Category Archives: Local News

FCC Lists LPFM Window Applicants

FCC New 2020 Logo

[UPDATE] After the close of the FCC’s December LPFM Construction Permit filing window, applications began showing up among the 2,819 filed nationally.

Updating this report May 2, 2024, we find all applications pending except the faulty filing by Prophet WorldBeat Productions that was dismissed in late April by the FCC. The FCC may be waiting for Mexican government review before making any more grants or dismissals.

You can search for the applicants from the usual LMS Search page, but the winning effort goes to Michelle Bradley of RECNet.com. Check out the California page in the REC Filing Window Application Tracking System. Let’s list the San Diego County applicants with REC’s comments:

Continue reading FCC Lists LPFM Window Applicants

Bext Joins As Chapter 36 Sponsor

Many thanks to new SBE Chapter 36 sponsor Bext, Inc., San Diego supplier and service center for FM transmitters, antennas, filters, STLs, and even custom RF amplifiers for scientific, industrial or medical applications. 

The Bext line of XL FM transmitters from 50 to 22000 Watts include Ethernet-connected remote control built in and several types of connectivity options.  I got to thoroughly test drive them (and then wrote the manual), and I have to say I was impressed. They have a built-in stereo generator with audio limiter, as well as optional RDS dynamic encoder, SNMP2, AES-EBU, Audio-over-IP capability, programmable FSK ID Keyer and a built-in user manual file always accessible through a USB on the front panel.   Breaking news—the 150 W and 300 W models are LPFM FCC Certified.   For southern California stations, you have the advantage of in-stock, off-the-shelf availability and immediate replacements or loaners.  No waiting for shipments!

SBE Alert: Be Alert to Possible Interference to Your 6 GHz Microwave Systems

[From SBE National HQ] The FCC recently authorized unlicensed very low power (VLP) devices in the 6 GHz spectrum band: 5.925-7.125 GHz. The FCC is also actively considering proposals to allow even greater VLP and LPI (low-power indoor) use in the Band.

The SBE, the NAB, and others have expressed concern that the FCC’s proposals to increase unlicensed use of the 6 GHz Band could introduce harmful interference to broadcasters’ licensed electronic newsgathering (ENG) activities in the band. Interference and reduced margin in fixed BAS links (STLs, etc.) may also be a problem as Wi-Fi-6E devices become common. Consequently, we urge you do fully document the performance of any 6 GHz fixed links that your station may have (signal levels, margin to failure, error rates, etc.). We are also interested in hearing from anyone who has experienced interference in the 6 GHz Band that could be attributable to unlicensed devices.

One local San Diego example of this was recently observed at Snapdragon Stadium where ball-tracking technology at a rugby game using ultra-wideband 6.5 GHz centered emissions. They were using very low power and the stadium mildly shields radiation outside the stadium bowl, but similar used in front of your stadium or transmitter site could be detrimental to the reception of your Studio-Transmitter Link or ENG signal. –Gary Stigall, editor

If you have experienced interference to your ENG operations in the 6 GHz band over the past several months, please notify the SBE at BASinterference@sbe.org no later than April 17. And remember, any interference should be reported via the FCC Interference Reporting portal.

More background on 6 GHz interference was provided in the August 2023 issue of The Signal on page 12.

Rockley “Rocky” Curless, KPBS Engineer Remembered

KPBS staffers learned that Rockley Curless, 75, died on March 14, 2024. No cause of death was given, and “Rocky,” as he was known by nearly everyone, was seen out and about as late as two days before his reported death. He had formally retired from KPBS on January 31, 2024. Memorial Services for him were held in April at the Miramar Military Cemetery.

Photo by Tony McDaid

Director of Engineering Leon Messenie said Rockley had assumed the position of RF Maintenance Supervisor after Tom Oaklund retired in 2004. He cared for the KPBS RF facilitlies from La Jolla to Calexico. Before coming to KPBS, he had been an engineer at KUSI San Diego. He also worked in broadcasting in Palm Springs and Hawaii. He was a helicopter flight engineer for the US Army with 22 months duty in Vietnam.

Leon said, “Rockley seemed to have lots of stories from his many broadcasting years.  He really loved working at the transmitter.  He would always talk to the equipment and say goodbye to the transmitters when he would lock up and leave.  He was a very nice and caring person and will be missed.”

KRLY-LP FM License Canceled

On Friday, February 9, 2024, the FCC canceled the license of low-power FM KRLY-LP Alpine, ending the station’s nearly 20-year history. A letter from the FCC explained that correspondence requesting an explanation for the station’s silence lasting more than a year had not been answered, so, by their rules, the station’s license had expired on May 24, 2023 “as a matter of law.”

The station was granted a construction permit in 2004 with 2 watts ERP on 107.9 MHz from water tanks north and above the town of Alpine. Timothy and Kathleen Lange initially owned the station. They carried a Christian format. Gerry Turro, famous for his “Jukebox Radio” stations in New Jersey in the 1990s until the FCC shut them down in 2003 became involved and moved KRLY-LP to an Easy Listening/Standards format. Gerry had been the Chief Engineer of WNEW-AM New York.

Adam Williams took control of the station in May 2010. Alpine resident Chris Torrick, past Oklahoma radio DJ, managed the station. Chris long held a dream to own and operate a radio station.

Low power FM stations cannot broadcast commercials, so unless financed by a wealthy benefactor or well-organized collective, they usually run out of money. KRLY-LP was further burdened with rough topography, low power limitations, and adjacent channel interference from XHRST-FM Tijuana on 107.7 MHz. The station was granted a Minor Modification to move and increase power to 50 watts in August of 2022, but the CP was never built out.

Chris Torrick continues to stream his station with a country music format from his home in Alpine. He has not responded to questions about his operation.

Disclosure: Chris hired me to move the station during the summer of 2014. It had a full-sized studio with interview microphones on professional furniture, run on Prophet automation, with an AudioArts console.