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December 10, 2008


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November 2008 Newsletter

SBE Chapter 48 / SMPTE Rocky Mountain Section

October 2008 Meeting Report

Special October Event - Screening of Cinerama Adventure

Date:            Monday, October 20, 2008
Time:            6:45 PM Screening
Location:      Starz Film Center, 900 Auraria Parkway, Denver (on the Auraria Campus)
Presenter:    Dave Strohmaier, Filmmaker and Randy Gitsch, Producer
Topic:           Screening of Cinerama Adventure, Meet the Filmmaker and Producer

The well attened screening of the Cinerama Adventure feature-length documentary, was a truely unique opportunity for our membership and the general public to see this amazing film and meet the filmmakers. The screening was held in the largest of the theaters at Starz as it is the one with Dolby 5.1 surround sound, which is used in the film (the original Cinerama used 7 channel audio)!

Howie Movshovitz, Education Director for the Starz Film Center, Film Critic for Colorado Public Radio and a contributor to NPR, did the introductions and provided some history of Cinerama in Denver, including some insights about the old Cooper theater. Jim Schoedler acted as master of ceremonies and John Switzer also spoke at the event.


This film lived up to it's billing as "filled with rare film clips that have not been seen for over 45 years. The documentary chronicled the amazing story of how the first and still most impressive of the big widescreen processes came into being, and its continuing influence on film makers." Our presenters additionally showed several short features in honor of their Denver visit to make the evening even more interesting.

Dave and Randy discussed how they met and the making of the film. They also answered some insightful questions from the audience at length to further add to the audience's enjoyment. After all this, there was a drawing for great door prizes consisting of DVD Collector's Editions, Blue Ray Editions and DVD Regular Editions of "How The West Was Won", one of the most popular Cinerama features, as well as Cinerama Adventure crew t-shirts, 14 prizes in all. Everyone who attended received a cool Cinerama souvenir of an actual set of matching Cinerama film clips, courtesy of the filmmakers.


There was no admission charge for the event, however individual donations were accepted and thanks to those who did so. We would also like to thank Warner Home Video for the door prizes and Sony and Pro-Bel for sponsoring this special event. Finally, a special thanks to Dave Strohmaier, Filmmaker and Randy Gitsch, Producer for sharing their work and treating us to a great evening.

Report by Tom Goldberg


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Random Radio Thoughts

Cris Alexander, CPBE, AMD
Crawford Broadcasting Company

Hometown Girl Makes Good
As I announced last month, Ed Dulaney, the 12-year market chief engineer for CBC-Denver, left that position to take a similar position for Rocky Mountain Radio. His assistant and my daughter, Amanda Alexander, stepped up to take his place. Her assistant CE position was backfilled by Pete Chamberlain, who came to us from Entercom-Denver.

Amanda graduated from college and from CIE’s Broadcast Engineering program several years ago and has since been learning all she can from Ed. His departure represents a real opportunity for Amanda – and a real challenge. She is responsible for four stations including a rather complex all-digital studio operation, four AM directional antennas, one 50 kW and two diplexed operations plus a network of microwave paths, T1 lines and a Ku-band uplink. Add to that all the stuff that goes with maintaining buildings and grounds at the transmitter sites along with a couple of big capital projects and the enormity of the challenge becomes apparent.

Her first month in the new job has gone very, very well. Clearly, she is one who rises to a challenge. Likewise, Pete has done a great job so far. We’re glad to have him aboard.

Thanks to all of you who have offered to help Amanda when needed. So far she hasn’t needed that help, but the day may well come.

Same Song Umpteenth Verse
Okay, I know I’m being repetitive, but the issue du jour is copper theft, and I’m getting sick of it just as you are. Last month, another Crawford site, this one the 810 daytime site just north of Brighton, was relieved of most of its ground system.

