A monthly newsletter by
Society of Broadcast Engineers Chapter 48
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48 Newsletter Page
- Chapter 48's Next Meeting
- Upcoming Meetings And Happenings
- Job Postings
- EAS: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
- SBE Certification To Celebrate 25 Years
- SBE National Office Relocates
- Galen Hassinger Named SBE Frequency Coordination Director
- News and Views - Clay Freinwald
- The End User
- Radio Pioneer, Charles Herrold
Chapter 48's Next Meeting...
Please join us for our April meeting:
Thursday April 12th, 6:30 pm
"Son of Streaming"
Location: Digital Metropolis
2000 Arapahoe St.
Downtown Denver, CO
Digital Metropolis will host our March/April meeting. "Son of Streaming"
is a sequel to our well attended January session on streaming video and will
expand to all types of compressed video being used for delivery on the web,
CD-ROM and DVD. This month's meeting will cover several topics that are
inherent in the compression of video for delivery on different formats.
Video on the Web
Shooting and editing for the streaming format
Media Cleaner Pro
Video on CD-ROM
Flash controlling CD
Video on DVD
Connectivity to the Web
The format for this session is an informal mixer and we will have different
stations set up for you to see work first hand.
The following map will show you how to get to Digital Metropolis, Inc.
http://www.digitalmetropolis.com/html/metropolis/16-contact.htm. It is in a
building directly behind the bus station in the Bayly Lofts. The address is
2000 Arapahoe Street, Studio 101--- however the entrance to the building is
actually on 20th St. If you come to the entrance and call Digital
from the call box, we will let you in. You come into the lobby and go down
the hall to your left and go all the way down and we are the last door on
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Upcoming Meetings And Happenings
July 9, 2001 Deadline to apply to take an SBE Certification Exam during the
August 17-27, 2001 local window.
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As a service to SBE/SMPTE membership,
technology positions in the Rocky Mtn. region are posted at no
charge. Please send your posting to:
Jefferson Pilot Broadcasting is looking for a staff technical engineer as a
full time position at their Denver radio stations.
Interested parties should contact Brad Hart, Director of Engineering at 303-321-0950 Joel or Humke
Cell 303-618-3649 Fax 720-535-8636
Project Manager (Uplink, Downlink, RF-Lband distribution)
Broadband Design and Engineering seeks experienced engineer.
Responsibilities include: installation of satellite antennas, RF, L-band,
video/audio distribution and cable management. Must have a strong
understanding of signal flow from origination to transmission.
Compensation commensurate with experience.
Contact: Bob Bowlin
303.503.9662; 303.972.8187 (fax) or email@example.com
Engineer (Television Production)
Colorado Studios and its affiliated companies (Mountain Mobile TV and
HDNet) seek experienced, component level maintenance engineers. Several
openings provide opportunities for highly skilled, dedicated individuals
to take on the challenges of studio, post-production, mobile unit and
high definition television. Minimum five years of experience is required
with hands-on maintenance of Betacam, digital switchers, graphics
systems, audio mixers, computers, networks, and/or broadcast quality
cameras. Compensation commensurate with experience. Full range of
Contact: Brian Brieske
303-388-8500; 303 388-9600 (fax); or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Master Control Operator
Williams Communications Vyvx Teleport Denver has an immediate opening for a
Master Control Operator in our state-of-the-art digital facility. Located
in the Denver Tech Center, we are a leader in the broadcast industry. We
provide our customers analog and digital transmission of video, data, &
voice via satellite, microwave, & fiber optics. Everything from corporate
sales meetings to Rockies games and Seinfeld reruns! We also provide
analog and digital program origination for broadcast, cable and business
television networks, as well as portable microwave transmission services in
the Denver metro area.
Master control operator job duties will include: switching and monitoring
of multiple on-air signals and digital automation systems, troubleshooting
analog & digital signals, checking program playlists, and digitally
encoding program content for multiple channels of automated video server
playback. There is absolutely NO production or post-production involved in
Qualified applicants should have prior operations experience in television
broadcasting or a closely related telecommunications field, and should be
able to work day, evening, and overnight shifts any day of the week. Prior
master control experience is a plus.
We provide a salary of $14 - $17/hour, based on experience, along with one
of the best benefits packages in the industry, opportunities for
advancement, and an outstanding work environment.
For consideration, please send your resume, references, and salary
Williams Communications Vyvx Teleport Denver
attn: Teleport Recruiter, Job BL-01
9174 S Jamaica Street
Englewood CO 80112
Or fax to 303-799-8325. No calls or email applications please.
Applications without references and salary requirements may not be
Please visit our web site at
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EAS: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
Federal Communications Commission
|In the Matter of
|Amendment of Part 11 of the Commission's Rules
||EB Docket No. 01-66|
|Regarding the Emergency Alert System
NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING
|Adopted: March 13, 2001
||Released: March 20,
Comment Date: 75 days after publication in
the Federal Register
Reply Comment Date: 105 days after publication in the
By the Commission: Commissioner Furchtgott-Roth
dissenting and issuing a statement.
- In this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ("NPRM"), we solicit
comment on requested revisions to the Part 11 rules governing the Emergency
Alert System ("EAS") set forth in petitions for rulemaking filed by the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ("NOAA") National Weather
Service ("NWS") and the Society of Broadcast Engineers ("SBE"). In addition,
we propose to revise Part 11 of the Rules to eliminate references to the
now-defunct Emergency Action Notification ("EAN") network and its
participants. We also propose to amend Part 11 to delete the requirement that
international High Frequency ("HF") broadcast stations purchase and install
- In 1994, the Commission adopted rules establishing the EAS as a
replacement for the Emergency Broadcast System ("EBS") and requiring cable
systems as well as broadcast stations to participate in EAS. The Commission
extended the EAS requirements to wireless cable systems in 1997. The EAS
affords national, state and local authorities the capability to provide
emergency communications and information to the general public via broadcast
stations, cable systems and wireless cable systems. Participation in national
EAS alerts is mandatory for broadcast stations, cable systems and wireless
cable systems. These entities participate in state and local area EAS plans on
a voluntary basis. Broadcast stations were required to install the new EAS
equipment by January 1, 1997. Cable systems with 10,000 or more subscribers
were required to install new EAS equipment by December 31, 1998. Cable systems
with fewer than 10,000 subscribers and wireless cable systems are required to
install EAS equipment by October 1, 2002.
- The EAS equipment used by broadcast stations and cable systems sends and
receives messages using a precise format called the EAS protocol. Each EAS
message has four parts: digital header codes, a two-tone attention signal, an
audio and/or video message, and an End of Message code. The header codes
define who originated the emergency message (originator code), the nature of
the emergency (event code), the location of the emergency (location code), and
the valid time period of the message. The two-tone attention signal, which
must be transmitted for a minimum of eight seconds, provides an audio alert to
audiences that emergency information is about to be sent.
- NWS filed its petition for rulemaking on December 30, 1997. The Commission
staff issued a public notice announcing the filing of NWS’s petition on
January 14, 1998. Comments were filed by SBE. NWS plays a significant role in
the implementation of the EAS as the originator of emergency weather
information. The EAS protocol described above is identical to the NOAA Weather
Radio ("NWR") Specific Area Message Encoding ("SAME") technique, which NWS
uses to transmit messages over NWR transmitters around the country. NWR-SAME
messages are transmitted on over 500 NWR transmitters throughout the country,
and NWS has plans to add over 200 more transmitters. Many broadcast stations
and cable systems directly monitor NWR transmissions and relay the NWS
messages to their audiences over the EAS. In order to ensure that there is
equipment operability between the EAS and NWR-SAME systems, the Part 11 rules
specifically provide that EAS codes must be compatible with the codes used by
NWR-SAME. In its petition for rulemaking, NWS requests numerous additions and
modifications to the EAS header codes. NWS also seeks revisions to the EAS
equipment requirements which it believes are necessary to promote smoother
operations and compatibility between EAS and NWR-SAME systems.
- SBE filed its petition for rulemaking on August 14, 1997. The Commission
staff issued a public notice announcing the filing of SBE’s petition on August
22, 1997. Comments were filed by the National Association of Broadcasters
("NAB"), Fox Television Stations, Inc. ("Fox"), Multi-Technical Services, Inc.
