Category Archives: National

FCC Issues TV Spectrum Auction Results

The FCC today announced both the winners of the spectrum auction and the station winners of cash.

There are surprises

FCC LogoSomehow it seems just wrong to have such classic stations as WNBC-TV New York go dark, taking their $214-million auction winnings with them. Just so you don’t get too teary-eyed, they will be able to channel share with their superior signal from Comcast O&O sister WNJU. Comcast stations in Chicago and Philadelphia will also shut down and multiplex with their NBC sister stations. For more information, see the FCCBroadcasting & Cable and TV Technology sites.

The biggest spenders in the auction:

  • T-Mobile at $8-billion,
  • Dish Network (“ParkerB.com”) second at $6.2-billion
  • Comcast (“CC Wireless Investment”) at $1.7-billion
  • AT&T at $910-million

Interestingly, Verizon did not participate.

In San Diego DMA 28

Locally, the big money winners were KSEX-LD getting over $34.7-million and K35DG (UCSD-TV) getting $24-million to each shut down their operations. Also,

  • KBNT-CD will move from channel 25 to 24
  • KNSD-TV 40 will move from channel 40 to 17
  • KPBS-TV will move from channel 30 to 19
  • KSWB-TV will move from channel 19 to 26

You may ask yourself why make unnecessary moves? Why not just have KPBS take channel 26 and KSWB stay on 19? It has to do with the pre-determined rules on how stations were going to shuffle. Preference is given to a channel change over a loss in population coverage. KSWB was going to lose a thousand or so viewers, so bingo, they get a new channel along with a new antenna, filters, and possibly a transmitter funded by auction proceeds.

Low power UHF broadcasters on channels 38 – 50 like KSDY-LD will have to wait until the FCC opens a window allowing change applications and hope they can get spectrum. There is no guarantee and no compensation offered.

Meanwhile In Los Angeles DMA 2

If you were wondering how LA was going to fit in all those TV stations, wonder no more. Most are going to shut down for good. Ethnic viewers may lose out in the short-term, though ATSC 3.0 will allow stations to multicast like never before, and TV cable with switched digital service and FTA satellite serve those constituents well.

  • KAZA-TV will go off-air for $91.1-million
  • KBEH will go off-air for $146-million
  • KCBS 43 will move to channel 31
  • KDOC-TV Anaheim will get $66.6-million to move to channel 12
  • KESQ-TV 42 Palm Springs will move to channel 28
  • KILM will go off-air for $76.5-million
  • KJLA will go off-air for $135.5-million
  • KLCS (LA Unified School District) will go off-air for $130.5-million
  • KMIR 46 Palm Springs will move to channel 26
  • KNET-CD will go off-air for $53.7-million
  • KNLA-CD 50 will move to channel 32
  • KOCE-TV 48 (PBS) will go off-air for $138-million
  • KPXN-TV 38 will move to channel 24
  • KRCA will go off-air for $142-million
  • KSFV-CD 23 will go off-air for $64-million
  • KTLA 31 will move to channel 35
  • KVCR-DT 26 (PBS San Bernardino-Riverside) will move to channel 5 for $157-million
  • KWHY-TV 42 will move to channel 4

Not all low power stations are listed for the Los Angeles DMA.

No Chapter 36 Meeting in April – See You at the NAB Show!

The Society of Broadcast Engineers has a busy schedule this year at the NAB Show in Las Vegas April 22 – 27.

Saturday, April 22, SBE hosts the annual day-long Ennes Workshop, with a selection of technical presentations–a mix of new technologies and applications of old technologies.

Visit the NAB Booth in the Las Vegas Convention Center North Hall Upper Deck (new location) starting Monday April 24 to check out the books, answer questions, and enter a daily drawing for prizes.

Tuesday they have the Spring Membership Meeting, a fast-moving update of SBE business with a prize drawing at the end. A Member Reception follows with snacks and door prizes.

SBE IRLP HAMnet Tonight

Tonight is the bimonthly SBE HAMnet that originates in Denver but broadcasts on Echolink for everyone to listen/participate.

We hope to have this linked into our repeater soon but for tonight join them on Echolink.

More Info:

The SBE IRLP (Internet Repeater Linking Project) HAMnet is today (Monday), at 9 p.m. US ET (6 p.m. US PT) and worldwide via IRLP reflector 9615.

The SBE IRLP HAMnet uses the Denver-based N0PQV repeater 145.340, IRLP node #3350. The SBE IRLP Reflector, Node 9615, is now connected to the world via Echolink using a computer as well as via radio. This reflector is also connected full time to the WA2CBS repeater in New York City.

We hope you’ll join us.

