcasters. ASCAP was not amused and said they would pursue a lawsuit.
       

  • 6/11/13 - FCC Commission Pai released a letter from an AM station owner, along with supporting letters from the community, pleading for help for AM owners, especially in smaller markets. Among his suggestions: permit AM stations up to their day power or a maximum of 2000 Watts at night. The station owner, Brian Winnekins, would like to see a test of this during the coming Fall/Winter months. He would also like to see more AM fidelity and stricter enforcement of the Part 15 Rules on RF Interference. More information is here.
      

  • 6/6/13 - KaYou Communications and International Datacasting have announced the end of stock and end of life dates for the ABR202 and DAC7000 receivers. According to KaYou, the ABR series will no longer be sold after September 30th, although International Datacasting reports stock may be exhausted by July 31st. The replacement, the Star Pro Audio receiver is currently being offered with a $500 upgrade rebate through the end of the year. More information is availalble here - or send an email to Mark Johnson.
     

  • 6/4/13 - As part of the "shuffle" at the FCC, the "temporary Chairwoman" took the head of the Enforcement Bureau to her personal staff. She is now replaced by Acting Chief Robert Ratcliffe.
     

  • 6/4/13 - The FCC has released new rules relating to RFR and exposure levels. There is also a new NPRM which is open for comments until September 13th - but already has 360 comments ranging from "shut down all the radio stations" to "lift all restrictions."
     

  • 6/3/13 - FCC Commissioner Pai provided the opening speech for the Missouri Broadcasters Association conference this past weekend. Following up on his appearance at the Spring NAB Show, Pai reiterated his support for AM stations - and focusing on how it was an AM station in Joplin, MO that served the community after the tornado last year that took out a lot of the power and cellular infrastucture.
     
    BDR Comments: The problems AM Radio faces are well known and have been discussed for years. We hope Commissioner Pai is successful in moving some of the many proposed solutions off the table and ito action.  
     

  • 6/3/13 - Clear Channel quickly found the financing to move $5 Billion in debt out to 2019. This is not the first time CC has refinanced, but the interest rates do rise with each new offering.

MAY 2013

  • 5/29/13 - After renewing the CBC's radio licenses for five years, Canada's CRTC has permitted a three-year experiment to allow two CBC non-comm stations to run up to four minutes of commercials in an hour. Only two stop sets will be permitted.
     
    BDR Comments: While there may be debate on the merits of allowing non-comms to run more "traditional" commercials, this is designed to reduce government subsidies. If this works out in Canada, we can expect the concept will be promoted in the US. 
     

  • 5/28/13 - Australia is going through the analog to digital TV conversion. This week Brisbane stations dropped their analog broadcasts. BTQ-7's final analog video is here. (Thanks Blaine Thompson.)
     

  • 5/24/13 - The FCC is seeking comment on their plans to raise the regulatory fees charged for Contruction Permits and Licenses. An 81 page Notice and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, contains a chart of fees and proposed fees. Start around page 25 to see the data.
     
    BDR Comments: The fees are based on the station desgination and market size. But one thing is for sure, the FCC will not close the Federal Deficit with fees on radio stations.
     

  • 5/22/13 - Clear Channel is following in the path of other companies in restuctuing debt now, while interest base rates are relatively low. This week, CC announced that they are offering holders of notes due in 2016 a bit more interest to hold until 2021. If it pays off, it sure will be a lot better than any bank CD.
     

  • 5/21/13 - Hot on the heels of the tech box dismissals, the FCC opened a two-month window today to try to resolve the MX applications remaining in the 2003 Auction 83. Communication rules are to be slightly relaxed. Here are the three documents: DA-13-1170A1.pdf  DA-13-1170A2.pdf  DA-13-1170A3.pdf  If you are in this group (the second pdf), you only have eight weeks.
     

  • 5/20/13 - More tornados in this rather busy tornado season; this time in the Oklahoma City metro area. With a path of obliteration almost two miles wide and 20 miles long, this was pretty bad, even by OKC standards. Several broadcasters, including Clear Channel and Cumulus both hooking all their stations onto company simulcasts. Reports indicate the tornado came close to two AM facilities - at KOKC (1520, the old KOMA), the three-tower DA was missed by a matter of several hundred feet, and a close miss as well to the KTOK (1000)  site.
     
    BDR Comments: With no power and many cell towers dropped, communication was back to broadcasters. EAS broadcasts gave as much as 15 minutes warning to take shelter, which likely saved many lives in this densely populated area. This is when broadcast can/should shine. This is something emergency managers need to be educated to observe and copy.
     

  • 5/20/13 - The FCC dismissed another 10 translator applications from Auction 83. The "tech box" applications were deemed too close to potential LPFM sites, failed the grid test, or in an MX situation.
     

  • 5/16/13 - Tornados blew through an area in northern Texas last night, devastating communities, including Cleburne. The Marti facility was reported to have escaped damage.
     

  • 5/15/13 - Policy Think Tank update: FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell has announced his last day on the FCC is Friday (May 17th), and that he is joining Hudson Institute. Former Chairman Genachowski going to the Aspen Institute as a Senior Fellow.
     

  • 5/13/13 - The FCC has issued a new policy that gives student-run stations a small lifeline. More discussion is on the Enforcement Watch page.
     

  • 5/7/13 - Auction 94 has concluded. Full reports on the FCC site here. Quick summary: 93 permits went to 55 bidders. 19 permits did not received a single bid. Although one CP (West Palm Beach, FL) went for over $2 million, most were much more modest - 82 were sold for under $100k ... and some for under $1,000.
     

  • 5/1/13 - A new FCC Commissioner has been nominated by the President: Tom Wheeler. This is going to be interesting, as Wheeler - approved of by the NAB - was a lobbyist for the cable industry. In the meantime, Mignon Clyburn has been named Interim Chairman of the FCC.
     
    Wheeler has a long history of being head of the cable industry association (NCTA) and cell industry associaion (CTIA) as well as being a strong backer of the the President, helping with his election campaign in 2008.
     

APRIL 2013

  • 4/25/13 - FCC Commission Pai is pressing ahead with his hopes to revitalize AM. Stating that "..time isn't on the side of AM broadcasters ..." Pai advocates getting things moving - including more FM translators for AM stations.
     

  • 4/25/13 - According to various sources, Microsoft is readying an update to Windows 8 that will restore a "Start" button to the opening screen. Although no return to the "start menu" style, Windows 8.1 is said to be an acknowledgement that Microsoft went a bit too far in Windows 8's redesign.
     

  • 4/22/13 - A Fisher Communications Shareholders' Foundation has filed lawsuit to stop the the takeover by Sinclair Broadcast Group. The suit alleges that Fisher was sold too cheaply and that it was unfair to stockholders.
     

  • 4/19/13 - SPX' Dielectric Communications has announced it will close by the end of June 2013, due to market conditions. Sales and deliveries will stop on May 31st. Calls to the company are currently routed to voicemail, confirming the situation. The company will reopen a week from Monday.
     

  • 4/12/13 - With the growing effects of the government financial "Sequestration," several sources indicated the move to force radio stations to put their Public Information File on the FCC's website will be delayed. No word as yet on how long.
     

  • 4/10/13 - Sinclair Broadcasting says it has acquired Fisher Communications for $373+ million. Since Sinclair exited the radio business a few years ago, there is speculation as to what will happen with the radio stations in three markets that are included in the sale.
     

  • 4/10/13 - A man was arrested in Philadelphia for shining a laser at a news helicopter. He was sentenced this week to three months in jail.
     

  • 4/5/13 - Television broadcasters were told today that a freeze on any application that would increase their coverage area has been implemented until further notice. This is in relation the the spectrum auctions the FCC and Congress want to hold to raise money.

  • 4/2/13 - Two Ft. Myers, FL DJs got yanked from the air after telling people their water was contaminated with "dihydrogen monoxide." The station's GM was not pleased and suspended the pair immediately. Utility and emergency managers reported a "lot of wasted time." (Thanks: Blaine Thompson, Alan Alsobrook). (Update: the suspension was for one day.)
     

  • 4/1/13 - Despite the date on the News Release, it appears the FCC has solved much of its backlog of indecency complaints by - are you ready? - dismissing over a million of them in the past six months. The Commission directed the Enforcement Bureau to pursue only the egregious cases and - wait for it! - has asked for comments on whether to keep the current policy or change it. 
     
    The Good News in this is that a number of radio license renewals were being held up by some of these complaints - some quite petty - and this will help move those renewals along.
     
    BDR Comments: A large number of the complaints apparently were past the statute of limitations. On the other hand, it does make one wonder why such a backlog was allowed to occur in the first place. Could it be "Sequestration?" Even the BDR would not be so cynical.
     

MARCH 2013  

  • 3/27/13 - Where the money is - at least radio station billing. Hubbard's WTOP was listed as the top-billing station in the US for the third consecutive year. BIA/Kelsey does a year report, and this year lists WTOP at $64.6 million. #2 was Clear Channel's KIIS, LA at $56.8 million.
     
    BDR Comments: It is pretty clear there is money in radio. So, where are the jobs, salaries, and tech budgets below the corporate and GM/SM rank? The front line folks do not seem to be sharing in the spoils - or the million dollar plus bonuses.
     

  • 3/26/13 - Wondering what the status is on the MAD Patent Case. The judge on Monday issued an order keeping the "stay" in place until the patent "re-examination" process has ended.
     

  • 3/25/13 - An interesting outcome for a channel move in Texas. Radio Dalhart was ordered to pay Perryton Radio Inc $73,553.73 as a result of the move of KBEX(FM) which bumped KEYE(FM) from its dial position. Once the move was over Radio Dalhart decided not to pay the money. The FCC has now made that an Order.
     

  • 3/22/13 -The NAB's Free Floor Pass codes expire today. After today, a $25 fee will be incurred.
     

  • 3/22/13 - As expected, FCC Chairman Genachowski has announced his coming departure. The FCC News Release is here.
     

  • 3/21/13 - TransLanTech has sold its Ariane audio processor line to BW Broadcast.
     

  • 3/21/13 - The National Radio Club announced that their DX Audio Service for the blind is moving from cassette to CD delivery. Also MP3 audio is available via Internet subscription, the DXAS is now begins its 28th year of service. More information is located here.
     

  • 3/20/13 - Robert McDowell indicated this morning that he would be leaving his post as FCC Commissioner "in a few weeks." McDowell, a Republican, has served on the FCC since 2006 and was known as a "Free Market" proponent, seeking to reduce regulations. Combined with the expected resignation of Chairman Julius Genachowski, it could mean two new Commissioners will be nominated this year.
     

  • 3/19/13 - An Oklahoma LPFM station has lost its license for not complying with FCC orders after it was found that the antenna was 100 feet higher than it was supposed to be - and the station was running "regular" commercials. The FCC had given a conditional renewal, but that has now been withdrawn. KEIF-LP, Enid is now XKEIF-LP.
     

  • 3/18/13 - A curious set of "moves" this week, from a little remembered law passed to protect the then WOR-TV in the New York Market. Congress passed a law in the 1980s, by NJ Senator Bill Bradley, mandating the FCC license a station wanting to serve a state with no VHF TV station.
     
    Fast forward to 2013 and under the direction of the US Court of Appeals, the FCC is granting (although not happily) the move of Channel 2 in Jackson, WY to Wilmington, DE and the move of Channel 3 from Ely, NV to Middletown, NJ.

    BDR Comments: The BDR thinks Ely to Middletown (2159 miles) may well be the longest relocation in history, and both certainly eclipse the Chicago to Philadelphia to Cleveland to Philadelphia move or the NYC/Brooklyn to Washington, DC move (1400 and 215 miles).
     

  • 3/12/13 - The FCC today approved the acquistion of MetroPCS by T-Mobile.
     

  • 3/11/13 - There has been a lot of buzz on some of the social media sites about a report that two car companies were planning on pulling radio from their dashboards within two years. Although it sparked a lot of conversation the report was apparently not accurate, as car companies took the time to declaim any intention of dumping radios.
     

  • 3/4/13 - The LPFM Window later this year is gaining a lot of interest. This article is from Wired Magazine, a geek/tech-heavy publication.
     

FEBRUARY 2013

  • 2/28/13 - Two Blaw-Knox towers were dropping in Los Angeles this week, as KHJ moves to a multiplexed site. LA TV station KTLA shows the towers being dropped - and a snipped of the old Boss Radio jingles.
      

  • 2/28/13 - Hammond Manufacturing of Cheektowaga, NY has purchased the Peter Dahl designs from Harbach Electronics. Closing is expected by the end of March 2013.
     

  • 2/26/13 - Microsoft's next version of Windows, named "Blue" is starting to make the rounds. Some sources claim it will be released to manufacturers in June and available to the public in August.
     

  • 2/26/13 - There has been a lot of buzz this past week about the FCC abuptly terminating a number of enforcement actions with a very terse statement ("The Notice of Apparent Liability is hereby cancelled.") and an admonishment to the licensee. This appears to be the result of pushback on the FCC's continuing enforcement actions past the 5 year time limit for filing suit to recover the fines.  Want to know more?
     
    BDR Comments: Look for faster movement on the FCC's part in coming months.
     

  • 2/26/13 - NPR is in the midst of a study to see how stations can better serve deaf persons with EAS messages. Methods may include strobe lights or vibrators actiivated by RDS signals.
     

  • 2/20/13 - The FCC has issued an NPRM (Notice of Proposed Rule Making) to add 195 MHz to the 5 GHz band for Wi-Fi use. The plan, which would increase existing Wi-Fi spectrum by over 1/3, was adopted unanimously. The cable industry was very pleased, as were a number of companies making wireless gear; the NPRM also called for streamlining the process of certifying Wi-Fi devices.
     

  • 2/19/13 - Call it the Patent Troll Replay. Yep, Mission Abstract Data seems not willing to give up, even as the USPTO re-evalutes and dismisses the MAD claims. This week, MAD filed suit in East Texas courts against four radio groups for infringing on their patents. It seems like a try for some quick cash, but the whole patent lawsuit industry is so convoluted, it is hard to know for sure.
     
    BDR Comments:
    Just so broadcasters do not feel alone, there was a recent article describes why certain companies are targeted by these deals. The topic: scan and email software. The article noted that the company holding the patents did not want to go after any large company with deep pockets and the capability to fight in court. They did not sue any equipment manufacturers, only small to mid-size companies who would be advised that, while it was unlikely the patent would "hold," it was cheaper to pay than go to court - something these sort of cases count on. East Texas is known for rapid court calendars, so the combination of broadcast company size and being in East Texas seems to be the reason for MAD's approach. On the other hand, check out Drew Curtis' case.
     

  • 2/13/13 - Comcast has purchased GE's 49% of NBC, as well as 30 Rockfeller Center, and now owns NBC entirely. Interesingly, GE was an original owner of RCA from 1926 to 1932, then repurchased RCA and NBC in 1986. The price tag: $18.1 Billion.
     

  • 2/11/13 - The NAB announced its Radio Engineering Award for 2013 will go to Frank Foti, and the TV Award to Jay Adrick. The Service to Broadcast Engineering award goes to Leonard Charles.
     

  • 2/7/13 - Tom Ray is signing off at WOR in New York after 15 1/2 years. The former Corporate Director of Engineering for Buckley Broadcasting is setting up shop as Tom Ray Broadcast Consulting. This follows the sale of the station to Clear Channel.
     

  • 2/7/13 - Harbach Electronics, which took over the Peter Dahl designs has announced on their website that they will be no longer building, selling, nor supporting the transformers, etc, that came to them when Peter Dahl retired, effective on February 14th.  Jeff Weinberg's comments are on the Harbach Home Page.  (The sale to Hammond Manufacturing is above, date 2/28/13.)  (Thanks to Rich Haan, Calhoun Communications)
     

  • 2/7/13 - Libre Office 4 has been released. The successor to OpenOffice is now sporting new features (nach), and improved performance - including even if Java is not available. The free LO4 Office Suite is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux now, with more versions intended.
     

  • 2/6/13 - Looking back at the hearings on Sandy, not a lot of really unexpected information. Broadcasters stayed on the air in many cases, while cell phones and Internet went dead. All participants said their companies performed well and provided many valuable lessons for similar future situations. A few noted that social media, before the loss of cell/Internet often had wrong information.
     
    BDR Comments:
    There is no substitute for analog broadcast to inform communities during local emergencies. At least, that is true for stations that get people in and get off the automation! 
      

  • 2/5/13 - 3,070 translator apps hit the trash bin today as the FCC began the process of finishing the 2003 Translator Window.
     

  • 2/5/13 - Today the FCC will hold field hearings in NYC and Hoboken, NJ regarding the communications problems during last year's Hurricane Sandy. A number of broadcasters, FEMA managers, and others are expected to be heard. There is a live stream here.
     

  • 2/5/13 - Think you have heard the whole deal: Sprint agrees to activate FM chips in cell phones using the NextRadio app? Now, information is slowly emerging that Sprint expects $15 million a year in ad inventory, plus some 30% of the revenue from the NextRadio app.
     
    BDR Comments:
    Is this a good deal? That depends upon who is talking. Radio owners seem to like it, as they see it stemming trends to streaming by listeners. And we still do not know what effect this will have on battery life. Stay tuned - somewhere.
     

  • 2/3/13 - Television stations with RPUs in the 6875-7125 MHz and 12700-13200 MHz bands have just under two months to comply with the requirement to register their receive sites. However, for the moment they can  register receive sites without having to pay any of the $150 fees. The fee wavier ends on April 1st. Why register the sites? Without registration, the station might not have any rights should interference come from a new user on these RPU bands.
     

  • 2/2/13 - The broadcast antenna farm in Duluth MN was affected when power dropped out this evening. At least three television and a number of radio stations were apparently without generators, and went down for about two hours. (Thanks to Blaine Thompson)
      

  • 2/1/13 - Steve Scarborough's Bay Country Broadcast Equipment is celebrating the start of its 16th year of operations - selling quality used broadcast gear.
     

JANUARY 2013

  • 1/31/13 - Illinois Governor Quinn signed a bill designating broadcasters as "First Informers" and gives them special rights during disasters, including the ability to enter restricted areas and to get fuel or repair parts delivery for generators.
     
    BDR Comments:
    IL is the second state to pass such a law, which will make things a lot easier for broadcasters to get in and out of studios and stay on the air. Of course, the hope is that broadcasters will use this status to do more to provide information to their communities.
     

  • 1/31/13 - An interesting kerfluffle: The International CES has decided to find another partner for their "Best of Show" awards in the future, after CNET owner CBS demanded CNET withdraw an award to Dish Network for their "Hopper" DVR. CES reinstated the award and will put out a Request for Proposal soon to replace CNET next year.
     

  • 1/28/13 - For many years, the place everyone went to find out information about stations was the Broadcasting Yearbook. Last issued in 2010. After buying the database, Grey House Publishing has on sale the 2013 Edition of the Complete Television, Radio & Cable Industry Directory. The 2000-page book is still a hefty purchase - $350.
     

  • 1/28/13 - The NAB filed comments with the FCC regarding the new wireless microphone rules. In addition to making it clear how important wireless microphones have become to broadcast operations, the NAB suggested the FCC make allowance for other users, like theaters, live music producers, government bodies and houses of worship. 
     

  • 1/26/13 - Is C4 an "explosive" concept? A petition was filed with the FCC to remove some of the protections afforded by the mileage charts and allow a new class of FM - C4.
     
    BDR Comments: While the class, proposed for 12 kW at 100 m, would fill in a lot of coverage holes, others see it as just another dilution of the FM band. What the FCC thinks is not yet known. The only thing for sure: it will not happen fast.
     
     

  • 1/22/13 - AM Stereo.  Bet you have not heard much about that in a long time. For the next four months, a temporary Irish station has brouight the AM Stereo system back. While Zenith Class Rock may not be on many American DXer lists, except as a web stream, station manager Andy Linton says "AM Stereo sounds amazing!" (Thanks to Blaine Thompson)
     

  • 1/20/13 - It is the legal silliness that will not go away. The MAD (Mission Abstract Data) affair is still not over, as a Federal judge is to hold a hearing on March 25th, to determine whether the recent decision turning down all of MAD's claims will stand or if a trial will be ordered.

    BDR Comments:
    With more information being found each month, the original claims by MAD are looking less and less viable. But it does show how the modern Patent process is broken.
     

  • 1/18/13 - FCCInfo, the information website of Cavell, Mertz & Associates, has upgraded their Google Earth plugin. Now, in addition to all the existing features, they have broken out the data so you can find all the TV stations on each channel, all towers of a certain height, and more. Get the plug-in URL on the Resources/Software page.
     

  • 1/16/13 -  Scientists are saying this year will see a peak in sunspot activity. Some predict damage here on the Earth. Whether you believe these warnings or not, perhaps it is time to do an audit of the studio and transmitter sites. Perhaps this warning article is worth consideration?
     

  • 1/16/13 - :Keep your eye out for another run of "diversity" hearings, aimed at getting more female and black station owners. Commissioners Pai and Clyburn are proposing a new initiative. .
     
    BDR Comments:
    Unfortunately, as the 80-90 process proved, unless the Commissioners adopt more than the usual "one-size-fits-all" style of FCC Rules, this initiative will not likely accomplish any more than past efforts. All it does is creat a lottery, making some minorities rich as they sell off their CPs as fast as possible. 
     

  • 1/16/13 - Liberty Media has received permission from the FCC to assume control of SiriusXM. Starting with a 2009 investment, Liberty has been slowly adding to its stock position and now has 50.5% as it converts preferred stock to common. It has been a good year for SiriusXM, with the stock jumping big time - now over $3.00.
     

  • 1/14/13 - A reminder to TV stations: February 4th is the date for all TV stations to get their Public Information File materials on the FCC hosting site, with a few exceptions. While your DC Counsel likely has already alerted on this, here is a reminder to check.

     

  • 1/11/13 - The FCC brought forth its "Derecho Report," praising broadcasters for their efforts during the storms last year that wracked the midwest. The report looks to new generations of IP availability, but notes the cooperation between some 911 centers and broadcasters worked, even when power (and Internet) was down. The full report is here.
     

  • 1/8/13 - The 2013 edition of the Adult Toy Story - the International CES - is holding forth in Las Vegas this week. Among the news coming out of the CES is Sprint's decision to support the FM chips in some smartphones. Read about CES here.
     

  • 1/5/13 - A village radio station in New Zealand will feature a transmitter purchased in 1937 this weekend. 1XT's Collins 20C - the only known operating one in the world - originally was purchased for 1ZB in Auckland. Three station engineers worked to refurbish the 76-year-old transmitter - it had been gathering dust since burning out the high voltage transformer in 2000. The 20C will be utilized as a backup transmitter after its star turn this  weekend.
     

  • 1/4/13 - Bill Shute, founder of Broadcasters' General Store passed away on December 28th. He was 80.
     

  • 1/3/13 - Longtime broadcaster and AFCCE Member Emeritus E. Noel Luddy passed away Sunday (Dec 30th) in Columbia, PA at the age of 95. During his 70 year career in broadcasting, Luddy worked for WLAP, RCA, and Dielectric.
     

  • 1/2/13 - Just before adjourning the 112th Congress, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn (D) was confirmed for another five-year term on the FCC.
     

  • 1/2/13 - Here is a situation known to many broadcast engineers that work on busy mountain sites: after complaints about vehicle keyless entry problems in the past five months or so, a pirate radio transmitter was located and confiscated in Hollywood, FL. Apparently, the station on 104.7 was not using any filtering - and its 3rd harmonic landed right on the frequency used for car key fobs. Quite a few cars were towed, only to find no problem. The transmitter was located last week and removed. Police are said to be looking for the owner of the station.
     

  • 1/1/13 - It is time to change the way you date your logs and checks.

DECEMBER 2012
  • 12/21/12 - Applicants for FM translators who have been waiting since 2003 for movement are starting to get their wishes. The FCC has set a Window of just over two weeks (January 10th to 25th, 2013) for those with more than 50 pending applications (or more than one in a market) to make a showing as to which applications they wish to continue to pursue according to the Fifth Report and Order recently adopted by the FCC on November 30th.

    Those that do not submit the required showings will have all their 2003 applications dismissed in markets designated as "spectrum limited," and all but the first filed application in non-spectrum limited markets. 

     

  • 12/19/12 - The US Patent Office has ruled again against Mission Abtract Data (MAD), and the company it sold the patent rights to (Digimedia Holdings Group), on the claims that it owns patents on the use of digital media to store and play music. All the claims were rejected.
     
    BDR Comments:
    Of course, when lawyers are involved, rulings are rarely ever final. MAD has until Jan 19th to file an appeal. Still information from 1992 has been recovered, prior to MAD claims. Some other information seems to exist back to 1984.

  • 12/13/12 - Today is the date for implementation of the requirements of the CALM Act. Television stations must not transmitter commercials that are louder than the surrounding program material.
     
    BDR Comments: There. Don't you feel calmer already?
     

  • 12/12/12 - It was 65 years ago when the transistor was developed. Three scientists at Bell Labs demonstrated it to officials a week later (Dec 23rd), and announced it to the press in the spring of 1948. The inventors, William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain received a Nobel Prize for Physics in 1956. The rapid change to solid state electronics, leading to ICs, high density processors, computers, and more transformed everything from comsumer goods to broadcast electronics. Curiously, the center for electronic innovation moved from Bell Labs to the west coast when Stanford enticed the inventors to move west. Silicon Valley became the incubator for many forms of innovation.
     

  • 12/6/12 - The BBC has announced that in honor of the 50th anniverary of the series Dr Who, they are restoring the only episodes that were filmed (not on video) with digitial remastering into full Blu-ray HD. Due for release in July 2013, the four-part Spearhead from Space, starring John Pertwee was originally shot in 1969 during a stagehand strike at the BBC.
     

  • 12/6/12 - Harris Broadcast announced its sale to the Gores Group, a private equity firm based in Los Angeles, CA. The price was announced as $225 million, including $160 million in cash. Closing is expecting in early 2013, pending any regulartory review or other closing conditions. No announcements have been made as yet about staff or other changes.
     
    Among other Gores assets are interests in Dial Global and elo Touch.

    BDR Comments:
    Those who have been wondering about Harris' future will be awaiting further details of the sale.
     

  • 12/3/12 - Angelo Ditty, a former FCC EIC in Atlanta passed away. Details coming.

NOVEMBER

  • 11/30/12 - At their open meeting this morning, the FCC started laying down the pathway for the 2003 translator backlog and LPFM services. The Window for LPFM is now planned for October 15, 2013, along with an easier application process for the stations. In the meantime, the FCC will release an updated tool for finding open channels - including a relaxed criteria for 2nd-adjacent waviers. Also, while it did not plan to authorize 250 Watt LPFMs, the LP10 class was eliminated.
     
    According to the FCC, which loosened the translator caps a bit, and plans to get the remaining group moving, their action will bring about "thousands" of LPFMs to serve their communities - and make better use of the FM translators.
      
    BDR Comments:
    Here is a thought: what if the FCC allowed unrestricted AM use of translators to approximate coverage for a 1 kW and under station. Then, turn the AM off. Leave the regional high-powered AMk stations, and expect them to actually serve the region - or go to an FM translator. The first of a two-step solution for the AM band?
     

  • 11/27/12 - The "Spectrum Crunch" that never was?  An interesting look at the issue - and a secondary web page that shows spectrum status in three major cities.
     

  • 11/26/12 - Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting - a company with quite a few NALs over the years  (see 7/26/12 ) - has more trouble, although this time it is not the FCC that is causing the problem. The US Department of Labor has sued the company for allegedly not paying employees according to the law. The company denies the charges.
     

  • 11/26/12 - CBS Los Angeles Director of Engineering Scott Mason is recovering after receiving the gift of a kidney from KROQ's morning man, Gene Baxter. (Baxter was due back on air this morning.)
     

  • 11/26/12 - NPR is in a cash crunch according to a report on Current.org, swinging from a profit of $2.5 million last year to $6.2 million in losses for this year. Among the causes appears to be a much higher churn in underwriters, and the loss of at least one major client.
     

  • 11/23/12 - After some prodding from Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has plans to hold several "post mortum" hearings to discuss the communications problems encountered during Hurricane Sandy.
     
    BDR Comments:
    The key will be the focus. If it is merely on getting more cell phones to work, it will never solve the problem. Here is a chance for Broadcasters to be pro-active and direct the discussions to what really works in the aftermath of disasters. 
     

  • 11/23/12 - The FCC announced a temporary freeze on minor change applications for FM stations in preparation for Auction 94. The Auction is scheduled for April 23, 2013.
     

  • 11/21/12 - It was 34 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.
     

  • 11/19/12 - Tribune is about to emerge from bankruptcy. They got an FCC wavier on the cross-ownership of broadcast and print - but several of them were temporary.
     
    BDR Comments:
    Look for more action on this, and eventually the cross-ownership rules will all but disappear.
     

  • 11/13/12 - The well-known engineering consultant Jules Cohen passed away this evening. Details.
     