("MTS"), and the West Virginia Broadcasters Association. Reply comments were
filed by SBE. In the petition, SBE requests additions and modifications to the
EAS header codes. Additionally, SBE seeks various revisions to the operational
and technical requirements for EAS. Among other things, SBE seeks to modify
EAS testing requirements, make the two-tone attention signal optional, reduce
the modulation level for EAS codes, establish a protocol for text
transmissions, and allow the carriage of the audio portion of a President’s
EAS message from a non-EAS source.
- The proposals set forth for comment in this NPRM are, for the most
part, intended to enhance the performance of the EAS during state and local
emergencies. While we recognize that EAS plays an important role at the state
and local levels, we emphasize that participation in state and local EAS
activities remains voluntary. We do not wish to impose additional costs or
burdens on broadcast stations and cable systems that choose not to participate
in state and local area EAS plans. Further, we wish to fully understand the
costs and benefits that might result from our possible endorsement of the
changes NWS has proposed to state and local emergency warnings. As a result,
we are requesting specific cost information below and will evaluate that
- Event Codes. Event codes are three-letter codes used in the
transmission of EAS messages that identify the nature of the event or
emergency that is causing the EAS activation. A list of authorized event codes
is set forth in Section 11.31(e) of the Rules. This list includes codes for
national EAS events and tests, which broadcasters and cable systems are
required to receive and transmit, and codes for state and local EAS events,
which broadcasters and cable systems voluntarily participating in state and
local area EAS plans may transmit on an optional basis.
- NWS requests a number of modifications to the list of authorized event
codes. First, NWS requests that the Commission adopt a naming convention for
state and local event codes. Under the naming convention suggested by NWS, the
third letter of all hazardous state and local event codes would be limited to
one of four letters: "W" for warnings, "A" for watches, "E" for emergencies,
and "S" for statements. Events that pose a significant threat to public safety
and/or property, have a high probability of occurrence in a particular
location, and have a relatively short onset time would be titled "warnings."
Events would be titled "watches" where they pose a significant threat to
public safety and/or property, but either the onset time or probability of
occurrence or location is uncertain. The title "emergency" would be reserved
for future applications that do not meet the definition of warning or watch
but are of such a nature that the information is important and may require
public response. Follow-up messages would be titled as "statements." NWS
states that the naming convention would make possible a wider range of
consumer products without lessening the current capabilities of the EAS or
NWR-SAME. SBE endorses the suggested naming convention, noting that it will
make it much easier to design consumer grade equipment which allows consumers
to select the events for which they wish to be alerted.
- We seek comment on whether the suggested naming convention should be
adopted. We note that adoption of the naming convention would require revision
of the existing event codes for Tornado Warning (TOR), Severe Thunderstorm
Warning (SVR) and Evacuation Immediate (EVI) to TOW, SVW and IEW,
respectively. Adding the revised codes and deleting the existing codes for
these three events would require any broadcast station or cable system that
wishes to participate in state and local EAS alerts to modify or upgrade its
EAS equipment to handle the revised codes. In addition, we seek comment on
ways to ease the transition in the event that we adopt the naming convention.
Specifically, we seek comment on whether we should add the revised codes
suggested by NWS for Tornado, Severe Thunderstorm and Evacuation Warnings,
while also retaining the existing codes for these events for some specified
length of time to allow continued functionality of existing EAS equipment
through its expected lifespan. Based on discussions between Commission staff
and NWS, we believe that NWS has the capability to transmit both the existing
codes and the revised codes for these three events. We seek comment on what
issues arise for EAS participants if NWS transmits both the existing codes and
the revised codes for these three events.
- We are mindful that the Commission has only recently adopted final rules
requiring that broadcast stations and cable systems install EAS equipment.
Thus, we are particularly interested in ascertaining any costs that broadcast
stations and cable systems participating voluntarily in state and local EAS
alerts may incur if the naming convention is adopted. In addition, to assist
us in determining the best course to take, we request specific comment on the
following questions: Is it possible to modify all existing EAS equipment to
receive the revised codes through software upgrades or will hardware upgrades
be required? What will it cost to upgrade existing EAS equipment to receive
the revised codes? Will some broadcast stations and cable systems simply
choose not to participate voluntarily in state and local EAS alerts rather
than make the modifications? If so, how many and how does this balance with
the benefits of the new codes? How can we ensure that revisions to state and
local event codes do not cause an emergency warning to be missed? What happens
to an EAS decoder that has not been upgraded if it receives a revised code
transmitted by NWS? What issues arise if we authorize the continued use of EAS
equipment that can only receive the existing codes for an indefinite period of
time? What is the expected lifespan of existing EAS equipment? If we authorize
the manufacture and sale of EAS equipment with the existing codes for a
specified period of time, how long should we give manufacturers and
distributors to reduce or upgrade existing stock? Additionally, if we
authorize the continued use of EAS equipment that can only receive the
existing codes for a specified period of time, how long should we give
broadcast stations and cable systems participating voluntarily in state and
local EAS alerts to replace or upgrade EAS equipment? Finally, if we adopt the
revised and new EAS codes, will there be any adverse effects or additional
costs on broadcast stations and cable systems that transmit digital signals?
- NWS also requests that we add new event codes for emergency conditions not
included in the current list, modify the titles of two existing codes to
include weather events that are likely to occur in tandem, and add new event
codes for certain administrative messages and non-EAS applications. The
Commission has also received other recommendations for new event codes. A
complete listing of the existing and recommended event codes is attached as
Appendix A. We seek comment on whether we should amend the rules to add the
recommended event codes. In addition, we seek comment on whether there are
other event codes that should be added to the list. We also request comment on
what equipment modifications would be needed to implement the recommended
changes and on the costs of such modifications. Further, we seek comment on
what effect the addition of these new event codes would have on existing EAS
equipment that is not capable of receiving these codes.
- SBE suggests that the Commission include a cancellation code for each
event code in the current list and for each event code that will be added to
the list. In SBE’s view, cancellation codes are needed for situations where a
warning can be cancelled prior to its issued expiration time. SBE notes that
in some cases the warning code has been reissued to announce cancellation of
the event, but the EAS generated crawl made it appear that the warning was
being reissued. NAB supports SBE’s suggestion to add cancellation codes,
asserting that this change would consider the needs of broadcasters as well as
the need of the listening and viewing public to be informed during an
emergency situation. We are not convinced that the cancellation codes
suggested by SBE are necessary, but seek further comment on this suggestion.
We question whether cancellation codes are necessary given that EAS messages
already contain a code that specifies the valid time period of the message. In
particular, we seek comment on how frequently situations arise where a warning
can be cancelled prior to its issued expiration time. In addition, we seek
comment on what equipment modifications would be needed to implement
cancellation codes and on the costs of such modifications.
- Location Codes. Location codes are six-digit numerical codes used
in the transmission of EAS messages that indicate what geographic areas may be
affected by an emergency. These codes have three separate parts. The "SS"
portion of the location code is a two-digit number that identifies the state
or territory in which the emergency is located. The "CCC" portion of the
location code is a three-digit number that identifies the county or city
affected by the emergency. The "P" portion of the location code is optional
and allows the message originator to divide a county into nine sections to
further pinpoint the affected portion of the county. The "SS" and "CCC"
numbers are unique Federal Information Processing Standard ("FIPS") numbers
assigned by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The "SS"
numbers are listed in Section 11.31(f) of the Rules. The "CCC" numbers are
contained in the State EAS Mapbook.
- NWS requests that we add new location codes to cover marine areas, which
are not presently included in the location codes specified in Section 11.31(f)
of the Rules. The marine areas are immediate offshore areas likely to be
affected by extreme weather conditions and are identified by two-digit numbers
that would comprise the "SS" portion of the location code. A listing of the
marine location codes requested by NWS is attached as Appendix B. We seek
comment on whether we should include these location codes in Section 11.31. We
also seek comment on what equipment modifications would be needed to implement
this request and on the costs of such modifications. Further, we seek comment
on what effect the addition of these new marine location codes would have on
existing EAS equipment that is not capable of receiving these codes.
- NWS and SBE both request the addition of an entire country location code.
SBE states that an entire country location code is needed so that multiple
alerts are not necessary to activate the entire country when a national level
emergency situation arises. NWS recommends that the 000000 location code be
used for a message affecting all or a large portion of the country. We seek
comment on whether we should ask the Federal Emergency Management Agency
("FEMA") to use the 000000 location code when a national level EAS message is
originated by the federal government. We also request comment on whether this
would have any effect on existing EAS equipment.