No, this wasn’t the usual taking of some strap and a few radials. These guys took the better part of the radials that were out there. They evidently started by using a metal detector to locate the far ends of the radials at tower 1, the south tower farthest from Weld County Road 6 and U.S. 85 and closest to the South Platte River. Not much grows over in that corner of the property. It’s a lot of bare dirt, and that has been eroded by floods every year or two. So once the thieves found the radial end with a metal detector, they dug a hole to locate and grab the wire and then they pulled it all the way back to the tower base fence. There were holes dug at a good number of the radial ends in the southwest quadrant of that tower. At some point, they must have figured out that the radials were clustered closely together near the base fence, because they evidently started pulling from that end. Then they broke through the base fence and hacked up the strap at the tower base, cutting the radials from the commoning ring and pulling them out of the ground inside the fence. For some odd reason, they left the strap.

Radials were pulled up from all three towers, with enough damage done that our only real option is complete replacement of the ground system. The trouble is, the copper thieves keep coming back, taking a little more each time. This tells us that we are going to have to take extraordinary measures to secure the site. That means blacktop over the ground screen, electrified fence wires inside each tower base fence, deep-plowed radials, security lights, an array of surveillance cameras and an alarm system that encompasses all the tower base areas.

Over at KLZ last month, we had Security Central, the Denver-area alarm contractor that we have used for our transmitter buildings for many years, install a long-range wireless alarm system. Now we have alarm contacts at each tower base so that if someone opens a gate with the alarm armed, the siren sounds and the monitoring center calls Amanda. We were concerned that the RF at the tower bases might give these wireless devices some grief, but so far so good. The wind may produce some false alarms, but it would seem to me that we could minimize that by keeping the gate hardware good and tight. Other engineers in the area might keep this in mind as an option for improving security at tower sites, particularly at AM directional sites with tower base areas far removed from the transmitter building.

I saw in Inside Radio late last month that a pair of Albuquerque stations was hit hard by copper thieves, American General Media’s KKIM-FM (94.7) and Hutton Media’s KQBA (107.5). It wasn’t just copper strap and ground leads taken, either. 50 feet of four-inch transmission line was taken along with a “significant” amount of copper electrical wire and “all electric wires inside the building.” These sites may well be off the air for months while the damage is repaired. Bill Harris has had his own share of copper theft troubles in Albuquerque as well over the past year.

So… I’m singing the same song, umpteenth verse. If your site hasn’t been hit yet, it very likely will be. Forewarned is forearmed.

FCC Stuff
A couple of FCC items of note. First, the comment period is now open for public input on the proposed FM digital power increase. The proposal, sponsored by Ibiquity and 18 station groups representing more than 1,200 stations, calls for a tenfold digital power increase. The idea is to boost digital power and thereby achieve parity between analog and digital coverage, particularly inside buildings. The downside is that interference will undoubtedly result. Rim-shots will be the ones most affected, pushed right out of their target markets by local signals employing higher digital power. The text of the Public Notice is available online at

The other FCC proceeding that will impact radio engineers has to do with protection of AM stations from nearby construction. As part of the AM antenna modeling proceeding (MM Docket No. 93-177), the Coalition proposed some new omnibus rules that would essentially bring all towers near AM arrays under the protection criteria that otherwise applies to wireless and common carrier licensees. This would close the loophole that allowed Part 90 (Public Safety) and other licensees to ignore nearby AM towers and arrays. The proposed new rules would also tighten up which structures meet the criteria for being in the “immediate vicinity” of an AM antenna. There are a number of specific issues on which comments are sought. Read all about it at and jump in with your views. Comments are due 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. You’ll have to watch the trade press for that date.

If you have news to share with the Rocky Mountain radio engineering community, drop me an email at


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The KE0VH Hamshack

Jack Roland
Entercom Denver

Well folks, lots going on at Entercom Denver and in the KEōVH Hamshack. We are now broadcasting our stations to cell phones via Flytunes, and as Clay reported last month in this column, many broadcasters and others are using this to reach an ever expanding audience. Our stations are listed on the site like this:

KALC-FM Alice - ALICE: The un-radio, radio station! Wild and outrageous conversations with BJ, Howie & Jennifer and Slacker & Steve and modern adult music from today’s biggest artists.



KEZW Studio 1430 - KEZW-AM's that really sweet station that swings and sways with music from Frank, Dean, Michael Buble and more.  Studio 1430, Timeless Music. 


