Ramblings from the Mind of Amanda January 2022


Ramblings from the Mind of Amanda

By Amanda Hopp
Chief Engineer
Crawford Broadcasting, Denver


January 2022 is here.  I don’t know what’s scarier, the fact that another year has come and gone all too quickly, or that they are saying it is 20-20 too.  Let’s hope it’s not a repeat of 2020, but instead a better year than 2021.

For those of you who are new to our chapter a few things of note.  First, we are a combined chapter.  We are SBE Chapter 48 and SMPTE The Rocky Mountain Chapter.  We tend to do joint meetings, rotating between SBE and SMPTE on the content. Anyone is welcome to these meetings and we encourage you to participate.  I know for SBE you get credit towards your recertification for each meeting you attend.  Plus, we all try to pick topics that will benefit and educate the group.

We have several great meetings already planned in 2022 beginning with the January 19th meeting.  For the time being meetings will be held over Zoom.  Tieline will be presenting on Surviving Remote Broadcasting During A Pandemic.  February will be on Monitoring Video, Audio and ANC data in a hybrid SDI-IP World by Leader.  March will end the first quarter with a presentation by LumenServe.   If you have a topic in mind you’d like to see covered over the coming months, don’t hesitate to reach out to us on the contact page.

I am not sure when we will go back to in-person meetings, however with the online meeting, we are able to easily record and post to our YouTube account.  We will do our best to continue this when we do go back to in-person.

We are also hard at work at revamping this website.  It has been a long process and to say the current website is due for a remodel is an understatement.  I am hoping to get the final touches done soon so we can have it go live in January sometime.

I look forward to 2022 and to seeing you all at our online meetings.



The Louisville Colorado Fire January 2022

Below is a story written by George Emmett of what he went through and witnessed during and after the Marshall Fire.

Some of you may know that there is a radio station in Louisville in Boulder County. I wondered if the station had been impacted by the catastrophic Marshall Fire in Boulder County on December 30.  I contacted George Emmett at KLEP and he replied back with the following information

We had no significant damage that we can determine so far.  First, here is some background information.  95.3 FM KLEP-LP is a Low Power FM radio station licensed to the City of Louisville as authorized under 47 CFR Part 73, Section G.  The specific rule authorizing our Public Safety radio station is 73.853(a)(2).  The ERP of KLEP is 100 Watts Horizontal and 100 Watts Vertical.  Essentially all of Louisville is within the 60dB Contour.  

KLEP first went on air September 22, 2017, running under Automatic Program Test Authority and received its Grant of the Cover to License on October 5, 2017.  KLEP is operated by the Louisville Police Department and airs Public Safety Information 24 hours a day every day. Chief of Police Dave Hayes and myself paired up as a team to complete the Construction Permit of KLEP after the previous Police Chief retired.  The FCC Construction Permit for KLEP was applied for during the second Open Filing Window for LPFM stations in 2013 before Chief Hayes and I were involved.  We also had some gracious assistance from Cris Alexander at Crawford Broadcasting.

I am a long time SMPTE member, now a Life Member, and a former Manager of the Rocky Mountain Section, and still active in our SMPTE-SBE48 Denver area group. My wife and I have lived in Louisville for almost 35 years.

The catastrophic Marshall Fire occurred on Thursday, December 30, 2021. Amazingly KLEP sustained no known damage to the “Studio/Control Point” located in the Louisville Police Building and no known damage to the Transmitter Site in a different part of the city.  I was at the Police Building when the fire started, and eventually, we did lose power in the Police Building. Not too long after that, Chief Hayes told the three of us left in the building to evacuate from the building.  I left the building in a cloud of swirling smoke and smoke dust with fires all around the general area. On the north side of the Police Building across the street, the terrain slope increases, running all the way to the flat top of Davidson Mesa.  That slope area was built with many two and three story large houses.  The fire had not reached those houses when I evacuated from the Police Building. 

