Category Archives: Commentary

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 pejorative 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.

Continue reading The FCC Wants Comments on “Franken-FMs”

FCC Proposes Allowing All-digital AM

Making Waves – Commentary

The Federal Communications Commission last week adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that recommends giving AM stations the flexibility to voluntarily adopt all-digital broadcasting.

FCC LogoIt hasn’t been easy to watch AM broadcasting slowly wither as stations go mute after low listenership and sales. It seems like every week we hear of another AM station downing its towers and selling its land to housing developments.

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai has taken a special interest in doing what he can to prop up AM broadcasters, first with his initiative that gave them some access to low-power FM translator channels, with mixed results that, in fact, did nothing for the actual AM spectrum.

Should AM stations be given the right to adopt all-digital modulation? Continue reading FCC Proposes Allowing All-digital AM

Chapter 36 Survey: What Your Friends Think About Us

A few developments about SBE tend to alarm those of us involved in the organization’s leadership:

  • Chapter 36 SBE member count has reduced from 57 two years ago to 39 this year—a 30% drop.
  • Last week’s Chapter 47 meeting in Los Angeles was canceled due to lack of reservations. Only four people from a chapter with 197 members bothered to RSVP for their dinner meeting.
  • Chapters in Philadelphia, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City and Honolulu no longer hold meetings at all.

So what’s going on?

Continue reading Chapter 36 Survey: What Your Friends Think About Us