  • 11/12/12 - There is another Patent case slowly making its way though the process. There is a lawsuit filed against Clear Channel's iHeart Radio by Affinity Labs, the holder of a patent issued in 2011 regarding streaming to cell phones.
     

  • 11/9/12 - The FCC will put the LPFM issue at the head of their November 30th Agenda. The 5th and 6th Report and Order may lead to resolution of the 6100 translator applications pending since 2003, and perhaps a Window for LPFM in the second half of 2013. The Open Meeting is scheduled to commence at 10:30 AM EST. and will be shown live at FCC.gov/live.
     

  • 11/6/12 - A long-time broadcast engineer and salesman, George Riggins, is clearing out his shed of New, in box, phono cartridges and styli - Shure, Stanton, Audio Technica, and Pickering. A list of what is available is here. The sell-off is being handled by son-in-law Bob Soukoff, rsoukup@dd760.org  They are asking only $10 per item, plus postage. (Of course, if you want to ger a bunch, they will "deal.")  All of this is while it lasts. Folks still using vinyl on air or in their audio rooms will want to get in on this.

OCTOBER

  • 10/22/12 - A busy tech week: Apple launches the mini iPad, and several desktop Mac, Microsoft has its Surface, and Google even tosses in some new products.
     
  • 10/15/12 - Just so you do not think the US is the only country having problems, a report from Japan and their national test last week reminds us of the challenges in the whole process.
     
  • 10/14/12 - A traffic accident in Kansas took the life of Lloyd Mintzmyer, 66, this (Sunday) evening. Mintzmyer had recently retired as President of the Praise Network, based in Kansas but was still doing its engineering. Mintzmyer had been the chief engineer for Smoky Hills Public TV from 1981 until 2004 when he joined the Praise Network and began operating his own religious stations, starting with KPRD, Hays, KS. He was named President of Praise Network in 2005.
     
  • 10/12/12 - The FCC quickly approved the transfer of WOR from Buckley Broadcasting to Clear Channel. One of the oldest stations in New York. WOR's heritatge goes back 90 years, to February 1922.
     
  • 10/1/12 - Anyone still following the MAD patent deal? Mission Abstract Data (MAD) had both of its patent claims tossed back for review. There is apparently an appeal time until mid-late October, but you will likely not hear anything further until sometime in 2013. The legal process is slow ... and costly!
     

SEPTEMBER

  • 9/28/12 - Telos founder Steve Church passed away at his home in Cleveland after a fight against brain cancer. He was 57. More info here.
     
  • 9/25/12 - Planning for the 133rd AES in San Francisco at the end of October? Free Floor Passes are available here. Just use the code SFAES.
     
    Free Floor Passes for the NAB Spring show are available now for "alumni" attendees - those registered last year. General signup for the floor passes will begin later and last through March.
     
  • 9/21/12 - The NAB reported a total of 2406 attendees in Dallas for the Fall Radio Show. The 2013 Fall Radio Show will be September 18-20, held at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando.
     
  • 9/20/12 - The NRSC Committee met during the NAB Radio Show and approved some changes. NRSC-G300 was the main product, dealing with recommendations for broadcast use of RDS. Also, a periodic review of NRSC Standards and Guidelines produced modifications to three standards: NRSC-1B, 2B, and G100-A.
     
  • 9/17/12 - There have been some new reports about some QR code viruses. It seems that people often accept the "scan to win" type messages uncritically, and may be ingesting viruses or trojans into their cellphones. Just a caution to note.
     
  • 9/13/12 - Unless you have been on another planet, you have heard Apple has a new iPhone - with a new size and a new and different connector. It goes on sale Sept 21st, so watch for the lines. The screen will not be the biggest in the industry, but there will be a fifth row of "buttons," a better camera, longer talk time and more. Will this be the year for you to get an iPhone? (Samsung is coming on strong, but a recent lawsuit has some issues in doubt.)
     
  • 9/11/12 - Liberty Media announced they are one step closer to owning the majority of Sirius/XM.  With stockholdings of 49.7%, it appears it is very close.
     
  • 9/11/12 - Another FM CP Auction is on tap: Auction 94. The FCC announced the rules and the 143 locations for the next auction, which includes a few from previous auctions that were not paid for or were not built. The actual auction will begin on March 26, 2013.
     
  • 9/8/12 - The FCC seems determined to hold an auction of TV spectrum space by 2014. Announcements made today indicate the FCC is building the framework for the aucion, which the cellular industry is anxiously awaiting.
     
  • 9/1/12 - Texas Association of Broadcasters' President Ann Arnold has passed away. A strong advocate of broadcasters and community service like the EAS, she was experienced, loyal, and hard working, even as her health deteriorated. She was 67.

AUGUST 

  • 8/31/12 - Thirty million shares Sirius XM will be placed on sale by Mel Karmazin, according to a filing he made with the SEC this week.
     
  • 8/29/12 - Emmis Communications has taken a path few companies have in the industry: in the wake of selling off some of its portfolio, Emmis now has notified all employees of a pending bonus "for their loyalty and dedication." The bonuses will range from $250 for part timers, to $1000 for fulltime employees.

    BDR Comments:
    With all the millions and millions being awarded in bonuses to a very few financiers and managers, it is refreshing to see a radio company actually "sharing the wealth" with the employees that made the stations work. While the BDR does not always like all the format decisions at this company, the other radio companies really can - and should - learn from Emmis.
     
     
  • 8/29/12 - Liberty Media is reportedly only a little over 1% shy of being the majority owner of Sirius XM. It appears that it will take somewhat over $100 million dollars to close the deal.
     
  • 8/28/12 - Veteran broadcast engineer and first President of the SBE, John Battison passed away this morning. Battison, 96, had continued to be active in engineering even in recent years. A prolific writer, he authored something over 500 articles and 15 books in his career.
     
  • 8/28/12 - With Hurricane Issac bearing down on the south coast, especially Louisiana, the FCC has activated the DIRS system for stations in the affected areas. If you are in Issac's path, check out the site now.
     
  • 8/22/12 - Well-known radio engineer John Furr has passed away in Texas at the age of 68, after what has been described as a brief illness. His daughter summed up his life here.
     
  • 8/20/12 - $30 million. That is the price for a 50 kW station, according to the purchase of WOR by Clear Channel. The Buckley family got $7.5 million more than they had paid for the station (plus the profits over the years), but the sales price is said to be much less than it would have brought as recently as five years ago.
     
  • 8/15/12 - Liberty Media formally announced that they are planning to purchase a majority stake in Sirius XM - the company currently owns 48% of the satellite broadcaster. An application was filed with the SEC for permission to take control. Permission is also required from the FCC.
     
  • 8/14/12 - We have entered the final month for payment of the 2012 Regulatory Fees to the FCC. September 13th is the deadline to avoid fines or hassles with applications. More info at www.fccfees.com
     
  • 8/6/12 - The FCC has now mandated that video programming on the Internet will require closed captioning. The requirement, effective today, is in Part 79.4
      
  • 8/3/12 - The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved the FCC's procedures (published in March) for "culling" the 2003 Translator Application flood. This should result in FCC's acting soon on the translator applications - the LPFM folks sitting anxiously on the sidelines certainly hope so. 
     
  • 8/3/12 - Mission Abstract Data (MAD), the company trying to force broadcasters to pay for licensing their digital automation systems, says it has sold its rights to Digimedia Holdings Group, LLC. A brief note on the MAD site directs people to the DHG site where, on another page, the "new" company notes the value to radio from automation, "sav[ing] costs over using CARTS and CDs" and why it is not the automation system, but the digital storage of music on hard drives that forms the basis for their claims.
     
    BDR Comments:
    The only thing for sure is that until the lawyers have drained every possible penny from the system, this will go on.
     
  • 8/2/12 - The industry is losing another well-known name:  Sine Systems in Nashville has announced they are shutting down for good tomorrow (Friday, August 3rd). Marc Pezzolla says that even though the company is winding down, steps are being taken to ensure warranty issues are handled via a website and email. There is nothing on the Sine Systems website at this moment, but as information comes, we will share it.
     
    BDR Comments:
    Sine Systems are good people, harmed by two deaths in the "family." Many stations have come to rely on their products, and we wish Mark and the rest of the crew the very best. 
     

JULY 

  • 7/31/12 - Heathkit's attempt at a revival has fallen short and the company shut down operations last month.
     
  • 7/31/12 - Over 700 tried to log into the FCC's Public File demonstration, crashing the system. A second demo was held later in the day, with an additional demo scheduled for tomorrow at 12 Noon EDT. Try logging in here. Viewing of the Public Files will be at: www.FCC.gov/   Some material is already put in by the FCC, linked to the CDBS database.
     
  • 7/27/12 - The DC District Court of Appeals turned down the NAB's request for a "stay" of the FCC's new Political File rules - putting them on line starting August 2nd. This means TV stations must put their political ad contracts on line according to the FCC's directions. However, the suit itself is still active, just the "stay" was turned down.
     
  • 7/25/12 - Apple has released an upgrade for their OS - a $20 upgrade to OS X 10.8 with some 200 features in it. The one $20 upgrade can be applied to all Apple computers you own. Some of the new features are aimed at other countries, but among the features is a dictation app and a number of enhancements. Among them, a new "share" button, bringing iPad finger swipes to touch pads, for the remote control app a way to drag on a remote machine and drop on yours, Time Machine will now backup to multiple disks.  And more.
     
  • 7/20/12 - Cox Media has made rebalanced their broadcast portfolio by buying two TV stations and selling off four TV stations and over two dozen radio stations.
     
  • 7/19/12 - The Mission Abstract Data (MAD) legal battle continues, with MAD now claiming the broadcast associations have joined with others to create "a sophisticated and multi-pronged approach to derail DigiMedia's licensing program" leading to "a licensing blockade" assisted by Broadcast Electronics. Thus far, the "stay" on litigation is in place.
     
  • 7/19/12 - Although there is a court filing by the NAB and reportedly problems with the FCC's Political File site, the Commission seems at this time to still expect compliance by August 2nd.
     
  • 7/16/12 - Tribune Co.'s ongoing bankruptcy action is moving to the FCC. A Maryland judge approved the Tribune's plan to shift ownership of the company to some banks and hedge funds - assuming the FCC approves. This move will require some waviers relating to the FCC ownership rules.
     
  • 7/11/12 - The NAB has filed for an emergency stay to prevent the FCC from instituting the on-line Political File rules set to take effect August 2nd. 
     
  • 7/5/12 - The FCC has announced a web seminar to explain the new Public Inspection File Rules which go into effect on August 2nd. The initial effect will be on TV stations; radio may be involved in the future. The demo is going to be streamed.
      
  • 7/5/12 - A new (to many) weather word has been all over the news. The Derecho, a straight line storm, really whacked more than a few mid-Atlantic states pretty good, and left 100 degree temperatures behind. The part that especially concerns us is that power - and many cell sites - have been out for days. Cue the FCC: wanting to know why the cell system failed in so many places. It was reported that especially MD, VA, and WV were having 911 problems as well as outages. As many as one in six cell towers were down in some areas.
     
    BDR Comments:
    Stand by for the FCC hearings and Congressional hearings on this and the power grid. Politicians will want to know something. That could be a challenge.
     

JUNE

  • 6/29/12 - The US Supreme Court has rejected industry challenges to the FCC ownership rules. Most of these rules had been upheld in the Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. Despite arguments that the FCC limits are not reasonable in today's economic situation, the Court denied the appeals without any comment.
     
  • 6/28/12 - Leonard Kahn passed away early this month. A rather brilliant but eccentric inventor, Kahn had been in Florida for some time (he had a home in Ft. Lauderdale) after having had some contentious issues with the City of New York. He was 86. (A web search records the death, but various folks point out that Leonard was not really talking to the Media of late. )
     
  • 6/28/12 - According to the NY Daily News, advocates are calling on the FCC to build a preference for black ownership of radio stations.
       
    BDR Comments:
    On the surface this looks like something "advocates" would say is reasonable. However, if you were watching the 80-90 proceeding, you will remember that the main effect of that series of "minority preferences" did little more than make a bunch of black, hispanic, and female multimilloinaires as they sold their new stations - some even before they were built - and cashed out virtually immediately. Except for the DC Communications Bar, it is clear the only reasonable preferences in the Rules should be for Native American stations with signals that do not extend beyond their national boundaries. All other attempts by the FCC have led to virtually no benefits to the groups being championed.
     
  • 6/26/12 - A couple of proceedings at the FCC should be of interest to broadcasters. First, the "Bird Kill" issue continues. Although proof of huge numbers of birds killed is elusive, the FCC and the FAA are moving to make some changes. In the report "Evaluation of New Obstruction Lighting Techniques to Reduce Avian Fatalities" the FAA has determined that some lights can be turned off, and others synced with the top beacon. (Click on the link to see the report.)
     
    In brief, the FAA is moving toward - with likely FCC acceptance - of permitting towers between 150 and 350 feet to flash their sidelights (the ones that have been on all the time) in sync with the top beacons, and for towers over 350 feet to turn off sidelights that do not flash.
     
    BDR Comments:
    Some flexibility for broadcasters may be good. However, the methodology is not completely clear to all: Apparently, according to the FAA, most birds do not fly below 150 feet.
     
    Secondly, as has been noted, the FCC continues in its quest to find spectrum to auction. The TV Spectrum Auction is supposed to free up as much as 40% of the existing TV band, with "repacking" opening up large bands for the cell/wideband Internet companies. The NAB and Harris, among others, suggest caution and not to expect that timetable to hold. The dearth of competent high tower crews and other "unforeseen problems" are among comments suggesting that simply setting a date could be problematic.
     
  • 6/22/12 - Stupid Human Tricks: A Belgian DJ has apparently set the world record for the longest radio show by one person - 185 hours. Peter Van de Veire, a 40-year-old announcer on the MNM station in Brussels has asked the Guiness folks to verify his record. In the meantime, all he wants to do is sleep.
     
  • 6/21/12 - The FCC's fines against Fox and ABC were dropped by the Supreme Court - but not the indecency rules themselves. The reason given in the narrowly focused ruling was that the FCC "failed to give Fox or ABC fair notice" of what they found indecent.
     
    BDR Comments:
    Because, as we have seen, making these rules and surviving legal challenges is so difficult, the regulation of indecency is is going to put a lot of lawyers' children through college.
     
  • 6/18/12 - Want a table running some sort of Windows, instead of the iPad's Apple OS?  Microsoft has unveiled their new Surface table, which will be available with Windows 8.
     
  • 6/18/12 - SoundExchange has announced their payment of $1 Billion in payments to artists and record companies for web streaming since 2000. That is $1 Billion with a "B." According to their website, the quarterly payments for streaming now exceed $100 Million.
     
  • 6/18/12 - The FCC is *thinking* about a new study on cell phone radiation. Nothing is set yet, but many news outlets are reporting that the old data, gathered on the basis of a 200 pound man needs to be updated.
     
  • 6/14/12 - Fires have been consuming large areas in the West recently. The fire swept over Buckhorn Mountain in Colorado, killing power to the site. Reports are still in the "preliminary" stage, but it does not appear that major damage was done to the transmission facilities themselves, although 118 structures overall have been damaged by the blaze.
     
  • 6/12/12 - The FCC sent out another 118 EEO audit letters this past week. A list of the stations and the directives are available here.
     
  • 6/12/12 - The FCC issued a Public Notice that essentially removes any doubt about the June 30th deadline for the CAP/EAS receiver requirements.
     
    BDR Comments:
    With one manufacturer still struggling to provide software, having the gear "installed and operational" has proven to be a very difficult task to complete. Companies with multiple stations and locations have been ill-served by this manufacturer and will be very busy in the next two weeks, hoping nothing else breaks during that time.
     
  • 6/6/12 - The FEMA IPAWS and NASBA and NAB put on a web broadcast to discuss the status of CAP/EAS and the coversion issues. The program is archived at https://eiip.webex.com  .... Click on "View Event Recordings"
     
  • 6/2/12 - Microsoft has posted a beta of the Windows 8 OS for download. It is called the "Release Preview."  You can get it here.  If you would like to see it in a different partition, EaseUS Partition Master appears to have a free sample of their system available here.  We have not tested it here at the BDR, but offer the links in case you wanted to see it.
     

MAY

  • 5/31/12 - TV broadcasters may have some extra breathing room before the FCC imposes the "Poltical File on the Internet." Since the need for federal rules to be codified, publicized, offered for comment, and submitted to the OMB under the Paperwork Reduction Act, it is highly unlikely that anything will happen in this election cycle.
     
    BDR Comments:
    Oh, and did we mention the NAB is suing to overturn the ruling? It is in the US Court of Appeals. In the end, broadcasters may be spared from this election year stunt.
     
  • 5/30/12 - Do not forget that one month from now your CAP/EAS box is supposed to be on line and receiving the FEMA IPAWS weekly tests. Questions? Check the EAS Page here.
     
  • 5/25/12 - The FCC has issued another item (they are busy this week!). Simply stated, it relates to their desire for TV stations to share one channel, and auction off the other.
     
  • 5/24/12 - The FCC has issued a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) suggesting that airborne communications might be the solution to restoring links for first responders.
     
  • 5/24/12 - Strong winds over Southern California damaged the tower for KDES, Cathedral City, CA. The winds, registered at over 70 mph, knocked the station off the air about 4PM yesterday (Wednesday). Today, another storm took down a 200-foot tower at the Clear Channel cluster in Eau Claire, WI. Seven stations were affected, as the company scrambled its recovery team to get the stations back up.
     
  • 5/23/12 - The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau at the FCC has put some information out for dealing with the new requirements for environmental notifications and registration of antenna structures.
     
  • 5/22/12 - The NAB has filed a petition in the US Court of Appeals to review the FCC's recent order that TV stations put their Political File on a government Internet.
     
  • 5/21/12 - There is a place for real radio - as most broadcasters remember. Danny Boyer put on a station (KLDE) in his hometown in Market #300+ - and the morning guy who used to be in Market #5 is thrilled to be there. A picture of the front page of the paper is here.
     
  • 5/21/12 - In a real surprise, the NAB has filed comments at the FCC against some of the proposed changes to the LPFM/Translator rules. Among the NAB's key issues: the proposal for 250 Watts and 2nd adjacent channel waviers. "Interference" is the worry on the FCC's part.
      
  • 5/21/12 - The FCC released its newest report on regulartory changes they plan to execute under the 2012 biannual review of the agencies Rules. It is the Final Plan for Retroactive Analysis of Existing Rules. (In other words, what changes they think need to be made.) 
     
    Meanwhile, on the website Politico, NAB President Gordon Smith responded to the pressure for upcoming spectrum auctions by writing that  "[A]ll stakeholders should reject glib and shortsighted solutions that might jeopardize the future of free and local TV. Broadcasting's best days lie ahead as both an engine of local economies and as an integral part of tomorrow's technological world."

    BDR Comments: Do you remember what has changed for broadcast? Sadly, a lot of the regulatory relief is hindered by Congressional mandates. In fact, of the 219 rules the Commission has eliminated since 2009, it looks like two in Part 73. And, there is continuing pressure to push things like Public File info on the Internet and the spectrum auction initiative that has shown the recent attitudes that are more Internet friendly than broadcast friendly.
     

  • 5/16/12 - The FCC held a two hour Public Forum on the new LPFM/Translator rules that probably will be set up in the 6th Report and Order. The program included a discussion of how the possible sites for LPFM are computed, the status of translator applications from 2003, and more. A video is here. The timeline offered showed the FCC will work on the remaining 2003 applications first, and windows for LPFM and translator applications are expected in 2013 and 2014.
     
  • 5/14/12 Lightsquared has filed for bankruptcy. The company had hoped to become a wireless Internet provider for much of the country. The FCC had pulled some of its operating permissions in Mid-February (see 2/15/12 below).
     
  • 5/14/12 -  The FCC announced an LPFM/Translator Public Forum for Wednesday, May 16th. Details here.
     
  • 5/8/12 -  The Senate has now confirmed the appointments to the FCC of Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel and Republican Ajit Pai. They should be sworn in by the end of the week. Both have experience working for and with the FCC in the past. With a full Commission, it will be time to debate some of the issues that have been working their way through the system, including issues of great importance to broadcasters - the plans for spectrum "reclamation," as well as Public File (how much to put on-line) and other public interest filings (EEO, Issues & Programs), etc.
     
  • 5/4/12 -  The FCC announced that they intend to collect $339,844,000 in regulatory fees in Fiscal Year 2012. (All FCC collections go into the country's General Fund and do not augment the FCC budget.)
     
  • 5/3/12 -  An interesting story of archived history gone astray. A man who has donated a large number of audio archives to the US Government over the past four decades was surprised to learn they were being sold on eBay. Some detective work uncovered that the recently retired head of the video and sound branch of the National Archives and Records Administration (a 40-year-employee) had been selling items donated - as many as 1000 - for over ten years. J. David Goldin fingered Leslie Waffen - and federal officials carted two truckloads of materials away!
     
  • 5/1/12 -  The radio station (WCDB) at the University at Albany (NY) has - after the arrest of eight students smoking pot and drinking beer during a broadcast - begun locking the station at midnight. A decision on post-midnight programming will come in a few months. A spokeman noted that programs can be done remotely.
     
    BDR Comments:
    So it may be OK to do a broadcast while loaded and/or enibriated, but just not in the studio?
     
  • 5/1/12 -  Harris Corporation has announced their plan to sell off the broadcast division. The company said broadcast "is no longer aligned with the company's long-term strategy."
     
    BDR Comments:
    While this has been rumored and reported on and off for some time, this is the first time it has been announced publicly. However, the changing nature of broadcasting and the way Harris has designed, built, sold, and (sometimes) supported their products has been evident for a decade or more.

APRIL

  • 4/30/12 -  Senator Chuck Grassley, R-IA, had been holding up the confirmation of two new FCC Commissioners. According to reports, it was because there was a problem getting the FCC to explain their actions in the LightSquare matter. The logjam regarding the 11,000 pages of information may finally have been broken.
     
  • 4/30/12 -  And now for something completely different: the FCC is proposing TV station share a channel, then auction off the rest. According to their National Broadband Plan, the FCC is planning on making 300 MHz available to mobile, fixed and wireless broadband over the next five years - 120 MHZ of that from TV channels.
     
  • 4/30/12 -  Cumulus and Townsquare have announced a deal involving about 65 stations in 13 markets. After closing, Townsquare will own 244 stations in 51 small and mid-sized markets. Cumulus gets 10 stations and $116 million in cash. Townsquare will be the #3 consolidator in terms of stations owned.
     
  • 4/27/12 -  The FCC has voted to force TV stations to put their Political File on the Internet. The NAB released a statement disagreeing with the action: ""NAB respectfully disagrees with today's FCC decision and we're disappointed that the Commission rejected compromise proposals proffered by broadcasters that would have brought greater transparency to political ad buying." 
     
    BDR Comments:
    Some think there will be a move soon to put the entire Public Information File on the Internet. And ... expand it to radio. This bears watching.
     
  • 4/26/12 -  The new album from the Beach Boys is likely to be welcomed in the industry: "That's Why God Made the Radio."
     
  • 4/26/12 -  A North Carolina station is stuck in the middle of an antenna upgrade. While the WURI antenna was at the factory for an upgrade, some Ospreys moved in. Then it got interesting.
     
  • 4/26/12 -  The FCC announced their new Connect American Fund to administer some $300 million "saved" from reforms in the Universal Service Fund in order to ensure all people have highspeed Internet by the end of the decade. According to the FCC, the goal is to reach 400,000 unserved homes and businesses with broadband connections by the end of the decade, "creating jobs, expanding economic opportunity, and spurring innovation." The FCC believes it can affect the capabilities of two million lines across the country.

    BDR Comments: Somehow, we have to wonder what "everywhere" means - probably not at many transmitter sites.
     
     
  • 4/24/12 -  Well, we are back from NAB, and still sorting through the stuff we brought back. One item of concern is the National EAS Test and reporting.  The FCC says it lacks 40-45% of the reports. Just to be sure, check out the info on the EAS Page.
     
  • 4/17/12 -  a new high-tech HD FM chip for cellphones, which was unveiled at the NAB Show in Las Vegas, addresses mobile industry concerns about power drain and cost. The chip is a joint initiative of Intel, Emmis Interactive, iBiquity and NAB.
     
  • 4/16/12 - Longtime KFRC engineer Phil Lerza was killed by a train this morning (Monday) in San Mateo, CA. A spokeswoman for Caltrans said preliminary investigation indicated the death was a suicide. Lerza, 67, was the Chief Engineer of the San Francisco station for nearly 40 years.
     
  • 4/13/12 - The NAB 2012 reports are located here.
     
  • 4/13/12 - There are more of us, and we are making more money - stations that is. The latest FCC data shows a total of 15,029 radio stations. (AM = 4,762, FM = 6,555 commercial and 3,712 non-comms.) Revenue is up, even before the political season gets into full swing: WTOP billed $67 million last year, KIIS-FM $57 million, KFI $48.1 million, etc. Overall, the top stations showed nearly an 8% increase last year.
     
    Top executives sure are rewarding themselves. Clear Channel's Pittman took home $3.4 million, Hogan got just under $2.5 million, Mark Mays $1.778 million, and there were several other seven figure hauls. Cumulus was not to be outdone, Lew Dickey took just a fraction under $20 million, John Dickey $5.4 million and, again, several others well over a million. Even the Arbitron CEO Kerr managed $3 million, and the COO over $2 million.
     
    BDR Comments: Yes, we can hear you saying "If the industry is doing so good, where are the jobs?" It is true: there is little comfort knowing that the very few are making millions and millions of dollars in salarly and bonuses. Too many radio people cannot find a good job.
     
  • 4/13/12 - The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a ruling that the federal law prohibiting public radio and TV stations from carrying ads that support political candidates or take positions on public issues has been ruled unconstitutional. Three notes:
    • It only affects stations in AK, AZ, CA, Hi, ID, MT, NV, OR, WA
    • It does NOT require stations to accept such advertising.
    • This will undoubtedly require more court action.
        
  • 4/13/12 - The FCC has put up a Channel Finder for LPFM. The page says "The Low Power FM (LPFM) Channel Finder search tool provides potential applicants with a simple means to tentatively identify FM broadcast channels available in their communities."
     
  • 4/10/12 - A private plan collided with a cell tower in West Kansas. The crop duster clipped a guy wire on a 305-foot tower, the pilot was critically injured. The tower did not make it - crews brought it down.  (Thanks John Mulhern).
     
  • 4/6/12 - The FCC officially is seeking comments on the latest FNPRM regarding LPRM and the LRCA.
     
  • 4/6/12 - According to a report in The Arizona Republic, the Navajo Nation has been victimized by someone who claimed to be an SBE-certified industry insider. A $320,000 grant has largely disappeared without any equipment being delivered. John Bittner was arrested and federal prosecutors have lodged at least 18 criminal charges. and are seeking at least $130,000 in stolen funds.
       
  • 4/5/12 - A former Cumulus employee in Ohio was indicted for stealing from his company at site rented from Clear Channel. Benjamin Ary is accused of stealing more than $137,000 of copper and communications equipment,  selling some of it on eBay during 2011. He was reported fired earlier this week just before he was arrested.
     
  • 4/4/12 - Public Broadcasting will be "very different" in Canada The CBC is cutting millions of dollars in operations over the next three years to deal with severe budget cuts. CBC President Hubert Lacroix says 650 jobs will be lost, including 475 this fiscal year. The international are, Radio Canada International, will have an 80% budget cut. RCI News will end and two-thirds of the staff is to be cut by July.
      
  • 4/2/12 - A fire at the Moscow Federation Tower 2 km west of the Kremlin has interrupted construction of what was to be the tallest building in Europe. The fire, reportedly from a plastic sheet in contact with a spotlight on the 66th floor, burned for about three or four hours. Wth the elevators not yet installed, firemen had to climb up the stairs to fight the fire; although helicopters were also used, they were said to have actually fanned the flames. The buliding's owner says the building itself was not significantly damaged.
      

MARCH

  • 3/29/12 - The Indiana OSHA and ERI agreed on a settlement (scroll down to the fourth story: March 28th) to conclude the investigation into two deaths last year. Originally a $91k fine was issued, but the parties decided to end the proceeding with fines reported to be totalling $18K, subject to the approval of the Indiana OSHA Board of Safety Review.
      
  • 3/28/12 - The NTIA has released a study regarding the 1755-1850 MHz band and the desire of policymakers to clear that band for wireless broadband.  Broadcasters ought to be interested because one of the places mentioned in the report for relocation is the ENG band at 2025-2110 MHz.
     
  • 3/24/12 - A reminder that the FCC was no longer sending post card reminders for stations when license terms end. Stations should add to their renewal plans a check with the FCC database to ensure the contact information is up to date.
     
  • 3/21/12  - The NAB has extended the contract for association President Gordon Smith for five years, until 2016.
     
  • 3/19/12 - The FCC has released several Orders to implement the Local Community Radio Act (LCRA). The 4th and 5th Report and Order and the 4th Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making will put LPFM and translator rules into effect. More information and a summery is here.
     