KOSI 101 FM Light Rock - KOSI-FM-Adult Contemporary-A blend of great Lite Rock from 4 decades, featuring the music of yesterday combined with today’s Top Pop Artists that makes KOSI the perfect station to listen to at work.



KQMT 99.5 The Mountain - KQMT - FM the Mountain - Where the music comes first!  Album Rock with your favorites tracks and deeper tracks from the greatest albums of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s!!

So now, we have 3 FMís, 1 AM, 3 HD2ís (including our AM simulcasting on KOSIís HD2 channel now, all 4 streaming on the internet, and now on Flytunes. Man, I remember when you could do radio with a mic, turntable, mixer, transmitter, and a tower. And so it goes...

And, this is really cool, we have a new UPS system and battery set here now that will really improve our runtime on UPS during an outage to allow our generator to not only come up to speed, but is a huge improvement over our old UPS, which maybe had about 9 minutes of runtime with studios and master control room. Instead of an 80% load it improves now to a %37 percent load with our new system. And, during the electrical power switchover during a couple of overnights, we also upgraded our on air main processors (Orban 8500ís) to the new version software, and now have the capability to control those over our network so we can make processors changes and checks from the studios without having to go to the transmitter site. Pretty cool stuff.

We have also here at Entercom Denver put our AM station, KEZW on the KOSI HD2 signal. This has been a real ordeal and you think it could have been easier, but since corporate doesnít want commercials on the HD2 channel at this time, we had to set up an entire new AudioVault machine to interrupt the audio coming from the control room and play fill music during commercial content in programming that still of course airs on the AM side. New logs in AudioVault, changes to the main on air log, wiring a closure that fires at the start of a commercial set to trigger the interrupt computer to play the fill song on HD2, so on and so forth. Simply could have been moving one audio connector, but you know how corporate can be (LOL)! So, that was finally accomplished the last week of October, and now KEZW is also FM! We really expect the KEZW audience to embrace this and see what happens. Evidently several other AMís playing nostalgia/adult standards formats have done this and it has really been beneficial. So stay tuned. BUT, in my opinion, KEZW sounds best on an old tube radio anyway. Even HD will not beat that sound in my opinion!

Speaking of which, my friend (and by the way my boss, Jeff Garrett, also KEōMT) is really an expert in restoring both cosmetically and to full operation old tube type rigs, not to mention he has kept our tube rig Continental 817-R transmitter for KALC running at an amazing 38 kilowatts power output now for about 2.5 years solid with maybe 3 hours downtime one time to replace a diode stack in the 10kv transformer! The guy is simply amazing with tube rigs and really knows his stuff. Well, he has gotten me interested in restoring old rigs, and I now am the proud owner of 2 Zenith Transoceanics, a Hallicrafters SX-110 amateur receiver, an Elmac AF-67 transciter AM transmitter, and an RCA model 66X1, which actually belongs to my wife! I will have pictures here soon on my Tech Ham website.

It is a short article this month, we have been really busy with a lot of projects here at Entercom Denver, and more are on the horizon. Have a great month and remember that we have so much to be thankful for. Thanksgiving Day is soon upon us, and I hope we can all reflect on what God has given to us and the blessings sent our way!



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Clay’s Corner

Featuring News, Rumors and Views
From Usually Reliable and Irrefutable Sources

By Clay Freinwald
SBE Seattle Chapter 16

A bit late in the month getting my column written due to a short project that ran long.  I’m sure that many readers will understand this concept!   Mine was involving modification of a module on a multi-station FM combiner system at West Tiger Mt.   This little project, first projected to run 2 days – took 8.  Never under-estimate the amount of interaction in one of these gizmo’s.   Of course all the work took place on weekends and at night giving me a good dose of jet-lag without having to leave town.   As you get older, recovery from this kind of thing takes longer….Not that any of my readers can relate to that remark.

Well the big news is, of course, the economy.   We are now in a full fledged recession and the impact on our industry is hitting hard…so deviating from my standard technical stuff – lets look at business first -

For those of us with 401K’s – We have followed the value of these go down with the Stock Market giving cause for many of us to skip any thoughts of retirement and to keep working.