- In addition, NWS points out that since consumer products only respond to
receipt of the county location code programmed into the unit, which is usually
the consumer’s location, the consumer products would not respond to the 000000
location code. To remedy this problem, NWS suggests that when the EAS
equipment at broadcast stations and cable systems receive a national level EAS
message, the equipment could, in addition to retransmitting the event code and
the accompanying 000000 location code, also trigger transmission of all of the
county location codes stored within the equipment. This "triggering" proposal
would allow consumer products that activate only upon the location code for
the county in which the product is located to be activated for national EAS
messages accompanied by the 000000 location code. We are concerned that
adoption of the "triggering" proposal would require costly modification of
existing equipment at broadcast stations and cable systems. However, we seek
comment on whether we should permit this as an optional feature of EAS
equipment. Further, we are not aware of any significant number of consumer
devices which rely upon EAS transmissions of broadcast stations and cable
systems. We seek comment on the existence of consumer devices which monitor
broadcast stations and cable systems rather than NWS weather transmitters.
- NWS also requests that we permit the use of any combination of the
standard alphabet and numbers in the "CCC" portion of the location code. NWS
states that organizations responsible for the warning communications
associated with special facilities – such as nuclear power plants, chemical,
biological and nuclear weapons storage facilities, and plants that produce and
store hazardous materials – are now using or evaluating the use of NWR as
their primary radio communications system. Allowing the geographic code blocks
to include both numbers and letters plus the * symbol, NWS says, would enable
these organizations to create up to 1.4 million possible location code and
message combinations. Text messages could be stored in each receiver that,
depending on the code received, provide almost site specific information such
as shelter in place information, evacuation routes, and safe areas. In its
comments on the NWS Petition, SBE expresses concern that if this regionally
customized location coding is not explicitly included in the Part 11 rules,
equipment manufacturers will not allow such flexibility in their equipment for
fear of FCC equipment certification problems. In this regard, SBE states that
it has repeatedly been told by some manufacturers that unless coding is
exactly specified in the FCC rules, the modified or supplemental coding will
not be put into the manufacturer’s equipment. Thus, SBE asserts that it cannot
support NWS’s request for customized location coding without an assurance that
every bit of code customizing is expressly included in Part 11. SBE adds that
the flexibility sought by NWS with the customized location coding could be
better accomplished by adoption of SBE’s suggestion for a protocol for text
transmission, which we discuss below. We seek comment on NWS’s request and on
the concerns raised by SBE with respect to this request.
- Originator Codes. Originator codes are three-letter codes used in
the transmission of EAS messages that identify who originally initiated the
activation of the EAS. A list of authorized originator codes is set forth in
Section 11.31(d) of the Rules.
- NWS asks that we revise its originator code from WXR to NWS. While we
agree with NWS that this revision would make its originator code more easily
recognizable to EAS participants, we believe that it raises the same concerns
discussed above with respect to the revision of existing event codes to
implement NWS’s suggested naming convention. Adding the NWS code and deleting
the WXR code could have a substantial adverse impact on the use of the EAS for
state and local emergency purposes because NWS is the originator of emergency
weather information. Any broadcast station or cable system that wishes to
participate in state and local EAS alerts would need to modify or upgrade its
EAS equipment to handle the revised code. We seek comment on whether we should
revise NWS’s originator code from WXR to NWS. Further, to ease the transition
in the event that we revise NWS’s originator code, we seek comment on whether
we should add the NWS code, while also retaining the existing WXR code for
some specified length of time to allow continued functionality of existing EAS
equipment through its expected lifespan.
- Equipment authorization. EAS equipment is required to be certified
by the Commission in accordance with the procedures set forth in Subpart J of
Part 2 of the Commission’s Rules. Accordingly, we seek comment on what effect
the proposed and requested revisions to the EAS codes discussed above may have
on Commission certification of existing EAS equipment. In addition, we invite
comment from equipment manufacturers on how we can make the equipment
authorization process more flexible to accommodate changes in EAS codes.
- We also seek comment on whether, as an alternative to revising the lists
of State and local EAS event and location codes, we should amend the Rules to
provide that any modifications to existing authorized EAS equipment that are
necessary to implement revisions in EAS codes are Class I permissive changes
that do not require a new application for and grant of equipment
certification. Under this alternative, entities subject to the Commission’s
EAS requirements could satisfy their obligations with equipment designed to
function with either the existing codes or an expanded range of codes.
Additional State and local event and location codes could be developed
directly by State and local officials, broadcasters and cable operators,
equipment manufacturers and other interested parties. The use of these codes
and the equipment needed to access them would be implemented on a permissive
basis as determined by the specific needs and interests of the local area
participants. This approach would eliminate the need to conduct rulemakings to
revise the State and local event codes and location codes, and would afford
equipment manufacturers greater flexibility in the design and modification of
EAS equipment. We request comment on alternative means of addressing the need
for changed EAS codes.
- Current Part 11 rules require broadcast stations and cable systems to
retransmit the Required Monthly Test ("RMT") within 15 minutes of receipt of
the RMT message. SBE requests that we extend the relay window for RMTs from 15
minutes to 60 minutes. SBE asserts that if broadcasters have more time to
relay a RMT, they will likely be able to insert it into a less disruptive
portion of programming, which will increase acceptance of EAS. NAB and Fox
support this proposal. We tentatively conclude that a longer relay window for
RMTs would ease scheduling difficulties for all EAS participants without
negatively affecting EAS test procedures. Accordingly, we propose to amend
Part 11 to increase the time for retransmitting RMTs to 60 minutes from the
time of receipt of the RMTs and seek comment on this proposal.
Modulation Level of EAS Codes
- SBE requests that we reduce the modulation level of the EAS codes from 80%
to 50% of full channel modulation limits. SBE states that in most cases the
tone insertion equipment must be inserted after station processing to attain
the required modulation level. According to SBE, this situation is "adverse to
acceptable engineering practice." We agree with SBE and propose to amend
Section 11.51(f) of the Rules to permit a minimum modulation level of 50%. We
invite comment on this proposal.
Compatibility of EAS Equipment with NWR-SAME System
- NWS requests that we amend Section 11.33(a)(4) and (a)(5) of the Rules to
permit EAS decoders to display or log receipt of only those event codes and
accompanying location codes for which the decoder is programmed for mandatory
receipt and those optionally set by the device user. Section 11.33(a)(4) and
(a)(5) requires EAS decoders to display messages from any valid EAS header
codes received. Therefore, EAS participants monitoring NWR-SAME transmissions
receive every message transmitted, even test messages originated by NWS. We
have received several reports from broadcasters who were unhappy with
receiving unwanted NWS messages, and some have even stopped monitoring NWR on
their EAS equipment. To address this problem, we seek comment on whether we
should amend Part 11 to permit equipment manufacturers to include an optional
feature in EAS equipment that would allow EAS users the capability to program
their EAS decoders to select only certain received EAS messages for
processing. This selection capability would only apply to EAS messages that
contain state and local event codes. Because this selection capability would
be an optional feature of EAS equipment, existing EAS decoders which function
according to the original specifications would still be in compliance with
Protocol for Text Transmission
- The existing EAS rules are designed to function with both radio and
television systems and to accommodate information received in either audio or
text formats. Subject to certain requirements that are intended to ensure that
persons with disabilities have access to emergency information, television
broadcasters and cable operators participating in the EAS system have the
option as to whether to pass audio or text information on to the public. SBE
does not propose any changes in terms of these options, but requests that we
amend the Part 11 rules to include a more specific protocol for text
transmission. If included in the relevant equipment and utilized by entities
participating in the EAS system, SBE suggests that a protocol for text
transmission would improve the options available to those broadcasters and
cable operators desiring to make greater use of already formatted text
messages. This would include, according to SBE, those broadcasters wishing to
include detailed disaster information updates in the next programming break or
newscast rather than immediately upon reception. SBE maintains that the lack
of a detailed text transmission capability has caused considerable criticism
of EAS, particularly from the hearing impaired community and local emergency
managers. SBE suggests that EAS would have "the ultimate capabilities of
disaster warning as well as disaster follow up management if the proper means
of text transmission were included in the protocol." Under SBE’s suggestion,
text information would be transmitted immediately following the existing EAS
message format, using the existing Audio Frequency Shift Keying ("AFSK")
technique. By providing the text message following the existing EAS message,
SBE states that "text can be incorporated without affecting existing
decoders." We seek comment on this suggestion, but we note that at this time,
we have no information or data to support the addition of text messaging to
the EAS system using the AFSK technique or any other scheme. In addition, we
are aware of no comprehensive field tests that have been conducted to show the
viability of different text formats. Moreover, SBE provides no data in its
petition on the costs of adding text processing to EAS equipment.