  • 3/14/12 - A Tulsa man who took a gun and threatened a radio station was sentenced to 13 years, after being restored to competency. Apparently he thought he was Josey Wales (ref: an old Clint Eastwood movie) and was being cheated out of royalties for his music.
     
  • 3/13/12 - The new One World Trade Center building apparently will have a broadcast tower. The Durst Organization has plans for a 408-foot tower to be built on the 104th floor of the new building. A Durst spokesman says they will have the tallest antenna in New York and expect to have a lot of business coming from stations currently on the Empire State Building. The One World Trade Center building is currently behind schedule, but is expected to be topped out early in 2013.
     
  • 3/10/12 - Peter Bergman, a founding member of the Firesign Theatre, died yesterday at 72 years of age. From "Radio Free Oz" on KPFK, Los Angeles to the Firesign Theatre, Bergman and friends built a series of radio shows and albums that brought the absurd into drama. "I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus" was one of several  such, as was "Anythynge You Want To: Shakespeare's Lost Comedie." The group also did some rather curious car dealer commercials (video here).
     
    BDR Comments: Radio Free Oz was quite the theatre of the mind - even if you were not under the influence of something.
       
  • 3/9/12 - NASBA will, with help from the NAB is sponsoring a dialogue with the FEMA and the FCC on Monday, March 12th.  The event, at 1:30 PM EST, is to be streamed, according to the information provided.
     
    If you are interested in program, scheduled for two hours, go to http://www.ustream.tv, search for NASBA-EAS, then, at the next screen, click on the gray USTREAM box with the red LIVE stripe across the upper left corner.  You can email questions to easquestions@gmail.com.
     
  • 3/8/12 - The NAB filed comments with the FCC today pointing out that Congress did not intend for broadcasters to put their Political File on the Internet. This is as an adjunct to Proposed Rule Making at the FCC which would put TV stations' Public Inspection Files on the Internet.
     
  • 3/7/12 - Apple released the latest iPad today. With retinal display of 3.1 megapixels (one million beyond HDTV). The new iPad will now record 1080p HD video. Other features include a faster processor and voice dictation. For you Apple fan-boys who like to queue up, the new iPad will be available on  March 16th. Prices start at $499 for the 16GB version.
     
    According to Apple, they sold more iPads last year than anyone sold PCs.
     
  • 3/4/12 - WGAD, Gadsden, AL lost one of its towers in the weekend storms.
     
  • 3/2/12 - After four years, the tallest broadcast tower in the world was celebrated in Tokyo. At 2080 feet, The freestanding Tokyo Sky Tree "towers" above the previous record of 2063 feet at KLVY-TV in Fargo, ND.
     
  • 3/1/12 - The FCC's March 21st open meeting is set to include discussion of the LPFM and Translator Report and Order the FCC set out in the 3rd Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making in July of last year (See 7/12/11). Some wonder if this will be the FCC's present at NAB.
     
  • 3/1/12 - According to Spaceflight Now, Sirius XM has announced a delay in launching their FM6 satellite. Siruius/XM says the delay will not affect customers.
     
  • 3/1/12 - NBC and Dial Global are combining to form a new NBC News network, NBC News Radio. This is said to be a reaction to CNN Radio turning off their radio service.

FEBRUARY

  • 2/29/12 - Microsoft has released a public beta version of Windows 8 for free download. It is called a Consumer Preview. A strong suggestion: do not load on a main or mission critical computer. It is, as many betas, not completely stable.
      
  • 2/23/12 - Worried about the new Google "privacy policy" issues? After all, the whole idea of privacy on the Internet is considered laughable by many. This week some reports have focused on the way Google (and others) have rigged things to either bypass security settings in some browsers or to plant little files that are not quite technically cookies, but allow tracking anyway.
     
    Should you be worried? Is there anything you can/should do? The Electronic Frontier Foundation has one suggestion regarding the search histories that Google uses to follow people around the web.
      
  • 2/22/12 - What is shaping up to be a fight over the Public Inspection Files has been joined by eight Democratic senators. This week they have written to the FCC to "urge" the Commission to force stations to put all their Public File materials on line, allowing inspection from anywhere.
     
    The Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making (FNPRM) was issued in October last year, with comments and reply comments closed by January 6th. Essentially, it was focused on TV station Public Files, but it was indicated that this would eventually include radio stations as well.
     
    BDR Comments: Although the mechanics of the Public File are pretty straightforward, and stations always should have theirs up-to-date, this proposal needs a lot of thought before it should be put into action. With the ability to scan hundreds (or thousands) of Public Files via computer scripts, this could open a whole Pandora's Box of legal hassles - even if it did force some stations to wake up and fix their Public Files.
      
     
  • 2/17/12 - The FCC's EEO audits have started for 2012. Approximately 5% of the licensed radio and television stations are chosen each year. A list of randomly chosen stations and the procedures for reporting are contained in the FCC's information page, DA 12-243.  
     
  • 2/16/12 - As part of the current Congressional actions to try to cover part of the payroll tax reduction and the extension of unemployment benefits, auctions of TV spectrum to build more wireless networks have hit the headlines again. Some officials predict as much as $25 Billion can be raised at auctions likely to be held in about two years by allowing TV stations to give up spectrum. According to reports, $1.75 Billion would be shared with stations, $7 Billion would go to build Public Safety facilities, and $15 Billion would go to unemployment payments.
     
  • 2/16/12 - Apple has announced the forthcoming upgrade to their OS X, Version 10.8, known as Mountain Lion. Among the other things - said to be 100 changes or new features - there will be tighter integration with iPad and iPhone apps.
     
  • 2/15/12 - LightSquared had its conditional approval to operate terrestrial transmitters on frequencies near GPS use pulled by the FCC on Tuesday as a letter from the NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Administration) regarding their study had determined there was interference with GPS receivers, and there was no practical way to mitigate the potential interference within the next few years. The wavier for operation, granted by the FCC to LightSquared, was "suspended indefinitely,"

In its statement the Commission said they had "clearly stated from the outset that harmful interference to GPS would not be permitted. Consequently, the Commission will not lift the prohibition on LightSquared." Of course, LightSquared has indicated they do not agree, and will seek a reversal.
 

  • 2/14/12 - The FCC has signalled that they are taking a closer look at the practice of "walking" licenses from one market to another after one was moved six times for a total of 63+ miles - and into a major market. The FCC now is asking some really direct questions.
     
  • 2/14/12 - Freeland Products, a power tube rebuilder in Louisiana, has been acquired by the Econco division of CPI in Woodland, CA. All existing Freeland "tube bank," current orders, and stock pricing holds. However, according to their press release, CPI Econco has acquired all of the inventory, equipment, supplies, and substantially all of the other assets of Freeland - which it will integrate into the Woodland facility. The Freeland 800 number is now being answered by Econco..
     
  • 2/13/12 - The man who stole copper from power poles and two radio stations (see 11/9/11 and 9/9/11) has pled guilty to damaging an energy facility. Jeffrey Blake faces a sentence of up to 20 years and $250k in fines for that, the count relating to obstucting the EAS was dropped as part of the plea.

    BDR Comments: Chalk one up for the homeowner who caught Blake. Now, if only this conviction  deters just one thief. But, will it? It would be wise for all stations to seek their state legislators to pass laws to put thieves away as felons, instead of difficult laws that merely cause problems for small businesses like scrap yards.
      
      
  • 2/10/12 - The FCC released the list of Short Form Applications for the Auction 93, scheduled for March 27th. 111 applications are accepted for the 119 CPs up for auction, with 32 more incomplete applications, that have a week or so to correct. Also, and, and.
     
  • 2/10/12 - A Mason City, IA TV station reported that they were hit by copper thieves this week. Taken from KIMT's transmitter site was over 700 feet of 3-inch copper lines from the building and up the tower. The first guess from the station manager was the the thieves were somewhat knowledgeable, as they left the STL dish alone, and may have taken only auxiliary lines.
     
  • 2/8/12 - LA is definitely the tower "scene" this week. Another tower climber - this one naked, having taken his clothes off as he climbed the 220-foot tower behind LA's Personnel Department in downtown LA this afternoon. Police finally coaxed him down with - are you ready? - a McDonald's hamburger and took him into custody after more than four hours. (Yes, several pix are in the article.) Witnesses and LAPD report the man appeared unstable.
     
    BDR Comments: You think?
     
     
  • 2/6/12 - A young woman climbed a radio tower and jumped, apparently committing suicide. The 360-foot tower is in the unicorporated area of Rancho Dominguez, CA and is used by KBUE (FM) among other users. How far up she was is not known. Authorities continue to investigate.
      
  • 2/3/12 - At CES last month, ibiquity's president suggested HD radio was "now mainstream." However, a recent study shows a gap in definition - public consumer knowledge of HD radio has not really grown. In fact, the study from Mark Kassof and Company shows some overall loss in awareness over the past three years.

    BDR Comments: Whether you are an HD advocate or critic, HD really has not caught the imagination of most listeners, perhaps aside from NPR station listeners. Yes, there was some ibiquity noise at CES (take a look), but once you are outside their booth, HD as almost exclusively TV. Considering the great communications machine that is radio, one has to ask "what is wrong with this picture?"
     
     
  • 1/31/12 - A pair of AM stations are off the air in New York while their 40-year-old tower is replaced. According to the stations' general manager, the stations expect to be off the air for two weeks or more, depending upon weather. It would appear adding cellular antennae is part of the project. Video of the tower drop is here.
     
  • 1/30/12 - A small Utah university FM station is in the unhappy situation of being told the building where their transmitter is located will be demolished in about four months. KWCR, Ogden, on the campus of Weber State University is somewhat restricted on where it can move due to the frequency congestion in the area.
     
  • 1/30/12 - Bidding ended at $350,100 for KXLI, Moapa, NV. The station reportedly once sold for $20 million, and had a $9 million "Buy it Now" price.
     
    BDR Comments: However, according to eBay listsings, you can still buy a 7 Watt Broadcast Radio Station FM transmitter for $67.99. Of course, there is that pesky matter of a license; you just may not be able to use it anywhere.
     
     
  • 1/29/12 - US Census Bureau has released the data from the 2010 Census. There is an interesting interactive map for some of the information. 
     
  • 1/26/12 - The FCC has published the National Environmental Policy Act for Proposed Tower Registrants; Effects of Communications Towers on Migratory Birds. This follows the FCC's Order on Remand which focused on the issues of towers over 450 feet (12/14/11 below). Broadcasters will especially note the need to notify the public about proposed towers so members "will have a meaningful opportunity to comment on the environmental effects of proposed" tower that need FCC Registration.
  • 1/23/12 - A series of unusual January tornadoes tore through the mid-South this morning, and among the destruction was DWKLF, Clanton, AL, about 50 miles south of Birmingham. The station's 92-m tower toppled.
     
    Yes: DWKLF. According to the FCC records, the station failed to file its renewal properly and was deleted sometime in 2007. (A couple of STAs in 2008 were followed by a renewal filed in early December 2011.)

    BDR Comments: It is sad to see the community and the station hit by a tornado. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see what happens with this one.  
  • 1/23/12 - A Valdosta, GA DJ was shot three times in front of his station (WGOV), dying in the hospital. Stephon Edgerton, who was known as "Juan Gatti" to his listeners had been working at WGOV for six years. Apparently the shooter was waiting for him as he left the station early Saturday AM. Edgerton left a wife and three young children behind. 
     

  • 1/21/12 - A bargain FM station? KXLI, Moapa, NV 100 kW Class C (with a booster NE of Las Vegas) has put itself on eBay for sale. The bidding started at $1000 and is now at $69,100.  (It is listed as "Buy it Now" for $8.95 Million - as Mad Magazine used to say: "Cheap.")
     
    Shipping is only $25 for FedEx Overnight frpm Portland, OR on what is described as "New: A brand-new, unused, unopened, undamaged item in its original packaging .... "). Although unused, it seems to have been rated #35 in the Las Vegas market for the past five months, at least.
     
    But do hurry - bidding ends on Sunday evening the 29th!
     

  • 1/17/12 - WXXI in Rochester, NY had its hands full on Tuesday as overnight winds as high as 60 MPH snapped two guy wires on the station's ND daytime tower. Despite the continuing winds, workers were able to stabilize the tower, and the station made it back on the air by early afternoon.
     

  • 1/16/12 - An animal gnawed its way through a power cable on Friday, knocking Channel 27 WKYT in Lexington, KY off the air for a short time, while generators came up. The actual animal was not named, but it likely is no longer gnawing.
       

  • 1/12/12 - Just in case you did not know that Clear Channel is into a lot of things, Clear Channel Radio is now to be called Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. The announcement from CEO Bob Pittman is to reflect how the industry is moving in different directions than merely radio.
     

  • 1/11/12 - FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski addressed the CES this afternoon, and in his remarks stressed his major goal was to deal with the "Spectrum Crunch." Noting that everything need Internet bandwidth these days, he said "If you shut off the Internet, virtually nothing on the floor here would work." More bandwidth is the key to growth, he said, holding innovation and digital literacy as the road to improved economy and jobs. He feels the spectrum auctions are the fairest way to do things, allowing the market to make decisions on the best use of resources.
     
    Genachowski spoke about how he perceives the level of cooperation between the FCC and Congress ("Bipartisan") and said "Those that do not recognize the spectrum problem are outliers." He did say the Communications Act needs updating, but sees nothing happening soon. His legacy?  He said "ubiquitous broadband" and "unleashing the spectrum."
     

  • 1/11/12 - Notes from CES: 150,000 are jamming the LVCC this week. A lot of similar items, but there are a few new trends: Green is making a comeback, all sorts of apps for iOS and Android, and gadgets to make them more useful, a lot of streaming and satellite emphasis, CBS and Pandora are pushing for more platforms and especially into cars. You might get the impression broadcasting was going obsolete!
     

  • 1/7/12 - Magnum Commnuications, Dane County, and the town of Rutland, WI are in a battle over a proposed FM tower. The local County Board of Supervisors and the town essentially bowed to the common: "it will kill land values and mar the rural landscape" argument and appear to have prevented building of the tower anywhere. Magnum has had to file a "notice of claim." (An earlier version suggested it was in Oregon.  But the newspaper is from Oregon,WISCONSIN....!!!_)
     
    BDR Comments: All too often such protests and obstruction seem to come from public employees who seem to feel the businesses and taxes to pay their salaries do not need physical presence in the area. Yet, often in many places next door to multi-tower arrays there are subdivisions where you can touch two million-dollar houses - without fully extending your arms.
       

  • 1/6/12 - We just learned that Bill Meola of Cablewave and RFS America passed away on December 18th. More info is here.
     

  • 1/6/12 - WV Delegate Gary Howell, R-Mineral, has announced plans to submit a Bill to the WV legislature to make copper theft a felony.
     

  • 1/6/12 - Florida officals report that a Daytona Beach station, WPUL, was knocked off the air for about a day, after thieves stole about 50 feet of copper.
     

  • 1/6/12 - FCC Chairman Genachowski named a new Chief of Staff - Zachery Katz - and some other changes to key staffers at the FCC. Katz replaces Eddie Lazarus.
     

  • 1/5/12 - The FCC has released a report which concludes LPFM stations have no demonstrable economic impact on full power stations and are unlikely to do so under the current regulatory arrangement.
     
    BDR Comments: The bottom line for the 106 page report: realistically, LPFM is under such severe restrictions for power output and revenue income that it is quite an achievement for them to operate at all. Full power stations have much bigger problems than LPFM.
     

  • 1/4/12 - Auction 93 is now "open" for applications. The next FM auction, to be begin on March 27th, features 119 allocations, including 18 that were unsold or defaulted in earlier auctions. The deadline for filing the application (175) is pretty quick: January 12th. Complete information is available on the FCC website here.
      

  • 1/2/12 - A rotten way to start the new year: a fire that takes out the studio. WIOO in Carlisle, PA had that happen this week. Within 20 minutes after the PD went to lunch, firemen were called to the scene, with the building engulfed in flames. A third report is here.  And some video.
     

  • 1/2/12 - Just before leaving for the year, the FCC signed off on their Native American initiative. The goal is to make it easier for Native American nations to acquire stations to reach their members.
     

DECEMBER -2011

  • 12/29/11 - ABC News is reporting increased sun activity, with the potential to disrupt radio and cell phone transmissions. Here is a link to the report - and some really nice video from space and of the Northern Lights.
     

  • 12/27/11 - A West Virginia legislator has come up with a good idea to help solve one of perhaps the two most vexing transmitter site problems: copper theft.
     

  • 12/26/11 - A contractor died on a tower in Bonita Springs, FL this afternoon (Wednesday).
     
    According to fire officals, 61-year-old Nick Rouskey (pictured) of Cape Coral, FL was working on the tower's electrical system changing a light beacon at the top of the 700-foot (228 meter) tower.
     
    Rouskey was an experienced climber, well-known and well-liked in the industry. He was said to be a real family man.
     
    Four fire and rescue teams went to the site after the man's grandson determined his grandfather had become "distressed" and needed help.(Some bystanders had reported he had not moved in four hours). It took the teams four and a half hours to lower the body. The cause of death is not yet confirmed.
     
    The five stations on the tower (two Clear Channel, one Meridian, a translator and an LPTV) were shut down during the recovery.
     

  • 12/22/11 - One of the five DC BASE jumpers charged with trespassing last week tried again on the Maryland Public Televsion tower at Annapolis, MD. This time he was injured when his parachute did not fully open.
     
    BDR Comments: Since the FCC does not deal with BASE jumpers, and many local jurisdictions merely cite for trespassing, stations are looking for ways to send a strong message to these jumpers. We would like to hear from anyone who has found a legal way to deal with these problems.
     

  • 12/21/11 - Microsoft announced that this will be their last CES (Consumer Electronics Show) appearance.

    BDR Comments: Like IBM and Apple before them, Microsoft may be planning a new hometown "event" each year, to drum up publicity for their products, rather than be a part of a large, expensive Las Vegas showing. Stay tuned.
     
     

  • 12/20/11 - AT&T's purchase of T-Mobile is off. Although subject to a $3Billion payment to T-Mobile for not consummating the deal, AT&T suggested there was no realistic way to get approval from US regulators, including the FCC.
     

  • 12/20/11 - The FCC has made another change. Henning Schulzinne has made the FCC Chief Technology Officer for the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology.
     

  • 12/16/11 - Those that see a shortage of qualified broadcast engineers may be interested in the new effort by the Alabama Broadcasters Association. The ABA has planned a new broadcast engineering academy at Hoover, AL to begin operations in May 2012. Included will be apprenticeship and internship programs in cooperation with a local career college's Networking and Electrical Engineering programs. Additionally, the ABA expects stations to eventually send employees for continuing eduction.
     

  • 12/16/11 - A quintet of BASE jumpers was arrested on Wednesday for parachuting off the WETA tower in Washington DC. One of the group was injured in the attempt. WETA's chief engineer says they think the jumpers launched from the plate at the bottom of the master antenna, about 426 feet. He also reported the fifth jumper landed in a tree, but then fell 60 feet, breaking her back, leg and ankles.
     

  • 12/14/11 - The FCC has released a Order On Remand related to tower construction and lighting. This is a response to the continuing environmental reports about migratory bird deaths and their relationship to broadcast towers.
     
    BDR Comments: Sadly, this will largely play into the NIMBY, BANANA, and NOPE folks. With conflicting studies and anecdotal evidence (including thousands of birds suddenly crashing into a parking lot in Utah), the main effect here might be mostly to increase the time and cost of tower construction. If you are planning any new constuction or replacement towers, this is something with which you and your rigger may need to become familar.
     

  • 12/14/11 - The FCC Chief of Staff, Eddie Lararus, has been reported as leaving at the end of January.
     

  • 12/12/11 - A national "occupy radio" effort was said to be underway today. Among their goals: to examine the Public File and see if there are violations that can be exploited against owners. The first target: Clear Channel. Initial reports indicated an underwhelming response.
     
    BDR Comments: The "occupy" theme has been very popular this season, but the reality is that few people really wish to spend their day trolling through station Public Files. It is true that a few folks are likely to be prepared to seek out key documents and could cause issues. However, if stations just follow the Rules, it is relatively easy to keep the Public File up-to-date and avoid problems from the public or the FCC.
     

  • 12/6/11 - The NAB told the Supreme Court that it must overturn the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals decision to allow the FCC Rules to stand. The NAB said consolidation is not dangerous, but allows higher quality reporting. The current Rules "directly harm the public," said the NAB.
     
    The current system of ownership is flawed, the NAB says, with Chairman Genachowski said to be seeking a relaxation of the current Rules.
     

  • 12/5/11 - AP Users take note: According to the AP, they are extending the end date for their text and pre-recorded content feeds via satellite. Transisition was scheduled to be complete on 12/31/11 - but the date has now been extended to 3/31/12. AP will be sending these services only via the Internet. (Live material will still come via satellite for now.) In any event, stations using a dish to get AP content need to prepare for the change. The AP website is supposed to have transition info for AP members (Password required).
     

  • 12/1/11 - Unusually high winds (up to 100 MPH) in Southern Califorina wreacked havoc to power lines, even station antennas. Reports say that at least one television antenna was knocked off its tower by the winds on Mt Harvard (next to Mt. Wilson, outside LA).
     
    According to local media, this is the most powerful storm in 10 years - winds of up to 140 MPH are expected in some higher elevations as the storm moves to the East. Power was cut in many places (some reports say 300,000 without power), including the LAX airport and both the main and backup feed to Mt. Wilson. All radio and television stations were reported to be on generator power, with uprooted trees in power lines and roads.
     

Back to the top

NOVEMBER  

  • 11/30/11 - A DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack on the Navy's NTP server on Tuesday afternoon (1:25PM EST) caused some problems for computers and automation systems that were using it to sync up. There were even reports of some Blackberry and other smartphone reboots.
     
    According to the Navy, the cause was several Asian/Pacific IP blocks which began sending tens of thousands of packets per second. Some computers found that they were being bounced all over the calendar. A few stations were so affected they had to stop the automation and go live on the air, manually.  A screen shot of the disruption is here.
     

  • 11/24/11 - Having run into a roadblock at the FCC - and a number of studies saying there was a surplus of wireless sprectrum - ATT and T-Moble have "temporarily withdrawn" their merger application at the FCC.
     

  • 11/11/11 - Citibank has sold EMI Music for $1.9 Billion to Vivendi, which currently owns the Universal Music Group. EMI's publishing business went for $2.2 Billion to a group led by Sony. EMI, of course, was the holder of the Beatles library.
     

  • 11/9/11 - The man who knocked KRPS and KKOW off the air in September (see 9/9/11 below) has been indicted on federal charges. Jeffrey Blake, 39, was charged with one count of attempted damage to a communications system at Weir, KS, and one count of attempted damage to an energy facility.
     
    The US Attorney noted that KKOW was part of the EAS. Blake was also charged with other damage, to a local electrical utility. The potential sentence is 10 years in prison and $250k for the damage to KKOW.

    BDR Comments: This could be a warning, but druggies really do not read. So, this is not a reason to let down on efforts to better secure transmitter sites.
     

  • 11/9/11 - Nautel Ltd has been sold. Company CEO Peter Conlon announced that the original founders of the 42-year-old company, Dennis Covill, David Grace and John Pinks, had sold their shares to local businessmen. According to Conlon, the new owners essentially plan to keep the company as-is and have no active role in running Nautel. Customers are being told they will see no changes in products or service. A local report quoted Conlon saying: "“It has been an orderly transition. Now the company will be run as it always has been run and we are positioned for another decade of stability.”
     
    It was long rumored that the original owners where getting to the point in life where they wanted to close out their ownership, causing speculation as to what form the company would take. The sale, said to be a bit complicated under Canadian Law, reportedly took nearly a year to consummate.
       

  • 11/4/11 - Just in time for the National EAS Test, Larry Wood has kindly dug out some audio from almost 60 years ago ... PSAs for CONELRAD during Civil Defense Emergencies. There are several of them, you will find interesting.  PSA1  PSA2  PSA3  PSA4  PSA5  PSA6 PSA7 PSA8 Thanks, Larry!
     

  • 11/3/11 - The NAB has gone on record opposing proposed changes to the FM Rules. The proposal would protect only the currently built facilities, not any potential increases. This would allow stations in areas shielded by mountains, for example, to increase their signals.
     

Back to the top

OCTOBER 

  • 10/31/11 - Two new Commissioners were nomimated by President Obama to fill vacancies from Meridith Baker's departure and Michael Copps' forthcoming retirement. Named were Senate Commerce Committee Senior Communications Counsel Jessica Rosenworcel and former Federal Communications Commission Deputy General Counsel Ajit Pai. Currently Ajit is a partner at Jenner & Block.  

    The NAB issued a statement of support for the nominees.
     

  • 10/2711 - Keith Mullin of Harris has passed away at 53. Mullin was well-known for the training classes he ran at Harris.
     

  • 10/26/11 - The 131st AES Convention in New York City concluded with an attendance of 13,926. It was announced 2012's Convention would return to San Francisco.
     

  • 10/25/11 - And now Sprint has joined in the chorus suggesting that a spectrum auction is not necessary for the wireless carriers.
     

  • 10/25/11 - The FCC has released the Handbook and procedures for the National EAS Test.
     

  • 10/21/11 - The Greek state broadcaster, ERT, reported three transmitters were stolen from one of their sites this past week. This is on the tail of another recent theft.
     
    BDR Comments: Security problems are not limited to the US.
     

  • 10/21/11 - Dial Global has completed its purchase of Westwood One. The combined company now serves over 7,000 stations with some 200 programs.
     

  • 10/20/11 - The US Patent and Trade Office has issued a Detailed Action that has knocked down most the claims by Mission Abstract Data regarding automating music playouts from computer systems. In fact, all the radio-centric claims were dismissed, largely based on produced prior art from Digilink and Dalet. Untouched at this time are several approaches, such as audio on demand over phone lines.
     
    Mission Abstract Data still has 60 days to appeal, but an initial reading of the decisions means radio broadcasters are essentially relieved of any potential liability under patent claims 5,809,246 and 5,629,867. A link to the USPTO decision will be posted as soon as it has been placed on that site. (Claims 1-7, 10, 11, 14, 17, 18, 21, 24, and 27 were rejected in relation to Patent 5,809,246. And  claims 1, 2, 4, 6 and 7 were rejected for Patent 5,629,867.)
     
    Nevertheless, on a matter of this significance, it would be wise to consult your communications attorney to be completely certain of all the legal nits involved.

Davicom Cortex360
 

  • 10/18/11 - The FCC issued a notice that is should be of interest to all translator owners. In shutting down a translator for causing interference, the FCC made the point that all regular listeners, even outside the licensed contours, need to be protected from translators.
     

  • 10/17/11 - The FCC has opened the filing window for the biennual ownership reports. These reports are due by December 1st. More information is available here. Questions are answered there, and there is even a list of the common errors in the last set of filings. 
     

  • 10/13/11 - The NAB has produced some PSAs and a one page check sheet for the National EAS test. Links are here.
     

  • 10/12/11 - Another sad death from a broadcast tower accident. The Boston Globe and other local media is reporting an Iowa man fell from about 500 feet up a 1260-foot tower owned by American Tower in Newton, MA, (in the Boston area).
     

  • 10/11/11 - Indiana's OSHA has issued a $91k fine against ERI, in the deaths of two men last April.
    Ernesto Garcia (29 of Laredo, Texas, and Paul Aliff III (32) of Mesquite, Texas, were working at about the 340-foot level of a 500-foot radio tower when they fell to their deaths.
     
    The Indiana OSHA report, issued in September, generally accuses ERI of unsafe working conditions. ERI has contested several aspects of the report as incorrect, and a revised report is said to be due to be released next week.

    BDR Comments: The Indiana bureaucracy aside, ERI has a well-known reputation for competence and safety, and is sought after for many of the most challenging jobs in the industry. (Have you seen the video of Tom Silliman climbing to the top of the Empire State Building Tower at 2AM? It is stunning. ... and he loves the work!)
     
    Anyone who has had Silliman on site or visited one of his other work sites - and that includes your BDR Editor - knows that this is one of the most safety conscious men in the industry. Those who have not had the opportunity to hear Silliman continually call out "Watch your feet," "Watch your head," or other warnings would do well to observe his exceptional working standards.
     

  • 10/9/11 - It does not seem to matter to some politicians that the cell phone companies say they have enough frequencies and even may sell some. The Citibank study agreed. Nevertheless, Senators John Kerry and Patrick Toomey, and Reps Xavier Becerra and Fred Upton have asked for more spectrum to auction.
       

  • 10/6/11 - The FCC issued an "Omnibus Enforcement Action" against 20 retailers who were selling as many as 200 various jamming devices. The products, meant to jam cellphones, WiFi, GPS, etc., are major issues with the FCC.  Complaints about the inability to reach 911 during emergencies is one of the considerations. With this Action, the Commission now sets itself up to issue fines to the retailers. 
     