Stock prices are interesting, here’s a look at the 52 week highs compared to the price at this writing (Oct 30) of four publically traded firms that operate stations in our market - 
CBS – 28.75>9.43,   Belo – 28.66>2.02,  Entercom – 19.59> .61, Fisher – 49.50>35.55. 
As you can see Entercom has really been hit hard, while Fisher is doing comparatively well.  Perhaps a strong statement about our locally operated broadcast company.  Compared to what they were saying about Fisher not long ago, this is remarkable…on the other side, some of these firms face having their stocks de-listed.

Radio, TV and Newspapers are being hit extremely hard in terms of advertising revenue.
Newspapers are getting noticeably smaller and their staffs are being chopped.
Comparing Q-3 this year to last McClatchy is down 19%, Gannett 18% and the New York times off by 16%.   Many Broadcasters performance was saved by a healthy dose of political, but that is about to stop making the rest of the year look problematic

Even Satellite Radio is being impacted…with automobile sales at all time lows, so are the number of new subscribers that come with new vehicles forcing the sat-broadcaster to lower their estimates.   Meanwhile, the newly combined XM and Sirius company is faced with a billion dollar debt.

Layoff’s are the hard part.   Every day we hear of firms, large and small, laying off large numbers of people as the economy contracts and everyone hunkers down hoping they will be spared the axe.  Reportedly CBS has cut nearly 300 jobs recently…Including a big cut in LA.   Journal has announced a 10% cut.    In a move that was announced to the world, Entercom said that it was suspending its matching contribution to employees 401K’s.  To bad cause stocks are really cheap right now.

In some cases the lay offs come to high levels….For example, Salem, who operates a number of stations in the Seattle area, announced the departure of their COO, Eric Halvorson as what they call a "further cost-cutting move."

One casualty of this situation has been the demise of a rep-firm …Interep.   This outfit represented many large broadcast companies, including several here in this area.

In all this, some are doing well….as is always the case.   Comcast comes to mind.  They are really working the end of analog TV to their advantage….and it just might work.  Rather than shelling out money for that new HD set,  and perhaps a new antenna system, Comcast is betting that folks will opt to use cable and keep the old set until the coast is clear.  Consumers Union has noticed this and is beginning to make some noise because this is a perfect opportunity to raise cable rates.  Meanwhile, the market is noting this as well as Comcast’s stock is running about 35 dollars from a 52 week high of  about 42….something many others can envy.

The big slow-down is impacting many webcasters as they are struggling to find advertisers willing to sponsor online audio broadcasting. 

As is the case with economic slow downs, there are winners and losers.  We may well see familiar names go away or be purchase by stronger rivals.  It’s likely that a year from now (when we are supposed to be pulling out of the present slump) we are likely to see some interesting changes. 

The program creation side is being hit also, for example, it’s reported that NBC-Universal will be cutting back to the tune of $500 Million next year.

Clearly demonstrating that not all is gloom and doom - Cox Communications has announced plans to enter the wireless phone business by unveiling plans to launch cellphone service in the second half of 2009 that ultimately will make the No.3 cable operator a rival of AT&T, Sprint Nextel and Verizon.  

In SBE News
The Society has a couple of Remailers set up that you might want to check into.  These provide a great please to discuss items of common interest with your fellow engineers. Go to  - - For more information.

I recently attended the SBE annual meetings in Madison, Wi.  Highlights of this event included the twice a year meeting of the Board of Directors - - Participation in a national web-cast where I discussed changes coming to EAS etc.   I will be providing a summary of this event at an up-coming meeting.

One important item – the Board of Directors made a major change in a ommittee…Gone is the FCC Liaison Committee and in its place we have the new Government Relations Committee.    This makes a great deal of sense as the Society is involved with a number of Government entities these days.  Chairing the Committee is past president Richard Rudman.
The newly renamed Government Relations Committee has been charged with the development of an annual legislative agenda. This will be a board-approved, annual outline of the SBE’s legislative goals. The board instructed that, “Committee actions should be directed, as much as possible, toward the interest and greatest impact of and to our members. Great care is to be taken to insure these issues are specifically related to our members and their concerns, possibly to the de-emphasis of 'industry' concerns as they may not have a close enough relationship to our membership's concerns.”
Lots of fur still flying over the new PPM Radio rating system from Arbitron that was the subject of a recent chapter meeting.   Looks like this could get ugly with the matter perhaps being resolved by the courts.  Too soon to tell whether or not this will impact the rollout of the system here in the Seattle area.