Nevertheless, we seek comment on whether we should amend the rules to provide
broadcasters and cable operators with additional text transmission
- As an alternative to SBE’s suggestion, we could add a local event code
(TXT) that can be used as an indicator that textual information will be
transmitted after the End of Message code or we could permit other
modifications to the EAS codes to test text transmission techniques. This
would allow for the testing of different textual formats and could eventually
lead to an industry standard. Another possible alternative is the transmission
of textual information on sub-carrier or auxiliary signals. We seek comment on
Use of Common EAS Equipment by Co-Located Broadcast Stations
and Cable Systems
- Under the Part 11 rules, broadcast stations that are co-owned and
co-located with a combined studio and cable systems that are co-owned and
co-located with a combined control facility are permitted to use a
common set of EAS equipment to comply with the EAS rules. SBE raises concerns
in its petition regarding co-owned, co-located "key" stations -- broadcast
stations that are designated as state or local primary EAS sources in their
EAS plan and thus are monitored by other stations in their EAS area. SBE
states that since EAS equipment does not provide for the relay of a message
originated by itself, co-located key stations that do not simulcast program
originations must originate tests and alerts separately. Because EAS encoders
are required to affix date/time codes automatically to all messages, when the
same EAS message is originated on co-located key stations at different times,
two apparently separate messages for the same event circulate through the EAS
relay web, and automated, unattended, or manned stations set to automatic will
air both messages. SBE therefore suggests that we amend Part 11 to provide
that where more than one of the co-owned and co-located broadcast stations or
cable systems are designated as key stations or systems, the common EAS
equipment must be configured such that the EAS message of one key station or
system is either simulcast or relayed by the remaining key station(s) or
system(s). Although we have not received any reports of specific instances of
this problem from any state or local primary EAS sources, we are concerned
that confusion may result when the same EAS message is originated on
co-located key stations or systems at different times. We accordingly seek
comment on SBE’s suggestion. Commenters should address what equipment
modifications would be necessary to implement this suggestion, and the costs
associated with such modifications.
Carriage of Audio of Presidential Messages from Non-EAS
- SBE requests that in the case of a national EAS alert, broadcast stations
be permitted to air the President’s voice message from a source other than the
EAS source from which the alert was received. In support of this request, SBE
states that most broadcast stations are equipped with high audio quality
network connections, whereas the audio received on an EAS decoder may be of
questionable quality. SBE also expresses concern that severe video to audio
synchronization problems may occur if a television station chooses to air the
video of the President from the station’s network feed, but is required to air
the audio portion of the President’s message from the EAS source which
provided the activation. We invite comment on this request as it applies to
- The EAN network was one of two networks used to distribute national
emergency messages from the federal government. It consisted of a dedicated
communications service connecting industry networks, wire services and common
carriers with government activation points. The other network used to
distribute national level messages is the PEP system which was originally
developed to serve as a backup to the EAN network. The PEP system consists of
a nationwide network of broadcast stations designated as National Primary
("NP") sources that are connected with government activation points. In a
Memorandum to the Director of FEMA dated September 15, 1995, President Clinton
indicated that the PEP system would be the exclusive distribution network for
the national level EAS and directed FEMA to "[p]hase out the dedicated
circuitry and associated equipment of the Emergency Action Notification (EAN)
network and incorporate the network nodes into the national-level EAS as
required." Consistent with this directive, FEMA approved the removal of all
EAN network equipment and circuits. Accordingly, because the EAN network no
longer exists, we propose to delete those portions of the Part 11 rules which
reference the EAN network and its participants.
International High Frequency Stations
- In a letter dated August 30, 1996, the National Association of Shortwave
Broadcasters, Inc. ("NASB") requested that the Commission exempt FCC licensed
international HF broadcast stations from the requirement to purchase and
install EAS equipment. Under Section 11.54(b)(9) of the Rules, stations in the
International Broadcast Service ("IBS") are required to cease broadcasting
immediately upon receipt of a national-level EAS message and must remain off
the air until they receive an EAS message terminating the activation. IBS
stations may, however, be issued an emergency authorization by the FCC, with
the concurrence of the Office of Science and Technology Policy ("OSTP") in the
Executive Office of the President, to transmit federal government broadcasts
- In support of its request, NASB asserted that the technical and political
concerns which gave rise to the requirements of Section 11.54(b)(9) are no
longer relevant. On September 13, 1996, Commission staff forwarded NASB’s
request to the OSTP for comment. After consulting with the White House
Military Office and FEMA, OSTP responded that it had no objection to granting
NASB the requested exemption. By letter dated December 20, 1996, the
Commission staff exempted all FCC licensed international HF broadcast stations
from the requirement to purchase and install EAS equipment. We propose to
amend Part 11 to eliminate the requirement that international HF broadcast
stations purchase and install EAS equipment and to delete Section
- NWS and SBE have also suggested a number of other changes. For example,
NWS suggests that we delete from the State and local EAS event code list
certain events that in its view do not provide information about immediate
life-threatening situations; and that we include an explicit statement in the
Part 11 rules that EAS equipment manufacturers should ensure that their
equipment is compatible with the non-EAS applications of NWR-SAME. SBE
suggests that we add the event code for Evacuation Immediate situations to the
list of national event codes for which immediate transmission is required;
that we require location code verification of all EAS tests and activations;
that we replace the Required Monthly Test with a Required Quarterly Test; that
we make the two-tone Attention Signal optional; and that we take steps to
"coax" participation in EAS at the local level. We do not propose to adopt
these suggestions because amendments to the rules in these areas appear either
unnecessary or not in the public interest. Nevertheless, parties may comment
on these matters if they choose.
- In this NPRM, we solicit comment on revisions to the EAS rules
suggested in petitions for rulemaking filed by NWS and SBE. We seek comment on
additions and modifications to the list of digital header codes used in the
transmission of EAS messages. In addition, we propose to increase the relay
time for RMTs, to reduce the modulation level of the EAS codes, to delete
references in the EAS rules to the EAN network and its participants, and to
delete the requirement that international HF stations purchase and install EAS
equipment. We request comment on all of the issues and proposals addressed in
this NPRM and encourage full participation from broadcast licensees and
cable operators, equipment manufacturers, state and local emergency management
personnel, and other interested parties. We also invite comment on what
effects the proposals and issues addressed in this NPRM may have on
V. PROCEDURAL MATTERS
- Comments and reply comments. Pursuant to Sections 1.415 and 1.419
of the Commission’s Rules, 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.415 and 1.419, interested parties
may file comments on or before 75 days after publication in the Federal
Register, and reply comments on or before 105 days after publication in the
Federal Register. Comments may be filed using the Commission’s Electronic
Comment Filing System ("ECFS") or by filing paper copies. See
Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 13 FCC Rcd
11322, 11326 (1998).
- Comments filed through ECFS can be sent as an electronic file via the
Internet to http://www.fcc.gov/e-file/ecfs.html. Generally, only one copy of
an electronic submission must be filed. If multiple docket or rulemaking
numbers appear in the caption of this proceeding, however, commenters must
transmit one electronic copy of the comments to each docket or rulemaking
number referenced in the caption. Parties may also submit an electronic
comment by Internet e-mail. To obtain filing instructions for e-mail comments,
commenters should send an e-mail to email@example.com, and should include the
following words in the body of the message, "get form <your e-mail
address." A sample form and instructions will be sent in reply. Or you may
obtain a copy of the ASCII Electronic Transmittal Form (FORM-ET) at
- Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and four copies
of each filing. If commenters want each Commissioner to receive a personal
copy of their comments, they must file an original and nine copies. Also, if
more than one docket or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this
proceeding, commenters must submit two additional copies for each additional
docket or rulemaking number. All filings must be sent to the Commission’s
Secretary, Magalie Roman Salas, Office of the Secretary, Federal
Communications Commission, 445 12th St., S.W., Rm. TW-A325, Washington, D.C.
