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Proposes to create a second regime of protection for full-service FM, Class D, FM translators, FM boosters and other LPFM stations


WASHINGTON — REC Networks filed a Petition for Rulemaking with the FCC calling for changes in how LPFM stations are required to protect FM translators. There’s a lot to digest here, and for those interested in LPFM and its impact on others, it’s worth a deeper read here .

In the June 13 filing (RM-11810), REC’s Michelle Bradley writes that the petition addresses “various issues that had been precluding a more successful deployment of Low Power FM stations, especially in suburban and core urban areas.”

Specifically, “REC proposes to create a §73.815 Regime of protection for protecting full-service FM, Class D, FM translators, FM boosters and other LPFM stations which is available to LPFM stations that specify locations that do not meet the current distance separation requirements of §73.807.”

According to a summary on REC’s website, “Due to the way the LCRA was worded, REC is making a case that a table of lower distances, originally intended for 10 watt LPFM stations was codified in the rules when the LCRA was enacted and that the Commission can use those numbers.” Bradley also notes that many of the suggestions were previously was raised in the 2017 Media Modernization proceeding (MB Docket 17-105).

Here’s a breakdown of the differences between the current and proposed second regimes:

Current Regime (§73.807)

  • 50 to 100 watts at 30 meters HAAT. (up to a 5.6 km service contour)
  • Protects full-service stations using specific distance separations.
  • Protects FM translators and LPFM stations using specific distance separations.
  • Because of distance separation, any interference to other facilities is non-actionable. Full-service stations that file subsequent applications can only legally displace an LPFM station if there is LPFM interfering contour overlap in the city grade contour of city of license of the modified full-service station.

Second Regime (§73.815)

  • 50 to 250 watts at 30 meters HAAT. (up to a 7.1 km service contour)
  • Protects full-service stations by contours but must also meet a distance separation using reduced requirements from §73.807.
  • Protects FM translators and LPFM stations using contours.
  • Because of using contours, any interference to or from other facilities is actionable and will be handled through similar rules used by FM translators.
  • Second (§73.815) Regime applies only if the LPFM creates a new or increased §73.807 short-spacing of full-service or translators or if the LPFM wishes to operate with a faciliy that exceeds 100 watts at 30m HAAT (maximum 250 watts at 30m HAAT).

Additionally, the petition sugggests a variety of changes that reflect what they consider to be the “maturity” of the LPFM service, and also “allows LPFM stations more options for changes and presents them in a manner that is respectful to Commission policy and decorum and does not put the grant of any existing cross-service FM translator license at risk.”

In the petition’s conclusion, Bradley urges the commission to “adopt this rulemaking and help move LPFM forward to the next generation in a manner that strikes a balance between community need and crowded spectrum while respecting the status quo.”

Read the full petition online here.

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Filers have expressed concern about difficulties of prepping info for filing

WASHINGTON — To gather more accurate information about existing earth stations and to better determine if access to the 3.7–4.2 GHz band should be expanded, the Federal Communications Commission is giving fixed-satellite service earth stations more time to detail their current usage of C Band spectrum.

Back in April of this year, four FCC bureaus issued a Public Notice announcing a temporary freeze on the filing of new or modification applications for FSS earth station licenses, FSS receive-only earth station registrations and fixed microwave licenses in the 3.7–4.2 GHz frequency band. This was done to give the FCC an accurate snapshot of the C Band landscape. The commission is looking into the feasibility of permitting terrestrial broadband use within this band and will consider an Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on this issue at its July Open Meeting.

Since the beginning of the freeze, however, many parties have shared their concerns with the FCC about the volume of unregistered earth stations and the difficulties that many of these operators may be facing in preparing information for filing.

These parties indicate that without some relief, many operators will be unable to satisfy the filing deadline and the commission will be without accurate information for its deliberations in the midband proceeding,” the FCC said in a public notice released June 21 .

As a result, the International Bureau has extended the 90-day filing date for an additional 90 days — until October 17 — in order to provide operators with more time to file applications. Keep in mind that only earth stations constructed and operational as of April 19, are eligible for filing during this window.