  • 10/4/11 - Every so often, some enviromental activist group with nothing better to do claims radio towers are the major cause in killing off the bird population. Interestingly, on the Broadcast [BC] discussion group few engineers have ever seen birds killed by their towers. Possibly, cats may be doing cleanup, but still, if there were dead birds, there should be feathers, etc.
     
    For that reason, it is interesting to note this article, published in the NY Times, that among other things says an estimated 90,000 birds are killed each year flying into the buildings in NYC - a Billion a year - just in the US!
     
    BDR Comments: Could this mean the end of cities? If the activists really wanted to save the birds, just think of what they could do by banning NYC, Chicago, LA, San Francisco and the rest of them. We would go on, but we might get cynical.

Back to the top

SEPTEMBER

  • 9/28/11 - Reports are starting to trickle in regarding the Nevada State EAS Test, a sort of dress rehearsal for the National EAN test in November. The test, sent from Washington via two PEP stations in Las Vegas and Reno, was carried by about 200 stations. A few equipment failures or operator errors did happen, but by and large officials were pleased with the test.
     

  • 9/27/11 - Let's see if we got this straight: a fire drill is scheduled for the building. A drill. Not a real fire. Yet, no one thought to let the air staff know. What do you suppose was the result? Yep.
     

  • 9/26/11 - Following on the heels of Clearwire noting they have plenty of spectrum comes this report from Citigroup Global Markets which shows, for example that the wireless companies have some 538 MHz of spectrum, but are using only 192 MHz.
     
    BDR Comments: This sort of undercuts the FCC and Congressional thoughts of raising a lot of money by selling off more of the broadcast spectrum.
     

  • 9/21/11 - Clearwire, unexpectedly, noted they have more than enough spectrum and might even sell some, if the price is right.
     
    9/16/11 - As expected, Citadel shareholders approved the merger with Cumulus, and it was quickly consummated, as evidenced by email addresses changing immediately (former citcomm.com addresses are now cumulus.com) (See 9/14). According to reports, over a transition period of six months, people and services will be moved around to consolidate the merged companies' strengths.
     
    BDR Comments: Cumulus certainly has done a lot of preliminary work - they own a lot of the software and systems they use in the group. With the new assets acquired, including the former ABC stations, Cumulus' future will hinge on the programming and sales decisions made in Atlanta.
     

  • 9/15/11 - The FCC will announce an extension to the CAP-EAS Deadline, perhaps as early as tomorrow. News of the extension has come from several legal teams, plus reports of an announcment during the NAB Fall Show. Followup: The announcement was made. The new deadline is June 30, 2012.
     

  • 9/15/11 - The NAB announced that the Fall Show attracted 2,206 registrations, compared with 1,785 at the 2010 Show in DC.
     

  • 9/15/11 - WBZ celebrates 90 years today since they were awarded the first Broadcast license.
     

  • 9/14/11 - The green light was given by the FCC for the Cumulus-Citadel merger. The US Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission had already signed off on the deal.
      
    Conditioned on the sale of some 14 stations through a trust (different terms are listed by different agencies, from 9 to 14 stations), the 339 Cumulus stations will be joined by 228 Citadel stations. The $2.4 Billion transaction will create a group of about 570 stations, compared with Clear Channel's over 800. Citadel's shareholders were to vote today to consummate the deal, which would give them either $37 or 8.5 Cumulus shares per Citadel share.
     
    Reports are that stations will be spun off in Nashville, Dallas, Kansas City, Harrisburg PA, Montgomery AL, Fayetteville, AR, Macon GA, Savannah GA, Myrtle Beach, SC, Flint MI, and on Long Island, NY.
       

  • 9/13/11 - A Public Notice from the Media Bureau has announced that the FCC will now permit AM stations to use technologies designed to reduce power consumption. Modulation Dependent Carrier Level (MDCL) is the general name for the technologies. Several have been recently tested out in Alaska and now the MB is ready to allow MDCL for regular use. The Public Notice is here.      
     

  • 9/12/11 - A Public Auction of FM Construction Permits has been scheduled for March. Auction 93 will include 123 new allotments (16 were previously offered but were either not bid upon in Auction 91, one defaulted from Auction 70). Full details are here.  A list of the CPs is here.
     
    As part of the Public Notice, the FCC is seeking comments on the Auction procedures themselves (see Section IV).
      

  • 9/10/11 - What does a station do when flood waters (or other problems) take out the studio? Many stations just lie down and die - they do not even bother to have a generator ready. On the other hand, WEBO, Owego, NY just kept improvising. And, over the past four days or so, has been in the process has been doing the vital Public Service for which radio has become known.
     
    First, they went to generator power, then as the water rose, they had to abandon the studios. Moving enough studio gear into a borrowed camper is not easy(pictures here), but WEBO did so, and has been on the air, giving information to their listeners when they need it.
     
    BDR Comments: The BDR is all to familiar with group-owned radio stations that will do anything to keep the automation and commercials running (sometimes not even being audible in the city of license) so as not to hurt the bottom line. However, WEBO deserves a standing ovation for what they are doing - and how they are doing it!
     

  • 9/9/11 - Two Pittsburg, Kansas stations were taken off the air when copper thieves knocked down a utility pole and stole copper wiring in the middle of the night from a site in Weir, KS. KKOW and KRPS were taken down on Wednesday. The stations got back up after repairs.
     
    Curiously, it seems at least one thief got caught by a homeowner about 10 miles away. Sheriff's deputies arrested a man held at gunpoint, and found materials that appeared to be related to the radio station incident.
     
    BDR Comments: While it took only about an hour and a half to apprehend one of the crooks, the damages to the station and utility pole were many times the value of the copper taken. Unattended sites continue to be viewed by thieves almost as an ATM machine. 
     

  • 9/8/11 - FCC Commissioner Michael Copps said it was time to start talking about putting FM chips in cellphones. Speaking at a workshop on network reliability and outage reporting, Copps noted all the recent emergencies and weather issues that have created problems in getting information to the public. He called "for a thorough, calm and reasoned discussion about FM chips in handsets."
     
    BDR Comments: Although in most places radio was there when the power and cell towers went down - and a great way to promote radio's reach - it may take more than a chip to get reliable FM on a cellphone handset. Where will they put the antenna?
      

  • 9/2/11 - Four stations in Hutchinson, KS are without a home today, after their studio building burned to the ground. The fire apparently broke out at about 2AM, when no one was in the building. KSKU, KXKU, KNZF and KWHK, owned by AD ASTRA PER ASPERA BROADCASTING, all are off the air while they regroup. The owner, Cliff Shank, plans to stay off the air while starting to rebuild the studios and offices within the next couple of weeks. Investigators are still trying to determine whether the fire was caused by arson or other reasons.
     

  • 9/2/11 - The FCC has made a statement of interest to those trying to move translators: in a case at Effingham, IL, the Media Bureau permitted the move of a translator that otherwise would either have been denied - or accomplished by the "hop" method. By being up front with the Commission as to their intentions, and the savings in staff time by now pushing repeated "hops," the applicants got a wavier and permission to use the translator for AM rebroadcasting.
     

  • 9/1/11 - September got off to a bad start for Emmis Communications. Despite its completing the $130 million sale of three stations in New York City and Chicago, the company's stock has slipped to 66 cents a share, prompting NASDAQ to warn of delisting (30 consecutive days under $1.00 is the trigger).
     
    This is the third time Emmis has been so warned in the past three years. It now has 180 days to strengthen the stock price above $1.00 for 10 consecutive days.
     
    The economic hassles reach into some of the smallest communities. The owners of WRGC, Sylva, in southwestern North Carolina, abruptly shut down on August 31st with unknown plans for the future. The station was  in the midst of a move from 680 to 540, but apparentlycould not afford to continue. A regional TV report is here.

Back to the top

DECEMBER - 2011

  • 12/29/11 - ABC News is reporting increased sun activity, with the potential to disrupt radio and cell phone transmissions. Here is a link to the report - and some really nice video from space and of the Northern Lights.
     

  • 12/27/11 - A West Virginia legislator has come up with a good idea to help solve one of perhaps the two most vexing transmitter site problems: copper theft.
     

  • 12/26/11 - A contractor died on a tower in Bonita Springs, FL this afternoon (Wednesday).
     
    According to fire officals, 61-year-old Nick Rouskey (pictured) of Cape Coral, FL was working on the tower's electrical system changing a light beacon at the top of the 700-foot (228 meter) tower.
     
    Rouskey was an experienced climber, well-known and well-liked in the industry. He was said to be a real family man.
     
    Four fire and rescue teams went to the site after the man's grandson determined his grandfather had become "distressed" and needed help.(Some bystanders had reported he had not moved in four hours). It took the teams four and a half hours to lower the body. The cause of death is not yet confirmed.
     
    The five stations on the tower (two Clear Channel, one Meridian, a translator and an LPTV) were shut down during the recovery.
     

  • 12/22/11 - One of the five DC BASE jumpers charged with trespassing last week tried again on the Maryland Public Televsion tower at Annapolis, MD. This time he was injured when his parachute did not fully open.
     
    BDR Comments: Since the FCC does not deal with BASE jumpers, and many local jurisdictions merely cite for trespassing, stations are looking for ways to send a strong message to these jumpers. We would like to hear from anyone who has found a legal way to deal with these problems.
     

  • 12/21/11 - Microsoft announced that this will be their last CES (Consumer Electronics Show) appearance.

    BDR Comments: Like IBM and Apple before them, Microsoft may be planning a new hometown "event" each year, to drum up publicity for their products, rather than be a part of a large, expensive Las Vegas showing. Stay tuned.
     
     

  • 12/20/11 - AT&T's purchase of T-Mobile is off. Although subject to a $3Billion payment to T-Mobile for not consummating the deal, AT&T suggested there was no realistic way to get approval from US regulators, including the FCC.
     

  • 12/20/11 - The FCC has made another change. Henning Schulzinne has made the FCC Chief Technology Officer for the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology.
     

  • 12/16/11 - Those that see a shortage of qualified broadcast engineers may be interested in the new effort by the Alabama Broadcasters Association. The ABA has planned a new broadcast engineering academy at Hoover, AL to begin operations in May 2012. Included will be apprenticeship and internship programs in cooperation with a local career college's Networking and Electrical Engineering programs. Additionally, the ABA expects stations to eventually send employees for continuing eduction.
     

  • 12/16/11 - A quintet of BASE jumpers was arrested on Wednesday for parachuting off the WETA tower in Washington DC. One of the group was injured in the attempt. WETA's chief engineer says they think the jumpers launched from the plate at the bottom of the master antenna, about 426 feet. He also reported the fifth jumper landed in a tree, but then fell 60 feet, breaking her back, leg and ankles.
     

  • 12/14/11 - The FCC has released a Order On Remand related to tower construction and lighting. This is a response to the continuing environmental reports about migratory bird deaths and their relationship to broadcast towers.
     
    BDR Comments: Sadly, this will largely play into the NIMBY, BANANA, and NOPE folks. With conflicting studies and anecdotal evidence (including thousands of birds suddenly crashing into a parking lot in Utah), the main effect here might be mostly to increase the time and cost of tower construction. If you are planning any new constuction or replacement towers, this is something with which you and your rigger may need to become familar.
     

  • 12/14/11 - The FCC Chief of Staff, Eddie Lararus, has been reported as leaving at the end of January.
     

  • 12/12/11 - A national "occupy radio" effort was said to be underway today. Among their goals: to examine the Public File and see if there are violations that can be exploited against owners. The first target: Clear Channel. Initial reports indicated an underwhelming response.
     
    BDR Comments: The "occupy" theme has been very popular this season, but the reality is that few people really wish to spend their day trolling through station Public Files. It is true that a few folks are likely to be prepared to seek out key documents and could cause issues. However, if stations just follow the Rules, it is relatively easy to keep the Public File up-to-date and avoid problems from the public or the FCC.
     

  • 12/6/11 - The NAB told the Supreme Court that it must overturn the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals decision to allow the FCC Rules to stand. The NAB said consolidation is not dangerous, but allows higher quality reporting. The current Rules "directly harm the public," said the NAB.
     
    The current system of ownership is flawed, the NAB says, with Chairman Genachowski said to be seeking a relaxation of the current Rules.
     

  • 12/5/11 - AP Users take note: According to the AP, they are extending the end date for their text and pre-recorded content feeds via satellite. Transisition was scheduled to be complete on 12/31/11 - but the date has now been extended to 3/31/12. AP will be sending these services only via the Internet. (Live material will still come via satellite for now.) In any event, stations using a dish to get AP content need to prepare for the change. The AP website is supposed to have transition info for AP members (Password required).
     

  • 12/1/11 - Unusually high winds (up to 100 MPH) in Southern Califorina wreacked havoc to power lines, even station antennas. Reports say that at least one television antenna was knocked off its tower by the winds on Mt Harvard (next to Mt. Wilson, outside LA).
     
    According to local media, this is the most powerful storm in 10 years - winds of up to 140 MPH are expected in some higher elevations as the storm moves to the East. Power was cut in many places (some reports say 300,000 without power), including the LAX airport and both the main and backup feed to Mt. Wilson. All radio and television stations were reported to be on generator power, with uprooted trees in power lines and roads.
     

Back to the top

NOVEMBER  

  • 11/30/11 - A DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack on the Navy's NTP server on Tuesday afternoon (1:25PM EST) caused some problems for computers and automation systems that were using it to sync up. There were even reports of some Blackberry and other smartphone reboots.
     
    According to the Navy, the cause was several Asian/Pacific IP blocks which began sending tens of thousands of packets per second. Some computers found that they were being bounced all over the calendar. A few stations were so affected they had to stop the automation and go live on the air, manually.  A screen shot of the disruption is here.
     

  • 11/24/11 - Having run into a roadblock at the FCC - and a number of studies saying there was a surplus of wireless sprectrum - ATT and T-Moble have "temporarily withdrawn" their merger application at the FCC.
     

  • 11/11/11 - Citibank has sold EMI Music for $1.9 Billion to Vivendi, which currently owns the Universal Music Group. EMI's publishing business went for $2.2 Billion to a group led by Sony. EMI, of course, was the holder of the Beatles library.
     

  • 11/9/11 - The man who knocked KRPS and KKOW off the air in September (see 9/9/11 below) has been indicted on federal charges. Jeffrey Blake, 39, was charged with one count of attempted damage to a communications system at Weir, KS, and one count of attempted damage to an energy facility.
     
    The US Attorney noted that KKOW was part of the EAS. Blake was also charged with other damage, to a local electrical utility. The potential sentence is 10 years in prison and $250k for the damage to KKOW.

    BDR Comments: This could be a warning, but druggies really do not read. So, this is not a reason to let down on efforts to better secure transmitter sites.
     

  • 11/9/11 - Nautel Ltd has been sold. Company CEO Peter Conlon announced that the original founders of the 42-year-old company, Dennis Covill, David Grace and John Pinks, had sold their shares to local businessmen. According to Conlon, the new owners essentially plan to keep the company as-is and have no active role in running Nautel. Customers are being told they will see no changes in products or service. A local report quoted Conlon saying: "“It has been an orderly transition. Now the company will be run as it always has been run and we are positioned for another decade of stability.”
     
    It was long rumored that the original owners where getting to the point in life where they wanted to close out their ownership, causing speculation as to what form the company would take. The sale, said to be a bit complicated under Canadian Law, reportedly took nearly a year to consummate.
       

  • 11/4/11 - Just in time for the National EAS Test, Larry Wood has kindly dug out some audio from almost 60 years ago ... PSAs for CONELRAD during Civil Defense Emergencies. There are several of them, you will find interesting.  PSA1  PSA2  PSA3  PSA4  PSA5  PSA6 PSA7 PSA8 Thanks, Larry!
     

  • 11/3/11 - The NAB has gone on record opposing proposed changes to the FM Rules. The proposal would protect only the currently built facilities, not any potential increases. This would allow stations in areas shielded by mountains, for example, to increase their signals.
     

Back to the top

OCTOBER 

  • 10/31/11 - Two new Commissioners were nomimated by President Obama to fill vacancies from Meridith Baker's departure and Michael Copps' forthcoming retirement. Named were Senate Commerce Committee Senior Communications Counsel Jessica Rosenworcel and former Federal Communications Commission Deputy General Counsel Ajit Pai. Currently Ajit is a partner at Jenner & Block.  

    The NAB issued a statement of support for the nominees.
     

  • 10/2711 - Keith Mullin of Harris has passed away at 53. Mullin was well-known for the training classes he ran at Harris.
     

  • 10/26/11 - The 131st AES Convention in New York City concluded with an attendance of 13,926. It was announced 2012's Convention would return to San Francisco.
     

  • 10/25/11 - And now Sprint has joined in the chorus suggesting that a spectrum auction is not necessary for the wireless carriers.
     

  • 10/25/11 - The FCC has released the Handbook and procedures for the National EAS Test.
     

  • 10/21/11 - The Greek state broadcaster, ERT, reported three transmitters were stolen from one of their sites this past week. This is on the tail of another recent theft.
     
    BDR Comments: Security problems are not limited to the US.
     

  • 10/21/11 - Dial Global has completed its purchase of Westwood One. The combined company now serves over 7,000 stations with some 200 programs.
     

  • 10/20/11 - The US Patent and Trade Office has issued a Detailed Action that has knocked down most the claims by Mission Abstract Data regarding automating music playouts from computer systems. In fact, all the radio-centric claims were dismissed, largely based on produced prior art from Digilink and Dalet. Untouched at this time are several approaches, such as audio on demand over phone lines.
     
    Mission Abstract Data still has 60 days to appeal, but an initial reading of the decisions means radio broadcasters are essentially relieved of any potential liability under patent claims 5,809,246 and 5,629,867. A link to the USPTO decision will be posted as soon as it has been placed on that site. (Claims 1-7, 10, 11, 14, 17, 18, 21, 24, and 27 were rejected in relation to Patent 5,809,246. And  claims 1, 2, 4, 6 and 7 were rejected for Patent 5,629,867.)
     
    Nevertheless, on a matter of this significance, it would be wise to consult your communications attorney to be completely certain of all the legal nits involved.



  • 10/18/11 - The FCC issued a notice that is should be of interest to all translator owners. In shutting down a translator for causing interference, the FCC made the point that all regular listeners, even outside the licensed contours, need to be protected from translators.
     

  • 10/17/11 - The FCC has opened the filing window for the biennual ownership reports. These reports are due by December 1st. More information is available here. Questions are answered there, and there is even a list of the common errors in the last set of filings. 
     

  • 10/13/11 - The NAB has produced some PSAs and a one page check sheet for the National EAS test. Links are here.
     

  • 10/12/11 - Another sad death from a broadcast tower accident. The Boston Globe and other local media is reporting an Iowa man fell from about 500 feet up a 1260-foot tower owned by American Tower in Newton, MA, (in the Boston area).
     

  • 10/11/11 - Indiana's OSHA has issued a $91k fine against ERI, in the deaths of two men last April.
    Ernesto Garcia (29 of Laredo, Texas, and Paul Aliff III (32) of Mesquite, Texas, were working at about the 340-foot level of a 500-foot radio tower when they fell to their deaths.
     
    The Indiana OSHA report, issued in September, generally accuses ERI of unsafe working conditions. ERI has contested several aspects of the report as incorrect, and a revised report is said to be due to be released next week.

    BDR Comments: The Indiana bureaucracy aside, ERI has a well-known reputation for competence and safety, and is sought after for many of the most challenging jobs in the industry. (Have you seen the video of Tom Silliman climbing to the top of the Empire State Building Tower at 2AM? It is stunning. ... and he loves the work!)
     
    Anyone who has had Silliman on site or visited one of his other work sites - and that includes your BDR Editor - knows that this is one of the most safety conscious men in the industry. Those who have not had the opportunity to hear Silliman continually call out "Watch your feet," "Watch your head," or other warnings would do well to observe his exceptional working standards.
     

  • 10/9/11 - It does not seem to matter to some politicians that the cell phone companies say they have enough frequencies and even may sell some. The Citibank study agreed. Nevertheless, Senators John Kerry and Patrick Toomey, and Reps Xavier Becerra and Fred Upton have asked for more spectrum to auction.
       

  • 10/6/11 - The FCC issued an "Omnibus Enforcement Action" against 20 retailers who were selling as many as 200 various jamming devices. The products, meant to jam cellphones, WiFi, GPS, etc., are major issues with the FCC.  Complaints about the inability to reach 911 during emergencies is one of the considerations. With this Action, the Commission now sets itself up to issue fines to the retailers. 
     

  • 10/4/11 - Every so often, some enviromental activist group with nothing better to do claims radio towers are the major cause in killing off the bird population. Interestingly, on the Broadcast [BC] discussion group few engineers have ever seen birds killed by their towers. Possibly, cats may be doing cleanup, but still, if there were dead birds, there should be feathers, etc.
     
    For that reason, it is interesting to note this article, published in the NY Times, that among other things says an estimated 90,000 birds are killed each year flying into the buildings in NYC - a Billion a year - just in the US!
     
    BDR Comments: Could this mean the end of cities? If the activists really wanted to save the birds, just think of what they could do by banning NYC, Chicago, LA, San Francisco and the rest of them. We would go on, but we might get cynical.

Back to the top

SEPTEMBER

  • 9/28/11 - Reports are starting to trickle in regarding the Nevada State EAS Test, a sort of dress rehearsal for the National EAN test in November. The test, sent from Washington via two PEP stations in Las Vegas and Reno, was carried by about 200 stations. A few equipment failures or operator errors did happen, but by and large officials were pleased with the test.
     

  • 9/27/11 - Let's see if we got this straight: a fire drill is scheduled for the building. A drill. Not a real fire. Yet, no one thought to let the air staff know. What do you suppose was the result? Yep.
     

  • 9/26/11 - Following on the heels of Clearwire noting they have plenty of spectrum comes this report from Citigroup Global Markets which shows, for example that the wireless companies have some 538 MHz of spectrum, but are using only 192 MHz.
     
    BDR Comments: This sort of undercuts the FCC and Congressional thoughts of raising a lot of money by selling off more of the broadcast spectrum.
     

  • 9/21/11 - Clearwire, unexpectedly, noted they have more than enough spectrum and might even sell some, if the price is right.
     
    9/16/11 - As expected, Citadel shareholders approved the merger with Cumulus, and it was quickly consummated, as evidenced by email addresses changing immediately (former citcomm.com addresses are now cumulus.com) (See 9/14). According to reports, over a transition period of six months, people and services will be moved around to consolidate the merged companies' strengths.
     
    BDR Comments: Cumulus certainly has done a lot of preliminary work - they own a lot of the software and systems they use in the group. With the new assets acquired, including the former ABC stations, Cumulus' future will hinge on the programming and sales decisions made in Atlanta.
     

  • 9/15/11 - The FCC will announce an extension to the CAP-EAS Deadline, perhaps as early as tomorrow. News of the extension has come from several legal teams, plus reports of an announcment during the NAB Fall Show. Followup: The announcement was made. The new deadline is June 30, 2012.
     

  • 9/15/11 - The NAB announced that the Fall Show attracted 2,206 registrations, compared with 1,785 at the 2010 Show in DC.
     

  • 9/15/11 - WBZ celebrates 90 years today since they were awarded the first Broadcast license.
     

  • 9/14/11 - The green light was given by the FCC for the Cumulus-Citadel merger. The US Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission had already signed off on the deal.
      
    Conditioned on the sale of some 14 stations through a trust (different terms are listed by different agencies, from 9 to 14 stations), the 339 Cumulus stations will be joined by 228 Citadel stations. The $2.4 Billion transaction will create a group of about 570 stations, compared with Clear Channel's over 800. Citadel's shareholders were to vote today to consummate the deal, which would give them either $37 or 8.5 Cumulus shares per Citadel share.
     
    Reports are that stations will be spun off in Nashville, Dallas, Kansas City, Harrisburg PA, Montgomery AL, Fayetteville, AR, Macon GA, Savannah GA, Myrtle Beach, SC, Flint MI, and on Long Island, NY.
       

  • 9/13/11 - A Public Notice from the Media Bureau has announced that the FCC will now permit AM stations to use technologies designed to reduce power consumption. Modulation Dependent Carrier Level (MDCL) is the general name for the technologies. Several have been recently tested out in Alaska and now the MB is ready to allow MDCL for regular use. The Public Notice is here.      
     

  • 9/12/11 - A Public Auction of FM Construction Permits has been scheduled for March. Auction 93 will include 123 new allotments (16 were previously offered but were either not bid upon in Auction 91, one defaulted from Auction 70). Full details are here.  A list of the CPs is here.
     
    As part of the Public Notice, the FCC is seeking comments on the Auction procedures themselves (see Section IV).
      

  • 9/10/11 - What does a station do when flood waters (or other problems) take out the studio? Many stations just lie down and die - they do not even bother to have a generator ready. On the other hand, WEBO, Owego, NY just kept improvising. And, over the past four days or so, has been in the process has been doing the vital Public Service for which radio has become known.
     
    First, they went to generator power, then as the water rose, they had to abandon the studios. Moving enough studio gear into a borrowed camper is not easy(pictures here), but WEBO did so, and has been on the air, giving information to their listeners when they need it.
     
    BDR Comments: The BDR is all to familiar with group-owned radio stations that will do anything to keep the automation and commercials running (sometimes not even being audible in the city of license) so as not to hurt the bottom line. However, WEBO deserves a standing ovation for what they are doing - and how they are doing it!
     

  • 9/9/11 - Two Pittsburg, Kansas stations were taken off the air when copper thieves knocked down a utility pole and stole copper wiring in the middle of the night from a site in Weir, KS. KKOW and KRPS were taken down on Wednesday. The stations got back up after repairs.
     
    Curiously, it seems at least one thief got caught by a homeowner about 10 miles away. Sheriff's deputies arrested a man held at gunpoint, and found materials that appeared to be related to the radio station incident.
     
    BDR Comments: While it took only about an hour and a half to apprehend one of the crooks, the damages to the station and utility pole were many times the value of the copper taken. Unattended sites continue to be viewed by thieves almost as an ATM machine. 
     

  • 9/8/11 - FCC Commissioner Michael Copps said it was time to start talking about putting FM chips in cellphones. Speaking at a workshop on network reliability and outage reporting, Copps noted all the recent emergencies and weather issues that have created problems in getting information to the public. He called "for a thorough, calm and reasoned discussion about FM chips in handsets."
     
    BDR Comments: Although in most places radio was there when the power and cell towers went down - and a great way to promote radio's reach - it may take more than a chip to get reliable FM on a cellphone handset. Where will they put the antenna?
      

  • 9/2/11 - Four stations in Hutchinson, KS are without a home today, after their studio building burned to the ground. The fire apparently broke out at about 2AM, when no one was in the building. KSKU, KXKU, KNZF and KWHK, owned by AD ASTRA PER ASPERA BROADCASTING, all are off the air while they regroup. The owner, Cliff Shank, plans to stay off the air while starting to rebuild the studios and offices within the next couple of weeks. Investigators are still trying to determine whether the fire was caused by arson or other reasons.
     

  • 9/2/11 - The FCC has made a statement of interest to those trying to move translators: in a case at Effingham, IL, the Media Bureau permitted the move of a translator that otherwise would either have been denied - or accomplished by the "hop" method. By being up front with the Commission as to their intentions, and the savings in staff time by now pushing repeated "hops," the applicants got a wavier and permission to use the translator for AM rebroadcasting.
     

  • 9/1/11 - September got off to a bad start for Emmis Communications. Despite its completing the $130 million sale of three stations in New York City and Chicago, the company's stock has slipped to 66 cents a share, prompting NASDAQ to warn of delisting (30 consecutive days under $1.00 is the trigger).
     
    This is the third time Emmis has been so warned in the past three years. It now has 180 days to strengthen the stock price above $1.00 for 10 consecutive days.
     
    The economic hassles reach into some of the smallest communities. The owners of WRGC, Sylva, in southwestern North Carolina, abruptly shut down on August 31st with unknown plans for the future. The station was  in the midst of a move from 680 to 540, but apparentlycould not afford to continue. A regional TV report is here.

Back to the top

AUGUST

  • 8/31/11 - WVOW, Logan, WV, returned to the air today. The station was knocked off the air when thieves recently stole 150 feet of telephone lines in the city, killing the WVOW program loop. Logan has been afflicted by repeated large copper theft problems, which recently resulted in the arrest of at least seven people, charged with causing nearly a half million dollars in losses. Cellular and landline service was also affected.
     

  • 8/31/11 - A man climbed the KTLA tower on Sunset Blvd in LA. He did not last as long as the one in Tulsa, but he got his 15 minutes.
     

  • 8/24/11 - A earthquake in Virginia, registering 5.9, gave another look at why radio can do what most other media cannot: reports were that for up to an hour and a half, cell phones were unusable throughout the region due to overload.
     
    BDR Comments: Those stations that made the effort and took the time to do more than relay news from elsewhere showed their listeners that they cared - and will reap rewards over time.
     