20554. Copies of all filings are available for public inspection and copying
during regular business hours at the FCC Reference Information Center, 445
12th St., S.W., Rm. CY-A257, Washington, D.C. 20554.
- Ex parte Rules. This is a permit-but-disclose notice and comment
rulemaking proceeding. Ex parte presentations are permitted, except
during the Sunshine Agenda period, provided they are disclosed as provided in
the Commission rules. See generally 47 C.F.R. Sections 1.1202, 1.1203,
- Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis. With respect to this
NPRM, an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis ("IRFA") is contained
in Appendix C. As required by Section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act,
the Commission has prepared an IRFA of the expected impact on small entities
of the proposals contained in the NPRM. Written public comments are
requested on the IRFA. Comments must be identified as responses to the IRFA
and must be filed by the deadlines for comments on the NPRM specified
in paragraph 34 above. The Commission will send a copy of the NPRM,
including the IRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business
Administration. See 5 U.S.C. § 603(a). In addition, the NPRM and
IRFA (or summaries thereof) will be published in the Federal Register. See
- Initial Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Analysis. This NPRM
does not propose a new or modified information collection.
VI. ORDERING CLAUSES
- According, IT IS ORDERED that pursuant to the authority contained in
Sections 1, 4(i) and (o), 303(r), 624(g) and 706 of the Communications Act of
1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. §§ 151, 154(i) and (o), 303(r), 554(g) and 606,
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN of the proposals described in this Notice of
- IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Reference Information Center, Consumer
Information Bureau, shall send a copy of this Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking, including the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, to the
Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration in accordance
with the Regulatory Flexibility Act.
- For additional information on this proceeding, please contact the FCC
Enforcement Bureau, Technical and Public Safety Division, at (202)
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Recommended Event Code List
|Nature of Activation
|Emergency Action Notification
|Emergency Action Termination
|Required Monthly Test
|Required Weekly Test
|State and Local (Optional)|
|Civil Danger Warning
|Civil Danger Watch
|Coastal Flood Warning
|Coastal Flood Watch
|Dam Break Warning
|Dust Storm Warning
|Dust Storm Watch
|Flash Flood Statement
|Flash Flood Warning
|Flash Flood Watch
|Hazardous Materials Warning
|Hazardous Materials Watch
|High Wind Warning
|High Wind Watch
|Law Enforcement Warning
|Local Area Emergency
|Missing Child Statement
|National Hazard Warning
|National Information Center
|National Periodic Test
|Network Message Notification
|911 Telephone Outage Message
|Nuclear Power Plant Test Message
|Nuclear Power Plant Warning
|Radiological Hazard Warning
|Radiological Hazard Watch
|School Closing Statement
|Severe Thunderstorm Warning
|Severe Thunderstorm Watch
|Severe Weather Statement
|Shelter in Place Warning
|Special Marine Warning
|Special Weather Statement
|Transmitter Primary On
|Transmitter Backup On
|Transmitter Carrier On
|Transmitter Carrier Off
|Tropical Storm Warning
|Tropical Storm Watch
|Volcanic Ash Warning
|Winter Storm Warning
|Winter Storm Watch
* NWS suggests that the National
Hazard Warning code be used for hazards that affect all or a large part of the
country. It would be used in messages originated by NWS.
** NWS suggests
that the Network Message Notification code would be an internal-only,
non-broadcast EAS message, with no specific text message, to alert EAS stations
that an important message will be disseminated at a time defined by the
expiration/purge time in the header.
***NWS states that these codes would
be used by NWS to control its remote transmitter sites.
PROPOSED LOCATION CODES FOR MARINE AREAS
73 - Western North Atlantic Ocean, and along U.S. East Coast, from
Canadian border south to Currituck Beach Light, N.C.
75 - Western North
Atlantic Ocean, and along U.S. East Coast, south of Currituck Beach Light, N.C.,
following the coastline into Gulf of Mexico to Bonita Beach, FL., including the
77 - Gulf of Mexico, and along the U.S. Gulf Coast from the Mexican
border to Bonita Beach, FL.
57 - Eastern North Pacific Ocean, and along U.S.
West Coast from Canadian border to Mexican border
58 - North Pacific Ocean
near Alaska, and along Alaska coastline, including the Berring Sea and the Gulf
59 - Central Pacific Ocean, including Hawaiian waters
Western Pacific Ocean, including Mariana Island waters
61 - South Central
Pacific Ocean, including American Samoa waters
91 - Lake Superior
93 - Lake Huron
94 - Lake St. Clair
96 - Lake Erie
- Lake Ontario
98 - St. Lawrence River above St. Regis
INITIAL REGULATORY FLEXIBILITY
As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act ("RFA"),
the Commission has prepared this Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
("IRFA") of the possible significant economic impact on small entities by the
policies and rules proposed in this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
("NPRM"). Written public comments are requested on this IRFA. Comments
must be identified as responses to the IRFA and must be filed by the deadlines
for comments on the NPRM provided above in paragraph 34. The Commission
will send a copy of the NPRM, including this IRFA, to the Chief Counsel
for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration. In addition, this NPRM
and IRFA (or summaries thereof) will be published in the Federal
A. Need for, and Objectives of, the Proposed
In this NPRM, the Commission solicits comment on
petitions for rulemaking filed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Association National Weather Service ("NWS") and the Society of Broadcast
Engineers ("SBE") requesting revisions to the Part 11 rules governing the
Emergency Alert System ("EAS"). The requested revisions are intended to enhance
the capabilities of EAS equipment, reduce burdens on EAS participants, and
improve the overall performance of the EAS.
Authority for the actions proposed in this NPRM may be
found in Sections 1, 4(i) and (o), 303(r), 624(g) and 706 of the Communications
Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. §§ 151, 154(i) and (o), 303(r), 554(g) and
C. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to
Which the Proposed Rules Will Apply
The RFA generally defines the
term "small entity" as having the same meaning as the terms "small business,"
"small organization," and "small governmental jurisdiction." In addition, the
term "small business" has the same meaning as the term "small business concern"
under the Small Business Act. A small business concern is one which: (1) is
independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of operation;
and (3) satisfies any additional criteria established by the Small Business
Administration (SBA). A small organization is generally "any not-for-profit
enterprise which is independently owned and operated and is not dominant in its
field." Nationwide, as of 1992, there were approximately 275,801 small
organizations. "Small governmental jurisdiction" generally means "governments of
cities, counties, towns, townships, villages, school districts, or special
districts, with a population of less than 50,000." As of 1992, there were
approximately 85,006 such jurisdictions in the United States. This number
includes 38,978 counties, cities, and towns; of these, 37,566, or 96 percent,
have populations of fewer than 50,000. The Census Bureau estimates that this
ratio is approximately accurate for all governmental entities. Thus, of the
85,006 governmental entities, we estimate that 81,600 (91 percent) are small
Television and radio stations. The proposed rules would
apply to television broadcasting licensees and radio broadcasting licensees. The
SBA defines a television broadcasting station that has $10.5 million or less in
annual receipts as a small business. Television broadcasting stations consist of
establishments primarily engaged in broadcasting visual programs by television
to the public, except cable and other pay television services. Included in this
industry are commercial, religious, educational, and other television stations.
Also included are establishments primarily engaged in television broadcasting
and which produce taped television program materials. Separate establishments
primarily engaged in producing taped television program materials are classified
under another SIC number. There were 1,509 television stations operating in the
nation in 1992. That number has remained fairly constant as indicated by the
approximately 1,663 operating television broadcasting stations in the nation as
of September 30, 2000. For 1992, the number of television stations that produced
less than $10.0 million in revenue was 1,155 establishments.
defines a radio broadcasting station that has $5 million or less in annual
receipts as a small business. A radio broadcasting station is an establishment
primarily engaged in broadcasting aural programs by radio to the public.
Included in this industry are commercial, religious, educational, and other
radio stations. Radio broadcasting stations, which primarily are engaged in
radio broadcasting and which produce radio program materials are similarly
included. However, radio stations which are separate establishments and are
primarily engaged in producing radio program material are classified under
another SIC number. The 1992 Census indicates that 96 percent (5,861 of 6,127)
radio station establishments produced less than $5 million in revenue in 1992.
Official Commission records indicate that 11,334 individual radio stations were
operating in 1992. As of September 30, 2000, Commission records indicate that
12,717 radio stations were operating.