The next morning when I went to check on the condition of the building and the KLEP Studio/Control Point inside, I was stunned to see all of the houses were gone except one lonesome and lost looking house.  All had burned into a pile of ashes … many, many, many houses … all there the day before.  There was no apparent damage to the Police Building but piles of dirty smokey particles and fine dust in drift piles against the building several inches high.  The double set of lobby doors into the building at two locations were also both filled with a couple of inches of the dirty particles and dust in a similar drift pattern.  The winds were so strong and sustained that it blew that much dirty particles through the tiny spaces around the doors.  Inside the building there appeared to be a dirty fine dust on everything.

The KLEP Transmitter Site never lost power and an automatic start audio loop begin running on air when the STL transport stream was lost.  Xcel Energy restored the electrical power to the Police Building on Saturday morning according to one of our equipment logs.  All air chain equipment did come up, air audio started automatically as configured, and all readings of every piece of equipment in the air chain continue showing normal readings and remain stable.

At our house in Louisville, we never lost electrical power or had the gas service turned off.  Our neighborhood apparently is in the only area in the city that was untouched by the wildfire except for a smokey smell.  We are so grateful for no significant damage to our house of many years. We did have to evacuate on the afternoon of the fire and spent one night away from home at one of our son’s house in another part of Boulder County.

If you are outside of the limited coverage range 95.3 FM KLEP, you might take a listen to the station’s Web stream at:


KLEP has some special information on the Web stream that is different from the station air audio due to the aftermath of the Marshall Fire catastrophe.  Normally the on air and Web stream have the same audio.  Also, there are two other lower power radio stations in the Denver region that also broadcast on 95.3 FM which can get confusing for listeners as they get into a signal overlap area.


The Dan Good Column January 2022



The Dan Good Column

By Daniel Hyatt, Principal
DNAV Inc, Technology Solutions


2022 is off to a running start and I’ve already checked five states off in my travels to solve the problems of the broadcast industry.  With more flexibility to travel and put my ears on problems in person, the common theme of improving broadcast audio is again front and center.  Podcasts, broadcasts and tik tok style recording with an iPhone all present challenges with source audio, but when the entire air-chain sounds subpar, it’s time to take an adventure through the catacombs of wiring past to solve the riddle of the earworm.

Recently, I spent a week in the presence of a dynamic engineering team and highly regarded programming team to assist in uncovering the challenge of poor audio on an FM radio station in a major market.  Much like an itch that’s just a few inches from the reach of a hand, the audio malefactor was slightly over the horizon of collective resolution.

The first stop on the audio voyage was source audio.  A rapid interrogation of the programming team and production gurus showed a consistency in loading audio tracks for all stations in the cluster.  All studio sources were consistent in their ingestion into the audio over IP system.  Voice track studios were shared by staff of the station in question and other stations that sounded great.   With no “ah-ha” moment, it was time to expand the expedition.

Working from the output of the AoIP system to the input of the STL was a curious unraveling of patches previously applied by the forefathers of the current engineering team.  Sample rate inconsistencies, coupled with patches in and out of sample rate converters, AES splitters, gain structure distortion and various watermark enhancement devices were like a 1970’s gelatin, filled with salmon, hot dogs and vegetables – nothing was right.

Like a superhero with confounding strength and the curse of insomnia, I watched the moon rise and set two times as I forthrightly removed the malignancy of audio misdeeds. My assistant best described the feat as, “we drank a lot of coffee and pulled out a ton of wires and other stuff out.”

A Nucleus audio routing engine by SAS was installed prior to the STL and stream breakout.  Within the Nucleus, a gated AGC processing chain was applied to protect output overshoot curing the gain inconsistencies.  Sample rate conversion is automatic within the box and brought a consistency to audio looped through encoders.   The Nucleus has a great encoding pre-processing element that proved to be more effective at lighting up the fancy green encoding bars than using outboard PPM enhancement devices.  There was a gained element of separation and elimination of a metallic sound thought to be caused by a PPM device that was previously in-line.  I highly recommend adding the Nucleus to your troubleshooting toolkit.

