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.
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.
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?
11/26/12 – 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.
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.
11/21/12 – 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.
11/9/12 – 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, email@example.com 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.
10/29/12 – Communication is so important during emergencies. That is why the list of priorities the FCC and the FEMA have devised looks just a bit odd to broadcasters. The emphasis seems to be dealing with loss of cell service. And the last place to get information? Check it out here. At least they got radio in there!
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!
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.
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.
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.
8/20/12 – $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.
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.
7/19/12 – 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.
7/11/12 – 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.
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.
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.
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.
5/21/12 – 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?
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.
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.
4/13/12 – 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.”
4/6/12 – 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.
4/4/12 – 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.
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.
3/19/12 – 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
3/2/12 – 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.
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.
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?”
1/30/12 – 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.
1/26/12 – 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.
1/5/12 – 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.