Thus, the rules may affect
approximately 1,663 full power television stations, approximately 1,280 of which
are considered small businesses. Additionally, the proposed rules may affect
some 12,717 full power radio stations, approximately 12,208 of which are small
businesses. These estimates may overstate the number of small entities because
the revenue figures on which they are based do not include or aggregate revenues
from non- television or non-radio affiliated companies. There are also 2,395 low
power television ("LPTV") stations. Given the nature of this service, we will
presume that all LPTV licensees qualify as small entities under the SBA
Cable systems. The proposed rules would also affect
small cable entities. The SBA has developed a definition of small entities for
cable and other pay television services, which includes all such companies
generating $11 million or less in revenue annually. This definition includes
cable system operators, closed circuit television services, direct broadcast
satellite services, multipoint distribution systems, satellite master antenna
systems and subscription television services. According to Census Bureau data
from 1992, there were 1,788 total cable and other pay television services and
1,423 had less than $11 million in revenue.
The Commission has developed
its own definition of a "small cable system" for purposes of the EAS rules.
Cable systems serving fewer than 10,000 subscribers per headend are considered
small cable systems and are afforded varying degrees of relief from the EAS
rules. Based on our most recent information, we estimate that there are 8,552
cable systems that serve fewer than 10,000 subscribers per headend.
Consequently, we estimate that there are fewer than 8,552 small cable systems
that may be affected by the rules proposed herein.
The Communications Act
also contains a definition of a small cable system operator, which is "a cable
operator that, directly or through an affiliate, serves in the aggregate fewer
than 1 percent of all subscribers in the United States and is not affiliated
with any entity or entities whose gross annual revenues in the aggregate exceed
$250,000,000." The Commission has determined that there are 67,700,000
subscribers in the United States. Therefore, we found that an operator serving
fewer than 677,000 subscribers shall be deemed a small operator, if its annual
revenues, when combined with the total annual revenues of all of its affiliates,
do not exceed $250 million in the aggregate. Based on available data, we find
that the number of cable operators serving 677,000 subscribers or less totals
1,450. We do not request nor do we collect information concerning whether cable
system operators are affiliated with entities whose gross annual revenues exceed
$250,000,000, and thus are unable at this time to estimate with greater
precision the number of cable system operators that would qualify as small cable
operators under the definition in the Communications Act.
Distribution Systems. The Commission has defined "small entity" for purposes
of the auction of MDS frequencies as an entity that, together with its
affiliates, has average gross annual revenues that are not more than $40 million
for the preceding three calendar years. This definition of small entity in the
context of MDS auctions has been approved by the SBA. The Commission completed
its MDS auction in March 1996 for authorizations in 493 basic trading areas. Of
67 winning bidders, 61 qualified as small entities. At this time, we estimate
that of the 61 small business MDS auction winners, 48 remain small business
MDS also includes licensees of stations authorized prior to
the auction. As noted, the SBA has developed a definition of small entities for
pay television services, which includes all such companies generating $11
million or less in annual receipts. This definition includes MDS and thus
applies to MDS licensees that did not participate in the MDS auction.
Information available to us indicates that there are approximately 392 incumbent
MDS licensees that do not generate revenue in excess of $11 million annually.
Therefore, we find that there are approximately 440 small MDS providers as
defined by the SBA and the Commission’s auction rules which may be affected by
the rules proposed herein.
Instructional Television Fixed Service.
The SBA definition of small entities for pay television services also appears to
apply to ITFS. There are presently 2,032 ITFS licensees. All but 100 of these
licenses are held by educational institutions. Educational institutions are
included in the definition of a small business. However, we do not collect
annual revenue data for ITFS licensees, and are not able to ascertain how many
of the 100 non-educational licensees would be categorized as small under the SBA
definition. Thus, we tentatively conclude that at least 1,932 ITFS are small
businesses and may be affected by the proposed rules.
of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance
There are no reporting or recordkeeping requirements
proposed in this NPRM. The proposals set forth in the NPRM are,
for the most part, intended to enhance the performance of the EAS during state
and local emergencies. We emphasize that participation in state and local EAS
activities remains voluntary and that we do not wish to impose additional costs
or burdens on broadcast stations and cable systems that choose not to
participate in state and local area EAS plans. The NPRM seeks comment on
proposed additions and revisions to the EAS digital header codes used in the
transmission of state and local EAS alerts. In addition, the NPRM
proposes to increase the time period for retransmitting Required Monthly Tests
of the EAS system and to reduce the modulation level for EAS codes. These
proposals would lessen operational burdens on EAS participants. The NPRM
also seeks comment on various suggestions by NWS and SBE to revise EAS
operational and equipment requirements.
E. Steps Taken to Minimize
Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities, and Significant Alternatives
The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant
alternatives that it has considered in reaching its proposed approach, which may
include the following four alternatives: (1) the establishment of differing
compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that take into account the
resources available to small entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or
simplification of compliance or reporting requirements under the rule for small
entities; (3) the use of performance, rather than design, standards; and (4) an
exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small
In setting forth the proposals contained in this NPRM,
we have attempted to minimize the burdens on all entities. We seek comment on
the impact of our proposals on small entities and on any possible alternatives
that would minimize the impact on small entities.
F. Federal Rules
that Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict with the Proposed
Dissenting Statement of Commissioner Harold W.
Amendment of Part 11 of the Commission’s Rules
Regarding the Emergency Alert System, Notice of Proposed
The current Emergency Alert System ("EAS")
provides a valuable service to the American public. Its usefulness has been
demonstrated in countless situations where the public has been notified of
impending emergencies and has been informed of the details as those emergencies
develop. Current EAS rules are grounded both in law and good practice. The
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ("NPRM") suggests new EAS rules, some voluntary,
others not. The new rules would not be as clearly grounded in law, nor would
they necessarily reflect sound policy. For these reasons, I dissent.
particularly troubled about the adoption of voluntary rules in all instances.
How are such rules applied and enforced? What meaning do they have? If the law
requires a regulated entity to provide a certain service, that service cannot be
voluntary. Conversely, the agency should not suggest voluntary compliance with
rules that have little or no statutory basis.
Specifically, the NPRM
suggests additional warning rules for state and local emergencies without
adequately exploring the effect such rules, albeit proposed as voluntary, may
have on broadcasters and cable operators. For example, while questions are
raised as to the costs of providing such warnings, the NPRM does not recognize
or consider the fact that local franchising authorities may require cable
operators to issue local emergency warnings as a condition of a franchise
renewal—thus, turning a voluntary action into a mandatory requirement at the
local level. The NPRM also considers additional rules for alerting persons with
disabilities, yet does not examine whether the rules in place adequately address
the concerns raised. It is important to note that these suggested proposals, and
others like them in the item, are proffered for consideration even before the
original EAS requirements have been completely implemented by some of the
In sum, the Commission should have issued a Notice of
Inquiry that reflects upon the current state of EAS. After such an inquiry, if
it were found that additional policies were necessary to fix the current system
consistent with the law, or that other communications services need to be
included to better effectuate the goal of alerting the public to dangers, then
the Commission would be on firmer ground to go forward.
Return To Table of Contents
SBE Certification To Celebrate 25 Years
The year 2001 marks the 25th anniversary of the SBE Certification program.
What started out as an idea in the mid-1970's has grown to where there are now
more than 4,000 individuals who currently hold a certification from the
Society. SBE's certification program is recognized throughout the broadcast
industry as the leader in providing a measuring stick of skill competencies
and professional recognition for the broadcast engineer. The SBE Certification
Program was recognized during the SBE Membership Meeting April 24 in Las
Vegas, during the NAB Convention. A special commemorative greenie was given to
each certified individual present. The three men who have served as national
Certification Chairman over the past 25 years, Jim Wulliman, David Carr and
Terry Baun, will all be present.
Return To Table of Contents
SBE National Office Relocates
As of March 5, 2001, the SBE National office has a new
The Society of Broadcast Engineers
9247 North Meridian Street Suite 305
Indianapolis IN 46260
Please continue to use the following telephone numbers until further notice:
You can check for updates at any time at:
Return To Table of Contents
Galen Hassinger Named SBE Frequency Coordination Director
John Poray, Executive Director of SBE has announced the hiring of Galen L.
Hassinger to serve as Frequency Coordination Director for the Society.
Hassinger began his duties in this part-time position on April 1. Hassinger
will work closely with the Society's Frequency Coordination Committee to
increase support for local volunteer frequency coordinators, represent SBE in
the 2 GHz transition and manage the SBE event coordination programs.