Clearly the White Space issue is continuing to be a source of contention….In fact, some are saying that it’s getting ugly.   With the amount of available spectrum for wireless mics etc shrinking this is starting to remind me of a classic water-rights fight where competing interests fight over a given amount of water. 

The FCC is still doing is – Fine Stuff – As found out by a little station in Cheyenne, Wyoming who is going to contribute $4200 for failing to repair a hole in the fence around their tower.  (See it’s not all EAS)   From  the – Won’t they ever learn department - The FCC has issued a notice of apparent liability for a combined $32,000 to Spanish Broadcasting System's WSKQ/New York and WXDJ/Miami.  Appears they aired a phone call recorded without permission….This has been a no-no as long as I have been in this business…and that’s a long time !

Yet another study on the nasty substance called RF – This time a study from Mainz University in Germany concluded not connection to Leukemia.   Certainly there are other studies on-going that will conclude differently. 

Should FM HD Radio operators be able to increase their power from the present 1% of analog to 10%?   This debate has taken an important step forward with the announcement that the FCC is asking for public comment on the issue.   From what I understand, there are stations now on the air with STA’s testing the impact of the change.   On the plus side – The power increase will afford greater building penetration for the mode that presently suffers  due to its low power.  On the minus side is the potential for negative impacts on adjacent channels.    One thing that this debate has done is virtually stop the roll out of new HD Radio facilities.  Broadcasters who were considering adding the mode are rightfully waiting to see what the FCC does.  No one wants to purchase a transmitter that’s too small or one that’s too big. 

As we near the end of the year, many of us start thinking about predictions for the next year….Will the economy rebound, will the Mariners have a winning season…the one that I have been pondering is the impact of the end of Analog TV.  I am getting the feeling that we are looking at a bit of a train-wreck here.   I recall those that were predicting a –Y2K - disaster that turned out to be wrong…I have been receiving really bad vibes about this one.

Have you noticed that 710 AM now bills them selves as 97.3 FM?.  Have to wonder how many of their listeners are confused by this?   Rumor has it that Bonneville plans on turning 710 AM into a sports station with their news-talk running on 97.3.   Regardless of how much you warn and try and educate folks…there are some that are just not going to get it.   

Nautel was on a lot of lips at the recent SBE event in Madison with the news that they have opened up a sales and support office right under the nose of their major competitors, BE and Harris.  Adding to the matter was they announcement that they have hired people from those firms.  

As is the case these days with privately owned companies, they are often bought and sold by venture capital outfits.   In a recent announcement we learn that Continental Electronics has been acquired By Lone Star CRA.   Continental makes FM and HD Radio equipment in additional to shortwave and high power government radio transmitters.

Lowell Kiesow (KPLU) noted that KIRO TV has run a program, called "DTV America
Live," that appears to be intended to help people get ready for DTV.  Of course, they are airing on their DTV-2 channel.  If you can see the show, you have already converted to digital!  

The kind of story you hate to see – In this case, in mid October,  a medical helicopter, carrying a young patient struck a towers guy wires and crashed killing all on board in suburban Chicago.   There was some suspicion that the towers lights were not functioning.  From this has come a call for the installation of collision avoidance equipment in all of these aircraft.

So where is KPTZ?   That’s the call letters for the new radio station in Port Townsend.

That’s it for this month folks – Thanks for the read.
Clay, CPBE, K7CR et al

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By Keving Ruppert, WISC-DT
Thanks to Chapter 24 - Madison

Most people will agree that it’s always hard to end a long-term relationship. When you stop to think about it, next February our industry will be ending a relationship that we have had for over 50 years. Basically, broadcast television in this country has been using technology going back to the 1930s with just a few updates along the way, and now it is going away.

