Category Archives: National

FCC Retreats from Prohibition on EAS Alert Text-to-Speech Conversions

In late April, the FCC retracted its recent rules that would have prohibited live broadcast text-to-speech conversions. FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as broadcast and technical groups, had objected to that part of the FCC’s Fifth Report and Order, saying that less useful information would be passed to the public by automated equipment. The Commission was concerned that automatic text-to-speech conversion could misinterpret emergency information. Text-to-speech conversion can be used by stations implementing CAP technology due for adoption by the June 30th deadline.

SBE Offers New IT Certification

The Society of Broadcast Engineers offers a new engineering level Certified Broadcast Networking Engineer (CBNE) networking certification. Eligible engineers may now apply to take the CBNE exam to become certified.

This exam is intended for those in the broadcast engineering field who work closely with networking. The CBNE is an advanced level certification and therefore the content is more complex than the Certified Broadcast Networking Technologist certification. The CBNE does not replace the CBNT, which is a relevant certification for entry-level networking individuals.

The CBNE requires a minimum of 5-years of broadcast engineering experience in order to qualify for the certification exam. The first exams take place during the June 1-11 exam session with local SBE chapters. Examinees must answer 50 multiple-choice questions and one essay question during the exam.

“The successful completion of CBNE will demonstrate to employers the advanced level of knowledge their employees have in building and maintaining a modern broadcast plant,” said SBE President Ralph Hogan, CPBE, DRB, CBNT.

Hogan and Terry Baun, CPBE, AMD, CBNT lead the efforts to create the new certification level. This is the first time in 12 years that a standalone certification has been released by the SBE.

The SBE CertPreview study tool, quizzes users on over 50 questions similar to those on the actual exam. After the examinee takes the sample test, he or she may reexamine any missed questions. The user is then provided the reference book information used to create the question for additional study purposes. SBE CertPreview for CBNE is available for download or on CD on the SBE website.

The complete list of certification requirements, exam topics, and applications are available in the Certification section of the SBE website.

For additional information contact the SBE National Office at (317) 846-9000 or email SBE Certification Director Megan E. Clappe at

Road King Larry Bloomfield Dies

Larry Bloomfield, traveling host of the “Taste of the NAB” road show, died November 8th of a massive heart attack in Florence, Oregon, where he had most lately called home. His son Thomas posted a remembrance on Larry’s website, An obituary is posted on The Broadcaster’s Desktop Resource.

Larry, 72, had served in the Navy as an electronics technician. He had been a broadcast engineer at various western TV stations from KNBC and KNXT (now KCBS) Los Angeles to KCNS San Francisco to KTVZ Bend, Oregon. He helped found now-defunct radio station KBET in Santa Clarita. His “Taste of the NAB” show demonstrated numerous products to SBE chapters around the country, often leaving him on the road for five months straight.

SBE Files to Extend EAS Rules 180-day Countdown

The Society of Broadcast Engineers participated in a coalition of major broadcast industry groups that filed comments on October 21 with the FCC to EB Docket 04-296, petitioning for an extension to the 180-day clock to become compliant with the recently announced changes to the EAS. The filing requested a six month extension to the 180 day clock.

The SBE, NAB, MSTV, PBS, NPR, 46 state broadcaster associations and other major broadcast organizations were all co-signers to the filing.

The group stated that the extension is necessary so that:

a)    equipment certification related to CAP can be accomplished
b)    allow time for a rule-making to modify FCC Part 11 rules that incorporate the use of CAP

Without an extension, the 180 day clock is set to expire March 29, 2011. At that time, stations would need to have purchased and installed CAP-compliant equipment, capable of receiving CAP messages.

A copy of the complete EAS filing is available on the SBE website.

SBE also has an FAQ on this subject on the SBE website.

Have a Peek at Your PSIP

California Broadcasters Association President Mark Powers sent out a puzzling missive Friday afternoon: “The FCC has advised us that they have received complaints that the digital signals of many California stations have incorrect time codes (PSIP).  This is a FCC violation and they have asked our assistance in correcting this problem immediately.  Please check your signal as soon as possible.”

Turns out that a technically savvy San Francisco Bay area viewer complained to the FCC because several TV stations had switched to Daylight Saving Time October 2. Gary Lingren found that the PSIP parameter “DS_day_of_month” was set to “2” on the errant stations before October 2. It should have been set on October 3. This parameter, within the STT, sets the day of the current month that auto time setting devices change to DST. Apparently, one of the major PSIP suppliers set this parameter one month early. DST actually switches on November 2 this year. Your DS_day_of_the_month param should now read “2”, and your DS Status should read “In daylight savings time.” (Actually, it should read Daylight Saving Time, but that’s another conversation.) If it isn’t, you should edit it or notify your PSIP provider, depending on overwriting policies.

It’s not known yet which PSIP contractor set the errant parameter. If you find out, let us know.