All posts by Gary Stigall

February 9 Meeting: Scott Fybush Shows Us the Real Deal–Big Radio Tower Steel

Scott Fybush hasn’t been traveling very much this year, of course, but he still has plenty of interesting photos and stories to share in this latest installment of “Tower Sites I’ve Known and Photographed.” Is it really radio’s 100th anniversary year? That’s one of the topics in this edition—along with the steady decline of heritage AM sites, plenty of tales from the field and a few thoughts about what’s in store for the broadcast community in 2021.

Join us in an online narrative and slide show Tuesday, February 9th at 6:00 PM Pacific, 7:00 PM Mountain in cooperation with Chapters 9 in Phoenix and 47 in Los Angeles. Send a message to rsvp@sbe36.org for the Zoom meeting link.

About Scott Fybush

Scott wears many broadcasting hats: a news anchor (now with WXXI Rochester) for 30 years; a journalist covering the industry for his own NorthEast Radio Watch (fybush.com) and Current; an engineering consultant focusing on signal improvement and FCC regulatory issues; a  station broker (StationSale.com); chief engineer for Rochester’s WDKX; and treasurer of Chapter 57.

You might know Scott best as “the tower guy,” recognized for the thousands of broadcast facilities he’s visited and documented on his website and in his annual Tower Site Calendar, now in its 20th year.

Member News

Congratulations to Doug Alman for the renewal of his SBE Certified Broadcast Television Engineer (CBTE) certification in November 2020. 

Congratulations to Chairman Tony McDaid for having passed his Cisco Certified Network Administrator (CCNA) test recently. Tony said about the venture, “For the CCNA I attended evening classes at San Diego Continuing Education. I would encourage anyone in broadcasting to take the classes. I also used the Boson practice test simulator.”

It’s never a bad time to work on your own certification, whether for Cisco, SBE, or CompTIA. You make yourself more employable, learn new skills, and walk away with a real achievement. 

KFMB-TV Gets FCC Approval to Increase Channel 8 ERP

On Friday, December 11, the FCC granted a nearly three-year-old Minor Modification application by KFMB-TV channel 8 to increase power from 19.8 kW to 87.4 kW ERP. According to Rick Bosscher in 2017, the change was designed to help with over-the-air reception in households without external VHF antennas, a rarity these days. The change also used the limits of the existing transmitter and antenna systems. The FCC has been approving increases in VHF station power as long as interference zones are not greatly expanded.

Electrical Outages Plague Local AM Stations

Some AM stations went silent last week as SDG&E cut power to San Diego County zones they deemed vulnerable to winds during extreme fire season. According to Darnell Forde, Salem Media Group Chief Engineer, KCBQ 1170 kHz and Family Radio’s KECR 910 kHz at their shared site in Lakeside lost power December 2nd, 2020 at 10:13 PM and it did not return until 5:02 AM on December 4th, some 31 hours later. They do not have generator backup power available.

KPRZ 1210 kHz south of San Marcos lost power briefly the same night, but an emergency generator ran until the utility restored power at 9:28 AM on December 4th.

Darnell said Lakeside and the area around Elfin Forest where the KPRZ transmitter is located experienced high winds during those outages.

San Diego Gas & Electric has adopted a policy of cutting power during wind storms since several fires in California were blamed on power lines arcing.