  • 8/24/11 - A familiar name returns to the field of electronic projects: Heathkit. With their first new release due out this month, the company hopes to rekindle the market for do-it-yourself kits.
     

  • 8/23/11 - FCC Commissioner Julius Genachowski delivered on a promise to delete the Fairness Doctrine from the Rules. Along with 82 other obsolete regulations, the deletions are supposed to make dealing with the FCC easier. (The Fairness Doctrine goes all the way back to 1949.)
     
     

  • 8/24/11 - A pre-packaged bankruptcy was rejected by Inner City Broadcasting (ICBC) president Pierre Sutton, leading creditors to file for involuntary bankruptcy. The operators of WLIB and WBLS in New York City, KBLX in San Francisco, and others, owed some $254 Million according to the filing.

    ICBC was found by civil right's attorney Percy Sutton, who was not only the longest serving Borough President in Manhattan, but also known for representing Malcolm X and owning the Apollo Theater for some time. When Sutton bought WLIB, he turned it into the first Black-owned radio station in New York City.
       

  • 8/19/11 - Peter Dahl, well-known for designing and supplying custom-wound transformers, his willingness to help anyone, and his activities as a Ham (K0BIT), passed away this week, at the age of 71.
     

  • 8/16/11 - Tulsa tower guy: They brought him down! Six days, plusa - 127 hours/40 minutes. Pretty much a record, considering he hadn't eaten in four days. According to police, he has not had food or drink since Friday. ...
     

  • 8/15/11 - Tulsa tower guy: he is still there. Five days and counting.
     

  • 8/14/11 - A man who climbed onto a tower shared by Clear Channel and Fox TV23 in Tulsa, OK is still on the tower over four days later. He is reported to have waved off rescue efforts - after the fourth attempt, the fire engines left the scene on Saturday.
     
    According to the reports, the man, identified only as William," was recently released from prison, and suffers from a history of mental illness. He has weathered wind, rain, and lightning as he climbed up and down from about the 70 to 200-foot levels, but has shouted that he might be there for a week. (Another link)
     

  • 8/12/11 - Although it ran into roadblocks - few applications and a fear there would be a lack of widespread acceptance - it was 30 years ago today (1981) that the IBM PC (aka Model 5150) made its debut ... and changed the computing world forever. 
     
    The first PC featured an Intel 8088 microprocessor, 40k of ROM and 16k of RAM. With keyboard and video output, it ran $1,565. Monitor, disk drives, more memory, applications, printer ... all were extra. On the other hand, the PC was capable of more than a $9 million computer IBM had sold 20 years before, taking a quarter of an acre of air conditioned space and a staff of 60.
     
    BDR Comments: Back in 1980, few stations had more than a Radio Shack TRS-80, or a Wang Office Computer. The PC changed things. It also made many software developers very rich - and Microsoft a giant.
      

  • 8/11/11 - Relatively quietly, Townsquare has become the fourth largest consolidator/owner of radio stations in the US, perhaps because of its focus on small to mid-size markets. Backed by majority Oaktree Capital, Steven Price's company just signed to buy another 26 stations, from Double O. This will bring Townsquare close to 200 stations in about 40 markets.
     
    BDR Comments: In case you missed it, Townsquare was the product of the Regent Broadcasting bankruptcy last year, which was reported to have left the original shareholders with about 12 1/2 cents on the dollar.
     

  • 8/8/11 - The FCC issued their latest list of EEO audits on August 1st. The randomly selected stations are expected to give the FCC a fuller report than was is required for the station Public File.
     

  • 8/5/11 - In a dramatic demonstration of the dangers of tower work - especially during a summer heat wave, a tower worker in North Texas suffered heat exhaustion 760 feet above ground. It took firefighters some seven hours to rescue the man, who apparently was so disoriented he took off his safety harness.

    BDR Comments: Do we really have to say it? Anyone climbing a tower in excessive heat needs medical attention. Nothing up there is worth a life.
     

  • 8/5/11 - New York State joined Florida in making it a crime (Class A misdemeanor) to operate an radio station in NY without a license. The NY State Broadcasters' Association hailed the new law, which permits state and local law enforcement to take action.

    BDR Comments: Pirates are a problem in many areas, yet enforcement by the FCC varies by region. At least NY is trying to do something.
     

  • 8/1/11 - We have heard from several sources that Radio Shack is discontinuing most or all of its HD radio lines. If they are still in stock at your local store, they are on clearance - as low as $30 for the Auvio tuner and $18 for in iPod dongle.
     

  • 8/1/11 - The NAB has released a final report on a study done by ibiquity that uses a synchronized Single Frequency Network (SFN) plan for digital boosters to fill in areas with coverage problems from IBOC transmissions. The current study, in Boston, follows one last year in Baltimore.

Back to the top

JULY

  • 7/28/11 - Spotify has announced entry into the US market. This is a service said to have as many as 15 million songs available, some even at 320 kbps. The service has three levels, free, $5, and $10 a month. The premium charges get rid of ads and allow access even on mobile phones.
     

  • 7/21/11 - We have received information regarding the Celebration of Steve Claterbaugh's life. It will be this Saturday in Rowett, TX from 6-9PM.  A gathering and sharing; dinner, tea, and lemonade will be served.  There will also be a Memorial Ride during the day to the site of the accident.
     

  • 7/21/11 - 26 sets of comments were filed with the FCC regarding the FNPRM for Part 11 (the "re-write." Currently reply comments are due by August 4th.  To see the filings, you can go here.
     

  • 7/21/11 - Apple has released its new OS, Lion. Priced at $29.95, one license covers all personal Macs owned by a user. The OS basically is available by download. It is 3.5GB, so if you do not have wideband, you can go to the nearest Apple Store and get it there.
     

  • 7/19/11 - KBHW, Loman, MN lost their 650-foot tower early Sunday morning, apparently related to the storms. Fortunately, the falling tower missed the transmitter building so the loss was contained to the tower, antennas, feedline, and lighting system.
     

  • 7/16/11 - Utilities are starting to become more aggressive in dealing with copper theft. Noting that over 48,000 thefts occurred at utility substations, Puget Sound Energy has announced a new video motion detection security system to try to get police to sites before the damage is done.
     

  • 7/15/11 - Major transmission interruptions in the Netherlands. Two Dutch antenna masts caught fire and one collapsed in rather spectacular fashion 100 miles NE of Amsterdam, and captured on video. (another report, in Dutch) According to reports, the 200 m mast caught fire at 2PM, and collapsed just before 4PM, crippling communications over a wide area of the Netherlands. Cleanup and investigations have already started.  (There are several different videos linked here, as a few have been withdrawn over the past days.)

    The other site was shut down for a while, with unknown damage, but that mast is still standing, with stations now operating at reduced power. Of additional interest to those who have written off the AM band, the national 747 kHz transmitter is now running the national news/talk network.
     

  • 7/12/11 - The FCC focused on LPFM and translators during its open meeting and, not surprisingly, created both anticipation and disappointment by potential operators, as it sought to balance the demands of the 6500 translator applications pending since 2003 (and frozen since 2005) with the Congressional demands of the Local Community Radio Act (LCRA) to foster more LPFM stations. The result is a Third Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making (Third FNPRM), seeking comments on parts of the LCRA, while deferring some others.

    Among the issues for which the FCC is currently seeking comment are:

    • on changing the manner of processing translator applications to a "market specific" approach in larger markets - and dismissing all translator applications in those larger markets.

    • speeding up translator applications in rural areas.

    • allow more opportunities for LPFM and translator licenses yet preventing the  trafficking of translator permits.

    • allowing more opportunities for AM stations to use FM translators.

    • to assist women and minorities to gain licenses. 

    The Commission announced plans to open an LPFM Window in "Summer 2012."

    Commissioner Copps applauded the move toward "Low Power to the People," noting, for instance, in the top 50 markets, translators currently outnumber LPFMs by 607 to 86 and that two companies now control 74% of advertising revenue. He and Commissioner Clyburn spoke as  advocates of "robust, local community radio broadcasting."

    BDR Comments: The Commission is taking a long-needed move to do more than benign neglect of LPFM in the face of competition from those thousands and thousands of translator applications. While complete changes in technical Rules and discussion of impact of LPFM on full power stations is being deferred, those who have been unhappy with the way the translator service has progressed may find positive direction. Will the "satellator" issue be addressed?  We will see.  
     
     

  • 7/7/11 - FEMA released a "Best Practices Guide" for the National EAS Test scheduled for this coming November 9th. The pdf is available here.
     

  • 7/7/11 - The US 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling that affected the FCC's 2008 planned loosening of ownership limits of broadcast facilities. This was the second time the same Court, in Philadelphia, has looked at the issue in seven years - the last time was in 2004.
     
    On the other hand, the Court said that the FCC needed to review current restrictions on broadcast/newspaper cross-ownership, at least in the top 20 markets, telling the FCC had not given proper time and notice for commenters.

    The FCC is in the middle of a regularly scheduled review of its ownership rules and the Court essentially directed the FCC to give special attention to several aspects. 
     

  • 7/4/11 - Broadcast veteran Steve Claterbaugh was killed Sunday afternoon in a motor accident. A brief obit is posted here.
     

  • 7/1/11 -  WUVS-LP in Muskegon, MI "103.7 The Beat" was hit by a lightning strike, and after a lot of smoke - and some fire - found a lot of damage, including their transmitter. Currently back on with 50 Watts, they are hoping to be back at full power within a couple of weeks. 
     
    Meanwhile, just up the state a little bit, the WWKR (94K-Rock), Hart and WMLQ (Coast FM), Manistee studio site in Ludington was hit and all sorts of gear from satellite receivers to routers to consoles got hit. One station is back up, while the new satellite receiver is expected shortly.
      

  • 7/1/11 -  KMRY, Cedar Rapids, IA, is a fulltime AM station now duplicating its format on an FM translator, purchased for $25,000 and moved about 23 miles. Owner Rick Sellers has worked quite hard to serve his community. He even pulled his transmitter and moved it to the studio on a longwire antenna to overcome losing his transmitter site to the floods in 2008.

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JUNE 

  • 6/27/11 -  The National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations (NASBA), along with individual State Broadcasters Associations, filed comments with the FCC urging the Commission to suspend enforcement of the Public File Rules, pending the current FCC plan to update and revise those rules and how they are enforced.
     
    BDR Comments: NASBA's actions are to be applauded. Nearly every broadcaster has expressed annoyance at the hours and hours it takes to build and maintain the Public File, which may never be visited by a member of the Public. More detailed information and an opinion is here.
     

  • 6/24/11 -  John Aegerter, a former Milwaukee broadcast engineer who ran a communications company and was a tower landlord, was found dead yesterday (Wednesday) morning in his garage. Two people have been arrested in the matter.
      

  • 6/22/11 -  The 1952 book Radio Antenna Engineering by Edmund LaPorte is currently available on lulu.com at no charge for the download. A printed copy is $15.00.
     

  • 6/20/11 -  The FCC has announced its Agenda for the July 12th open meeting will include a Third Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making to get comments on the impact of the Local Community Radio Act on the future licensing LPFM and FM translator stations.
     

  • 6/20/11 -  The FCC has now published the Part 11 FNPRM in the Federal Register. Comments are due in 30 days. If you want to see the FNPRM or a quick link to the comment site, go here.
     

  • 6/20/11 -  The NAB has joined the effort to push back on a company demanding royalty payments for using digital audio storage. Specifically, the NAB has requested that anyone finding a user manual for an automation system prior to 1994 forward it to the legal team fighting the action.
     

  • 6/16/11 -  "It was 20 years ago today" - times five! - when IBM got its start. The company responsible for many advances in computing, some of which led directly to major changes in broadcasting, along with other industries, began as the Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation. The company became IBM in 1924.
     
    The main products at the company's beginning were "punch clocks" for workers, scales, and other machines. Among the products pioneered by the firm were magnetic strip tech and bar codes. Punch card "computers" had their beginning in the 1930s and IBM dominated the "heavy metal" computing business in the 50's to the 70's, when they began to make the IBM PC in 1981. Since they company really didn't see a major market for the "toys," they allowed an "open architecture" for the systems (unlike Apple), where anyone could supply peripherals. Unfortunately, the company also passed on the Operating System offered to them by a small startup company called Microsoft. (Geeks probably consider this smart ... but rip IBM for not using CPM.)
     

  • 6/13/11 -  Thieves hit a Clear Channel transmitter site in Florida, taking some equipment, including an Audemat Relio (S/N 100256). A surveillance picture shows the bad guy, but not in full face.
     
    BDR Comments: Where are those CSI-Miami guys when you need them, with software that quickly reveals the whole face and identity? Seriously though, we have said over and over that site security is going to be a larger and larger issue - both in scope and budget - than many station owners want to believe. Plan now to protect your increasingly valuable copper and more.
     
    Want proof? Check out this video from the San Francisco Bay area. In one city, 300 power poles have been knocked down in less than six months - an average of close to two a day! Notice that they indicate that it takes an average of $500 to repair what the crooks sell for a buck or so. Does that not indicate it is worth your while to pay for some security?

     

  • 6/9/11 -  As anticipated, the first ever National EAS Test was announced today. It will be on Wednesday, November 9th, at 2:00 PM EST.  The test, announced by FCC's Chief Of Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Jamie Barnett, is expected to take up to three and a half minutes. All stations in the US are expected to take part - and report the results of the test back to DC for analysis. The FEMA News Release is here.
     
    Of special interest are two aspects of the test: First, this test is only of the legacy EAS system, not the CAP enhanced system that is being run out this year. Secondly, there will be more tests - eventually including the CAP receivers - ongoing on a regular basis (at least annually).

     

  • 6/8/11 -  Reports are saying the National EAS Test will likely be announced tomorrow (Thursday) by FEMA and the FCC during the FCC's meeting. The working date: November 9, 2011 at 2:00PM EST.
     
    BDR Comments: Broadcasters have been told this is coming for some time. While the date/time is subject to adjustment, at least there is now something to point towards.
      
      

  • 6/8/11 -  A letter from FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski to two Representatives (Upton and Walden) says he supports deleting all provisions relating to the Fairness Doctrine from federal code.
     
    The Fairness Doctrine was ruled unconstitutional in 1987 but has remained in the federal code and, more importantly, has been a political football in the past couple of years, as some politicians have advocated restoring and enhancing it. This may indicate a formal end to it.
       

  • 6/7/11 -  A Clear Channel Emergency Response Team got KCAD and KZRX back on the air pretty quickly. Headed by Erik Kuhlmann, the engineers swung into action when shifting ground caused a guy anchor to come loose and kill the tower. Pictures and more info here.
     
     

  • 6/7/11 -  Tomorrow Nashville Public Radio begins WFCL and Classical Music programming on the frequency (91.1) purchased from Vanderbilt University for $3.35 million. Formerly WRVU, the student radio station will now stream and be added to WPLN-HD3 in the fall.
     
    BDR Comments: It sure seems like student stations are dropping like flies this year. All student advisors and student broadcasters should make sure their university knows how valuable their asset is - as a reflection of the university - rather than a quick "budget fix."
     

  • 6/6/11 -  TFT's model 3320 has now passed its IPAWS-CA assessment. All the major manufacturers now have products that meet the FEMA standards. The comparison grid was updated.
     

  • 6/6/11 -  Another hole on the dial is reported in Portsmouth, OH. WPAY-AM (1400) was left adrift when the WPAY-FM license was sold off. The station President, Doug Braden, said he would take the station silent last Friday afternoon, after 86 years on the air.
     
    First licensed in February 1925 as WHBD, a 20-Watt station for the Chamber of Commerce in Bellefontaine, OH, WPAY moved twice over the years, ending up in Portsmouth, OH, after passing through a series of owners, including a church and a newspaper, among others.
     

  • 6/3/11 -  There is a hole on the dial in Chattanooga, TN this weekend. WDOD (1310) the oldest station in Chattanooga is no more. From its first sign-on April 13, 1925 until June 1st, it essentially had only three owners, the last of which was the Cy Bahakel family, which bought the station in almost 50 years ago in 1962.
     
    WDOD, at one time "The Dynamo of Dixie" had operated at 5 kW days since 1935 and with a directional antenna after moving to 1310 in the Great Frequency Shift of 1941. In recent years, it ran a series of satellite-delivered formats. According to local reports, the station's 22 acres of land were sold to a school for $600k and the license turned back to the FCC. The GM suggested the equipment pretty much had reached the end of life.
      

  • 6/2/11 -  The storms in ND have taken another tower. According to reports, the tower that held antennas for KCAD and KZRX "fell when saturated ground shifted and released an anchor cable."
     

  • 6/1/11 -  WDAY-AM (970) in Fargo, ND was the latest station to be hit hard by weather this year. All three of the towers were damaged, with one completely down on the ground and another with the top folded down. More pictures of what is left.  The station is operating via Internet stream while the damage is being repaired.

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MAY

  • 5/26/11 - The Media Bureau and Willam Lacy signed off on a Consent Decree that essentially ended the life of five translators that Lacy was moving slowly from the Florida Keys toward Miami since 2003. The Consent Decree is here.
     
    BDR Comments: ever since computer apps have taken over and made "what if?" easy, a whole sub-set of station owners have worked hard and often succeeded in moving facilities from small markets to larger ones - walking right up to the line of what the Rules permit. It certainly appears the FCC has known about and allowed these loopholes for a long time. One wonders why it chose this case to pounce upon?  
      

  • 5/26/11 - The NPRM for Part 11 is now out! One hundred ten pages long, it has a few surprises. A link to the pdf. Some comments and a summary will appear here.
       
    BDR Comments: At NAB, they announced they wanted to "fast track" it, so this might be a good time to get your plans in hand for acquiring the new required CAP/EAS boxes. An updated comparison grid is available to show the products here. How they are going to handle the short time left on the "clock" is still a toss-up. The FCC sure has made this a bigger mess than it needed to be.
     

  • 5/19/11 - A big week at the EB: at least $107.5k in fines were issued by the Enforcement Bureau this week. Additionally, six pirates were assessed fines for illegal operations.
     
    Some of the violations include a tower site missing fencing for "about a year" and another where the remote control system had failed for over a year. Public File and EAS violations also figured in this pile of fines. And one company managed to rack up $49k alone for ignoring several Rules - including having no Public File since 2008.
     
    BDR Comments: With License Renewal coming up this year for many stations, the wise choice is to fix these things now - before the cost a lot of money and create hassles during renewal.
       
  • 5/18/11 - The final two towers (pictures here) were stacked at the KRKO site in Washington to make it possible to diplex KKXA. The decade long process was marred by strange zoning hearings and vandalism.
     
  • 5/11/11 - Al Resnick, PE, a Past President of the AFCCE (Association of Federal Communications Consulting Engineers) has passed away in Manassas, Virginia at the age of 66.
     
    The former ABC Radio Director of Engineering has been a broadcast consultant for many years, most recently with Carl T. Jones, Resnick (K3PXR) has been involved in many projects, including the Kinstar low-profile antenna system.  Picture and more info here.
     
  • 5/11/11 - You have to see this one. Towers come down for many reasons. Sometimes weather causes it, sometimes deterioration requires it. Most of the time, the tower companies bring the steel down with out incident. But here is a video of a tower drop that goes wrong. According to the demolition company an undetected crack was the culprit.
     
    This was not a broadcast tower and, fortunately, no one was hurt (although it was pretty close). But it is a reminder that dropping at tower is an art. Take a look. Newspaper article here.
     
  • 5/10/11 - Microsoft announced that it is buying Skype for something like $8 billion.
     
  • 5/7/11 - KWAM in Memphis, TN is the next to be facing high water from the Mississippi. 46 feet yesterday, and more coming.  Some pictures, including what seems to be a very lonely tower!  There was also a nice article in today's Wall Street Journal on how Clear Channel cleared the boards in Tuscaloosa, AL, and went wall to wall disaster coverage. Fortunately, the 12 employees of the four stations got help from corporate.
     
  • 5/2/11 - WDIA in Memphis, TN lost its transmitter site to flooding on the Loosahatchie River this morning, as water covered the base insulators, overwhelming piers as  high as 18 feet. (Yes, there is 18 feet of water under this platform!)
      
    Clear Channel engineers diplexed WDIA onto sister station WREC by 7 PM Tuesday evening.
     
  • 5/1/11 - WYTH, in Madison, GA returned to the air after a lot of work over the weekend. A tornado that came through destroyed the mechanical integrity of the tower. It was dropped on Friday and, on Saturday 4/30/11, the station returned to the air from a temporary tower under STA.
     
  • 5/1/11 - Twelve rounds of bidding have been completed in the FM Auction (#91), with one CP bid alone accounting for nearly 20% of the $6.8 million bid for 144 CPs.
     
    The bid that is now over $2,000,000 for a CP in Erie, PA currently tops the lists, contrasting sharply with the top bid in another market of $650. To advance the Erie bid will take $141,300. The second highest bid is for a CP in Coosada, AL (near Montgomery).
     
    A list of top bids and other analysis reports are posted here. The auction continues.
     
  • 5/1/11 - In Cincinnati, police are trying to piece together what happened when parts of a body were found scattered around the WLWT tower. WLWT's web report is here.

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APRIL

  • 4/29/11 - The $505 million sale of 17 stations in DC, Chicago, St. Louis, and Cincinnati from Bonneville to Hubbard closed on this date.
     
  • 4/28/11 - And now it is Alabama's turn to get slammed by the severe storms. Reports are of at least two towers knocked down by tornados and other high winds. Local stations are regrouping and devoting a lot of time and effort to bringing information to the listeners. Cox Radio's WAGG (610) in Birmingham lost a tower, as did WTXT (98.1) Tuscaloosa. Other stations like (WNPT 102.9) were simply left dead without power. Debris was blown as far as 100 miles away.

    Meanwhile, the rising Mississippi River has a number of stations worried. The current level is less than one foot from submerging the base insulators at some stations. The record high crest endangers other operations.
     
    BDR Comments: This is yet another situation where broadcast is the warning and information source for so many. Reverse 911 does no good if the house is gone. Cell phone towers that are overloaded or without power also accomplish little. Reasons why broadcasters and local emergency managers must find ways to cooperate.
     
  • 4/26/11 - A study commissioned by the NAB found that the "Spectrum Shortage" claimed by some wireless companies was only a ploy to leverage more frequencies from broadcasters during a difficult time in the industry.
     
    According to a study, "Solving the Capacity Crunch: Options for Enhancing Data Capacity on Wireless Networks," by former FCC official Uzoma Onyeije, which questions the FCC's National Broadband Plan. Ozuma said the FCC used "preconceived assumptions ... to achieve a particular result" - pushing the need for grabbing frequencies. He said the proof of an alleged spectrum shortage is "underwhelming," the result of  "insufficient analysis and reliance on faulty information."
     
  • 4/25/11 - In a repeat of what we have seen in many markets when weather or other disasters hit on the weekend, St. Louis had some radio stations stepping up their live coverage to meet the needs of the market after the tornado hit, while others simply played the automation through the weekend.
     
    KMOX, in particular, received a lot of praise locally for immediately becoming the news and information center, even shunting aside a baseball game to a sister station. Other stations seemed stunned by the events, unable or unwilling to bring personnel in to even acknowledge the tremendous damage suffered.
     
  • 4/25/11 - The FCC is holding another auction starting Wednesday. Auction 91 contains 144 FM station CPs - including 37 that were not sold in the last auction (#79). Some of these allocations have attracted more than 20 bidders each. Information on the CPs, bidders, etc, is here.
     
  • 4/25/11 - Lightning hit a back-up generator, starting a fire that destroyed the transmitter for KYKC in Ada, OK over the weekend. According to the GM, the generator burned, then involving the transmitter building.
     
  • 4/20/11 - WCVC, Tallahassee was broken into and put off the air last week. The station's satellite receiver and and control panel were reported stolen, a deliberate attempt to silence the station, according to WCVC employees.
     
     
  • 4/20/11 - An email circulating this week refers to a company, Mission Abstract Data, that has been contacting broadcast companies over the past couple of months seeking to enforce a patent against those companies (radio stations) using hard drives to store and play music. According to them, their Patents 5,629,867 and 5,809,246, filed in 1994 and 1997, cover music storage and selection for airplay.
     
    BDR Comments: This sounds like that deal where a company claimed to have a Patent on the underlying technology for SAME alerts. It will be interesting to see what the lawyers do with this one.
     
     
  • 4/20/11 - David Ensor, former White House correspondent for ABC and national security correspondent for CNN, has been named as Director of the Voice of America. The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) made the selection to replace Danford Austin, who has been Director for the past four and a half years. Ensor, now in Afghanistan, will take over the VOA position in June.
     
     
  • 4/20/11 - A resolution in the House of Representatives is aimed to oppose requiring FM receiver chips in mobile devices. The Bill, "H. Con Res. 42" sponsored by Reps Issa (R-CA) and Eshoo (D-CA) is part of a push-back by a half dozen consumer electronics and mobile phone industry trade groups.
       
     
    In response, the NAB has launched a radio campaign to say that having radios in mobile devices is a major benefit and how it provides "critical lifesaving information even when cellular service is disrupted," according to Gordon Smith, NAB President.
     
  • 4/19/11 - According to Salem Radio Networks (SRN), Citadel Satellite has announced plans to end the use of the Starguide receivers for its affiliates as of June 30th. Most of the programs affected are moving to the XDS receivers. 
     
  • 4/18/11 - Spanish Broadcasting System announced that they had failed as of April 11, 2011 to lift their stock price over $1.00 for 10 consecutive days. This "deficiency," since September 2010 means that NASDAQ could delist SBS (trading as SBSA), subject to an appeal. As of this posting, SBSA stock - which had been as high as $2.20 in 2010, and did peak over $1.00 briefly in March - was trading at 78 cents a share.  Management is seeking a reverse split to cure the problem.
     
  • 4/16/11 - The tornados racing through the US mid-south have caused a number of issues, including the loss of a tower (pictures) for Capitol Broadcasting's WCLY (1550), and its tenant Curtis Media's WQDR (570).
      
  • 4/13/11 - Trilithic's EASyCAST receiver has passed the FEMA Conformance Assessment tests and joins products from Digital Alert Systems, Monroe Electronics, and Sage as meeting the CAP tests conducted at Eastern Kentucky University.
      
  • 4/13/11 - The WSM Blaw-Knox tower has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The tower, erected in 1932 is 808 feet high.
      
     
  • 4/13/11 - Two tower climbers died today in Lafayette, IN when they fell from a tower. Paul Aliff (32) of Mesquite, TX, and Ernest Garcia (29) lost their lives in the accident. One report indicated the possibility of a platform on the upper half of a 500-foot tower may have come loose.
     
  • 4/11/11 - Over the past weekend, NRSC-4-B was adopted by the National Radio Systems Committee. The new standards mainly affect RBDS, the US version of RDS. The new NRSC-4-B standards are scheduled to be posted on the NRSC website toward the end of April.
      
  • 4/11/11 - The NAB has released information that 92,708 were registered for the Spring Show this year, up from 88,044 last year - 25,691 (28%) of the attendees were international.
     
    BDR Comments: On the floor, it did seem that there were more folks attending, especially after a brief lull on Tuesday. Many of the international folks came from South America, perhaps signaling a major sales opportunity before the next Olympics, scheduled for Brazil.  We will have more on the NAB week as things calm down and sort out. There is a lot to tell ... so check back for more reports!
     
     
  • 4/7/11 - Two manufacturers have announced that they completed the FEMA IPAWS Conformance Assessment testing. Digital Alert Systems and Sage have both said their products passed the FEMA and IPAWS standards, as administered by Eastern Kentucky University.
     
    The reports should be released within the next three weeks and then entered on the FEMA RKB site (Responder Knowledge Base). According to the vendors, the Digital Alert Systems' DASDEC-II, Monroe Electronics' R189 One-Net, and the Sage Digital Endec all met the FEMA and IPAWS standards.
     

  • 4/6/11 - A new study by Harker Research concludes that interest in HD Radio continues to wane, after peaking at the end of 2007. The study, using Google Trends to compare HD Radio to Pandora, is not the prettiest picture. 
     
    BDR Comments: Studies and statistics can be interesting. The upcoming availability of HD Radio in cars may provide a boost. On the other hand, one also has to ask why Pandora has such a profile. Is it something broadcasters are doing - or not doing? 
      

  • 4/6/11 - Some of you may consider this a sort of weird mixture of reality, government life, and something left over from April 1st: there was a suggestion that the FCC might be ready to issue the first GMC alert on the EAS this week - "Government Must Close."
     
    BDR Comments: Laugh if you will, but remember: if the Government closes, there will be a rather empty FEMA booth at the NAB show. Watch your receivers (CAP enabled or not) for updates.
     

  • 4/6/11 - The FCC.gov site is being given a makeover. the new site is being previewed here.
     
    BDR Comments: If you want to see how the FCC sees itself, take a look. You can also leave a comment or vote on a previous comment. 
     

