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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.