In order to remember where we came from, I thought it would be good to hear from someone who knows what the old broadcast technology was like. Someone who knows how to change a vacuum tube.

Chuck Pharis has many interests. One of them is collecting vintage broadcast gear. This is a pastime he has enjoyed for 43 years. Some of you may have seen his exhibit of vintage gear at the NAB convention a few years ago. Chuck is passionate about restoring this legacy gear. In a way, he is like an electronics anthropologist, restoring life to the equipment which produced the magic of television in its early days.

The old gear seems to hold a certain fascination for many of us, including Chuck. Somehow this old stuff just seems warmer, in a literal fashion as well as figurative one. Even though modern broadcast equipment is really very complex, in a way it’s easy to see how the new gear performs a specific task. It has been programmed to do it! Now, figure out how to generate NTSC sync and burst using tube circuits and you have a real challenge! I interviewed Chuck to find out more about this fascinating hobby.

Kevin Ruppert: How long have you been collecting vintage broadcast gear?
Chuck Pharis: 43 years. I started collecting in high school.

KR: How big is your collection?
CP: I have hundreds of vintage radio and television related items. I have over 100 vintage TV cameras, hundreds of pieces of TV and radio support equipment, over 12,000 vacuum tubes and a huge supply of replacement electronic parts I use for restoration.

KR: How did you get started collecting?
CP: When I was in high school, I was on a tour of a television station in San Francisco. I saw an old television camera in a dumpster. I asked if I could have it, and that was my first piece of equipment. I still have it today, and it still works after I restored it. Another story: I grew up in Detroit, Mich. I was in the Cub Scouts, and our troop was on a TV show at WXYZ TV. I was fascinated looking at all the TV equipment in the station. A cameraman held me up so I could look into a camera viewfinder. He also let me look at a 1948 TV truck they had in the parking lot. Believe it or not, I now own that TV truck and am restoring it.

KR: What are the unique challenges to collecting vintage gear?
CP: Finding replacement parts.

KR: Does the gear you are working on ever seem to come to life or take on its own personality?
CP: Both. I love seeing a vintage TV camera or old radio come back to life after sitting in some storage room for 50-plus years. Every piece of equipment has its own personality. It’s just that old "TV look." We can’t do that today.

KR: Do you have any gear that you have not been able to restore?
CP: Yes, a lot. My collection is so large, I do not have the time to restore everything right now, and finding the replacement parts can be tough. The toughest item to find is a good working RCA 1954 15GP22 color TV CRT for a RCA CT-100 TV set. Also some transformers and filter chokes are almost impossible to find. Some can be re-wound but it gets expensive.

KR: Do you ever feel like an anthropologist when working on old gear?
CP: Sure! I love the hunt! When restoring vintage electronic equipment, I love to see how the gear was originally designed and hand wired.

KR: Do you think that new digital equipment seems colder or less wonderful than the old analog gear?
CP: You just answered your own question! Digital equipment is made up with surface mount parts and circuit boards. When they break, we simply throw them away and plug in a new board. You have to be a micro-surgeon to replace a surface mount component! Each vintage piece of equipment was handmade. I love seeing how the assembler put these parts together. Restoring this stuff is so much fun!

KR: Would you consider this to be a hobby?
CP: Yes and no. I love what I do, and when I make money from a hobby it becomes a labor of love. I buy, sell and trade some of the equipment in my collection. I re-invest the money into other vintage equipment for my collection and business.

KR: What are your future plans for restoring gear?
CP: I am looking for a 1930s Iconoscope TV camera to restore. They are quite rare. I do not have one in my collection. Someday I will find one. Also I am currently restoring a 1950s RCA TK-41 color TV camera. As far as I know, there are no working TK-41 cameras anywhere in the world. I want to have the first and only working camera. I hope to display it someday at the NAB convention in Las Vegas. I also have to finish restoring my 1948 RCA TV truck that came from WXYZ TV in Detroit. I am years away, but will do it!

KR: Do you have a lot of gear waiting to be restored?
CP: Oh, yes. Buildings full. Now all I need is the time to do it!

