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.
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.
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.
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.
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.