With smiles from programming and engineering, along with between one and four pats on the back, I was set to ride into the sunset, until the Program Director exclaimed “something still isn’t right!”  With a quick tune of the radio dial, I could hear something in the mid and high frequencies that was now completely wrong!

Diving into the Gates Air IP200 STL software, I verified the equipment to be passing linear audio with no dropped packets.  The wiring at the transmitter site was in good repair, yet the audio feeding into the audio processor was brittle.  The question was no longer where the problem arose, but how.

How is the IP data stream transported to the transmitter site?  If you guessed it traveled over a 3rd party wireless data provider, you win!  With a phone call to the microwave data provider, a reflash of firmware and numerous wireless network switch considerations, the audio came back to life! The packets were being stripped in the transport layer!

This story is a tale of troubleshooting steps that could greatly improve your facility.  How long has it been since a systems assessment has been done from microphone to antenna?  Are you managing your own layer 3 transport or using a third-party provider?   Is your facility using the latest in technology to perfect the audio stream?  For stations using PPM encoding, are your methods the best and up-to-date or could you be driving listeners with fatiguing ringing sounds from older enhancement technologies?

Today is a great time to allocate time to be bigger, louder and cleaner in the new year for you and your listeners.

I always welcome your email and look forward to continuing to help the broadcast, audio, visual and production industry solve problems and create solutions to propel each to another milestone of great significance.

Happy New Year.


 Clay’s Corner for January 2022  


Providing news and views from a broadcast engineers perspective since September 1986

After a record setting hot summer, we all wondered what Mother Nature would have in store for us this Winter.   On Dec 21st, the official start of the season, weather forecasters were starting to hint at things to come.  Some thought we’d have a White Christmas, however, like a lot of snow forecasts of the past, we ended up having a – cold, wet, gray Christmas…BUT THE DAY AFTER was a whole different story.   Sunday the snow and temperatures both fell leaving are area white and cold.  Bellingham was getting blasted with Fraser Outflow winds and windchills well below zero.

The winter weather cancelled the project to change out a transmitter on Cougar Mt for KIRO-FM scheduled for Dec 28th.   This has now been re-scheduled, with crossed fingers, for January 13th.

In last month’s Column,  I wrote about the fact that the Spoken-Word is becoming increasingly popular.     Right on the heels of that came this announcement from Audacy

Audacy Sacrifices L.A. CHR To Simulcast All News KNX On FM.

If  you’ve been to LA, or listened at night – You’ve heard KNX 1070 with their historic new programming.   Perhaps as a result of their declining ratings the stations owners elected to scuttle their 97.1 music FM and simulcast KNX.

In the New York City, Cumulus is on board with this move too – announcing that they will debut a new talk format on their 103.9, WHAS-FM.   Interestingly this FM will be simulcast on an – ALL DIGITAL AM (WFAS licensed to White Plains)

Then there is the top billing Radio Station in the Country – WTOP in Washington DC.   The all- news operation reportedly bills north of $60 Million per year.    I’d bet that this is higher than many TV Stations?

As I have noted in this column – Many of the Top-10 Radio Stations don’t play music.

We recently lost a prominent Broadcast Consulting Engineer – Jeremy Ruck

Jeremy Ruck, RPE, and owner of Jeremy Ruck and Associates in Canton IL was a well-known and active professional and consulting engineer. Sadly, he passed away on December 11th from complications from the covid virus at just 50 years of age.

At the time of his death, he was especially busy working on the Chicago Television re-pack up on the Willis Tower. He was a tireless worker, many times worker long hours and overnights, particularly at Willis Tower.

The ‘Job Climate’ in Broadcast Engineering is not unlike many other fields.   More job openings than people to fill them.