You can see more of Chuck’s vintage broadcast gear collection on his Web site,


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SBE News

SBE Takes New Direction in its Regulatory and Legislative Advocacy Efforts

The SBE has begun to chart a new course for the Society's government relations efforts and refocus its advocacy program to become more effective and member-focused. The SBE Board of Directors decided that a fundamental change in how the SBE participates in industry regulatory issues was needed in order to be more effective. The new direction will depend on collaboration with strategic partners in addition to our own FCC comment filings.

The October 13th SBE National Webcast is
available for viewing at the SBE Website

Presently, the SBE works with many partners including the National Association of Broadcasters, National Alliance of State Broadcast Associations, Maximum Service Television, U.S. Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and has consulted with members and staff of both Senate and House committees. The SBE is capable of providing technical support and information to allied organizations with equal or greater political influence and thereby become more effective in achieving its legislative goals.

At its October 14, 2008 meeting, the SBE Board of Directors voted to amend SBE By-Laws to change the name of the committee that works on regulatory and legislative efforts from the FCC Liaison Committee to the Government Relations Committee, to better describe the work the committee was actually doing. The Board also voted to abolish a set of internal guidelines that had been used in the committee’s work.

Also during that meeting, the Board of Directors ratified the appointment of SBE Past President Richard Rudman, CPBE, as chair of this important committee. During 2008, the preceding FCC Liaison Committee was directed by Interim Chair and SBE General Counsel, Chris Imlay.
The newly renamed Government Relations Committee has been charged with the development of an annual legislative agenda. This will be a board-approved, annual outline of the SBE’s legislative goals. The board instructed that, “Committee actions should be directed, as much as possible, toward the interest and greatest impact of and to our members. Great care is to be taken to insure these issues are specifically related to our members and their concerns, possibly to the de-emphasis of 'industry' concerns as they may not have a close enough relationship to our membership's concerns.”

Watch SBE-news and the Signal for more information about SBE’s legislative agenda. If there are issues in which you feel the Society should be active, please contact Richard Rudman. Also, you’re encouraged to discuss and debate issues like this on the SBE Roundtable. The national leaders of the SBE read and participate in this forum and will appreciate member insights when determining issues for which the SBE will advocate.

Be Not Mediocre

By Dennis Baldridge
Chapter 24 Chair

One underlying principle in the SBEís Canon of Ethics is striving for a standard of excellence and shunning its opposite, mediocrity. Professional engineers want a legacy which reflects excellence in what they do and say. When oneís work is mired in mediocrity, it usually means that their heart was not fully engaged in the project or activity in the first place; they were simply going through the motions. Mediocrity is not a good state for anyone.

What is mediocrity? Websterís dictionary defines it as "the quality or state of being mediocre; of moderate or low quality; ordinary." Fundamentally, mediocrity is the state of being average or ordinary. Is this what we want said about our work and attitudes?

Mediocrity is the absence of a drive for excellence. It is the result of not putting out the time, energy, passion or whatever it takes to accomplish the goal. Mediocrity becomes the default when there is no vision.

What exactly is excellence and how is it achieved? Excellence is not about being the best. Rather, it is about being and utilizing 100 percent of what God has given to you in terms of mental, physical, emotional and spiritual resources.

How do we achieve excellence and avoid mediocrity? Og Mandino suggested how this might be accomplished. He said "Deliver more than you are getting paid to do. The victory of success will be half won when you learn the secret of putting out more than is expected in all that you do. Make yourself so valuable in your work that eventually you will become indispensable. Exercise your privilege to go the extra mile, and enjoy all the rewards you receive." Let us all enthusiastically strive for excellence and avoid the easy, mediocre way by giving our best at all times!

Excelsior College announces Certification Courses

by Rebecca Troeger
Excelsior College

Excelsior College, in partnership with the Society of Broadcast Engineers, offers college credit to enrolled students for the completion of select SBE certifications. Apply up to 11 credits earned through SBE certifications plus any credit earned from other approved sources toward any of Excelsior College's more than 40 degree and certificate programs. Of particular interest to SBE members are the Associate Degree in Electronics Technology, Bachelor's Degree in Electronics Engineering Technology, and Associate or Bachelor's Degree in Technology with a specialty in Electronics/Instrumentation Technologies.

