The FCC Wants Comments on “Franken-FMs”

The Media Bureau of the FCC issued a Public Notice last week seeking comment on whether channel 6 analog LPTV stations should be able to continue to operate after the deadline to switch to digital.

FCC Logo

Even after the 2009 TV broadcast transition to digital, the FCC allowed LPTVs to continue to broadcast in analog until 12 months after the completion of the post-incentive auction repack, due for a July 3, 2020 completion. This means LPTVs would have to make the digital switch by July 3, 2021.

This aural service on TV channel 6 has taken the perjorative term “Franken-FM” due to the distorted analog TV broadcast technology that boosts the power of the FM aural carrier, increases the modulation, sets the pre-emphasis to match that of the FM broadcast band, and usually runs a video slide show or fixed graphic in the visual portion of the signal. This is all done to add an FM station to the market. Venture Technologies, based in Los Angeles, has placed these stations all over the country, including KRPE-LP in San Diego, on Mt. San Miguel. Most home and car radios can receive this signal on 87.75 MHz, and such stations generate marketing materials promoting “87.7 FM.” Venture Technologies leases its signals to third-party programmers.

Comments must be in to the FCC 45 days after the comments solicitation is published in the Federal Register.

Continue reading The FCC Wants Comments on “Franken-FMs”

FCC Proposes Allowing All-digital AM

Making Waves – Commentary

The Federal Communications Commission last week adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that recommends giving AM stations the flexibility to voluntarily adopt all-digital broadcasting.

FCC LogoIt hasn’t been easy to watch AM broadcasting slowly wither as stations go mute after low listenership and sales. It seems like every week we hear of another AM station downing its towers and selling its land to housing developments.

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai has taken a special interest in doing what he can to prop up AM broadcasters, first with his initiative that gave them some access to low-power FM translator channels, with mixed results that, in fact, did nothing for the actual AM spectrum.

Should AM stations be given the right to adopt all-digital modulation? Continue reading FCC Proposes Allowing All-digital AM

Annual Holiday Luncheon at 94th Aero Squadron

Another year is coming to an end–can you believe it? December is the month we set aside for a simple sit-down lunch to catch up with each other. No agenda, no presentation. 

Please join us at the annual Society of Broadcast Engineers, San Diego Chapter 36 holiday banquet, Wednesday, December 18 at 12 noon at the 94th Aero Squadron, 8885 Balboa Avenue, San Diego. Note that we’ll be on the covered-protected outdoor patio. Everyone is welcome. Dielectric and RF Specialties of California are sponsoring this luncheon–no charge to you.

RSVP to rsvp@sbe36.org.

FCC Grants 60-day Grace Period for IPAWS Update

According to a Public Notice from the FCC, EAS participants will not have to update their IPAWS certificates by the November 8, 2019 deadline. 

FEMA and some EAS participants expressed concern over the timeframe, saying that it was not sufficient time. As a result, the FCC issued the public notice to inform EAS participants about Section 11.35(b) of the commission’s rules, which allow for operations to continue “without the defective equipment pending its repair or replacement for 60 days without further FCC authority.”

EAS participants will have until January 7, 2020 to complete the IPAWS certificate updates.

Instructions for updating certificates for the DASDEC EAS devices are here

Users of SAGE EAS equipment should have completed a software update by now. More information is here. If you haven’t already, you need to purchase the software update for $349, and SCMS is a dealer. 

November 20 Meeting: IP Networking Fundamentals with IEEE/BTS

This month we have the honor of being invited to share a meeting with the Broadcast Technology Society of the IEEE San Diego Chapter.

Wayne Pecena

Wayne Pecena, the current President of the SBE and a talented teacher, will lead a session on networking for the broadcast plant.

This presentation will review IP networking fundamentals and underlying standards to focus on the implementation of Ethernet switching and IP routing. “When to route and when to switch?”–that is the question. Theoretical concepts will be presented with considerations for network performance, security, and management utilizing practical implementation examples in a broadcast plant IP network.

Join us and the IEEE on Wednesday, November 20, 2019 at Advanced Test Equipment Rentals, 10401 Roselle St., in Sorrento Valley, San Diego. Networking, food, and refreshments start at 5:30 PM. The presentation starts at 6:00 PM and is expected to last about 90 minutes. This is an evening meeting.

The meeting is free for SBE and IEEE members, $5 for non-members. Everyone is welcome.

RSVP to Murat Karsi, BTS San Diego Chapter Co-chair at mkarsi@ieee.org.

Continue reading November 20 Meeting: IP Networking Fundamentals with IEEE/BTS

Society of Broadcast Engineers, San Diego