Early in December the Senate confirmed Jessica Rosenworcel as the new FCC Chair.  As some have noted, a ‘Glass Ceiling’ has been broken at the Commish.   Up to this point, she has been serving as Acting Chair.

For those of us on the ‘technical side’.    We’ve long used the letters EMF to label Electromotive Force.    In recent years it’s become the letters for Electromagnetic Energy (The invisible stuff that comes out of a transmitting antenna.)

EAS News:

Once again, the FCC has issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) that would tweak the EAS Rules.   Their goal is o improve the clarity and accessibility of EAS Messages to the public who are deaf and hard of hearing that appear on TV.

Another change would require EAS participants to check for and use Internet based versions of an alert, rather than legacy versions that would be transmitted via conventional over the air methods.

As you probably have noticed, the number of FM Translators has swollen to the point the FM band is packed with signals from these lower-powered facilities.    Some companies own a – lot- of translators!   Here’s a look at some of the largest ownerships with operations in our area –


CSN                 401        (Religious broadcaster based in Twin Falls, Idaho)

EMF                382

iHeart             131

Saga                65        (They own stations in Bellingham)

Bicoastal         39        (They own stations in the Longview/Kelso market)

Alpha              36        (Based in Portland, Oregon)

Salem              31        (They own several stations in the Seattle area)

Can you believe the Microprocessor is now 50 years old?   The Intel 4004 hit the market in 1971.    It was a 4-Bit device.   Since then, the growth of these devices has been nothing short of astounding.

If you are unvaccinated, for the good of all of us, get it done.

If you are vaccinated, get your booster.

May 2022 be better than 2021 …Even a little improvement would be welcome!

Hope to catch you here next month/year.

Clay, K7CR, CPBE

An SBE Fellow

SBE Member # 714

Since March 1968


Ramblings from the Mind of Amanda



In October we held a general election for our local SBE chapter. To be honest, I don’t remember the last time we held one. Jack Roland let me know he wanted to step down as chapter chairman and instead of just appointing a new person we did the election. Terms are November 1-November 1 each year. I was elected as your chairman, Daniel Hyatt joins us as the vice chairman and Bill Harris will remain our secretary/treasurer.  I look forward to serving the chapter over the upcoming year.

Christmas is now less than a month away.  For some of us that means it’s slow season.  No major projects on the schedule. It’s a good time to finish the year strong, tidying things up, doing some regular maintenance. For Crawford in Denver, the unusually warm weather and lack of snow means we have some extra time for outdoor work. ATU’s will be cleaned up, all tower fencing checked and repaired as needed, and for one site canal maintenance. While the lack of snow is concerning, especially for the mountains, I am enjoying it.

I look forward to January.  We have been working hard to get some good content for our meetings. January will be on Surviving Remote Broadcasting During a Pandemic. We will continue doing meetings online for the foreseeable future. We record those meetings and post to our YouTube channel. You can view the channel here. Check our website for updates and sign up for our e-mails. This is the best way to get info on future meetings.

I pray you have a safe rest of the holiday season. We will see you in January!

Clay’s Corner for December 2021

Clay’s Corner for December 2021 Providing news and views from a

broadcast engineer’s perspective since September 1986

Starting this last column of the year with the weather – November has lived up to its reputation as being the stormiest and wettest month of the year.   In the middle of the month, we had high winds that knocked out power for many.  Including Vashon and Maury Islands where those big 50,000 watt stations were busy burning diesel to keep them on the air.   All together almost 160,000 customers were without power.  In response to all of this, the Governor declared a severe weather emergency in 14 counties.