Complete your degree requirements with Excelsior's flexible learning options including online and CD-ROM courses. You can maximize your SBE Certifications with Excelsior College. The following SBE certifications have been evaluated toward Excelsior College credit:
Certified Broadcast Radio Engineer
Certified Broadcast Television Engineer
Certified Senior Broadcast Radio Engineer
Certified Senior Broadcast Television Engineer
Certified Professional Broadcast Engineer

For more information check out SBE's partnership page on Excelsior College's website at

College Credit for Your SBE Certification:

The Society of Broadcast Engineers and Excelsior College have teamed up! Your current SBE Certification may qualify for credit towards a degree from Excelsior College or could help you finish that degree you’ve been working on at another institution. If you’re interested, contact Excelsior College by calling toll-free at (888) 647-2388 to learn about the details.

When you are ready to submit your SBE Certification for credit to Excelsior College, download the SBE transcript request form at or, or contact the SBE National Office for a copy. When you’ve completed the form, e-mail, fax or mail it to Megan Clappe, Certification Director at the SBE National Office, who will prepare your transcript and send it to Excelsior College.

Megan Clappe

Certification Director Society of Broadcast Engineers
9102 N. Meridian Street, Suite 150
Indianapolis, IN 46260

SBE CertPreview Software

SBE CertPreview sample certification test software is now available. It’s Microsoft Windows-based and replaces the previous DOS-based software. New sample tests are available for Broadcast Technologist, Audio Engineer, Video Engineer, Broadcast Networking Technologist, Broadcast Engineer and Senior Broadcast Engineer in both radio and television. Sample tests include 50 to 100 questions and indicate when an incorrect answer has been given. It provides a list of resources from which to learn more about a subject. Cost for each SBE CERTpreview practice test is $27 plus $3 shipping. Contact the National Office to order a copy.

Certification Exam Session Dates:

The SBE National Certification Committee certification exam session dates for 2008 are listed below. Check the list below for the exam period that is best for you. For more information about SBE Certification, see your Chapter Certification Chair or contact Megan Clappe, Certification Director at the SBE National Office at (317) 846-9000, or

Exam Dates Location Application Deadline
November 7-17 , 2008 Local Chapters CLOSED
February 6-16 , 2009 Local Chapters December 31 , 2008
April 21, 2009 NAB April 1 , 2009
June 5-15, 2009 Local Chapters June 5, 2009
November 6-16, 2009 Local Chapters September 18, 2009

** AM Directional Specialist exams will be held following the Radio Guide AM Transmission Seminar on August 7th in conjunction with The Texas Association of Broadcasters Convention. Applications will be accepted up until the start of the three day course August 5-7. You must be currently certified on an Engineering level to apply for the AMD Specialist exam. Please contact the SBE National office for more information.

Fees for 2008 are as Follows:

Certification Level Member Non-Member
Broadcast Technologist $40 $103
Broadcast Networking Technologist $55 $118
Broadcast Engineer $55 $118
Audio/Video Engineer $55 $118
Senior Broadcast Engineer $80 $143
Professional Broadcast Engineer $105 $168
Specialist Certification    
AM Directional Specialist $50 $113
8VSB Specialist $50 $113
Digital Radio Broadcast Specialist $50 $113

Please note: SBE Certification exams are administered only by SBE and are proctored in-person by qualified and approved representatives of SBE. No other organization is authorized to administer SBE exams.
Click here for more information about SBE Certification.


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Bill Harris - Editor In Chief
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  Garneth M. Harris

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Views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the official positions of the Societies, its officers, or its members. We regret, but are not liable for, any omissions or errors. The Denver SBE and SMPTE Newsletter is published approximately twelve times per year. It is prepared with a combination of text and graphic data. Submission deadline is 10 days before the last day of each month. Other SBE or SMPTE chapters are permitted to use excerpts if attributed to the original authors, sources, and the Denver SBE/SMPTE Newsletter.