Rick Edwards, CPBE SBE vice president and chairman of the Frequency
Coordination Committee, remarked on the hiring of Hassinger that he is highly
qualified for the job and that he and the committee look forward to having him
on board." Hassinger will be attending the NAB Convention and will be present
for all frequency coordination related meetings.
Return To Table of Contents
News and Views
Seattle Chapter 16
Whew! The Commish has been really active in this fine business. First of all the vertical real estate outfits have come to find out that the FCC means business. They have proposed fines totaling some $327,000 for antenna structure violations to four large tower outfits. In most cases these were all for construction, marking, lighting and tower registration issues. American Tower, and a couple of thousand others around the country got nailed the largest: $212,000; Spectrasite got hit for $17,000 and AT&T Wireless, $18K. My guess is that these, unlike broadcasters with lots of experience with towers and their obligations and a license to protect, might not have had the experience that would act as reminders. And they were not done. A cable company in the Houston, Texas, area apparently was a bit leaky. (Any Ham can tell you war stories about leaky cable.) In this case the Leakee (as opposed to the Leaker) was aircraft and the FAA was not amused. FCC got involved in this one to the tune of $133,000. In Madison, Wisconsin, a radio station went over the line by playing a song with explicit lyrics. This will cost them about Seven Grand.
Sirius Satellite Radio apparently played 'show and tell' at the past CES in Las Vegas. Just like NAB, they had drive-around-and-listen-for-yourself sessions. The reviews were all very good. Apparently the difference in audio was quite apparent when compared to the local FM stations in Vegas. I wonder if Bob Orban can make his latest creation sound more like the Bird Stations? Can you imagine the phone call from the manager? "Hey, Mr. Engineer . I just got a new car with the AM/FM/Sirius/XM option and there is something wrong with our station's processing; it sounds all smashed and compressed . How long has that thing been busted?"... etc.,etc.
Just in time, the field testing for the proposed FM IBOC is underway in a couple of markets by the NRSC. Stay tuned.
A retirement notice--no not me, but Major Domo. Dave Biondi, via his Broadcast.Net list servers, handles the remailer needs for broadcasters all over the country (some 350 lists). Here in our area B-Net takes care of our local SBE Chapter, The WWFCC, State EAS systems, etc. Majordomo is a hunk of software that runs these list servers which we all have become familiar with over the years. Dave is switching his B-Net systems to a new system called Mailman which, according to Dave, is more powerful. If you ever have the opportunity, drop Dave a note and thank him for the tremendous service he has rendered our industry.
I am saddened to once again report on the passing of one of our own. Bill Luckhurst passed away on January 29th. Bill was from Bremerton where he went to school and worked at KBRO. Later he would move to KTAC in Tacoma where he was an announcer and Chief Engineer. (For you younger sprouts, this was a very common combination of skills back in those days.) This is where I first met Bill, a slender fellow with a wonderful smile. He later went to work at Bates Technical College in Tacoma where he taught Broadcast Engineering. In later years Bill lived in Gig Harbor. He was 73. In writing about Bill I am reminded of how fragile our hold really is on this place, and how our occupancy here on this earth is a bit temporary. This fact has been driven home to me recently as my doctor discovered that my blood pressure had shot up; this discovery has been followed by a flurry of medical tests and procedures. Through all this I have been able to better focus on my life and on the fact that through the grace of God I am here at this moment, something that I am very thankful for.
An ad in the latest issue of MRT (Mobile Radio Technology) caught my eye . "FM Broadcast Bothering You?" The text went on "We have the Answers!. Pictured above The FM Broadcast Killer. This baby knocks them dead ." It's an ad for a filter for getting strong FM signals out of things that it might be bothering. Cute copy from Eagle. Check them out at www.eagle-1st.com. Another item in that fine magazine raised an eyebrow. Another fine technical article by Pat Buller, W7RQT. This time it was the little section that tells about the author. For years Pat has been one of the technowizards with the WSP. He recently changed horses and now works for the Tacoma Public Utility, driving from Issaquah to Tacoma.
In last month's column I wrote about the Qwest box on the road to the top of Cougar Mountain that contained the carrier equipment with the 'small' batteries. Well someone else apparently does not like that thing either. Noticed the other day that someone drove into it, put a nice full bumper crease across the thing. They had a gray tarp tied over it to hopefully keep the rain out.
On the 5th of March (that was the schedule), SBE moved into their new headquarters digs in Indianapolis. I guess you should say that it's good that our society had outgrown its old place. Speaking of growth, SBE continues to grow, we closed out 2000 with some 5357 members and 106 chapters. Last year set a record in the number of certifications as well with 610 and 226 re-certifications.
If you have been in this crazy game around here as long as I (that's about 1% these days) you remember hearing the name of Bill Munson on 'colorful KOL'. Bill who also used the name of B R Bradbury. He passed away in mid-January.
Another loss came with the announcement that Bill Orr, W6SAI, passed away on January 24th. Bill was 81. For those of you that are not hams, Bill was a great writer and wrote some wonderful books and articles over the years. For many years he was with Eimac, the maker of power tubes that are used in high powered transmitters.
Have you seen the space station yet? It's really quite visible, I understand, from those living in areas less cloudy. Here's a site that's really cool and a great help in spotting that thing: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings/index.html.
The AOL/Time Warner deal resulted in a bit of bloodletting at CNN with reportedly some 400 workers getting the axe. Meanwhile, citing a cooler climate for online advertising, CNBC has laid off about 30% of their workers.
From the "I wonder how much the other guys are making" department: Bellevue has an opening for an Electronics Communications Technician, salary range: between 43 and 56 K.
Not likely to squash the fear of some that cell phone use causes cancer, but a recent Danish study just released said that it did not. This very much reminds me of the folks that will grumble and gripe about a TV program they don't like; somehow they fail to realize that they don't have to watch it.
Speaking of layoffs, and this one struck me as a bit funny, Rayovac will close its lantern battery and flashlight plant in Wisconsin. I have to wonder if this decision were made prior to the California power situation. Talk about being late to the party--how would you like to be in the Generator business about now? Guess the little home-sized rigs are flying off the shelves in the Golden State these days.
The sale of Gen-Sets is doing pretty well around here also. What I am referring to is the big-un's. All these server farms have a boatload of them lined up alongside. Recently Tacoma City Light determined that it was cheaper to generate power by burning diesel than to purchase it on the open market. If you look carefully in the Tacoma industrial area you will find a rather large collection of trailers with CAT on the side. The utility has purchased 30 of the big boys (1.6 MW each and just under 20 megabucks total). These rigs will go on line when the need to purchase the spensive stuff comes along; and, according to their figures, will save them as much as $500,000 per day. They figure that they can run these rigs for about $150/megawatt hour; that's HALF of what they have had to pay. Some simple math tells me that this is a good deal.
We well might want to consider when we run our own diesel generators. In the past we just let 'em run once a week to keep the seals lubed and that was it. With the prices of juice these days and the movement to charging more for power during peak times, we could save the company some bucks by running the plant under load, not testing the aux transmitter during peak hours, or perhaps testing the Aux transmitter on the Generator. This might mean having some wiring changes made at the plant that could pay for itself. Everett Helm, writing in the Portland Chapter's Watercooled Newsletter notes that the new Skyline Tower in the Rose City has installed a 2 MEGAWATT generator. The installation attracted the attention of their electric utility, PGE, and has resulted in discussions about using the big 16-cylinder Caterpillar to augment PGE during peak times. Two MW is enough to power 1200 to 1500 homes. The way it would work is if the power is out, the Gen-Set will power the site's TV and FM stations; if the power is on, PGE will purchase power from Skyline. I don't know if this is enough incentive to make you want to run out and buy a BIG generator and get into the power business or not, but it is food for thought and certainly worth putting to the pencil test, especially if you are considering a new plant. There has been some suggestions made that we should use EAS for alerting the public that a power outage is about to happen and where. There are some downsides to this. For instance, if you were in the armed robbery business this would be pretty handy information.