West Tiger Picture time – – –

As you all know, Terry Spring retired to his cozy place on a lake.   Taking his place at ION was Pat Otis, who has been associated with several different stations over the years.    Now when I visit the West Tiger sites, I get to see an old friend.    Recently he brought his Dog with him – very cool.    Pat is certainly getting a crash course.   First there was the logging of the top of West Tiger with the resulting log trucks churning the road into a fine layer of mud.    This, of course, being helped with our deluge of rainfall.   Then the station started having antenna issues (Never fun anytime, and worse in the winter).  Then there is the weather – Pat posted these pictures on the WTM Remailer –

On the 24th I received an email from Kent Randles (Retired engineer in PDX) informing us that Phil Kane, K2ASP, had passed earlier that day.     I did not know Phil real-well, however did enjoy chatting with him during previous PDX Summer picnics.   I’m sure he will be missed by many.    The following comes from Barry Mishkind –

Phil Kane, well-known broadcast engineer, FCC District Director (San Francisco), attorney, and Amateur K2ASP passed away on November 24th in Beaverton, OR after dealing with some health issues.  He was 85 years old.

Philip M. Kane
December 6, 1936 – November 24, 2021

Phil had a both a great sense of humor and a clear understanding of the issues that have consumed much of the FCC he knew.




As many of you know, KIRO-AM-710, has long been FEMA’s ‘PEP Station’ in the Seattle area, in fact, it’s the only Primary Entry Point station for EAS for the State of Washington.   Recently FEMA has been upgrading their facilities at the KIRO-AM Transmitter Site on Maury Island.

On the 19th of November they unveiled their upgrade to everyone.  Here is how the Press Release read-

FEMA and KIRO-AM Seattle to Unveil New Emergency Broadcast Studio

Ceremony to Include Live Demonstration of the Upgraded Facility,
Highlighting Broadcast Radio’s Critical Role in Nation’s Emergency Alert and Warning System

SEATTLE – FEMA and Bonneville Seattle will host the unveiling of an all-hazards upgrade to the “Primary Entry Point” facility at the KIRO-AM PEP Transmitter site on Friday, November 19, 2021. The modernization to the emergency studio increases Bonneville Seattle’s KIRO-AM 710 resiliency to continue broadcasting under all conditions, including natural disasters and acts of terrorism. This facility is one of 77 across the country that serve as a National Public Warning System Primary Entry Point (PEP) station, participating with FEMA to provide emergency alert and warning information to the public before, during and after incidents and disasters.

KIRO-AM Seattle is the 14th station in the country to work with FEMA to complete the all-hazards upgrade, which includes increased sheltering capabilities, expanded broadcast capacity, and sustainable power generation for all types of hazardous events.

Thanks to Steven Allen, Transmitter Engineer for KIRO- Here are some pictures of the new facility –

Here’s a look at the call letters on the front of the KIR0 Transmitter building.  If you look close, they are a bit tired.  One of their two towers is on the right

With the building freshly painted white with blue trim.  Time for the new, blue, call letters.



FEMA added two buildings to the site. Here the new generator building is being unloaded.







The generator building is on the left, on the right is the building containing the emergency studio and transmitter










Delivery of the fuel tank for the new generator.

By now the new facilities are fenced.










On the left is the KIRO Transmitter building – On the right are the new FEMA facilities.






Inside the emergency studio building.   The Gray cabinet on the left is a new 10Kw Nautel transmitter










The emergency studio equipment.

Note the MRE’s on the wall.








Manny Centeno, IPAWS Program Manager, FEMA is seated at the controls

Behind him is the new, emergency 10,000 watt Transmitter.  To the right is a rack full of related/supporting  equipment.











This headline got my attention –

Four Radio Companies Sued For Airing Show That Enabled ‘Fraudulent Investment Scheme

A lawsuit was recently filed against four, big name,  radio groups who operate stations in Texas.

Audacy, Emmis, SiriusXM and iHeart.   Apparently,  they aired an investment show that, according to the suit, caused several to lose a lot of money.  Here’s the kicker – The plaintiffs seek a jury trial and want the radio groups to be held liable for the millions of dollars of harm caused by their misconduct that they knew or should have known about.