  • 4/4/11 - With its typical penchant for giving plenty of notice, FEMA announced that they are going to have a web presentation on Wednesday at Noon EDT. Topic: the preparations for the National EAS test, scheduled sometime in the future. The presenter scheduled is Manny Centeno (IPAWS PMO)  Info here.
     

  • 4/3/11 -  Security Watch: WNDB, Daytona Beach, FL was reported to have suffered as much as $10k damage and knocked off the air for eight hours last week by copper thieves.
     
    BDR Comments: With copper prices staying high, we will expect to see more and more. A summary page, "Security Watch" has been set up here, to provide examples of the seriousness of the issue. 
     

  • 4/3/11 -  Muzak - best known since 1934 for background music that no one is supposed to really hear, was sold to Mood Media, a Canadian company, for $345 million late last month. The new owners plan to maintain the offices in Ft. Mill, SC.  Muzak is fresh out of bankruptcy, hoping to to change the current satellite delivery to using the Internet.
     

  • 4/2/11 - KUAR, Little Rock, AR, reported a fire at their transmitter site - and that their main transmitter would be off the air for "several days."
     

  • 4/1/11 - No joke - today is the day stations in MD, VA, WV, and DC must air their first renewal pre-filing announcement. Information and help here.

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MARCH

  • 3/31/11 - The FCC announced its 2011 EEO Audits and the stations - picked at random for EEO compliance audits. Information is available on the FCC web site, including the Public Notice, Audit Letter, and the list of stations affected. The link is here.
     

  • 3/29/11 - It was on March 29, 1941 that many AM radio stations had to "pick up and move" to another channel, in the biggest band realignment is US history. At the same time, the AM band was expanded - 540 to 1600 kHz. More info here
     

  • 3/29/11 - KSL in Salt Lake City is among the latest stations to be hit by thieves looking for copper and other valuables. You can watch the surveillance video as two men break into the transmitter site and take what was estimated by a station engineer as $30k in wire, tools, etc.
     

  • 3/29/11 - According to the most recent BIA/Kelsey report, WTOP in Washington, DC was the top billing station in the nation last year, grossing over $57 million. KIIS, Los Angeles came in second at $54 million and, to complete the top 5, WCBS, New York ($49 m), KFI, Los Angeles ($46 m), and WLTW, New York ($44 m).
     
    BDR Comments: No matter how you look at it, there is a lot of money flowing in the broadcast industry. The top 10 billing stations grossed almost a half a billion dollars in 2010. Some may wonder why we still see so many career-killing staff reductions. This is, indeed, a good question.
     

  • 3/25/11 -  A Hawaiian station on 550 dropped its 450-foot tower on purpose this week and is replacing it with a top-loaded 180-footer. KMVI Radio's tower in Wailuku, Maui, was only 15 years old, but had enough corrosion problems at the top that station management decided a shorter tower would last longer, cost less, and not need to be lit. The new tower's signal coverage was said to be "almost the same." Video of the drop here.
     

  • 3/23/11 - NAL Watch: KWTS-FM, Canyon, TX, managed to get the EB to cancel a fine for filing their renewal application six months late in 2005 on a technicality: the Statute of Limitations had run out. But the ever vigilant EB was not to be denied. They also tagged the station for $3,200 for operating without an STA between August 1, 2005 and when they remembered to get an STA in March of 2006.
     

  • 3/23/11 -   A broadaster's nightmare: Burglars carted off WCYC-LP's studio gear early Monday in London, OH. However, the station was back up in less than 48 hours after police, investigating a pair of stolen vehicles, were led to an apartment where the $3,000-4,000 of broadcast gear was taken.
     

  • 3/22/11 -  WEAU-TV's 2000 foot tower near Fairchild, WI collapsed - taking the TV station along with WAXX radio. There were no reports of injuries. The WEAU-TV site has some information as well, including - as this was written - a video story from WEAU is located here, focused on the tower.  Link to tower site   street view before collapse 
       

  • 3/22/11 -  WIBG Ocean City, NJ had some folks ready to grab their ground system. A good neighbor saw it and reported it to police, who arrested a couple of would-be thieves. The station GM wrote to us and said: "Fortunately State Police said they were thwarted before they completely even started their damage. Fortunately, the tower is in a residential area and the neighbors watch very carefully. The two dudes were criminally charged."
      
    BDR Comments: Unfortunately, there was some damage to the ground system before the thieves were caught, but it didn't kill the whole station. As we look ahead, you will see more information about this problem - and solutions - on the BDR. Perhaps a good question is: "What is your relationship with your neighbors?" 
     

  • 3/20/11 -   An NIST survey is being conducted on the web for users of WWV and WWVH. It would appear they want to know how popular the time service is these days. The survey is here if you would like to particpate.
     

  • 3/19/11 -   The BBC has announced the end of World Service broadcasts on 648 kHz from Ordfordness, England. The 500 kW transmitter ran on five towers to send to Europe. A discussion about and a link to a tribute video of the site, including a history of the site and its predecessor, Crowborough - site of the Aspidistra 500 kW, a sister to the WLW 500 kW transmitter - is here.
     
    BDR Comments: Your Editor recalls staying in touch with the world during his time in Spain in the 1970s by listening to the BBC World Service on 648 (especially during the time Generalissimo Franco was alive and dying). 
     

  • 3/19/11 -  Art Constantine, long time broadcast salesman for companies from Fidelipac and ATI died Saturday morning at the scene of an accident involving police car. According to reports, Constantine was on a motorcycle with a passenger said to be his wife when the accident happened in Southampton, NJ (About 10 miles east of Philadelphia). He was 64.
     
    Constantine was well-known in the industry, having worked for a number of broadcast-related companies over the years.
       

  • 3/18/11 - The NAB has worked out an arrangement with the LV Monorail system. A seven-day pass, which is not available at the pay machines is available to NAB folks here. The normal $65 price is even discounted to $50.  There is a also slight discount on the three-day pass.
     

  • 3/18/11 -  The BWWG (The Broadcast Warning Working Group) has filed a Petition for Partial Reconsideration with the FCC to clarify and resolve a number of issues with the recent 3rd Report and Order. Meanwhile Sage made an ex-parte presentation to the PSHSB, pressing them to keep the September 30th deadline for new receivers. See also.
     

  • 3/17/11 - A vote in the House of Representatives today passed a bill to defund NPR. The bill is not likely to make it to the floor of the Senate. On the other hand, supporters on both sides suggest the funding fight is not over.
     

  • 3/16/11 - The fallout (no pun intended) from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan continues to build. Texas Instruments says they will not be able to resume production at normal rates until September, and Sony has closed or is operating minimally in at least eight plants, which product CDs/DVDs/Lithium Ion batteries/and other products.
     
    Analysts suggest that prices for flash memory will start going up, along with some of the other products.
     

  • 3/15/11 - NAL Watch: Translator operator Ace of Hearts Disc Jockey Service of Cape Canaveral, Florida, has received an NAL for $13k for running overpower on the translator and using an antenna different from the licensed model. Limited by license to 61 Watts, the FCC calculated the output at 172 Watts.
     
    The fine was adjusted significantly upwards due to the fact the FCC had inspected and found translator W277AN overpower previously.
      

  • 3/14/11 -  The FCC has released some changes in the procedures and the 303-S form for license renewal. Information and links are posted on the FCC Rules page.  (You can bookmark this for when your renewal comes up!)
     

  • 3/13/11 -   Here is an interesting obit on an interesting man: Reg Moores, who invented the wireless microphone and more.
      

  • 3/10/11 - Cumulus makes it official with a press release that they are acquiring Citadel in a cash/stock deal valued at $37.00 per share.  The New York Times calls it a $2.5 Billion deal; The Washington Post and AP call it $1.7 Billion. The Wall Street Journal take. Closing in expected by the end of the year.
     
    BDR Comments: Or is it? Reports already indicate several law firms are investigating whether to file shareholder suits.
     
    Adding Citadel's stations to the Cumulus stations would create a huge national footprint of some 600 stations, and bring Cumulus to a number of larger markets where it has not been strong. The company will control a lot of stations and advertising income. Bankers seem to be cheering. The guys at the top will cash out with a lot of money. But will this deal bring good or bad news to local staffers?
      

  • 3/9/11 - A tower crew discovered a dead man, wearing only a T-shirt and shorts, on a platform 1000 feet up on a TV tower in Oak Park (Detroit), MI. The Oakland County Medical Examiner ruled the death of 23-year-old Lasharr Gullap a suicide, after apparently falling from the top of the tower. Some video here.
     

  • 3/8/11 -  A National EAS Test is now "allowed" by the FCC, as part of their Report and Order issued last month (see February 3rd, below). Whether there will be one later this year is still being debated. The feds do say they will not do it during hurricane season, and will give at least two months notice to the public, in an effort to prevent panic.
     
    BDR Comments: Although FEMA is still promising a report on the results of the Alaskan EAN test, the FCC will be requiring a report within 45 days, details still to be worked out..
     

  • 3/7/11 - The FCC has issued a Report and Order, and NPRM, in Docket 11-41, related to improving broadcast facilities for the Native American Nations, to further codify and provide a basis for Native Nations to apply for and operate stations.
     

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FEBRUARY

  • 2/28/11 - NAL Watch: WWIZ, Mercer, PA, has received an NAL for $10k. The forfeiture is for a Public File that did not have the last nine quarterly Issues and Programs lists.
     

  • 2/25/11 - The next license renewal cycle for radio stations begins in 2011, with the pre-filing announcements in April and May, followed by the renewal applications due June 1st for stations in DC, MD, and VA. The FCC information page on renewals is here.
     
    BDR Comments:  This is a good time for all stations to get on top of the Public File and other logging requirements. Each cycle a few stations forget to file on time, and in the past cycle, the FCC did not just fine the late-comers - some licenses were reported as cancelled. 
      

  • 2/23/11 - Time for a DST alert: we are just over two weeks from the start of DST in most of the US - March 13th. Stations should consider what clocks from EAS receivers (be very careful with these!) to automation schedules need adjusting. Plan now to avoid panic later!
     

  • 2/22/11 - Bob du Treil of du Treil, Lundin & Rackley (DLR) has been named the recipient of the 2011 NAB Radio Engineering Award for the Spring NAB Show.
     
    The former owner and president of DLR is perhaps best known for his contributions to international discussions on medium wave (AM) directional antenna technology in the early 1980s. He continues to serves as a consultant to the firm.

     

  • 2/17/11 - This is turning into a month the FCC Enforcement Bureau apparently is trying to make a statement of some sort. This time another $25k fine was issued, to the Spanish Broadcasting Systems WZNT, San Juan, PR, for broadcasting two prank phone calls without the recipient knowing and giving consent.
     
    One of the reasons given (paragraph 7) for the relatively high fine is that this is not the first time SBC has been before the FCC for this reason. WXJD, WSKQ, and WCMQ also have received fines for similar infractions. The footnote 36 shows how the fines have escalated from the base $4k in a violation going back ten years.

    Note: A new page has been started to collect these enforcement actions in one place. If you are interested in seeing them together, take a look here: www.theBDR.net/articles/fcc/insp/EW.html
       
    BDR Comments:  The prank phone call has been banned for years, and some stations apparently started to consider the fines a "cost of doing business." Perhaps this fine will get some attention.
     
    But a larger issue remains under deregulation: the FCC has permitted far more stations to be owned by an entity than can be adequately supervised. This is a symptom of that policy. The fine should be increased much further - and perhaps a station license pulled. Certainly if KIKX, Tucson could be stripped of a license for one event (a faked news report about a kidnapping of a staffer), should not repeated events like this attain the same result?
        

  • 2/17/11 - There are reports filtering out that Cumulus has made an offer to buy Citadel that is being seriously negotiated. $37/share or $30-32 cash seems to be the most often cited number.
     
    Together, it would be a combination of about 600 stations (approximately 225 Citadel and 377 Cumulus stations), representing the biggest consolidation since the early 2000's.
     

  • 2/12/11 - The FCC is serious about making sure tower lights are on and the ASR number prominently displayed. A $25k fine was amassed by a Texas company for failing to follow these Rules, plus notifying the FAA about extinguishment and the Commission of changes in ownership.
     
    BDR Comments: Although the company that bought the tower was planning to pull it down and exit the cable business, the FCC wants the lights on now. 
      

  • 2/11/11 - What do you suppose is the FCC's answer to a daytime station whose GM says he "thought the station was authorized to operate at night" and had been operating overnight for "several years?" Yep... a nice fine. Combined with a Public File missing some key items (including the Station Authorization), the cash register rings in at $14,000 for KGLA, Gretna, LA, on this one.
     
    BDR Comments: Apparently this guy misheard the old line "Ignorance of the law is no excuse" and interpreted it a little differently than most do. 
     

  • 2/7/11 - KCET-TV, Los Angeles, collected a $10k NAL (Notice of Liability for Forfeiture) from the FCC for demanding a member of the public make an appointment to see the station's Public File.
     
    BDR Comments: Another apparent case of the new generation where managers make policies for their convenience, rather than to follow the Rules. While it is true that stations have more security concerns today than in past years, it is not like hordes of people seek to view the Public File each day. Perhaps the person who came up with this policy should be made to pay the fine by himself and required to actually read the Rules for operating a broadcast station.
     

  • 2/7/11 -  Audio and video of the Alaskan EAS test are posted online. If interested, you can see it here.
     

  • 2/4/11 - During the NASBA/NAB web event, Damon Penn, assistant administrator of the National Continuity Programs Directorate for FEMA said certification for CAP-compliant equipment is in full swing. He anticipates a list of compliant equipment will be finalized and posted in March.

    Jamie Barnett, chief of the FCC's Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau, said the commission is now "involved in the lessons learned" from last week's test in Alaska. A draft of Part 11 changes is being reviewed, he said.
     
    BDR Comments: It would really be nice if the PSHSB actually releases a report this time, so we all know what the issues are. A web event on the Part 11 draft is said to be set for March 10th.
      

  • 2/3/11 - In a sort of glass half-full, the FCC voted to pass a Third Report and Order, setting for Rules for a national EAS test later this year, using the EAN protocols. On the other hand, no date was set. More information is here.
      

  • 2/2/11 - The State of New York is working to pass a law like that in Florida, making it a criminal offence to operate a pirate radio station and giving authority to state agencies to locate, arrest, and fine unlicensed operators.
     
    BDR Comments: In some districts the FCC has largely given up control of the pirate community. Many stations report that even when they document such operation, the FCC (especially that EB bunch) prove to be uncooperative, uncommunicative, and unsupportive. While there may be legal reasons for not divulging everything, the complete lack of communication with the industry is unnecessary and arrogant
     
     

  • 2/1/11 - A triple play for those of you who like broadcast history. Thirteen rare and previously unpublished photographs from Cincinnati radio history are included in the 2011 Cincinnati Broadcast History Calendar. Even better, it is cheap; the triple play is you help a good cause: Originally $15, the calendars are now available for $5, plus $2 shipping and handling. All the money goes the Media Heritage Museum of Broadcast History, located at the VOA museum in West Chester, OH
     
    To get this calendar, just send a check or money order for $7 (or more, if you wish) to: info@mediaheritage.com or Phone: 513-777-7891

Back to the top    

JANUARY 

  • 1/31/11 - Even as FEMA mulls the Alaska EAN test, the FCC EB issues a $10k fine against WWRR Scranton, PA. It seems this station had no EAS receiver from 2006 until well after an inspection - despite a note in the maintenance log in 2008 noting the non-compliant status of the station. The FCC NAL is here.
      

  • 1/30/11 - As reports come in on the Alaska-only EAN test last Wednesday, it appears that the results did not surprise anyone. Some of the problems from last year were resolved, some were not. At least one LP station failed because they had not installed the new receiver to replace one that failed last year. Another reported a wall wart failure.
     
    One of the reports concerned the lack of an EAT, which was explained by "no stations in Alaska were found to be non-participating." That and other similar situations show the lack of adjustments in Part 11 to reflect lessons learned over the years, continues to be confusing to stations.
     
    Further discussion of the test results, questions, and answers can be found on the new EAS Forum, set up by members of the Broadcast Warning Working Group (BWWG) at https://eas.radiolists.net The group is composed of people who have been involved in the EAS and working with the various committees and government agencies for the past decade or more. More information on the BWWG and the EAS Forum is here.

     

  • 1/27/11 - Continental Electronics purchased the weather radio part of Crown Broadcast, including an order for 42 fully redundant 300 W and 1 kW systems.

    The Crown FM transmitter/support division is not part of the sale.
     

  • 1/25/11 - The British Government has made some deep cuts - about 20% - in funding for their BBC World Service as part of the government spending cuts in the UK. Service to five language groups is to be cut, along with shortwave transmissions to India, China, and Russia, possibly affecting 30 million current listeners. A total of 650 jobs will be eliminated.

    According to one report, the BBC says they hope to restore some of the transmissions when they take over the World Service financing from the Foreign Office in three years. Meanwhile, a number of comments and accusations from both the journalists union and government spokesmen were traded.  
     
    BDR Comments: It is sad to see cutbacks in the BBC's venerable World Service. We also have seen the IBB cut Voice of America transmissions here. However, in both the UK and US, governors assert their Internet sites are receiving huge increases in attention, while the over-the-air programming is losing listeners. Yet, as with the EAS issue, the question always comes back: what works when local power and/or Internet doesn't? 
     

  • 1/21/11 - Those interested in the progress of DRM and its newest applications will want to see a web presentation on Tuesday. Details and registration are here. A review of DRM is located here.
     

  • 1/20/11 - The FAA issued a NOTAM on Wednesday, alerting users in the SE that the Dept of Defense would be conducting tests on the GPS system for the next month.
     
    Exactly what will happen in the area centered east of the FL/GA border - and potentially affecting receivers as far as Alabama and Virginia - is not spelled out, other than "During testing, GPS will be unreliable and may be unavailable."
     
  • 1/20/11 - Hubbard Broadcasting has purchased 17 stations from Bonneville International in Washington, DC, Chicago, St. Louis, and Cincinnati. The $505 million purchase includes top-rated WTOP-FM in Washington and WUBE-FM in Cincinnati. Others include: WTMX, WDRV, WWDV, and WILV in the Chicago market; WFED, WWFD in DC; WKRQ and WYGY Cincinnati; and WIL, WARH, and WXOS St.Louis.
     
    Although Hubbard is largely known today for television and satellite operations, the company began in Minnesota with Stanley Hubbard's KSTP (WAMD+KFOY) and held other major stations over the years, including KOB, Albuquerque, NM.

BDR Comments: It is interesting to note the quote from Ginny Morris: "We believe in the radio business." Let's just hope the belief is in the radio as much as the business. At least Hubbard does not have the reputation of some companies that buy stations and begin firing the core staffs.   

  • 1/18/11 - Two stations were knocked off the air in two days when their transmitter sites were broken into and hit by vandals. On Sunday, the antenna tuning unit for WROD (AM 1340), Daytona Beach, FL was smashed by vandals. On Monday, a transmitter was taken from the WHKO (FM 99.1)site (co-located with WHIO-TV).
     
    Repairs got WROD back on the following day. WHKO moved to operations from their auxiliary site. Not long after, police arrested several people, as they tried to sell the transmitter at a scrap yard. 

    BDR Comments: While it is unclear exactly which transmitter the vandals took, it is clear that the bad guys are ready to sell anything to the scrap yards. Site security should be one of the big concerns at every facility this year. Have you checked the current copper price lately?
     
  • 1/17/11 - Mike Dosch is named the CEO for The Telos Alliance, as Steve Church affirms what has been the case for the past few years: Church has been focused on inventing new technology while putting Dosch in place to run the Telos/Omnia/Axia operations.
     
    The formal promotion was announced in a newsletter to the company employees and dealer network earlier this month.
     
  • 1/17/11 - KTVT switches to a new digital TV antenna, mounted a few weeks ago. There is a nice video from KTVT as they used an Air-Crane to lift and install tower and antenna at the Cedar Hill (Dallas), Texas antenna farm.
     
  • 1/12/11 - Citing the time required for the upcoming Part 11 rewrite, equipment certification, and other issues, the heads of the Texas and Maine associations of broadcasters filed a petition at the FCC requesting another delay in the clock for EAS/CAP implementation.
     
    Ann Arnold and Suzanne Goucher said they were concerned that not further extending the deadline would cause significant problems for the industry.
     
  • 1/9/11 - CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, is in Las Vegas this week. My impressions and thoughts are located here.
     
  • 1/4/11 -The President signs the LPFM Bill. The ball is now in the FCC's court to set the Rules.
     

DECEMBER - 2010  

  • 12/30/10 - After 37 years with the FCC, District Director Bill Zears retired from the San Diego Field Office on this date. According to information from June Gonzales, Bill has no immediate plans aside from relaxing a bit.

    Jim Lyons is now the acting District Director in San Diego.

     
  • 12/24/10 - Confused about the FCC's theory of "Network Neutrality?" You are not alone. This contentious Rule has the Communications Bar scrambling to understand it and what effect it will have on broadcasters.
     
    Here are some highlights that might clarify things. Perhaps if can be summed up this way:
        1. Transparency - ISPs are to publicly disclose what they are doing in terms of management practices and performance of their services.
        2. No blocking - wired ISPs shall not block lawful content. Wireless providers shall not block lawful content subject to reasonable network management.
       
    3. No unreasonable discrimination - wired ISPs cannot engage in "unreasonable" discrimination of lawful traffic, subject to reasonable network management. Wireles providers would not be required to prevent discrimination.
        4. Paid prioritization - this is not forbidden, but discouraged.
     
    It is important to understand that the Rules will apply to the so-called "last mile" provider and not to the backbone and peering carriers. Another specific exemption is for airlines, coffee shops, and bookstores. And foreign sources are not included.
     
    BDR Comments: While the hue and cry have started, this is a long way from having real substance. There are a lot of claims and statements using terms like "may" and "might" which invite legal challenges. Entire legal careers have been built on defining "reasonable." Since even the basic FCC authority over the Internet itself is unclear, we can expect this to drag for quite a while.
     
  • 12/23/10 - Perhaps a key item for your attention over the next two weeks is that the 2010-Q4 Issues & Programs report needs to be in the Public File by January 10th. 

    BDR Comments: This is especially important now, as we are soon heading into the renewal cycle for radio stations. For those of you at clusters, remember the Issues & Programs will be different for each station - especially if the City of License varies among the stations. As some report, failure to do this can result in some nasty fines; the Issues & Programs folder is a place most inspectors check first, as it is pretty easy to determine a Violation. Take the time to do it right.
     

    In other words, do not just copy one Issues & Programs page and stick it in every folder.
      

  • 12/21/10 - Intelsat, the owner of the rogue Galaxy 15 satellite which has been drifting in orbit since a solar storm in April with transmitters stuck "on" now reports the satellite lost earth lock and the C and L band transponders have shut down (some telemetry beacons still are running). Intelsat now believes it has regained control, possibly even to the point of eventual recovery of the satellite.
     
    Galaxy 15 was expected to cross Galaxy 16's position between Dec 24 and Dec 28, so this news should reduce any remaining worries for broadcasters. Current position here. Zoom in to see the "wobble." 
     

  • 12/20/10 - The lame duck Congress passed the Community Low Power Radio Act over the weekend. The Senate passed it unanimously with NAB support after provision to protect existing full power FM stations was inserted.
       
    BDR Comments: Mostly this loosens the Third-Adjacent protections, but is unlikely to result in any major number of stations in large markets. Still, while making it easier for smaller market stations to start, it will take relaxing the non-comm status of LPFMs and preventing the religious application mills from preventing the desired local participation to truly grow local radio.
       

  • 12/20/10 - AT&T has purchased the spectrum used for FLO-TV from Qualcomm. The price: $1.93 billion - which should leave a nice profit to Qualcomm, even after the expenses and losses in operations. Qualcomm bought the bandwidth for about $700 million.
     
    AT&T is expected to use the frequencies as a part of its 4G plans. Widely criticized for poor service, especially in major cities, AT&T clearly hopes this will give it a quick, solid gain in service.
     

  • 12/16/10 - Radio Broadcast Communications, Inc (William Parris III) is buying WAMD, Aberdeen (Baltimore), for $1.  Sold for $3 million just three years ago, it had been LMA'd to RBC for $3500 a month.

    BDR Comments: A bargain? A steal? $1 to buy any station in the #22 market (and just down the road from the #9 market) might be the buy of the year, depending upon your viewpoint. Salem at least may have gotten its money's worth by lowering WAMD's power so their NYC area station WNYM could go from 5 to 50 kW.
      

  • 12/16/10 - President Obama signed the CALM Act (Commercial Advertising Loudness Mitigation) on Wednesday, just two weeks after (12/3) Congress passed the Act. It mandates that within a year, broadcasters ensure that advertising audio levels will match program levels and not blast viewers' ears.
     

  • 12/15/10 - Copper thieves stripped a christmas tree in Birmingham, AL, and ended up burning the tree down.
     
    BDR Comments: With copper still at an all-time high, what are you doing to protect you ground system? 
     

  • 12/14/10 - LPFM advocates gathered in front of the NAB headquarters in Washington, DC on Monday to protest the NAB's opposition to increasing LPFM's reach.
     
    Organized by the Prometheus Project - a grass roots group seeking to promote LPFM, the demonstration seeks support for an LPFM Bill now before the Senate. Their goal is to get passage of the Bill which could authorize "hundreds of new stations, bringing LPFM to urban areas for the first time.
     
    BDR Comments: According to Prometheus of the 42 radio stations in the New Orleans area, only four of them survived Katrina and stayed on the air during and after the hurricane - including two LPFM stations. It is clear that LPFM did provide some service. Whether they deserve more latitude of operation is the question. 
     

  • 12/12/10 - KBIS (1490 AM) and KDBD-FM (96.7) in Forks, WA were heavily damaged by a rare lightning storm on Wednesday, December 9th. At the weekend, station officials and engineers were still assessing the damage.
     
    Jim Dalke of SBE Chapter 16 noted "The stations are the only commercial radio stations covering the remote Northwest region of Washington State. It is not known how soon the station operations can be restored."
     
    Dalke further reports "It is not known how soon the station operations can be restored. The lightning not only destroyed the stations tower lighting, FM isolation equipment and ATU, but all of the stations program automation, telephone equipment and computer networking.  Condition of the stations transmitters are unknown, but may be damaged as well. ... The lightning storm also caused a fire that destroyed a nearby home and caused an electrical outage that affected more than 3,000 customers in the Forks area."
     
    A brief local newspaper article is here.
     

  • 12/9/10 - In Nevada, workers on a water line severed a fiber optic cable killing reverse 911, Internet, and cellular services in the Reno/Carson City areas on Wednesday. "The 911 was down completely," said a Sheriff's Deputy. A local news story with some more details is located here.
     
    Finally, some news crews made it to the site of the problem and were able to report about the cause and the ongoing repair efforts.
     
    BDR Comments: Some will remember that a reverse 911 service was killed recently for over two hours at the height of a major fire in Boulder, CO, proving again that, no matter how much some bureaucrat crows about his new "reverse 911" service, it is broadcast that serves to inform the public in these situations.
     

  • 12/4/10 - The FCC has announced another FM Auction. #91, scheduled for April 27, 2011. Applications to participate will run from January 31 to February 10th. An FM minor change freeze will commence at the same time. 
     

  • 12/3/10 - A couple of interesting proposed forfeitures this week:
    1. A $10,000 forfeiture has been proposed for a Pennsylvania station cited for not having a "meaningful management and staff presence." The station was visited and advised of the Main Studio Rule Violation, but did nothing at all. A subsequent visit three weeks later found exactly the same conditions. A "Director and Officer" of the station was contacted - and told the agent "she was not aware of the main studio requirement... "
     
    The FCC Notice of Apparent Liability is located here.

     
    BDR Comments: It is never a good idea to fail to immediately respond to direction from the Field Agent. And claiming "we didn't know" just does not cut it at all. In this case, it resulted in almost a 50% upward adjustment in the fine.   

    2. A $6,000 forfeiture has been proposed for an Oregon station that did not lower power at sunset from 1000 Watts to 15 Watts as required. The station owner told this agent that he knew he was required to reduce power under Section 73.1745(a), but "it was too expensive" to do it.
     
    BDR Comments: Seems like a textbook case of "willful and repeated." Again the 50% upward adjustment probably is cheap compared to what may happen if the station does not correct matters immediately.  
     

  • 12/2/10 - While giving information about the open access initiative he plans to introduce for a vote by Commissioners on December 21st, the FCC Chairman, Julius Genachowski, has reportedly expressed his support for a metered, pay-as-you-go pricing plan for Internet usage. The proposal met with sharp division among the Commissioners.
     
    Details of Genachowski's proposal are still not fully known, nor are the exactly boundaries of the main proposal, dealing with "Net Neutrality." While there is a desire to ensure free access to the Internet, Genachowski's proposal appears to be leaning toward giving ISPs come control over bandwidth usage from both sender and receiver.
     

  • 12/1/10 - A new report from industry advisors BIA/Kelsey show quite a few AM stations using FM translators. In a report on revenue forecasts for radio, BIA/Kelsey notes that 400 of the 6000 translators are now relaying AM stations; another significant use is for HD stations to feed analog translators with a multicast channel.
     
