FCC Cites San Diego Radio Pirate…Again

FCC inspectors recently revisited the Golden Hill pirate station calling itself Free Radio San Diego at 96.9 MHz. An FCC Notice of Unlicensed Operation document signed by Bill Zears of the San Diego field office details an April 3 trip to the new 33rd Street transmitter site that found field strengths measuring over a thousand times Part 15 allowances. Station equipment, including the transmitter, was confiscated last summer in an FCC raid. Apparently this latest notice means that enforcement processes have started anew.

The website normally associated with the pirate station is down. The station normally plays a variety of free form music not heard on local commercial outlets, as well as community information and political talk.

We posted an interview with the station manager known only as Bob Ugly in July 2005.

May 2006 Meeting – Qualcomm’s New MediaFLO

Come see the birth of a revolution this month. May 17, Qualcomm’s MediaFLO hosts SBE Chapter 36 for a presentation and demonstration of their new mobile TV system. Find out how and and where it’s done. Meet Fred Baumgartner, project  Chief Engineer and nationally known SBE education advocate. If your station generates local content, this presentation may represent a future revenue stream.

One of the reasons we put up with the oppressive ankle and knee fatigue we all seem to get at the NAB Convention is that we get to catch up with old friends and acquaintances. We gray, swap jobs, put children through school, have tragedies–these little dramas connect our past to our present and life seems more interesting.

This year I came across an ex-coworker who had just joined Qualcomm’s MediaFLO project. His experience and computer programming skills make this job swap look like a particularly good fit. And for the first time, I got to see part of our future. He dialed in CNBC on his cell phone and showed it to me. Yeah, the cable channel. I couldn’t really read the ticker, but otherwise, this was a perfectly usable TV signal. You have to view the quarter VGA (QVGA) monitor, 320 x 240 pixels, sideways. Here, deep within the Las Vegas Convention Center’s Central Hall, was mobile TV without ghosting or dropouts. The relatively low power transmitter was far away on a mountaintop near Las Vegas. You probably wouldn’t want to watch Lawrence of Arabia on such a screen, but it might be a great way to catch up with sports highlights or breaking news.

MediaFLO engineers in Sorrento Mesa are busy designing metropolitan transmission sites across the U.S. And in San Diego, they are installing a Network Operations Center here, where they will do commercial and local content insertion.

Qualcomm has invited SBE Chapter 36 to the heart of the revolution. Come to our May 17 meeting and find out what all the fuss is about. We’ll meet, share a snack, then get a presentation on MediaFLO at a technical level broadcast engineers should be able to understand. This will be essentially the same presentation Tom Mikkelsen made at the NAB Convention. Then you can take the facility tour.

SBE members and guests are invited Wednesday, May 17 at 6:00 PM for the usual social hour with snacks, then our regular 7:00 PM meeting and presentation, then a tour of Building E. We’ll meet at Qualcomm Building G located at 4755 Eastgate Mall. From I-805, take La Jolla Village west to Towne Center Drive. Turn right and go north to Eastgate Mall Drive. Proceed to 4755. If you get to the bridge, Fred reminds us, you’ve gone too far. Note that there are card entry points—you will need to buzz security to get in.

March 2006 Meeting – A Product Fair, Dinner and a Little Tech Talk

It doesn’t get any better than this. Think of it as the “convention before the Convention,” March 15 downtown. Learn about planning your modern studio audio and control systems with a real industry systems guru. SCMS shows off their wares with an impressive array of products they represent: a digital mixer system, processors, mics, recorders, test equipment, and the famous new Receptor HD digital radio. SBE folds in a brief meeting, but this event is all about you and the goods.

Wednesday, March 15, we offer a three part evening of product fair, dinner, and technical presentation at Embassy Suites on the Embarcadero in downtown San Diego.

You can configure it as you wish, but we recommend dessert, a 7 PM presentation by Jay Tyler of Wheatstone called Planning for Digital Audio and Control Networked Facility.

At 4 PM, SCMS and Wheatstone bring an exhibition of broadcast goodies. Included are products from:

  • Aphex 230 The Master Voice Channel Processor
  • Orban 6200, AM HD Audio Processor
  • Digigram UAX200, Broadcast USB Audio Interface
  • Audio Science Various audio cards
  • Heil Microphone system including PR-40
  • HHB DRM85, Flash Mic Digital Recording Microphone
  • Tascam MDCD01, Mini Disc & CD Combo
  • Comrex STAC 6 Phone System, Access IP Audio Codec
  • NT Instruments Digilyzer, Digital Audio Analyzer
  • Burk Remote Control System
  • Genelec 8030A Bi-amplified studio monitor speaker
  • Vorsis AP-3, Digital Signal Processor
  • Boston Acoustics Receptor HD Digital Radio
  • Dielectric Communications Antennas

You can kick the tires and get a personal demo, from 4 PM. At 6:30 PM, the hotel serves a South of the Border buffet. Then the SBE brief meeting and Jay’s presentation.

RSVP with Doug Tharp, (619) 232-5600,  or Sandy Berenics, (858) 560-6679, so that the food order and space requirements come out right.

Location: Embassy Suites, 601 Pacific Highway, near Seaport Village.

John Rigg to Become Clear Channel San Diego Market DOE

Clear Channel Communications has named John Rigg to the position of
Director of Engineering for the San Diego market cluster. He had been
Radio Supervisor at KFMB AM/FM for the past four years. From 1994 to
2002, he had been staff engineer in radio and TV at the KFMB Stations
group. John succeeds Kevin Douglass, who had led the local engineering
crew since Jacor began accumulating stations here in 1996.

John will also oversee maintenance at the Finest City Broadcasting chain that was sold by Clear Channel to their previous FM General Manager Mike Glickenhaus. The Finest City chain, which includes XHITZ (FM), XETRA-FM, and XHRM (FM), occupies a separate partition in the same building in Kearny Mesa.

He supervises a crew of six veteran radio engineers, including John Morgan, John Barcroft, Ron Foo, Bill Thompson, Dean Imhoff, and Kevin Boyle.

John started in radio broadcasting in San Diego after a stint with Pacific Bell Telephone that included work with telco broadcast services. In 1989, he joined Edens Broadcasting, home of KKLQ AM and FM (now KOGO and KLNV). In 1993, they became part of Parr Broadcasting, which owned the KXST FM outlet on 102.1 (now KPRI). The next year he joined KFMB radio, where he worked for Tom Cox, later to move to the TV side until February of 2002, when he moved back to radio, but this time as Supervisor of KFMB AM and FM.

He joins Tom Cox again, who is Vice President of Engineering for the Western Region of Clear Channel Communications. John will answer to General Manager Bob Bollinger, who had been GM of KFMB radio stations when Tom and John worked there together.

John says that he sees a big challenge ahead overseeing the running of a such a large number of studios.

KFMB has not yet announced John’s successor.

Society of Broadcast Engineers, San Diego