-Matt

FCC Proposes Permissive Use of ATSC 3.0

The FCC last week issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would give TV stations the right to use ATSC 3.0. This was made in response to a petition made in April 2016 by a consortium of Public Television, NAB, the Consumer Technology Association, and the AWARN Alliance.FCC Logo

There are several catches, however. One would require stations to continue broadcasting in ATSC 1.0 as they do now. The other is that manufacturers would not be required to produce equipment that could be used to decode the signals. The likelihood that broadcasters would use the technology is near zero, especially due to upcoming TV spectrum repacking that will use all available bandwidth in just about every market. A third hurdle is that consumers would have to bear the cost of converting the ATSC 3.0 signals to something usable with present TV sets.

Broadcasters and manufacturers will have an opportunity in the coming months to comment on the NPRM.

FCC Launches EAS Test Reporting System

The FCC EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS) is up and running. The system is for EAS participants to file identifying information, day of test data, and post-test data related to a nationwide test. The ETRS provides several new features that ease the data-entry burden on EAS participants, encourage timely filings, and minimize input errors. The ETRS also offers new data fields that are responsive to stakeholder comments.

Read more about the new system at the SBE website.

FCC Auction: What Will You Do With Your $221-Million?

When the FCC published on October 16 the TV spectrum auction starting prices, you have to believe a number of San Diego station general managers were dreaming of what they would do with the money. KSWB-TV had the highest listed price for abandoning its channel 19 spot at $221.5-million. All infomercial low power broadcaster KSEX-CD came in at $146-million. K35DG-D, the 300 watt flamethrower of UCSD’s has a starting bid of $91-million. Continue reading FCC Auction: What Will You Do With Your $221-Million?

San Diego FCC Field Office to Close in Compromise Plan

The FCC Enforcement Bureau July 16th adopted a plan to keep more field offices open than originally proposed, but San Diego still did not make the cut, instead relying on services from the Los Angeles office. The FCC came under fire for its planned reduction in force from Greg Walden of the House of Representatives and from the SBE and broadcast industry lobbyists concerned about piracy and RF noise sources. The FCC responded to Congressional inquiries with a letter and Q & A document outlining their reasoning for the cutbacks.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler responded to concerns about staffing in May, defending their plans to close offices, citing analysis that showed poor efficiency of services. SBE President Joe Snelson, in a Radio World interview, said their own input regarding field services indicated critically overworked staff, though he said they could not analyze the input  from consultants regarding their recommendations because they were not made public.

Precise closure dates have not been announced.

 

Importance of Proper Grounding Webinar

The “Importance of Proper Grounding” SBE webinar will be presented on Thursday, July 23 at 2 p.m. ET. The one-hour program will review the elements of a building’s wiring and grounding systems (including lightning protection) that pertain to power quality at communications facilities and improve up-time. Proper wiring and grounding, beyond those minimal requirements of the NEC, can greatly alleviate power quality problems in broadcast and public service communications facilities. These improvements can be very cost-effective, usually simple in description, and help prevent costly downtime and equipment damage. The presentation concentrates on actual experiences at broadcast facilities where grounding and lightning protection were of paramount importance in maintaining system availability.

Continue reading Importance of Proper Grounding Webinar

Scott Mason Remembered

We learned that Scott Mason, SBE board member and longtime KROQ chief engineer and air personality died Sunday morning, April 19.

San Diego members may not know Scott, though we had a highly attended meeting a few years ago in which we had emergency and FCC monitoring vehicles on display at Clear Channel studios. Scott hauled from Los Angeles the regional CBS Radio emergency backup trailer outfitted with transmitters and antennas, and gave an educational tour.

Scott Mason
Scott Mason

He served on the SBE Board of Directors for many years and I was lucky enough to have served with him from 2012 to 2014. He was always generous of his time, having been not only as a leader for Los Angeles SBE Chapter 47, but for Boy Scouts and for Red Cross first aid classes. His most recent title at CBS Radio was West Coast Regional Engineering Director.

What fascinated me was his history at KROQ (FM) in LA. Since 1979, he served both as an on-air personality and engineer. He hosted “Love Line” until quite recently.

But Scott had health problems and went through a kidney transplant in 2013. It was quite a story, with a CBS Radio co-worker supplying the kidney. He did not look healthy and happy at our last meeting.

You can read more about Scott at a memorial page created in his honor at KROQ.CBSlocal.com.

FCC Memo Says San Diego Field Office May Close

Articles in Radio World and ARRL websites last week each quote internal FCC memos saying the Enforcement Bureau is set to reduce its field staff by half and close two-thirds of its field offices, including the one in San Diego. In the memo, EB Chief Travis LeBlanc and FCC Managing Director Jon Wilkins said the Bureau needed to take “a fresh look” at its 20-year-old operating model in light of technology changes and tighter budgets.

Under the plan, in the southwest, the Los Angeles field office would remain open, and Phoenix would have detection equipment in place but San Diego’s office would permanently close.

Part of the staff reduction plan would include creating a “Tiger Team” of agents “flexible enough to support other high-priority initiatives.” Under the plan, all field agents would have engineering backgrounds “to support the primary focus on RF spectrum enforcement.”

Apparently management would not be immune from the cuts, with director positions shrinking from 21 to 5, and administrative support positions from 10 down to 3.