That original 90-day filing window was due to expire on July 18.The FCC also waived the coordination report requirement for the duration of the freeze and clarified that applications to register multiple FSS antennas in this band (those located at the same location) may be filed by using a single registration form and paying a single fee. The bureau also announced that those who are registering a large number of geographically diverse earth stations can submit a single network license to ease issues with batch filing.

The National Association of Broadcasters has been vocal in expressing its concerns about sharing C Band spectrum with wireless operators. In a filing submitted earlier this month, the NAB urged the commission to require proponents of expanded use to submit specific and detailed technical proposals to the commission. “That is the only way to allow stakeholders to provide informed comments and analysis to guide the commission’s decision-making process,” the NAB said.

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Potential job seekers can register to obtain free entry to the Career Fair and Exhibit Hall


WASHINGTON — September’s Radio Show will feature a Career Fair, Sept. 27 from 12–3 p.m., hosted by the National Association of Broadcasters Educational Foundation and the Broadcast Education Foundation.

A release said, “The Career Fair will provide experienced professionals and entry-level job seekers the opportunity to network with major radio companies. Employment opportunities include radio sales, technology, management and on-air positions, among others.”

Potential job seekers can register here using code CF18 to obtain free entry to the Career Fair and Radio Show Exhibit Hall.

Companies interested in participating can secure a booth for $200 by completing an online recruiter registration form . All recruiters receive Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) credit for their participation.

Radio Show, produced by the NAB and RAB, will be held Sept. 25–28 at the Hilton Bonnet Creek and the Waldorf-Astoria Orlando.

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Licensee allegedly failed to state that station operated at unauthorized power for more than a year

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission issued a notice of apparent forfeiture to a Michigan FM licensee for alleged unauthorized operation, a late-filed special temporary authority request and failure to disclose key information.

The problem seems to have started with flooding. Licensee Roy E. Henderson filed a silent STA application in February 2015 due to an incident of flooding at station WBNZ(FM) in Frankfort, Mich. He told the FCC that WBNZ was forced off the air in January 2015 when a broken frozen water main caused damage and interior flooding to the station. The station would need to remain off the air until repair needs could be determined, he told the commission.

As part of its investigation, the FCC asked for updates on the station’s operational status, but issues arose during the course of the investigation — including a late reply from Henderson regarding exactly when the station came back on the air, initially insufficient proof about how long the station has been off the air, and the revelation that the station was operating at reduced power.

The bureau found that while the station had not been silent for more than a year, the station had operated at an unauthorized power level. The station also failed to request an STA in a timely manner to operate at this reduced power level.

“Licensee merely stated that ‘WBNZ is currently operating at the reduced power of 1.4 kW,’ but failed to state that, in fact, the station had been operated with that unauthorized power reduction for nearly 17 months before filing the engineering STA application,” the FCC said.

After researching the issue, the Media Bureau found three infractions: that Henderson willfully and repeatedly operated WBNZ at variance from its license without commission authority; that he failed to timely file an STA; and he failed to disclose material information regarding the unauthorized operations.

The bureau concluded that Henderson is liable for a monetary forfeiture of $18,000 for the violations.

Specifically, the bureau proposed a $10,000 forfeiture for unauthorized operation, $3,000 for failing to timely file the required STA, and $5,000 for failing to disclose a material fact in the engineering STA — namely that Henderson failed to reveal that the station had been operated with an unauthorized power reduction for nearly 17 months before filing an STA.

Henderson has 30 days to pay the full amount or to file a written statement seeking reduction or cancellation of the proposed forfeiture.

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The Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement Act provides additional tools to the FCC to address illegal radio operations

WASHINGTON — The PIRATE Act is one step closer to becoming law.

On June 13, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology unanimously voted to pass the PIRATE Act, otherwise known as the Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement Act, which provides additional tools to the Federal Communications Commission to address illegal pirate radio operations.

FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly applauded the move, which sends a “clear message that pirate radio ‘stations’ must be eliminated,” he said. “This bill rightfully increases the penalties, requires regular enforcement sweeps, and augments the tools available to the commission to stop illegal pirate broadcasters.