I find this one very interesting.    I know that many broadcasters air programs where the station includes a disclaimer that they are not endorsing or vouching for the contents of the program. The questions are – Did they do it in this case and will this keep them ‘off the hook’

Copper Thieves Strike

During this time of the year, we frequently hear about power being knocked out due to storms…But not often due to wire theft.    But that’s what took place in Puyallup recently when wire thieves knocked out power for 17,000 residents.   Pretty brazen when the perps cut down a power pole to get to the wire.   Another sober reminded that copper is still being stolen.

In California wildfire claims another broadcast station.   This time in Fresno where KFRR went off the air and became and Internet only station.  After the fire was out the stations transmitter site was relying on a generator.   After 42 days, the owner decided to make the change.   The fire forced a number of stations alter operations, in some cases towers failed and transmitter buildings were destroyed.

Well, that’s a wrap for this month – Here’s my wish for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Hope to catch you here next month in 2022

Clay, K7CR, CPBE

A SBE Fellow

SBE Member # 714

Since March 1968


Clay’s Corner for November 2021


Clay’s Corner for November 2021

Providing news and views from a broadcast engineers perspective since September 1986


One of the major events of this past month was the Ransomware attack against Sinclair.  The impact was felt, locally, by their TV Stations as well as their, just sold, radio properties of KOMO-AM & FM, KVI and KPLZ.    This was not a locally targeted event, but rather one aimed at the entire Sinclair operation.

Ransomware is a technique that seems to be gaining traction with online extortionists, often located overseas, attacking private industry and public institutions.   If you recall, an East-Coast pipeline was hit not long ago.    Major broadcast groups have been targets as well.   Entercom/Audacy comes to mind.  Certainly,  Sinclair was an attractive target with some 185 stations in 86 markets.

With our shift to IP based everything, more and more of operational functions of organizations are vulnerable.    A good example of this is the shift to VOIP telephone systems.   Not long again company phone system would have been immune to such attacks.

You could feel the pain as news anchors were forced to do without many of their computer aids….In many ways, they had to do things ‘The old way’

Perhaps many have wondered why there are not back-up systems ready to be deployed that are not connected to the outside world.    The answer to that may well be the fact that these systems would be expensive to set up and maintain.  Perhaps now, many are reconsidering the value, and expense, of a ‘ready to go’ plan-B?   It’s like insurance, you never need it…until you do.

On October 12, after interviewing US Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, USA TODAY’s editorial board warned its readers about a dangerous new form of cyberattack under this eye-catching headline:

The next big cyberthreat isn’t ransomware. It’s killware. And it’s just as bad as it sounds.”

But while “killware” sounds scary, the term itself is un-helpful when describing the many types of cyberattacks that, like USA TODAY wrote, “can literally end lives,” and that’s because nearly any type of hack, no matter the intention, can result in death. Complicating this is the fact that some known cyberattacks that have allegedly led to deaths.  The term “killware” can confuse antivirus customers seeking reassurance that their own vendor is protecting them from this threat, but antivirus vendors do not stop attacks based on intent, they stop attacks based on method.

Want to read more about this? Go here –

“Killware”: Is it just as bad as it sounds? – Malwarebytes Labs | Malwarebytes Labs

As  have been writing about since the outset of this Pandemic – We will likely find that things will not return to the way they were when this is over….But rather there will be a new normal.  iHeartMedia’s top executives recently confirmed this by unveiling a new ‘hybrid work model’.   In an announcement to the company, they stated that the pandemic has ‘provided lessons in flexibility’  and the new model will focus on increasing productivity while prioritizing a healthy work-life balance’.   Here, locally, the iHM Engineers have been restructuring much of their operation that will end up reducing the need for conventional concentration of technical functions at the company studios.   The writing is on the wall…Those that visit many Radio operations in the future will be very disappointed in the lack of what they have to see.