    Some markets now have as many as five AMs on FM translators according to BIA/Kelsey.
     
    BDR Comments: AM stations have sought help to deal with coverage and sunset/sunrise issues for years. Especially in small towns and counties, the translators certainly could help stations survive.
     

  • 12/1/10 - Another FCC action - mostly involving TV - is underway. The 5-0 vote is going to try to do three things on the TV spectrum:

    • Auction some TV bandwidth
    • "repacking" TV, so two or more stations share one 6 MHz allocation
    • Permit more power on VHF

    BDR Comments: Overall, the agencies goal is to make more UHF space available for cell phones and wireless broadband. The FCC contends that less than 10% of Americans get their TV over the air, so they see TV as a waste of spectrum they could divert to cell and WiMax.

Back to the top    

NOVEMBER     

  • 11/30/10 - Dr. Marshall Leach, Jr. passed away Saturday, November 20th, at the age of 70. Leach, an international authority who taught Electrical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Electronics, pioneered the design of high quality audio amplifiers and public address systems. Leach's recent course load included Op Amp Design,  Low Noise Electronic Design, and Microelectronic Circuits.
     

  • 11/29/10 - A 25-year-old man fell from KPFA's tower in Oakland, CA, and died on Thanksgiving day. Apparently, he had been climbing at about 4:30 AM and got about 2/3 of the way up the tower before falling. Story from the Berkeley Daily Planet
      

  • 11/29/10 - It appears the Performance Royalty issue is dead for the moment.
     
    BDR Comments: The link between the initial royalty payments and mandating FM chips in cellphones is another clue that it sure seems like the industry has lost focus on what is needed to put growth back into broadcasting. You can be sure this will come back in the new Congress next year.
     

  • 11/23/10 - As was hoped for by many, the FCC today adopted an order to extend the CAP-EAS clock to at least September 30, 2011. The full Order is located here.
      
    Now all we need is action on the Part 11 changes!
     

  • 11/22/10 - Amazingly, it has been almost two months into the "180-Clock" - already 1/3 of the six month "Clock"! - mandating the purchase of CAP enhanced EAS receivers and nothing has been heard from the FCC as yet in terms of signaling their intent on this matter.
     
    In order to press the issue of a need for delay, a group of independent EAS stakeholders, the Broadcast Warning Working Group (BWWG) has filed a petition stressing the need for an extension as well as to get still unaddressed CAP-EAS issues on the record. A summary is posted here.
     
    BDR Comments: It is amazing to see that two months after an FCC Commissioner said he sees the need for an extension that an Order said to be in front of the Commission for over two weeks has yet to be approved. Something needs to happen to address the anxiety on the part of broadcasters and manufacturers, who are being asked to build and buy gear when the requirements are still not known.
     
    Perhaps this is the week? Perhaps this is the day?
     

  • 11/18/10 - Our first set of winners in the Newsletter Subscription Giveaway have been announced. They are:

    Mike Bove` - Calhoun Communications wins a Scott Fybush 2011 Tower Site Calendar.
    Ken Fisher - Golden West Radio is our first new subscriber to get a $100 prize.
    SBE Chapter 18 - Philadelphia also won $100 prize for referring a subscriber.
     

                    

  • 11/18/10 - Wheatstone commissioned a report, based on a survey of engineers and operations and technical management as to which business models will generate the most revenue for radio broadcasters. That the Internet and streaming are key technologies is not a surprise, nor is the lack of expertise in some parts of the industry.

    You will also find some of the other findings interesting as well, to say the least.
     
    The study "Revenue Generating Radio Technologies - A progress report" can be downloaded at http://wheatstone-radio.com/avalanche/aletheawheatstone-radio-study.html

     

  • 11/16/10 - The FCC is planning public hearings, including one that will be streamed on the web on December 6th, as part of what they call a Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) of the Antenna Structure Registration (ASR) program.
     
    The purpose is to see what new Rules might be needed to abate what some have claimed is a large negative effect on migratory birds by radio towers.

    BDR Comments: While environmental lawyers love this stuff, few broadcasters have ever seen the mass killings that are alleged. Still it is important for broadcasters to know what is going on with these hearings. Otherwise, who knows what funny new Rules will pop up to protect the odd birdy?
     

  • 11/12/10 - Too busy to repair an EAS receiver? In one of the more bizarre NALs (Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture), the EB has tagged a station in Kansas for not having an operational EAS box for somewhere between four and ten years. 
     
    Yes, you read correctly. According to the response to the FCC, KANR disconnected the power cord to their EAS "sometime between the year 2000 and the year 2006 and had remained inoperable since then." The station had no idea when its last EAS test was conducted.
     
    The inattention to following the FCC Rules was also noted in their failure to renew the paint on the tower or make the daily observation of the tower lights, which were either dark or not flashing. (The station "offered" an observation was made sometime during the daytime!) And then there is the little matter of a Public File that was missing the required  Issues/Programs lists the past two years.
     
    BDR Comments: Many radio stations are under pressure in the current economic slowdown, but these long-standing violations posed real danger to the community. A tower that cannot be seen is a substantial danger to pilots. Lack of an EAS receiver puts the community in danger should a civic emergency occur.

    The "reduced" fine of $25,000 is a pretty large fine for an individual station. But the complete disregard for the community calls for a substantial response from the FCC. One might wonder why it took so long for an inspection to find these violations - but surely good engineering and business practices should have mandated fixing these issues long ago. Some might even suggest this owner should not be in the radio business.
     
     

  • 11/8/10 - No, your ears are not deceiving you. Another series of spots are running EAS tones as attention getters - this time on TV and Cable (we've not heard of any on radio as yet). The ads for "Skyline" appear to have a series of tones that hint of a RMT in Pennsylvannia, but no EOM. 
     
    If that were not enough, reports show a Fox Sport Radio program apparently ran a couple of RWTs as a "bit" with an Athens, OH location code.  And, the EAS protocols were also lampooned on a TBS show.
     
    BDR Comments: This seems clearly to be another violation of Part 11.45, at least for broadcasters and Cable. And, it is getting worse. As we suggested previously, the FCC should issue a definitive statement about this.
     
    Reference:
    11.45 - Prohibition of false or deceptive EAS transmissions.

    No person may transmit or cause to transmit the EAS codes or Attention Signal, or a recording or simulation thereof, in any circumstance other than in an actual National, State or Local Area emergency or authorized test of the EAS. Broadcast station licensees should also refer to 73.1217 of this chapter.
          

  • 11/8/10 - Some relief for broadcasters worried about the "180-day Clock" appears to be around the corner. An Order circulated to the FCC Commissioners last week would extend the compliance date to at least September 29, 2011 - with an additional extension if the Part 11 re-write proceeding complicates matters.  Stand by for more info as we get it.
     

  • 11/5/10 - REMINDER!  DST ENDS for most of the country this weekend. Set your clocks back and get back into step with Arizona! <g>
     

  • 11/5/10 - Not a good day for broadcast engineers. Bill Weisinger passed away from cancer. Also Frank Roberts was critically injured list night after a chemical explosion at his home in Austin.
     
    Roberts, part of the Austin City Limits staff and a federally licensed explosive technician, was preparing pyro-technic special effects for a weekend WWII re-enactment when an explosion burned him severely and caused the amputation of his left hand and loss of two fingers and part of a thumb on the right hand.
     

  • 11/4/10 - November 6th is the 75th Anniversary of Major Armstrong's FM transmissions from Alpine, NJ. To commemorate it, the 42.8 MHz channel will be alive at Noon EDT with transmissions from an experimental station - WA2XMN - in honor of the original W2XMN.
     
    Although not the original Armstrong transmitter, a replica of a 1946 GE BT-11-B Phasitron transmitter, constructed for the station, will be on the air. Its technology is similar to that of Armstrong's.
     
    There was a 70th Anniversary broadcast which was received as far away as 100 miles. Listeners who are interested in getting a confirmation of their reception of the 75th Anniversary program will be able to do so at WA2XMN@ar88.net

     

  • 11/3/10 - A little known (as yet) group called Engineers for the Integrity of the Broadcast Auxiliary Services Spectrum (EIBASS) continues to file on topics of interest to broadcast engineers.
     
    According to Co-Chair Dane Ericksen, a Public Notice item in the FCC Daily Digest for July 30, 2010 requested comments on assigning certain frequencies for Maritime Coastal stations - including the entire 161 MHz Band of RPU channels. By August 14, 2010, EIBASS had filed comments noting the potential conflicts with existing broadcast RPU channels. No other group made a filing on this issue, which could have crippled RPU operations in many coastal cities.
     
    On October 28, 2010, another Public Notice was issued, with the 161 MHz channels used by broadcasters no longer listed as available to Maritime. 
     
    BDR Comments: Kudos for the eleven volunteers who comprise EIBASS and look out for broadcasters interests. 
     

  • 11/2/10 - Today is NOT the 90th Anniversary of the start of broadcasting!
     
    While many textbooks and reference works do tend to follow the oft-told story of KDKA being the "First Broadcaster" or "The First Commercial Broadcaster" or "the beginning of commercial radio" or some such title, a lot of research indicates KDKA was certainly a pioneer, one of the first to be true "broadcasters" in the sense of reaching a vast audience with radiotelephone audio, they likely were not the first.
     
    Naming KDKA as the first broadcaster is not as bad as the old Uncle Don myth or the David Sarnoff sitting at a lonely desk when the Titanic went down. However, it does ignore the contributions of Doc Herrold, who broadcast radiotelephone on a regular schedule at least from 1912 - or WWJ (as 8MK) which started in August 1920 - or XWA in Canada in 1919. 
     
    It is true that KDKA was among the first to be granted a "Limited Commercial License." However, whether or not this was a clerical error, "Commercial" meant something rather different than it does today. In the late 19-teens it mean a station operated to sell its services to customers. Radiotelegraph would be a good example. Additionally, although AT&T's house-generated book tried to claim they were the first to run paid advertising on WEAF, this claim too is incorrect.
     
    Here is a discussion of "Who Was First?"

    Here is a discussion about the early radio commercial advertisements
    And, for those who would like to investigate some of the famous broadcasting hoaxes or myths ... here is a discussion of that.
     

Back to the top    

OCTOBER  

  • 10/23/10 - A man died and a woman severely burned while apparently trying to steal copper wire from an electical vault in South Gate (LA), California. The police reports an explosion - and they found a screaming woman who was burned when she tried to pull the man away.
     
    Fifteen feet away ... two small children - one is only 3 years old - sat in a pickup truck. Some video is here.
     
    BDR Comments: Copper prices are back near their all time highs. So not think the rash of copper thefts have stopped. Protect your ground systems and air conditioners!
     

  • FURTHER UPDATE: 10/23/10 - The Alcatel-Lucent Bell Systems Technical Journal site is back up.

    The Public Server was apparently overloaded
    by all the requests for BSJT files (possibly hundreds or thousands of requests to download the whole site at once). 
     
    10
    /18/10 -  Alcatel-Lucent have put the entire run of the Bell System Technical Journal on line at http://bstj.bell-labs.com/   The very first article from the first issue in 1922 has several articles that are still of interest.
     

  • 10/22/10 - The expected resignation of Randy Michaels, most recently CEO of Tribune Co, was accepted this afternoon by the Tribune Board of Directors.
     
    According in the NY Times, it was not an easy week for the embattled, bankrupt company. Initially, Michaels refused to resign until after Sam Zell urged the action, after a series of allegations that Michaels and his staff had created a work environment that offended many people, including pornography, sexual banter, huge bonuses to management while 4200 were laid off and many more went with no raises at all.
     

  • UPDATE: 10/21/10 - Parts are en route from the factory to repair the power divider at the Empire State Building and repairs should be completed over this coming weekend.
     
    10
    /19/10 -  The power divider on the master antenna at the Empire State Building failed on Sunday and Monday. Reports indicate stations moved to stand-by antennas, either on the ESB or over at Four Times Square. Eventually the Master FM feed was moved to the old Alford antenna while the power divider was disassembled and inspected.
     
    Some pictures were shared ... and parts are being acquired for repair. In the meantime, the main feed was apparently returned to the top half of the main antenna, for stations that did not transfer to other sites.
     

  • 10/21/10 -  Finally! Today, as expected - although it took a little bit longer than to happen than it was thought to take - the NAB, along with the SBE, AMST, NCTA, APTS, PBS, NPR, and NASBA, representing about 46 state broadcast associations, filed a petition with the FCC to extend the 180-day clock. There are some serious issues that should be addressed, and it is hoped that the NAB's petition will spark some dialog with the industry. Want to see all the comments since the Proceeding started in 2004 (yes, 2004!)?

    The general word is that there is bureaucratic desire to see this happen.

    As I have been saying: "Don't Panic!"

    It is quite possible that this will permit the manufacturers to take the time to make available the best possible options for broadcasters, and perhaps add some additional features to the system.

    BDR Comments: There has been a lot of anxiety kicked up by the "180-Day Clock." Many folks, including some on the SBE's EAS Committee, have been waving the flag on this issue for months/years. Let's hope the FCC makes a very rapid statement on this, so the manufacturers and stations can put together an orderly and well-designed plan to implement the CAP protocols that have been six years or so in the making. (And let's hope the NAB stays on top of things, making it a priority.)

    The BDR EAS Q&A will be updated with this, and other information as it comes. You are welcome to check it out at: www.theBDR.net/articles/fcc/eas/eas.html
     

  • UPDATE: 10/12/10 - KZSF returned to the air today iwith a vintage SX1-A.  KSJX is about to return using a Collins 820D-2. Both stations will operate as 1 kW STA until more complete reconstruction can occur.
     
    10
    /9/10 - KZSF (1370) and KSJX (1500) in San Jose, CA, lost their transmitter building and 5 kW transmitters to a fire caused by a traffic accident on Highway 101. The car fires lit off the grass, which then hit trees, and finally the transmitter building burned down
     
    The KSJX studio was also burned, but the four towers on site are said to be OK. KSJX is owned by Multicultural Broadcasting, KZSF by Carlos Duharte's "La Kaliente." The fire also threatened a Kelloggs' factory where Eggo's are made. Here's a link to a map of the site. This link leads to a report on the local ABC affiliate.
     
    BDR Comments: Sometimes it is not possible, due to neighbors - or governmental agencies - but keeping an area around the transmitter building (studio, too!) clear of combustibles is worth a thought.
     

  • 10/8/10 - Reports have emerged that Apple is getting ready to release an iPhone for the Verizon cell network. It is supposed to happen in early 2011.
     

  • 10/7/10 - CSRIC releases its report to the FCC on EAS, IPAWS, etc.
     
    BDR Comments: Among the 33 recommendations: Extend the clock to at least a year.

    More detailed info and the Q&A is here. 
     

  • 10/1/10 - Trying to offer some clarity: Yes, the "180-day clock" is running on the EAS CAP upgrades. However, there is a growing wave of broadcasters who realize this is not going to work. Even some folks at the FCC PSHSB are worried about this. Expect more than a few filings between now and the October 7th report from CSRIC on Part 11 national EAS recommendations and CAP implementation.

    Best advice: don't panic.  More to come!  More detailed info and Q&A here.
     

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SEPTEMBER

  • 9/30/10 - FEMA made it official today - they adopted CAP 1.2 ... the announcement is located here. This, however does not start the "clock."  According to FEMA, that is in the FCC's court now.
     
    FEMA's goal is to "reach as many people as possible over as many communications devices as possible, such as radio, television, mobile phones, personal computers and other communications devices."

    Meanwhile, FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell told the NAB Show that it would be reasonable to extend the 180-day clock. According to reports, McDowell said "he would support extending the 180 days but can’t guarantee it.  He stated that it’s up to the FCC chairman’s office.  A manufacturer asked if he should start producing equipment.  He was told to ask the chairman’s office for clarification on when the 180 days actually starts, and everyone was told to direct their concerns to FCC."
     
    BDR Comments: Some sanity from the FCC? Who'd a thunk? Let's hope that McDowell's comments prove true.
     
    From what can be learned, there are some good people at FEMA working hard to provide a foundation for better information distribution. Of course, the major disconnect is not at FEMA this time - it is the lack of local and state coordination in many areas, along with official reluctance to provide information to EAS participants. Coupled with the lack of enthusiasm for EAS by broadcast programmers and managers, the system is still far from achieving its potential - and not much is being done to solve the key problems.
     
       
  • 9/28/10 - Hot on the heels of the NAB report that people want FM radio in their mobile devices, the Consumer Electronics Association has a survey that shows quite the opposite view: the CEA study FM Tuners for Cell Phones – Measuring Consumer Interest says over 2/3 have no interest in FM in their cellphones and over 3/4 do not support a government mandate to force the inclusion of FM tuners.
     
    The NAB's study, by Harris Interactive, is here
      
    BDR Comments: We all know studies can be shaped by the questions. So, it is quite possible each of these surveys "led" the respondents just a bit. Maybe? And, while there might be some benefit to having FM tuners in cellphones, do we really need another government mandate?  And how does this help AM stations - aside from annoying people trying to listen to FM despite reception issues?
     

  • 9/24/10 -  An interesting conversation with FEMA folks confirms that they are awaiting on the Press Release to announce they are officially adopting the CAP V 1.2 and the EAS to CAP and EAS to IPAWS protocols. FEMA intends to be finished before the end of September, tossing the ball to the FCC. 
     
    BDR Comments: It was interesting to learn that there will be no mention of the "180-day clock" in the Press Release, as FEMA does not start nor control that. They are aware that there has been a large outpouring of protest to the FCC seeking to delay the start of the clock. As previously mentioned, manufacturers and stations are unhappy if they are forced to to design, develop, manufacture, budget, purchase, and install everything in six months. Do expect there will be a lot more pressure at the FCC to find a remedy to this mess.
     
    On another front, FEMA is now planning another Alaska-only EAN test for the EAS system, likely January 26, 2011, with the National Test pushed back to Q4 ... or perhaps later.
     
    BDR Comments: Will there ever be any sort of report or summary of the last Alaska test? This is not certain, but FEMA has heard the call for some information, and seems interested in finding a way to let everyone know what was good and what went wrong bad in that test. The delay in doing a second test in Alaska is puzzling, but sometimes things move slowly in DC.
     
  • 9/24/10 - Radio One is notified by the SEC that they again risk delisting on the NASDAQ board because the stock closed under $1.00 for 30 consecutive days again. 
     
  • 9/23/10 - As expected, the FCC voted to allow more and higher powered unlicensed transmitters in the "White Space" in the television band. The FCC goal is to promote more Internet penetration across the country.
     
    The Rules now specify that new devices must contain geo-location and the ability to cross-reference the database of licensed stations in order to prevent interference. A requirement for "sensing" existing transmitters was made voluntary.
      
    Additionally, the FCC set aside specific channels in each market for wireless microphones. Some more info is here.
     
    The NAB says it is looking at the proposed Rules to ensure no interference will be caused to TV stations. As the technical specifications are released, we may know how much protection there is. 
      
     
  • 9/20/10 -  The FCC announced this week that LPTVs, translators and Class A stations, will be expected to transition to Digital by a hard deadline in 2012.
     
    BDR Comments: That should bring an end to the so-called "Franken FMs" .. LPTV stations that are essentially nothing but an analog FM signal at 87.9 MHz. It was a loophole that has needed closing for a long time.
     
  • 9/16/10 -  Microsoft has released the Internet Explorer 9 beta for download. You can see  information about it if you click here.
     
    However, before you go, note that it appears IE9 does not support Windows XP.
     
  • 9/15/10 -  A combined FCC License database is now on line and searchable at http://fcc.gov/licenseview
     
    Labeled "beta" in the consolidation of data, the FCC says License View combines the CDBS, IBFS, ELS, ULS, and COALS on one site. Entering a facility number, Call Sign, or corporate name should bring up all associated licenses.
     
    BDR Comments: Our initial reaction is that this could become a useful tool, but there are, perhaps as expected, a number of errors and License View does not yet return all station data (power, location, etc), and the search is rather coarse, but it could be the start of a useful tool. According to some of those who have worked on it, more is coming.

     
  • 9/13/10 -  Copper thefts continue to bedevil stations around the country. This time it was KKXX in Paradise/Chico, CA.
     
    Reports indicate 22,000 feet of #10 copper wire was taken. Sheriff's deputies estimate the loss at $4400-6600.
     
    Of course, as broadcasters know, replacing a ground system can cost $100,000 or more. This is yet another call to stations to step their security on transmitter sites, especially those remote DAs out in the countryside!
     
  • 9/10/10 - If you have the ARCO/BP spot that contain the fake EAS tones, you may wish to know that the agency handling the spot has responded to at least one station's request (in Seattle) to approved running alternative ARCO/BP spots. (Update: By the end of the week, the spots had been pulled officially.)
     
  • 9/9/10 - FEMA has delayed the National EAS Test to the end of 2011. At NAB, the initial FEMA announced plan was to do the National Test early in 2011.
     
    A FEMA representative said this week that they felt there was still a lot to do before trying to schedule a National Test based on the lessons learned in Alaska early this year.
     
    Oddly, FEMA still intends to push the "button" to start the "180-day Clock" by officially adopting the CAP standards later this month. They are not doing anyone a service by starting the clock when they are already so far behind on organizing the first National EAS Test. It seems like there should be some more light on what exactly is going on at FEMA.
     
  • 9/8/10 - Reports came in from all over about a commercial spot for ARCO/BP that was running in multiple markets. The spot includes the words "This is a test" and a partial set of EAS tones.  An mp3 of the spot is here.
     
    There are two concerns here. First, some EAS receivers are "opening up" with the tones, which appear to be the EOM from a station in the Tampa, FL area. Most of the reports indicate TFT receivers are being affected. (The tones are somewhat frequency shifted, so not all EAS receivers will decode them.)
     
    Secondly, there is an FCC Rule against broadcasting false EAS signals.
    (
    Section 11.45 Prohibition of false or deceptive EAS transmissions.
    No person may transmit or cause to transmit the EAS codes or Attention Signal, or a recording or simulation thereof, in any circumstance other than in an actual National, State or Local Area emergency or authorized test of the EAS. Broadcast station licensees
    should also refer to Section 73.1217 of this chapter.)

     
    BDR Comments: While one might have thought the NAB or the FCC would have already called BP and requested the spots be altered or stopped, we might wonder if the FCC response will be more along the lines of having the EB issue fines against stations. If we hear about any FCC action or notice, it will be posted here. In the meantime, station management should at least be alerted (pun possibly intended) to the potential for fines.
     
  • 9/8/10 - This has not been a good year for broadcasters in terms of fire damage. The latest is in Burton (Flint), MI, where WCRL and WCRZ and four other stations were knocked off the air early this morning due to a fire at the studio site.
     
    The stations, which had been operating on generator power for about 36 hours due to local storm damage, reported the generator had failed just before the fire was noticed.
     
    BDR Comments: Sadly, just because the generator is on does not mean all is well. A later report suggested that the fire may have started when a gas leak was ignited by the generator. It is a good thing there was a live person on site - otherwise it could have been a complete loss.
     
     
  • 9/2/10 - Long time Ohio engineer Bill Weisinger is in the Maplewood Care Center in Streetsboro, OH battling cancer. A well-known engineer, Bill went to the doctor in June and never made it back home. If you know Bill - or just want to send greetings to him during this difficult time - you can go to www.getwellbill.com and leave your message for him; he reads them regularly.
     
  • 9/1/10 - A New Jersey personal injury law firm has begun seeking leads from people who have "been forced to purchase technology that does not work as claimed."
     
    According to the firm's website, the automakers are aware of the problem but most, like BMW, have done little more than sent out Service Bulletins noting the problem, but saying "there was no retrofit or procedure available" to correct matters.

    The lawyers say they are investigating such complaints as:

    • Radio receiver bumping station from HD to analog mode;
    • Echo sound heard when the radio switches between HD and analog modes;
    • Crackling or static sound when HD mode is inactive;
    • Insufficient numbers of HD Radio stations;
    • Loss of signal while driving in valleys or between high buildings;
    • Signal disruption for environmental conditions; and
    • Adjacent channel interference.  
       
  • 9/1/10 - The NAB has joined in an effort to seek government action to mandate FM chips in all cell phones.
      
    Of course, a part of this effort is in the hope is it will promote more listening for FM, But there does seem to be some value in having another source for emergency information, given that the cell phone companies have, but do not use, a text warning capability.
     
    There is more to say on this issue. Please check out my editorial.

Back to the top    

AUGUST

  • 8/28/10 - KCBQ and staff were honored with a monument and plaque at the former transmitter site in Santee, California. In addition to many who worked at KCBQ over the years, the mayor of Santee appeared to show his and the city's support, as well.
     
    The San Diego market station, which had pulled as much as a 60 share in the "Golden Days" of rock and roll between 1958 and 1978, has long since been sold, changed formats, and moved to another location (the old site now hosts a shopping center, the five-foot-plus monument is located alongside the road by the Kohl's and Lowe's stores).
     
    The  ceremony, orchestrated at 11:70 AM (12:10 PM), was a flashback to one of the station's efforts to brand the 1170 dial position into the minds of listeners. The monument contains a picture of the station in its glory days, as well as a listing of the staffers over the years.
     
    BDR Comments: Although the Internet contains "tribute sites" for many radio stations that no longer are around it is unusual for cities and politicians to permit the installation of a monument like this one. Yet, for many who worked there or listened to the station, the sounds are still fresh in their heads.

    The 300-400 people who showed up to see the monument unveiled on the site of the former monster station's facility demonstrated the strong and long-lasting bond that is created with listeners by a radio station that reaches into the community to touch people's lives.
     
     
    (PS... yes, we know we spelled it wrong on the Newsletter. Please repeat this one after me: K - C - B -
    Q!)
     
  • 8/25/10 -The FCC has released news of a couple of fines this week that, if nothing else, offer a few things for stations and engineers to put on their list to "check" for compliance.
     
    For example, a station in Santa Monica, CA was cited for not monitoring the proper stations for EAS purposes. KCRU had apparently changed from the assigned stations, but never checked with the state and local coordinating committees. In another case, a contest was ruled bad because the station, WWEG(FM) had picked a winner before the stated end of the contest - and sure enough, a listener showed up and after not being allowed to enter the contest, filed a compaint with the FCC. The upshot: a $4000 fine. Finally, WWWK pulled an $8500 fine for not having the Main Studio manned during business hours and EAS gear that did not work.
     
    BDR Comments: By the way, did you know the radio license renewal cycle starts again next year. Time now to double and triple check station records, the Public File, etc., so there are no "surprises" as you go through the renewal process (VA, WV, MD and DC get first try in June!). The FCC reports Public File issues continue to be the biggest problems, especially the quarterly Issues and Programs listing.
      
  • 8/19/10 - Jerry Campbell was apparently electrocuted while working on a transmitter in Greenville, MS. According to reports, Campbell, 73, of Oxford, MS died around noon while working at repairing the WDMS transmitter that had failed earlier in the morning.
     
    BDR Comments: It was reported that Campbell was not alone nor tired. According to a report from another engineer, he had taken a break to think about the problem and apparently got "out of sync" with the transmitter's energized condition. Returning to the problem, he apparently reached to a component that was "hot" and suffered the fatal shock.
     
    Lesson: Even when you have someone on hand, think twice about whether or not there is high voltage BEFORE you extend your hand (the other one is in your pocket, right?)

       
  • 8/16/10 - KRKO is in the midst of recovering from vandalism.  They have restored their "missing" two towers (picture), knocked down in the middle of the night. (The Story here)     
       
    BDR Comments: This has been a long, exhausting fight for the station. As with the "birds issue" certain groups have used the courts to make things very difficult for what is essentially a small business. Given the vandalism problems in recent years, stations like KRKO and WCSZ have a real hard time. Fortunately, KRKO was able to stay on the air throughout, but WCSZ was not. Nevertheless, with or without insurance, these are costly affairs.
       
  • 8/12/10 - On this date in 1960, 50 years ago, Echo 1 was launched. The first two-way, live communications satellite made its way up to 1000 miles above the Earth and the opened the era of truly global communication.
     
    The 100 foot giant metallic balloon - or "satelloon" - was the means for the first voice communication by satellite, as well as the first coast-to-coast phone call by satellite.
     
  • 8/12/10 - George Marti was honored by the Texas Association of Broadcasters with their Lifetime Achievement Award.
     
    BDR Comments: Although perhaps not the first to explore the technology, George Marti made it accessible to virtually any station, turning the Remote Pickup Transmitter (RPU) into such a common item that most people simply call them "Martis" ... as in "Take one of the Martis out to the big remote at 2PM."  Marti also practiced "giving back" to the community.
     
  • 8/9/10 - The BDR celebrates its First Anniversary!  ...
     
  • 8/6/10 - Orban processors will continue to be manufactured by the company now based in Arizona. CRL, Inc was put up for sale earlier this year, but now a financial agreement with Bob Orban has apparently kept the majority owners, the Brentlinger family, in place.
     
