Category Archives: National

Introducing the SBE Technical Professional Training Program

The new SBE Technical Professional Training (TPT) program began January 1, 2021 to help encourage and train new people in the broadcast/media technical field.  Stations, station groups, networks and state broadcaster associations are encouraged to cover the $475 cost to sign up their new or newer engineers. The TPT includes SBE MemberPlus membership (gives access to all SBE webinars), one download of the SBE Certified Broadcast Technologist (CBT) CertPreview (exam prep software), SBE CBT exam session, a copy of the SBE Broadcast Engineer Handbook and participation in the SBE Mentor program.  See the SBE website for details.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Departing

As is the custom, Chairman Ajit Pai announced his coming departure in advance of the changing administration in January. Normally, the FCC has five commissioners, two of the minority political party and three of the majority party, including the Chairman. Pai was appointed by President Obama in 2012 and rose to Chairman under President Trump.

Ajit Pai, in a press statement, listed his accomplishments: “Closing the digital divide; promoting innovation and competition, from 5G on the ground to broadband from space; protecting consumers; and advancing public safety.”

His critics have pointed to a perceived bias toward telecom interests over broadcast as the FCC has worked rapidly to sell, not lease, spectrum to the telecom giants directly from spectrum previously used by broadcasters with the goal of universally available fast networking. Ajit Pai had worked two years for Verizon as an Associate General Counsel before returning to public service in 2003. Pai has also worked against internet neutrality in favor of ISP traffic controls and surcharges.

For broadcasters, he supported the move for AM broadcasters to get an FM translator channel wherever possible, which has worked better for some broadcasters than others. He also pushed allowing AM stations to choose digital modulation if they wished. There has been no increase in broadcast spectrum, including for the crowded FM band, under his leadership.

Time to Update Your EAS IPAWS Certificates

By Larry Paulausky, Vice-Chair Arizona SECC

A reminder for those who may have missed this info:  a digital signing certificate used by FEMA for its IPAWS service will be expiring in the next few days.  Certificates like this are designed to help recipients automatically authenticate IPAWS messages, and by design these certificates regularly expire to be replaced by updated versions.

To continue to receive IPAWS messages on your EAS devices, most end users like broadcasters and cable systems will need to update the certificate settings in their device.  Please check with your device’s manufacturer for instructions on how to do this.

For Sage’s ENDEC systems, have a look at their home page at https://www.sagealertingsystems.com.


For Digital Alert System’s DASDEC devices, see their field service bulletin accessible at http://www.digitalalertsystems.com/DAS_pages/resources_fsb.html .

For most users whose devices are otherwise at current software levels and already receiving IPAWS messages, these updates are free to download and install.  Please do so by the expiration date to keep receiving EAS messages (for example, AMBER alerts and Required Monthly Tests) via IPAWS.

By the way, the next certificate will be valid until August 21, 2021, so you may want to mark your calendars for July of next year to check again with your device’s manufacturer at that time for the next needed update.

Cyber Hackers Strike Salem Group

Salem Media, owners of KCBQ 1170 AM San Diego and K241CT Oceanside, apparently got hit by hackers with damaging ransomware. Salem announced it has been able to recover “many of its critical Operational data and business systems,” and that the company does not expect the incident to have a material impact on its business, operations or financial condition. No word on the impact on their San Diego operations.

Attacks in the last year caused damage to the Bicoastal Media, Urban One and Entercom groups.