After our abnormally long and hot summer – we are now, clearly, entering a new phase – to start with – On the 12th of October we set a record for the coldest day and early October since 1899.   The High was 50, the Low was 36 for an average of only 43 degrees (For our Canadian Readers, we still use F down here).   Suddenly we were starting to wonder what this might mean in terms of the months to come.

A bit of digging and you can come up with some interesting data that may (or may not) point to what to expect –

First there is the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)…I’ve boiled this down to the following –

  • The CPC has issued a “La Niña Watch” indicating the possibility of La Niña developing in the Fall.


  • Current ENSO modelshave the chances of La Niña developing by       October-November-December at 67%


  • The three-month outlook for Fall (September through November; SON) has equal chances of below, equal to, or above normal temperaturesfor nearly the entire state.


  • Fall precipitationoutlook calls for higher chances of above normal precipitation for western WA but equal chances of below, equal to, or normal precipitation in eastern WA.


  • Long-range forecasters have growing confidence that much of the Pacific Northwest — and in particular Western Washington— is set to have a winter season that is both cooler and wetter than normal.


Perhaps the last bullet point, above, says it all?


Then there is this map.   Notice the blue area in the NW Corner of the U.S. (Where we live)

Then there is this item –

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its winter outlook for the United States on Thursday, calling for a cold and stormy winter from the Pacific Northwest to the Great Lakes, but relatively warm and dry conditions elsewhere.

Therefore, if we are to believe the ‘experts’ ….We will (again) have an above average snow-pack (Great for skiers and water supplies) and – perhaps – have some white stuff for the rest of us (not so great news for drivers but great news for those that will continue to be able to work from home)     Anyone want to wager on this ?

On the 24th we were hearing weather forecasts using terms like – Bomb Cyclone.  At 10 AM on the 24th the Pressure in Forks was 28.89 and Falling (wow!).   Then on the 27th the forecast was for us to be hit with an Atmospheric River (ala pineapple express) with a ton of rain expected.

I was recently saddened with the news that Rick Edwards had passed away at a Hospice in Marrietta, GA. at the age of 74

You may have not known Rick, but I did.    I got to know him through SBE.  In fact, he was one, of several, that urged me to seek a position on the SBE Board of Directors.  Rick was in on the beginning of what was later called GDC, or Game Day Coordination program.

Rick and I shared our love of bit, multi-station transmitter sites.   Later, when CityScape Consultants was formed to serve local governments in wireless infrastructure siting, I did some work for that firm, working with Rick.    He retired from that work in 2018.   He was a member of the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE), Association of Federal Communications Consulting Engineers (AFCCE) and Society of Motion Picture Television Engineers (SMPTE).  I recall Rick as being one full of energy and enthusiasm.


At long last – KOMO Radio and KOMO TV are owned by different companies. The former Fisher/Sinclair Radio group in Seattle is now owned and operated by Lotus.   They are joined by two other former co-owned radio/TV operations that continue to share call letters – KIRO and KING.   Despite those that feel that having the same call letters for different Radio and TV owners is a mistake….We seem to do just fine.  In years past Call Letters were the primary mends of identification of a broadcast operation.   Not so much these days.     We have the ability to differentiate Classic-KING-FM from KING-5 etc.

Some of the KOMO’s were dropped in the process – the Boosters that operated to enhance the KOMO-FM operation in Tukwila and Centralia.

Meanwhile – KOMO-AM soldiers on as it has been doing since 1926

Another AM has ‘bit the dust’.   Saga (who owns a cluster of stations in Bellingham) has surrendered the license for WJYI in Norfolk leaving Market #45 with one less station.  The FCC reports there were 4,519 licensed AMs as of Sept. 30. That is a decline of 14 during the third quarter, and 41 fewer compared to a year ago.

The pandemic has had an impact on FM stations as well with 22 of them going dark this past year.  Meanwhile, below 92 MHz there are 15 more non-commercial FM’s.   The real gain has been with FM Translators which have increase by 432 from a year ago.   Low Power FM’s is down by 62.   Perhaps those that were eager to have a little radio station in their community have discovered the amount of effort required to keep them going?