The print media has recently been running more stories about DTV. The stories are about Broadcasters pointing the fingers at Set Makers and visa-versa (apparently they don't remember Catch-22). The other factors in this mess are Cable and Government (I'm going to leave out the power crisis) . The Commish has set a 'soft' deadline of 2006 for the big conversion. Gonna be interesting to see how the FCC under Powell deals with this issue. One idea that has been floating about is a requirement that a certain percentage of the new large screen sets produced must be DTV ready, sort of a modern day version of the old all-channel rule. The set makers are against this one, of course. Cable is understandably not willing to carry the same program on two channels (that make money for them) just because one is in digital and the other in analog while Broadcasters are not going to spend the bucks to produce and transmit digital-only programs knowing that there is no one watching. One station in Stuart Florida may force this issue a bit with the cable company; they only broadcast in digital. (Sounds like the basis for another Florida joke.) One Engineer put a mathematical spin on this issue. He looked at the number of sets in use compared to the rate of sales for DTV sets and quickly came up with the fact that (at the present rate) it will take 12,500 years to replace those 300,000,000 analog sets out there.
In the Business section of the Seattle Times on January 21st was an extensive article about the local TV biz. It detailed what probably many did not know about who owns what around here. The fact that one owner owns more than one radio or TV station usually comes as quite a shock to those that I tell. I guess this underscores the contention that those that promoted Radio and TV 'clusters' were saying all along. The goal here is to have a more solid and robust industry, while giving the listener/viewers lots of choices. Looks like it's working.
A recent AP story about how the Soviets were able to reverse-engineer a B-29 was fascinating, especially when you think about the fact that the bomber was made in Renton (at the very place that Boeing may move out of). I understand that the Soviets were not exactly bashful about their reverse engineering efforts. I've spoken to a number of people who, when visiting broadcast installations over there, were quick to notice that a lot of their equipment looked an awful lot like stuff made here. Apparently they were a bit slower to keep up when we switched to chips, etc. Perhaps this is why when the tube equipment makers for professional sound equipment went looking for 12AX7s, they found they were still being made in Russia.
Up at Cougar Mountain there has been a lot of action on what was known as the KUBE tower (I've renamed this as the WARM Tower due to KRWM now radiating from the top). Lots of very unconventional looking gizmos are now installed just below the FM pole. These antennas and little gray boxes containing transmitters and such are part of an expanded high-speed wireless Internet service being offered by Metrocom's Ricochet system. From what I have learned the connect speed is 128kb/s, not exactly what a Cable Modem will do but this is a whole lot faster than your trusty old dial-up and it does not require a hard-wire connection to work. Coupled with a lap-top and you are connected. This is likely to be just the first of many offerings like this as the 'connected' industry scrambles for frequencies and sites to connect the rest of us.
MANY years ago I was in Bremerton and wandered into the old KBRO (they still had their tower on the edge of the bay) and met their then CE, Bill Watt. I immediately thought that Watt was the PERFECT name for the Chief. Then, some years later, while doing some work for KVAC in Forks, I was introduced to the fellow that was the technowizard of the local phone company, BEN RINGER! This started my search for folks whose names fit the job.
My list was expanded the other day while working up at Cougar Mountain. Gary Hart introduced me to the fellow that is in charge of putting up the old KISW tower on the Qwest site just north of the Entercom digs . I did a double take--a great name for the job; I kid you not--LES TOWER!
See ya next month...
Clay, K7CR, CPBE
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The End User
by Rich Petschke
Treasurer, SBE Chap. 16
It seems like 2001 is becoming the "year of the worm" - worm viruses, that is.
In February, we saw the Anna Kournikova virus worm unleashed, and last month
the Naked Wife worm made the rounds. Worm viruses are costly -reports indicate
that 2000's "I Love You" virus, the first widespread worm, caused nearly $2.6
billion in damages worldwide. And, to make matters worse, the popular worm
creation program SubSeven has been updated to allow deployment of executable
files when the worm is opened on a user's computer. Previously, the worms just
ran a "script" that e-mailed themselves to others, but now that a program can
be run from within the worm, the potential for computer damage has become much
greater. In the past, viruses were of concern mainly to corporate IT managers,
but with the growth of broadband Internet installations, it's now become a
worry to many home users. If you have broadband access and leave your computer
on all the time, anti-virus software may not be enough protection against
these viruses, even if you keep it updated. Installing a personal firewall
program adds another layer of security between you and the hacker. One of the
most popular personal firewalls is NetworkICE's BlackICE Defender ($40, info
available at http://www.networkice.com). Some firewalls, like Tiny Software's
Personal Firewall, are free for home use (download it at
And of course, the best protection is to turn your computer off when you're
not using it, and don't open unknown file attachments! The continuing slump in
PC sales is also making upgrades less expensive. It's amazing to see how far
RAM prices have fallen! I've seen 128Mb PC SDRAM priced as low as $30, and
128Mb Mac RAM as cheap as $45. RAM upgrades are an easy way to make your old
computer perform better, because the operating system doesn't need to use as
much "virtual" (hard disk) memory. And if you're in the market for a new
monitor, the prices on the LCD flat-panel types are falling as well. Analysts
expect them to be as cheap as $400 by summer. Last year, they cost almost
three times that amount! LCDs are still priced higher than CRT monitors, but
the shrinking price premium now makes them a more attractive option. That's it
for this month. Please feel free to send your comments and suggestions to
firstname.lastname@example.org. All the best to you!
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Radio Pioneer, Charles Herrold
Here's a Web site you may find interesting:
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Nobody is perfect until you fall in love with them.
Home is where you can say anything you like because nobody listens to you
When you stop believing in Santa Claus is when you start getting clothes
Money can't buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.
If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the 'terminal'?
When I was born, I was so surprised I couldn't talk for a year and a half.
I don't approve of political jokes...I've seen too many of them get elected.
How much can I get away with and still go to heaven?
The most precious thing we have is life. Yet it has absolutely no trade-in
There are two sides to every divorce: Yours and theirs.
Travel is very educational. I can now say "Kaopectate" in seven different
After all is said and done, usually more is said than done.
I married my wife for her looks...but not the ones she's been giving me
"Everyday I beat my own previous record for number of consecutive days I've
No one ever says "It's only a game," when their team is winning.
I gave my son a hint. On his room door I put a sign: CHECKOUT TIME IS 18."
Midlife is when you go to the doctor and you realize you are now so old,
you have to pay someone to look at you naked.
How come we choose from just two people for president and 50 for Miss
How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on.
Middle age is when you choose your cereal for the fiber, not the toy.
Why is it that most nudists are people you don't want to see naked?
"Old" is when the adult movie you bring home is "Debby Does Dialysis."
I just got back from a pleasure trip - I drove my wife to the airport!
Snowmen fall from Heaven unassembled.
Frederick M. Baumgartner
You Know You're From Colorado When....
Thanks to George "Smitty" Smith
....you know the 'correct' pronunciation of Buena Vista.
....you think there are only 3 seasons: elk, football, and skiing.
....April showers bring May blizzards.
....you see someone riding a Harley in a snowstorm, and you look closer to
see if it's someone you know.
....Timberline is someplace you have actually been, many times.
....You know who Alfred Packer was.
....SPF 90 is not out of the question.
....People from other states breathe 5 times as often as you do.
....Having a Senator named 'Nighthorse' doesn't seem strange.
....A full moon has never kept you awake.
....You have an $800 stereo in a $300 truck.
....Knowing that Texas and California are downstream gives you a certain
feeling of satisfaction when you flush.
....You carry your $3,000 mountain bike on top of your $500 car.
....You have a business degree and are frying burgers at a
McDonald's in Vail.
....You own a big dog named Aspen, Buck, Cheyenne or Dakota that
wears a bandana.
....You think a pass does not involve a football or a woman.
....You are 82 years old and take up snowboarding.
....Your real Y2K fear was running out of Celestial Seasonings tea and trail
....The entire top of your head is bald, but you still have a pony tail.
....You get depressed after one day of cloudy weather.
....You think that formal wear is ironed denim.
....North means "mountains to the left;" south is "mountains to
the right;" and east and west are where all those liberals keep moving in
....You go anywhere else on the planet and the air feels "sticky"
and you notice the sky is no longer blue.
....You consider a three-piece suit to be a pair of shorts, a sweatshirt, and
....Your bridal registry is at REI.
....You can run up 10 flights of stairs without huffing and puffing.
....You have stood on solid ground and looked down on an airplane in flight.
... You know that in Colorado there is an additional season "Road
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- Bill Harris........(303)756-4843
- Garneth M. Harris..(303)756-4843
- Andre' Smith.......(303)556-3549
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/or the Denver