“Today’s mark-up is an important step forward in ensuring the PIRATE Act becomes law and I look forward to seeing the bill take the next step in the legislative process,” O’Rielly continued. 

The decision was also supported by the National Association of Broadcasters, who saluted co-authors Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.) and Rep. Mike Tonko (D-N.Y.) for their bipartisan sponsorship of the legislation.

“The bipartisan legislation will increase the ability of the FCC to crack down on pirate activity by increasing fines, streamlining enforcement and placing liability those who facilitate illegal radio broadcasts,” said NAB Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton.

The bill now heads to the Energy and Commerce committee for consideration.

As reported in Radio World, the PIRATE Act proposes to hike the fine for violations to as much as $100,000 per day, with a maximum fine of $2 million. The rules currently allow the FCC to impose a maximum daily penalty of about $19,200 per day.

The bill has been endorsed by several groups including the New Jersey Broadcasters Association and New York State Broadcasters Association, with association President David Donovan telling lawmakers at a subcommittee hearing earlier this year that illegal operators are undermining the nation’s Emergency Alert System, causing invasive and insidious interference, posing potential public health problems due to overexposure to radio frequency radiation, and interfering with airport communications.

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This year’s event has double the learning opportunities, planners say


WASHINGTON — Government Video Expo planners have announced “an expanded schedule of live sessions in two theaters on the expo floor.”

“Not only are we focusing on the latest technology from the video and AV/IT marketplaces, but we are also looking at future-facing opportunities and best practices in order to give attendees a multidimensional experience they can’t find anywhere else,” Future B2B U.S. Chief Content Officer Joe Territo said in a press release.

According to the announcement, attendees will learn about trends, build skills and broaden their professional network.

Programmed by the content directors of Government Video, TV Technology, Digital Video and the Creative Planet Network, sessions on the show floor are intended for audiences active in video production, broadcast and professional AV, with topics including:

  • Emerging production/post-production video technologies;
  • Business strategies for media professionals;
  • Immersive journalism and new storytelling tools;
  • Production advances for higher education;
  • Live event and streaming production;
  • Virtual reality and its potential in education and enterprise;
  • 2019 professional and consumer technology trends;
  • Drone/UAV photography.

Headlining this year will be a keynote conversation with PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff. She will discuss the media climate of 2018 and her high-profile role in it.

“We’ll explore how video technology is transforming government, education and business, creating incredible potential for the professionals, manufacturers and service providers serving this ever-expanding market,” said Future B2B U.S. Managing Director of Content Paul McLane.

The 23rd GV Expo will be collocated with DC Post|Production Conference and the Government Learning Technology Symposium and is scheduled for Nov. 27–29 at Washington’s Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Registration for the event opened in mid-May.

The event is produced by Future US, an information and event producer for the professional communications, entertainment and education technology markets.

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The company just received clearance from India’s Department of Telecommunications to acquire almost 9,000 towers from Idea Cellular


AMSTERDAM — You probably think that American Tower is big here in the US, but do you know about the company’s presence in 16 other international markets?

American Tower just received clearance from India’s Department of Telecommunications to acquire almost 9,000 towers from Idea Cellular for a total of INR40 billion ($584 million) according to developingtelecoms.com . The closing of this deal will mean that the company has completed the second and final stage of its acquisition of 20,000 towers from Idea and Vodafone India. Just last month, the government approved American Tower buying around 11,000 towers from Vodafone for a sum of INR38.5 billion.

After this recent acquisition, ATC now operates some 68,000 towers across India, according to rcrwireless.com .

“Notably, there is a rising trend of telecom companies to shrug off the tower infrastructure to wireless infrastructure companies like American Tower, Crown Castle International Corp and SBA Communications Corp. This is because it helps telecom companies to avoid huge outlay of money in maintaining the expensive infrastructure and rather channelize resources on service delivery,” according to Nasdaq.com

American Tower is also set to acquire transmission towers from Telkom Kenya — as part of the company’s expansion plans — and the Kenya market will represent the company’s fifth in Africa and the 17th globally; the company also has a presence in The Netherlands, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, France, Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru.