Time to, once again, look at the Seattle-Tacoma Radio Ratings from Nielsen

Here are the things that stood out to me –


  • Just counting those over 12 years of age, there are now 4,042,000 of us in this area.
  • #1 is KIRO-FM (West Tiger Mountains first radio station)
  • There are now 4-HD-2’s getting numbers. An all-time high
  • KOMO and KUOW are tied at #3.
  • KNKX and KEXP are tied at #9
  • There are now TWO AM’s in the Top-10 (KOMO and KIRO)

 Not all AM’s are doing well – 1090/KFNQ is outrated by the KNKX -HD2

 Tegna (KING and KONG) are duking it out with the Dish Network.   Not sure where this one will end.

 The following picture comes from Dwight Small.   Here a technician is working with the new audio system at the new Climate Pledge Arena (Formally Key Arena).  Now home of the Seattle professional Hockey team – Kracken.  I also learned that Greg Ristau has been working on frequency coordination for the venue.    If you are like me, you recall this building from back in 1962 when It was part of the Seattle Worlds Fair.    This time around it underwent a Billion Dollar overhaul and upgrade turning it into an amazing facility.  Now the home of the areas first NHL team.    Next up will certainly be a push to get an NBA team.   Hard to remember back in the days when the Sonics were our only national level team.   Now we have major league – Football, Baseball, Soccer and Hockey.   You may have noticed hour our local TV Stations have been giving this update facility a lot of air-time.

After all the power failures and outages associated with the recent hurricane on the Gulf Coast, the FCC is ‘wondering’ if there should be back-up power requirements for some of these critical facilities…Additionally they are looking at making DIRS reporting mandatory and improved means for getting fuel for station generators.    For the broadcast stations that don’t have generators this could be considered an un-funded mandate and, if so, is certainly going to result in push-back.  Rightfully this this would also apply to cellular systems, many of which went down recently.   (See my column from last month)  All of this is part of a new NPRM.   If you want more information on this item, reference NPRM (PS Docket 21-346)

With all the concern about shortages of water (In areas south of us) there are a number of options.     Desalination is certainly being done all over the world.   However, what do you do when you are not near a large body of salt water?    Looking at this issue I ran into a company called Tsunami Products.   Here’s a link to their web-site –

Tsunami Products – atmospheric water generators made in USA

What I found interesting is their location –

Tsunami Products, Inc.
1711 N. Madson St.
Liberty Lake, WA. 99019, USA

Wow!….This is near Spokane, WA.    Who knew?

The Biden Administration finally got around to, formally, nominating Jessica Rosenworcel the chair the FCC.   She’s been in that position since January….Perhaps, by now, proving she is up to the job?  This is the first woman to head the Commission.  The President also nominated Gigi Oohn to fill the other.   The Senate Commerce Committee now has the job of vetting the nominees.  The Chair of that Committee is Maria Cantwell from our State.

Looking for a job with WSU’s NWPB?    Here are the details….. Yes this is worded like an opening for an IT person, but really it’s for a Broadcast Engineer – (Note the portions I’ve highlighted)

WSU Jobs – Workday (myworkdayjobs.com)

          WSU Jobs


1137-NN – Information Systems Coordinator

Business Title:

Information Systems Coordinator


Employee Type:

Admin. Professional

Job Family:

Administrative Professional – Not OT Eligible

Position Details:

COVID-19 Vaccine Information:

In accordance with Washington State Governor’s Proclamation 21-14.1, as a condition of employment, all WSU employees must be fully vaccinated or have an approved medical/religious accommodation no later than October 18, 2021. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their last shot in a vaccine series. Vaccine or an approved accommodation for new employees will be verified no later than October 18, 2021. If the effective date of appointment is October 18, 2021 or later vaccine or approved accommodation status will be verified prior to first day of employment. