San Diego to Get Franken-FM

The FCC awarded Venture Technologies Group of Los Angeles a Construction Permit to build an analog channel 6 VHF “Franken-FM” transmitter on Mt. Palomar. KRPE-LP is to be licensed for 3kW Visual Power with a two-element Scala yagi antenna, a move from Murrieta. Neither their FCC CP nor database query record specify antenna polarization nor whether they are in the Mexican border zone. XETV held channel 6 from 1953 until they left the air with all other Tijuana stations in June of 2015.

If you’re not familiar with the term, Franken-FM refers to TV stations built on channel 6 analog with the purpose of using only their aural carrier on 87.75 MHz since it’s tunable on just about any FM receiver. Venture currently owns Franken-FM units in Los Angeles, San Jose, Chico, and Redding. Some VTG stations have LMA’s allowing other broadcasters to rent them.

Venture is also installing a new channel 17 low power digital outlet, KRPE-LD, on Red Mountain above Fallbrook. Curiously, the city of license is listed as South Park, CA.

Mexican TV Stations Introduce New Virtual Channel Numbers

On October 27th, Mexican TV stations aligned their virtual channel numbers with their network identifications. After re-scanning channels, you’ll find, for example, XHTJB Tijuana, physical channel 21, identifies now as 11-1 since it broadcasts Canal Once from Mexico City, replacing its most recent virtual channel number as 3-1. That last number had been its analog channel. XHJK, Azteca 13, physical channel 28, now identifies as 1-1.

Not all stations along the border are following this protocol. Tijuana’s Canal Las Estrellas, slated to be 2-1 throughout most of Mexico, was still 57-1 when last scanned. Stations were not re-identified if it was believed their virtual channel number would conflict with a US virtual channel ID.

US TV stations in major O&O markets at one time aligned their TV channel allocations with their mother networks. CBS stations signed on channel 2, NBC channel 4, DuMont channel 5, and ABC channel 7 wherever they could.

November 2016 Meeting: Lawo and the Virtual Radio Station

When broadcasters swap CD’s, cart machines, turntables and audio consoles for PC-based digital playout, mixing & processing systems, we call that Virtual Radio. At our next meeting, guest speaker Bill Bennett, Lawo’s Radio Applications lead in the U.S., will describe virtualization in greater detail by outlining the real applications in use today.  He’ll explore how broadcasters may now reap operational benefits and gains by capitalizing on I.T.’s investment in R&D and will discuss virtualization’s anticipated role in content creation and broadcast workflow in the future.

Bill Bennett, Applications Lead, Lawo USA
Bill Bennett, Applications Lead, Lawo USA

Virtual Radio is a hot topic. A recent episode of This Week in Radio Tech (TWiRT) featured a Lawo presentation on this topic. How did they conduct their broadcast interview? Virtually, of course!

Lawo is a provider of virtual radio products, digital mixing consoles, routing systems, video solutions and turnkey systems for the professional broadcast industry. Their equipment is utilized by TV and radio stations, production companies, and theaters worldwide.

Bill Bennett made his presentation Wednesday, November 9th, 2016 at iHeartMedia, San Diego before a sizable audience of local broadcast engineers.

About the Presenter

Bill Bennett has been a long time audio engineer and project manager, leading media venue technical set-up teams for several Olympics. He’s also managed NBA, NHL, and regional events. He joined Lawo last year.

 

September Lunch ‘n’ Learn: AIMS – The Way You’re Going to Do Video Production Over IP

With all the discussion regarding studio video over IP, it gets a little nutty to try and sort out all the players trying to move the industry forward.  Scott Barella, Deputy Chairman of the AIMS (Alliance for IP Media Solutions) Technical Work Group and the new CTO of Utah Scientific will explain the progress of IP video and how the standards groups of SMPTE, EBU, AES as well as industry groups such as VSF and AIMS are working together to help move the IP initiative forward.

He will also review the key differences of SMPTE 2022-6/7 and TR-03/04 and what the engineers are doing behind the scenes to make it all work together.

Scott will then also share where Utah Scientific is in their development of some key products enhancing existing systems that are raising a few eyebrows.

Join us for this bonus meeting Wednesday, September 21, at 12 noon at KFMB Stations, 7677 Engineer Road. Utah Scientific will pick up the tab for lunch.  This is truly bleeding edge information that we’re lucky to see the day before the presentation is made in L.A.

September 2016 Meeting: BDI On Transmissions Parts

Something we don’t talk a lot about are the precision electro-mechanical devices we use at the transmitter–the RF power metering, RF switch control, dummy loads, and so on. What goes into this gear? What’s the state of the art? We intend to take the wraps off this wizardry at this month’s SBE meeting. Bob Tarsio, President of Broadcast Devices Incorporated, will present information about the advanced devices used in transmitter plant infrastructure.

Bob spoke Wednesday, September 14th at KGTV in San Diego before a number of local engineers.

Bob’s been at BDI since 2002, when he left a 20 year stint at Viacom as their Director of Engineering. Earlier, he was a radio Chief Engineer at what was WLTW/WAXQ in New York.

Making Waves Editorial: To Chill or Not to Chill

In August 1980 I was in my second year of TV engineering at KTVZ Bend when my boss Jess Ortega and I were to be on a live, local call-in TV show at 7pm at the station, talking about TV reception. About 30 minutes before air time, the transmitter dumped. As in—we were off-the-air. We jumped into the truck dressed in our suits, drove to the transmitter site, and were able to immediately put it back on-the-air because it had cooled during our drive. The show was re-scheduled for the next evening. Continue reading Making Waves Editorial: To Chill or Not to Chill

Homegrown Pico Digital to Talk About Their Station in a Box

Many, if not most, radio stations these days have an Xpress box to bring them some flavor of satellite-delivered content, whether a talk show or syndicated music broadcast. But did you know these receivers are made in San Diego? Did you know they can be programmed to operate as self-contained radio automation systems? What can networks do with these store-and-forward devices?

Damon will talk about their watermarking and monitoring technology as well.

Pico Digital started as Pico Macom in 1969, selling TV modulators and related RF devices for the cable TV and hospitality markets. They still make and sell sophisticated cable RF modulators, but have widened their offerings to include radio and TV IRDs.

Damon Semprebon of Pico Digital will give a talk on the capabilities of the Xpress line of receivers and other Pico products of interest to TV and radio broadcasts Wednesday, August 10th at 12 noon at KFMB, 7677 Engineer Road in San Diego. We’ll have a small lunch provided by Pico Digital, then the presentation. Members and guests welcome.

About Our Presenter

Damon Semprebon has 30 years experience in technical project management, product development, and other technical services. Before coming to Pico Digital a year ago, he spent 25 years at the San Diego company variously known as Comstream, Tiernan, Radyne, Comtech, and International Datacasting.

Gangitano Rejoins KFMB

John Gangitano recently returned to KFMB Stations as Broadcast Engineer.

John Gangitano, KFMB
John Gangitano, KFMB

He had specialized in IT services during his stay from 2006 to 2008 and left to join L-3 Communications during the recession. He has over 16 years of widely varied IT and broadcast experience in San Diego, and has an MA in Educational Technology and BS in Business Administration from SDSU.

Scottie Rice to Take CE Helm at KSDS

Scottie Rice KOGO BasementScottie Rice will take the Chief Engineer job at City College’s KSDS and Radio, Television, and Film Department August 1st, 2016, the position left vacant after Larry Quick’s recent arrest on theft charges. Scottie has served as staff broadcast engineer at KFMB Stations since 2011, but also working part-time as engineer at KSDS. Since filling in, Scottie has made a noticeable improvement in audio processing at KSDS.

Before his stint at KFMB, he had worked for two years at Clear Channel with John Rigg, and at KHOU-TV in Houston.

Larry Quick is serving a probation term for theft of City College property.

Gary Stigall is Scottie’s supervisor at KFMB and wishes Scottie great success at KSDS. 

July 2016 Meeting: Tour the New NBC Plant

On July 22nd, 2016, SBE Chapter 36 toured the new KNSD/Comcast NBC plant on Granite Ridge Drive in San Diego.

The new KNSD
The new KNSD – NBC Universal TV San Diego

They showed off:

  • Ross automation assist production room with extensive multiviewers,
  • A news studio with Ross robotics,
  • Spacious server room with computer flooring and hot and cold aisle HVAC
  • Big maintenance shop with conference room outfitted with multiviewers
  • Newsroom with assignment desk in the round

All sales, news, and administrative personnel operated in shared space divided by cubicles with acoustic ceilings and shared offices available for private phone calls.

 

Many thanks to KNSD Director of Technology and Operations Dave MacKinnon for setting this up for us, and to Ross for lunch pizza. We had such great response, the group was divided into two dates.

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.