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.

Check Your EAS Set-up

On October 24, 2014, there was an unauthorized playing of the national emergency alert notification (EAN) tones during a syndicated radio broadcast.  These tones were a retransmission from the original EAN test conducted on Nov 9, 2011. There is a possibility that Digital Alerting Systems’ DASDEC units may have stored the recent unauthorized EAN and will retransmit on November 9 when the date/time stamp becomes valid.  Digital Alerting Systems has published a Field Service Bulletin on this matter, http://www.digitalalertsystems.com/pdf/DAS%20FSB-103014R1.0.pdf. If you are using a DASDEC system version 2.5 or earlier, AND if you are located in any area where this syndicated programming was broadcast on your EAS monitoring source/station, we suggest that you read the Field Service Bulletin for more information and for the company’s instructions on how to proceed. If you use another manufacturer’s  EAS equipment, we recommend you contact them if you have any questions.

(It’s very unlikely the recent national error event propagated to San Diego, and checking a client DASDEC unit, I found no stored national EAN’s. However, it’s a good time to check your configuration to turn on Strict Time if available on your device’s configuration. –ed)

SBE to Expand Membership Scope, Support

The Society of Broadcast Engineers announced October 8 it will work to attract and serve those who work in technical broadcast and media related positions, in addition to its traditional broadcast engineering membership base. SBE president, Joe Snelson, CPBE, 8-VSB, made the announcement in his address during the Society’s 50th anniversary Annual Membership Meeting held at the Turning Stone Resort, in Central New York State.    Continue reading SBE to Expand Membership Scope, Support

SBE National Board to Include Schecter

Past San Diego market Director of Engineering for Lincoln Financial Media, Eric Schecter was voted into a seat on the SBE Board of Directors last month. He’ll serve two years. Eric served as Chairman in San Diego in 2006 and later in Phoenix, where he’s Director of Engineering for the CBS radio cluster.

Re-elected to second terms in office were President Joe Snelson, CPBE, of Las Vegas; Vice President, CPBE, of Greenville, SC; Secretary Jim Leifer, CPBE, of Boynton Beach, FL; and Treasurer Andrea Cummis, CBT/CTO of Roseland, NJ.

SBE at the NAB Show

Every year I look forward to the NAB Show. It’s this great change from the daily grind where I get to see old friends and new technologies, often in the booths at the very back of the exhibit halls. And the parties. Did you see Kool and the Gang at the CNN party a few years ago? Wow.

My first was in 1983, when the big exhibitors were RCA and Ampex, both showing off their amazing new 1″ tape machines, their commercial playing robotics systems, and Plumbicon low definition cameras with $30 – $100K price tags.

This year will be #30, after having missed a couple of years in the middle.

The SBE has some great stuff planned for this year. If you have time for nothing else, please make time for the 50th Anniversary Open House Tuesday. And did I mention certification points for attendance?

2014 Ennes Program at the NAB Show  

The annual Ennes Program opens the NAB Broadcast Engineering Conference at 8 am on Saturday, April 5, and runs until 5 pm. The program theme is “Best Engineering Practices,” and includes a diverse list of topics and subject matter experts.

SBE Meetings and Events at the 2014 NAB Show Saturday, April 5
SBE National Frequency Coordination Committee Meeting
3:00pm – 5:00pm, Conference Room 8, Las Vegas Hotel

 

Sunday, April 6
SBE Board of Directors Meeting*
8:30 am-12:00 pm, Conference Rooms 8-9, Las Vegas Hotel 

Tuesday, April 8
SBE Certification Exams
Must be pre-registered
9:00 am-12:00 pm, Conference Rooms 9-10, Las Vegas Hotel

SBE Frequency Coordinators Meeting
8:30-10:30 am, Conference Rooms 13-14, Las Vegas Hotel

SBE Membership Meeting
5:30-6:30 pm, Room S225, LVCC

SBE 50th Anniversary Reception
6:30-8:30 pm, Room S219, LVCC