The Broadcasters' Desktop Resource

News Items Archive: 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9/12/19 – It is clear now that Entercom is suffering from an apparent major network system attack over the past weekend. The company will not confirm, but reports seem to indicate the entry point was a programming side computer. One report says a ransom demand for $500k has been received.

At last report Entercom email is finally back on line (employees had been told to use personal email this week for necessary communications). Internet is marginal, IT personnel have been putting in long hours, warning people not to connect laptops to the networks. One report displayed what appears to be an internal memo, describing the situation and telling employees not to say anything outside the company. Progress, but you had better believe they will be more careful going onward. And, yes, telephones still work.

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

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

8/19/19 – The FCC PSHSB has released a Report on the 37 hour Internet failure on the CenturyLink system in December 2018. For those that think the Internet is the only way EAS should be distributed, this, along with the reports of Internet failure during fires, etc, should be illuminating.

The event, on December 27th, affected over 22 million users for some 37 hours. Over 17 million people lost access to 911, millions of other calls misfired. Apparently a bad packet with a “broadcast address and no expiration date” was the cause.

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

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

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

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

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