Up to 723 transmission towers will be purchased for an undisclosed amount, according to the same article. 

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Revolabs Gets Name Change

The company is now known as Yamaha Unified Communications Inc.

HAMAMATSU, Japan ―Audio and teleconferencing technology company Revolabs Inc. has been renamed, reflecting its position as a U.S. subsidiary of Yamaha Corp.

Effective June 1, the Sudbury, Mass.-based company is now known as Yamaha Unified Communications Inc. According to the announcement, “Yamaha has changed the corporate name of Revolabs to clearly indicate its relationship with the Yamaha Group.”

[Read about Revolabs’ five-wire mics feature local and remote mute functionality and LED status indicator.]

The company was founded in 2005 and was brought under the Yamaha umbrella in 2014 as a wholly owned subsidiary. Its principal lines of business are described as “development, manufacturing, and marketing of remote conferencing systems and wireless microphone systems.”

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He is a longtime Democratic official and former Obama administration appointee



Geoffrey Starks

WASHINGTON — As expected, the White House has named FCC Enforcement Bureau official Geoffrey Starks to succeed Mignon Clyburn as Democratic FCC Commissioner.

The White House has signaled its intention to nominate Starks to the seat currently held by Democrat Mignon Clyburn, FCC chairman Ajit Pai has confirmed.

This White House has hardly treated convention with kid gloves, but traditionally, at least since President Bill Clinton, the Democratic pick for the FCC comes from the Senate minority leader, which was the case here, with Starks the pick of Sen. Chuck Schumer.

Starks is currently in the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, which is not a typical launching pad for a commission seat, like, say, a Hill communications counsel would be, though the most recent Republican addition, Brendan Carr, came directly from the FCC as well.

“I congratulate Geoffrey Starks on his forthcoming nomination to serve as a Commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission,” said Pai in a statement. “He has a distinguished record of public service, including in the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, and I wish him all the best during the confirmation process.”

That will be a hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee, then a vote in the full Senate.

“NAB strongly supports President Trump’s selection of Geoffrey Starks to a seat on the Federal Communications Commission,” said National Association of Broadcasters President Gordon Smith. We endorse his swift confirmation.”

Starks has an impressive Democratic résumé.

He is currently assistant bureau chief at the FCC and is focused on “closing the digital divide by bringing more broadband to underserved communities; building transformational 5G infrastructure to help deliver the largest wireless platform for innovation in the world; and advancing broadband telemedicine programs to improve access to quality medical services and health outcomes.”

Starks has an undergraduate degree from Harvard and a law degree from Yale. He also founded a community bank.

Like FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, he grew up in Kansas, though in the city rather than a small town.

His wife is Lauren Thompson Starks, a former Obama appointee. Starks is also a former staffer to then Sen. Barack Obama and a former attorney with Williams & Connolly in Washington.

His Obama-era government service includes serving under Attorney General Eric Holder at Justice, including as the lead on financial and healthcare fraud.

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The FAA and NTSB are investigating the fatal accident

CANADIAN COUNTY, Okla. — According to local news reports, a cropduster pilot has died after his small aircraft made contact with a Tyler Media 12,000 ft. radio tower north of El Reno, Okla., around 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

According to reporter Kelsy Schlotthauer, the tower then “broke into several pieces and the plane crashed into trees nearby.”

The tower broadcast Oklahoma City Spanish-language station KTUZ(FM) “La Zeta,” which is temporarily airing its programming on sister station 96.5 FM, according to a Facebook post.

KTEN also reports that the pilot has been identified as Andy Deterding of Andy Deterding Ag Aviation.

News 9’s Steve Shaw also writes that Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Mat Conway said the plane landed in a nearby creek bed and caught fire, to which the Okarche Fire Department and Piedmont Fire Department responded.

Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board officials have begun to investigate the incident, with a preliminary report expected in the next week, according to NTSB Spokesman Terry Williams.

Watch a video of the aftermath here.

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