All posts by Gary Stigall

John Barcroft Steps Down as Frequency Coordinator

After at least twenty years of coordinating broadcasting auxiliary frequencies below 1 GHz, John Barcroft is passing on those duties to Gary Stigall. Fred Swift of KUSI coordinates channels above 1 GHz.

Those wishing to submit frequency coordination requests should use the form posted on the SBE 36 Coordination Page. There are links posted there for NFL and Southern California Frequency Coordination Committee that handles coordination outside of San Diego County.

Barcroft was KGB (FM) and KPQP (AM) Chief Engineer for decades before leaving in 2006 and was quite active in the SBE during his radio career. He and Ron Foo produced the SBE Chapter 36 newsletter until 1997.

Jan. 2020 Meeting: Yellowtec and the ABC’s of Audio Over IP

To start off the new year, Jeff Williams will stop by to give us a primer on Audio Over IP.

Yellowtec includes a line of mic and data monitor support, on-air status lamps, for the modern studio. They’re also famous for recording microphones, Intellimix mixers, USB interface boxes, and POTS interfaces.

Join us Wednesday, January 15, at noon at iHeartMedia, 9660 Granite Ridge Road, San Diego. We’ll feed you lunch before Jeff’s presentation. As always, our meetings are open to all.

Remembering Jack Rabell

Jack H. Rabell, 88, died January 2, 2020, a resident of Alpine and long-time San Diego broadcast engineer, on-air personality and car aficionado. His obituary in the San Diego Union-Tribune mentions that he moved from New York in 1946 and worked for 27 years at KOGO. He then worked at numerous stations, including KSON as a country radio personality and engineer with Dick Warren, then as an engineer at KSDO AM/FM, and later at various stations including KPRI-FM 102.1, helping to move the station to Mt. Soledad.

According to his printed obituary, “While working, he chased his passion for cars on the weekends as a classic collector, rallyist and restoration artist. His restoration talents are world-renowned and include credit for Mel Torme’s 1936 Jaguar SS-100 now on display at Peterson Museum in Los Angeles. When not working or playing with cars, Jack could be found with his family at his mountain cabin, camping around the southwest, cruising the oceans or soaking up the Mexican beaches with a cold beer in his hand.”

Services will be private.

TEGNA Sells KFMB AM-FM

Days before the dawn of the new decade, the TEGNA group sold the KFMB radio properties for $5-million to Local Media San Diego.

According to radioINSIGHT.com, the deal does not include rights to continue using the 78-year-old call letters, nor does it include any of the property at Santee (AM transmitter), Kearny Mesa (studio), or Mt. Soledad (FM transmitter).

Local Media San Diego currently leases three Mexican-licensed FM stations: CHR “Z90” 90.3 XHTZ, Alternative “91X” 91.1 XETRA-FM, and Rhythmic AC “Magic 92.5” XHRM.

TEGNA bought the three KFMB stations in December 2017 for $325-million and owns no other radio broadcasting properties, so the radio sale was expected.

It’s going to be interesting watching what happens with KFMB-AM since that entity has not turned a profit in recent years. Technically, the KFMB-AM Harris DX-50 transmitter is nearly 30-years-old. Its programming leaves it at the bottom of the San Diego market Nielsen ratings list.

Colleagues speculated that iHeartMedia might buy the KFMB radio properties, but they own the maximum number of FM stations allowed by the FCC for the market and are financially strained as a group.

Apparently, KOGO-AM has plans to multiplex on the KFMB-AM towers in Santee, though the 300-foot towers are electrically short for 600 kHz.

The FCC Wants Comments on “Franken-FMs”

The Media Bureau of the FCC issued a Public Notice last week seeking comment on whether channel 6 analog LPTV stations should be able to continue to operate after the deadline to switch to digital.

FCC Logo

Even after the 2009 TV broadcast transition to digital, the FCC allowed LPTVs to continue to broadcast in analog until 12 months after the completion of the post-incentive auction repack, due for a July 3, 2020 completion. This means LPTVs would have to make the digital switch by July 3, 2021.

This aural service on TV channel 6 has taken the perjorative term “Franken-FM” due to the distorted analog TV broadcast technology that boosts the power of the FM aural carrier, increases the modulation, sets the pre-emphasis to match that of the FM broadcast band, and usually runs a video slide show or fixed graphic in the visual portion of the signal. This is all done to add an FM station to the market. Venture Technologies, based in Los Angeles, has placed these stations all over the country, including KRPE-LP in San Diego, on Mt. San Miguel. Most home and car radios can receive this signal on 87.75 MHz, and such stations generate marketing materials promoting “87.7 FM.” Venture Technologies leases its signals to third-party programmers.

Comments must be in to the FCC 45 days after the comments solicitation is published in the Federal Register.

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