    The company has suffered along with many during the current economic slowdown and the woes of the large consolidators. It was about ten years ago that it combined Ron Jones' Circuit Research Labs and Bob Orban's eponymous company, acquiring the latter from Harmon International. Since then it acquired Autogram, a console manufacturer. The company hopes this new arrangement will strengthen the the company and allow it to continue selling it popular processors to the radio and television industries, both in the U.S. and abroad.
     
  • 8/5/10 - WWVA,made it back up by 10:30PM with 5 kW into a 50-foot tower stub of the East tower and some wire strung between the East and Central towers. (For those who desire to know such things, this led to an input Z of 5 -j25 Ohms.)
     
    A video "tour" of the downed towers is here. More pictures of the destruction are here.  Sadly, they were on the last two days of a complete repainting - talk about timing...
     
  • 8/4/10 - WWVA, Wheeling, WV was knocked off the air when all three of its towers were all knocked down in a storm, leaving nothing available to use as an emergency tower for a non-directional signal.
     
    Engineers for the 50 kW Clear Channel station were hoping to get at least a temporary signal back on the air by tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon. Complicating matters: initial site access was blocked by trees that were blown down.

    A TV report can be found here.   

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JULY

  • 7/27/10 - Univision Radio pays a $1 million fine and agrees to stop "pay for play" with piles of cash bribes being sent around to get certain records played.

    The FCC had charged that Univision Services and Univision Radio were involved in a "conspiracy" to commit mail fraud, the result of the payments for airplay. Univision Services pled guilty in Federal Court in CA, while Univision Radio admitted to the FCC that several of their PDs got money.
     
    It's funny how payola keeps popping back up in the industry, over and over. On the other hand, with more automation and fewer live personalities, some of the big companies apparently figure a few well-placed packets of money is an easy way to influence playlists. This may be one time the Enforcement Bureau got it right.
      
  • 7/26/10 - The Library of Congress, which oversees copyright laws, ruled that Apple cannot prevent iPhone users from "jailbreaking" their iPhones - in other words, adding software and applications that Apple has not provided nor approved.
      
    While only about 8% of iPhone users try to open up their iPhones to outside software, according to some estimates, there are a significant number of programmers unhappy with Apple's total control of what users can install. They hope to be able to make some serious money from dissatisfied Apple users. Apple, for its part, insists users who do not jailbreak get better, less trouble-free operation with their phones.
     
    This could be a significant crack in the Apple "closed system" of products and software. On the other hand, many people are quite willing to pay a premium to Apple's iStore to ensure they get quality software that works as advertised.
     
  • 7/21/10 - KNIM-AM/FM, Maryville, MO was knocked off the air this past weekend due to a storm. The storm snapped their 70-foot STL tower around 3AM.
     
    Using a backup tower just recently built, the FM was able to get back up, but the loss of the STL signal kept the AM silent until a link could be set up.
      
  • 7/21/10 - A reader brought to our attention a Bill slowly working its way through Congress that may be worth your attention, too.
     
    H.R. 2067 (and companion S. 1580) are called the "Protecting America's Workers Act"  Among other things, it is designed to expand OSHA to all government employees. The Act also provides protections for whistleblowers. But the part that the reader mention to us as most worrying was wording that assumes "that company managers discourage a safe working environment, that managers are always opposed to any reports of worker injuries or unsafe conditions, that managers have to be told that they can't punish workers who participate in safety inspections, etc, etc, etc" In other words, OSHA will be pressuring workers to file complaints so they can issue citations.
     
    How this might affect broadcasters is as yet unknown, but given the fixation of some bureaucrats with RFR and other workplace hazards - including noise levels - you may wish to be familiar with the legislation.
     
    Our correspondent writes: "I see this legislation as a measure that fosters an "us versus them" mentality in the workplace and creates a bigger OSHA bureaucracy where none is needed.  ... Our broadcasters are not sweatshops in Bangkok and we're not the Triangle Dress Factory but it seems like the government thinks so."
     
    As with much legislation, this may just languish and die in this Congress. But there are some implications here of which broadcasters should be aware, so they are not taken by surprise if this Bill starts moving. (The last recent action was in late April.)
     
  • 7/21/10 - Dell Computers has announced that malware was found on some of its server motherboards.  The PowerEdge R410 (and R310 and R510 and T410) Rack server apparently has spyware embedded. More information here.
     
  • 7/19/10 - The FCC has published its Public Notice to begin an inquiry into data collection and use. The Docket Number is 10-103.  
        
    Using three Public Notices, the FCC has indicated they want to "... improve the way the Commission collects, uses and disseminates data," so that they can "eliminate unnecessary data collection while ensuring that the FCC has the information needed for sound analysis and policy making."
      
    Broadcasters are invited to read the Public Notice and comment between now and August 13th. The individual bureau notices (and a spreadsheet of the data under review at the Media Bureau) are available here.
      
  • 7/13/10 - A three-judge panel from the US Second Court of Appeals ruled against the FCC in New York today calling the FCC's indecency policies "unconstitutionally vague, creating a chilling effect that goes far beyond the fleeting expletives at issue here."
     
    The challenge came from the major broadcast networks, who claimed the "no-tolerance" enforcement of one-time or so-called "fleeting" expletives was unfair and violated their rights under the First Amendment.
     
    The FCC's viewpoint is here.
     
    While any number of college station announcers were "cheering" the ability to say anything on the air, the reality is not quite so much that the barn door is now open, as that the FCC will be forced to take another look at the issue of how and what content they can regulate. 
     
    Look for this one to generate a lot of noise, heat, and lawyers' fees. And, yes, Congress will likely be highly visible in the process.
     
  • 7/12/10 - Perhaps bowing to the marketplace - and the large number of users that bought Vista computers and downgraded to XP, Microsoft has announced that their support for downgrading Vista or Windows 7 to XP Pro has been extended until 2020.
     
    Users - and new sales of XP Pro will end in October 2010 - will need to update to the XP Service Pack 3, but it would appear that security and other patches will continue to be available for quite a while to come - making Windows XP one of the longest-lived versions of the operating system.
     
    Some more information that may help clarify things can be found here.  Another article is here.
     
    To find out what Service Pack you should have, try this link.
      
  • 7/9/10 - The inventor of the Audimax and Volumax, among other technology, Emil Torick, passed away on June 19th. The former CBS Labs head was 78.
     
  • 7/8/10 - National Public Radio has decided to change its name to just NPR.
     
    In jettisoning the full name it has used since the 1971 start, NPR quietly has affirmed a change that has been underway for some time now - taking its news, information, and music programs to other platforms, including the Internet.
     
    NPR's head, Vivian Schiller calls it making NPR "more modern and streamlined."  Last month, Schiller told an audience that broadcast listenership was going to be replaced by Internet delivered radio in the next five to ten years, and that NPR wanted to position itself now to take advantage of the coming  changes.
     
    Not all affiliates of NPR - which supply something like $62 million of the NPR's $154 million budget - are happy with the national organization using their money to bypass broadcasters.
       

  • 7/5/10 - The well-known engineering firm Hammett and Edison has been acquired by Pacific Venture Investments, led by CEO Gary Lawrence.
     
    The firm, founded in 1952, will continue to operate under the name Hammett and Edison.
     

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JUNE

  • 6/22/10 - Planning on going to the Fall NAB Radio Show? The NAB and the RAB (Radio Advertising Bureau) are combining to put on this year's show. Reports seem to indicate that exhibitors will be limited to groups of tables. This show is stacking up to be different from previous shows, both in terms of the exhibitors and sessions.
     
  • 6/15/10 - Commentators on the FCC's efforts to change Part 11 (EAS Rules) via Docket 04-296 seem to be lining up on asking for more time than 180s days to update the system once FEMA and PSHSB get their final proposals published.
     
    Comments can be found here
     
    Reasons range from the need for manufacturers to test and ensure their systems work before shipping, for stations needing to budget for the purchase, for government agencies needing time for their fiscal years, and for needed training.
     
    One aspect that might change the timing would be if the Federal Government actually paid for and supplied the new equipment. However, manufacturers still say that time will be needed to do it correctly.
     
    On another issue, there were a number of comments regarding foreign languages and the need for some mechanism to meet that need.

     
  • 6/16/10 - Curious as to what the NAB Radio Board is working on? A recent information indicates their primary focus is on the Performance Tax and what some call the latest FCC "bandwidth grab."  Additionally, the NAB Press Releases show interest in the how to handle the "Lowest Unit Charge" for political advertising, as well as the effects of LPFM on the membership and efforts to include FM radios in cell phones.
     
    At their recent meeting (June 15 & 16), Caroline Beasley (Beasley Broadcasting) was voted Chair of the Radio Board; Don Benson of Lincoln Financial is the new Vice-Chair.
     
  • 6/15/10 - Miss the deadline to check and retire those 700 MHz microphones? The Enforcement Bureau has not forgotten. They issued an Enforcement Advisory last week, reiterating that wireless microphones are no longer permitted on the 700 MHz band.
      
    Here are links to the text:
    http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-10-1053A1.doc
    http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-10-1053A1.pdf
    http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-10-1053A1.txt
     
  • 6/11/10 - At a Community Radio Conference in St. Paul, MN yesterday, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn advocated possibly using TV channels 5 & 6 for Radio - including LPFM, AM and other non-commercial users.
     
    Clyburn said that low VHF has proven to be less than effective for digital television. She said that it is worthwhile for the Commission to "take a serious look" at whether or not "channels 5 and 6 may be a good home" for radio services.
     

  • 6/10/10 - The FCC held a conference today regarding the status of EAS and CAP, and the broadband initiatives. The event was streamed live, and will be available on the FCC's site.
     

  • 6/3/10 - The FCC reminds stations that wireless microphones in the 700 MHz band must be retuned or replaced by the end of next week.
     
    The Public Notice of the FCC Order to clear 700 MHz, and ban wireless microphones there as of June 12th, includes a list of microphones affected.    
     

  • 6/2/10 - Bob Doll passed away yesterday at the age of 77.
     

  • 6/2/10 - In recent weeks, many of the major broadcast companies that filed Chapter 11 over the past year have started to come out of the process. In most cases, they have eliminated a lot of debt, especially shareholder equity, and kept the banks and investment funds more or less "happy."
     
    As June begins, NextMedia's reorganization plan is in place, and, as with other companies, appears back to "business as usual."  Unfortunately, in most cases, the new "usual" often means very few jobs on the programming side, and increased pressures on sales and tech. Perhaps the one bright side for many stations is the political windfall (election) due later this year is stacking up to be a big one, with many contentious races. Perhaps some rehiring will happen.
     

  • 6/1/10 - Jerry Lee, owner of WBEB, Philadelphia, has decided to auction off an Aston Martin Lagonda DB5 that he purchased back in 1969 from the producers of the James Bond (007) movies Goldfinger and Thunderball.
     
    The car, bought for $12,000, is expected to bring as much as $5 Million for a the Jerry Lee Foundation. Sale date is October 27th, if you want to bid on it. (RM Auctions/Sotheby's are the agencies involved.)

     

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MAY

  • 5/25/10 - According to an announcement today, Emmis Communications Corporation has an agreement to be taken private by Chairman Jeff Smulyan and his company JS Acquisition, LLC.

    The money is supposed to come through affiliate Alden Global Capital, under the agreement. Current stockholders will received $2.40 a share, preferred stockholders will have a different transaction.
     
    (UPDATE: In September, it was announced that this deal had fallen through. One thought was that the cash burn rate was too high for the potential investors.)
      

  • 5/25/10 - The FCC has opened another inquiry - to look into the media ownership Rules.  In its fifth "quadrennial" review of the Broadcast Ownership Rules, the FCC is asking for comments on various aspects, including ownership caps and "localism," was well as whether to measure the "satisfaction" level of "local end users."
      

  • 5/25/10 - EAS changes continue to slowly shuffle down the federal pipeline. At a meeting on April 13th, the OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) Emergency Management Technical Committee approved CAP Version 1.2 as a Committee Specification Draft, and voting on adoption has begun.
     
    Next, the OASIS standard is expected to be approved sometime after June 30th, at which point formal testing will begin, possibly in July, at the earliest. Depending upon how the testing shakes out, FEMA still intends to announce IPAWS adoption of CAP V 1.2 later this year. More information is available here  and here.
      

  • 5/21/10 - Citadel Communications is getting closer to emerging from bankruptcy. The judge accepted the reorganization plan data and projections of the current management, valuing the company at around $2 Billion. It would appear current management will continue.
      
    On the other hand, pending any successful appeals or other actions, common shareholders will be left with ... nothing. (Citadel stock had been on a slow steady drift downward since 2003, and although trading at about four cents recently, there is no value - those Disney shareholders who got and held Citadel stock are holding an empty sack.)
     
    The 165 FM and 58 AM stations in 27 states and 50 markets will have creditor relief, but at lot of jobs appear to be gone for good.
     

  • 5/20/10 - Fritz Sennheiser, founder of the famous microphone and headset company, died on May 17th at 98.
     

  • 5/20/10 - A complaint to the FCC regarding HD interference. In Los Angeles, Willie Davis alleges that the KRTH (101.1) digital signal is causing "destructive interference" to KATY (101.3). KATY has been among those stations complaining for the past three or four years about adjacent channel problems, especially with grandfathered super-power FMs.
      

  • 5/17/10 - The NAB and six other organizations have submitted a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to the FCC with recommendations for the protection of migratory birds as part of its Antenna Structure Registration (ASR) process.
     

  • 5/13/10 - Microsoft announces Office 2010. The new features include an Internet-based interface, so the software and files can reside "in the cloud." How businesses will react to the potential legal issues of having material reside on someone else's server is not yet clear. However, the applications can still be loaded on individual computers.
     

  • 5/12/10 - Intelsat announced that they had lost control of Galaxy 15, apparently after a solar storm. It is due to cross paths with AMC 11 later this month, although officials say there should be little or no interference with AMC 11 services.
     

  • 5/3/10 - Flooding in the South has crippled many stations. WSM's radio studios and the WTVF-TV newsroom were rapidly inundated with water. A rough radio studio was set up at the WSM transmitter site.




Other stations that have been off for some time during the flood include: WQSV-790 Ashland City, WMGC-810 Murfreesboro, WYFN-980 Nashville, WCRT-1160 Nashville, WNQM-1300, and WVOL-1470 Nashville, plus WWCR (a shortwave station).  The river was said to have crested finally on Tuesday afternoon the 4th.
 
 
               At the Opryland Hotel and shopping mall
 
Nashville Public Radio was down for about a day, after a mud slide took down power lines and then the generator failed. The road had to be cleared for the repair folks to gain access.
 

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APRIL

  • 4/26/10 - KMBC became the latest station to succumb to copper thieves. As the price of copper resumes its move back up to the mid-$3 range, the bad guys are back at it, attacking any exposed copper at transmission sites.
      
    In KMBC's case, it was the cooling system for their transmitter that got cut and a large section of two-inch tubing was stolen. In addition to the loss of all the coolant, damage estimates range from $20,000 to $100,000. While repairs are made, cable customers were mostly still able to receive the station,
      

  • 4/26/10 - The FCC has some plans to update the Part 11 (EAS) Rules and how it is handled. If you want to comment, you are encouraged to do so. Comments to the FCC are due by May 17, 2010, and reply comments are due by June 14, 2010.
      

  • 4/23/10 - FEMA Estimates CAP adoption date. According to DHS Assistant Administrator Damon Penn, FEMA estimates the CAP adoption date, which would start the 180-day clock for broadcasters to buy CAP equipment, will be in "September of 2010”.
      

  • 4/20/10 - The FCC has been busy! In addition to the current request for comments on fixing Part 11 (EAS) and about the proposed CLS (Consolidated Licensing System), the FCC is now proposing a Rulemaking to make changes to the Part 17 (Tower construction, lighting, and marking) Rules. You can read the Public Notice here. It looks like some good changes and clarifications are proposed - and you can tell the FCC what you think!
      

  • 4/19/10 - While we were at NAB, the FCC finally released the new Form 323 - the bi-annual Ownership Reports. Due by July 8th, stations should report ownership as of November 1, 2009. The Public Notice is here
      

  • 4/15/10 - The FCC often provides a little "gift" to the broadcasters at each convention. It seems this spring it is the existence of a Petition for Rulemaking to allow many AM stations to begin PSA operation at 5 AM. (Public Notice given on March 27.)
       

  • 4/12/10NAB.  The NAB welcomed some 88,000 attendees to the Spring Show (vs. 82k reported last year). More details here. 
      

  • 4/7/10 - A bomb threat  was received at the FCC building, which was was emptied this morning. Among other events, the CLS workshop was cancelled, to be rescheduled for another day.
       

  • 4/2/10 - Don Jones, long-time owner of RF Specialties of Texas in Amarillo has announced his retirement. Don is selling his company to Dan Sessler right after NAB.
     

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MARCH

  • 3/31/10 - The FCC has initiated another outreach for comments. This time it is for updating their licensing system, including the CDBS - which contains a lot of information, but is not always easy to navigate, depending upon what information you need.
      
    The CLS - the Consolidated Licensing System - is currently under development to combine the CDBS, ASR, ULS, IBFS, ELS, and the COALS. The FCC is asking for comments on its
    "Reboot" site
    . If you have ideas on how to make the system easier to navigate and provide information needed, you can comment right there, online.
      

  • 3/31/10 - According to the Milwaukee Journal, a radio station operated by students at the University of Wisconsin - Parkside was shut down by the FCC for operating without a license.
      
    "WIPZ" apparently had been broadcasting an unlicensed low-powered signal for nearly 20 years, but landed on the FCC's radar this year after moving its location and increasing power.
       

  • 3/15/10 - At the recent Great Lakes Broadcast Conference, Ed Trombley was awarded the Carl E. Lee Radio Engineering Award for 2010.
      

Trombley, a well-known and well-liked Field Engineer for Munn-Reese, Inc in Coldwater, MI, has been involved in solving problems and building beautiful facilities for some 30 years. He is also a collector of broadcast gear and history, which he often uses to help stations and engineers - and often entertains them in the process. 
    

 

 

  • 3/15/10 - Information released on Friday indicates the FCC is planning to implement a new broadband policy. Included is taking back about 108 MHz of spectrum from broadcasters to give to the wireless Internet industry, saying that wideband Internet everywhere is their goal.
      
    FCC Chairman Genachowski was further reported to be working on making such wireless Internet free or at least discounted everywhere.
      
    The way the FCC gains control over the Internet is said to be by declaring it as a part of there telecom regulation mandate.
      
    Another part of the initiative may include an attempt to get broadcasters, especially TV stations to consolidate transmitter facilities, freeing more spectrum to be "auctioned." 
      
  • 3/11/10 - More financial news: Entercom has been involved with creditor restructuring. No bankruptcy on the horizon at this time, but stricter terms on keeping debt in check. Also, Sirius-XM is a crossroad: they needed to finish today about $1.00 per share to prevent delisting on Nasdaq. They did not.
      
    Talk of Sirius seeking credit debt swaps and/or a reverse stock split is appearing in many of the financial publications and web sites.
      
  • 3/10/10 - Congress moves introduce the "FCC Commissioners' Technical Resource Act"; Senate Bill S.2881- and a similar Bill in the House of Representatives. This would authorize an engineering staff person for each of the five FCC commissioners.
      
    The SBE is quite enthused about this. Will the Commissioners actually use this to add an engineer? A good question, since they have never been prohibited from doing so in the past.
          
  • 3/1/10 - WJFK was scheduled to become the first FM station to run four HD channels at -14 dBc, and increase of 6 dB over the digital carriers in use to this point. With WFAN, WJZ-FM, and WIP from New York City, Baltimore and Philadelphia, WJFK installed a new transmitter over the past week. Since all three sub-channels are from out of town, no one can say they are just duplicating the locals.
       

  • 3/1/10 - The NAB announced today that Telos Systems founder Steve Church will receive the Radio Engineering Achievement Award during the NAB Engineering luncheon in April. Credited with major advances in digital audio technology, Church's inventions, such as the Telos 10 telephone hybrid and its many successors, have changed broadcasting - from making telephone talk show audio much better to IP codecs that have moved programs out into the field all over the world.
        

  • 3/1/10 - In yet another broadcast-related, pre-packaged bankruptcy, Regent Communications filed for Chapter 11. Acccording to Reuters, $87 million in debt will be erased by the restructuring. While common stockholders will not be totally wiped out - they get just under 13% of the company - majority control will go to Oaktree Capital Management.
      

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FEBRUARY

  • 2/25/10 - The FCC has extended the deadline for commenting on the proposed EAS Rule changes. Comments are accepted until March 15th, reply comments until April 13th.
       
    From last week:
    The FCC has issued a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding national EAS testing. Comments are invited, dealing with issues such as TV captioning, foreign languages, and how the EAN should be handled. Now, if only the EB could learn what "testing" means!
      

  • 2/25/10 - The FCC has also been proposing changes in the ex-parte processes - which relates to communication with the Commission and Staff on matters under consideration.
       

  • 2/23/10 - The Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) has announced that it will shut down, a victim of differing goals - largely the gap between TV and cable - who pays whom. The 80-year-old CAB will be gone by June 1st.  One possibility: a new organization to serve the radio industry alone.  Anyone here remember the NAFMB?
       
      

  • 2/19/10 - If the financial gyrations of so many broadcast companies were not enough to make your head spin, there is apparently now a class action law suit being pursued against Cumulus. Said to be filed on behalf of a former salesman in San Francisco, the lawyers are now seeking additional participants. What remains to be seen is how many of the things the corporations did to cut staff and expenses may be found to have violated employment law.
      

  • 2/18/10 - It is getting hard to keep up with all the financial gyrations in the industry. Chapter 11 filings continue and the latest "adjustment" is NextMedia. Their December bankruptcy now has an "exit plan." Common stockholders are still left out, although Management has arranged to stay on, and receive about one-seventh of the new common stock. Industry stabilization is still in the future.
       

  • 2/17/10 - WHLR, Lavonia, GA, which had its tower collapse on January 29th, returned to the air with an assist from WRAF, Toccoa Falls College. They are using the WRAF backup transmitter. Police investigation of the 284-foot tower collapse continues. Police have been asked to look into what is described as a "deliberately cut" guy wire. No weather related factors seem to be involved. 
     

  • 2/11/10 - This has been a real "weather" couple of weeks! With all kinds of snow almost across the country - and more than a few broken records. Here is a picture at the tower base of KTIC-FM, thanks to Rod Zeigler. (As he said "I never did find the 1000 gallon propane tank out there. I suppose it will show up in the spring sometime.") Just before, we had a real rash of  tower failures - both due to weather as well as vandalism. Early 2010 has not been good for broadcasters.
        

  • 2/10/10 - Ibiquity "adjusts" theIR fee for installing digital exciters on broadcast stations. A contract now costs $10,500, with a one-year payment option at $2,000 more (we'll let you calculate the interest percentage).
       

  • 2/10/10 - ANOTHER CHAPTER 11 - Penton Media, publisher of over 100 titles, including Radio Magazine, has filed a "pre-packaged" Chapter 11 Reorganization Plan. The goal is elimination of some $270 million in debt. Penton's statement is here.
       

  • 2/4/10 - PHONE FINES - The FCC issued fines to WSKQ-FM, New York ($16k) and WAAW, Williston, SC ($4k). 
         
    WSKQ, owned by Spanish Broadcasting System, Inc., has now been tagged twice for failure to get permission before broadcasting a phone call or recording a phone call for broadcast. The station tried to weasel around the Rules by hiring an "independent contractor" to make the calls. The FCC rather pointedly noted this was not legal and, in paragraph 10, advises the licensee that a repetition will bring a very large fine.  
       
    WAAW, owned by Rejoynetwork, was fined for allowing staff members to call local airport officials and put them on the air - but again, without proper permission. 
       
    The lesson here: it is no longer the free-wheeling 70's. Section 73.1206 of the Rules should be studied and understood by all air personnel.

     

  • 2/4/10 - CHAPTER 11 FOR CITADEL - Citadel Broadcasting filed their reorganization plan today. The 3rd largest broadcast consolidator in the US (over 220 stations) hopes to wipe out $1.4 Billion in debt. (It still leaves $762.5 million.) The largely pre-negotiated bankruptcy pretty much wipes out existing common stock shareholders, and gives 90% of the equity to the senior lenders.
        
    According to the Wall Street Journal, there is a net change in ownership, requiring FCC permission for the plan to take effect. 
     

  • 2/3/10 - IBOC POWER INCREASE - The FCC has issued an Order permitting an increase in FM digital power.

    The Media Bureau action means most FM stations can increase their digital carriers by 6 dB (fourfold) immediately, and can apply for up to 10 dB of increase, to 10% of the analog carrier power.

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JANUARY

  • 1/24/10 - JAMES QUELLO - The passing of James Quello is interesting in that it brings to mind the esteem many had for the man, along with his practical experience as a broadcaster, something clearly lacking in the current Commission.
     

  • 1/21/10 - CHAPTER 11 FOR AIR AMERICA - The Air America radio network pulled the plug again. Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the network is running recorded programming until Monday evening, when the net goes dark.
         
    Air America's statement.     NY Times article          Washington Post article
        
    Air America, home to Al Franken, Rachel Maddow, and others, had previously filed for Chapter 11 in October 2006; it was sold for $4.25 million at the start of 2007.
      

  • 1/21/10 - LA STORY - The broadcasters in LA are scrambling to stay on the air during a tremendous downpour, mudslides, and lack of access to Mt. Wilson.
      

  • 1/17/10 - WIRELESS MICROPHONE BAN - The FCC Adopts Order to clear 700 MHz, and ban wireless microphones there as of June 12th. A list of microphones is in the FCC Public Notice.
          

  • 1/14/10 - BE SOLD - Broadcast Electronics has had what was described as a minor change in ownership. BE is owned by several private equity investors and and two banks. Recently, GE Capital sold their stake to First City Crestone, who also bought out Audax, the previous majority owner. 
        
    BE's CEO Joseph Roark
    stated that the main effect of all the financial manipulation was to reduce their debt service and help them concentrate on business. 
     

  • 1/14/10 - Black Crow Media of Daytona Beach, FL, files for Chapter 11 after being sued by GE Capital. The owner of around 20 stations in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama says the bankruptcy protection will allow it to reorganize and serve their markets.
     

  • 1/14/10 - A angry 58-year-old man walked into KBEZ in Tulsa, seeking a personality. Police were called and shot the man.
               

  • 1/10/10 - An Actual EAN Test was conducted in Alaska this past week, and deemed a relative success. The test was a cooperative venture with the Alaska Broadcasters Association, the DHS, FEMA, and the state SECC. 
       
    The head of the Alaska Broadcasters Association said: "In spite of the AP Headline (below) the test has been called a success by both federal and state EMS/DHS officials. It was received at 10:01 and it ended approximately 3 minutes later when the EOM was sent. No stations were left with continuous alerts or interrupted signals. There were a few reports of tests running twice.
    " The only equipment oriented problems seem to center on DASDEC gear. 
          
    A further summary of some of the things that happened/were learned should be available soon. One thing is clear, Part 11 has not kept up with the realities of EAS on the ground.
        
    A true nationwide test - the first - can be expected later in 2010.

        
  • 1/7/10 - A sub-contractor has been ordered to pay some $16 million dollars as a result of a May 2007 fire at KRBT, Avalon, CA (Catalina Island - off LA). Gary Hunt was apparently using a torch to cut tower cables, when a 4000 acre fire was started. In addition to the restitution orders, Hunt was sentenced to five years probation, plus jail time or community service.
     
  • 1/7/10 - A new study seems to show that cell phone waves may prevent or reduce Alzheimer's Disease in mice. This is very preliminary, but is going to be of interest to many, both from the aspect of the potential therapeutic effects, as well as the other side - RF is not as bad as some environmental groups would have you believe!

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  • 12/26/09 - Percy Sutton passes away. The Founder of Inner City Broadcasting Corp. started with WLIB in 1971, the first black-owned radio station in NYC - and was a major force in local politics.
        
  • 12/23/09 - The FCC Delays Ownership Reports AGAIN!
    Don't worry about the January 11th date. It is on "temporary hold" for a third time. But keep working on the data, if you have not filed. Although there will be a 90-day "Window," the FCC says only data as of November 1, 2009 is needed. 
      
  • 12/23/09 - More financial stuff: Radio One approves "reverse split and Regent get notified it is in danger of delisting - it has 90 days to get its stock over $1 per share. 
        
  • 12/21/09 - NextMedia files bankruptcy
    After unsuccessful negotiations with bondholders, the company, with 36 radio stations, files Chapter 11. Shareholders are wiped out.
          
  • 12/20/09 - Citadel files bankruptcy 
    Company says it will re-emerge in approx. 300 days. 
    Who Killed Citadel? Common shareholders are wiped out.
         
  • 12/17/09 - WCSZ, in the Greenville, SC market, was stripped of most all their equipment by thieves. The transmitter - an MW-50 - was gutted, as was the co-located studio.
        



 

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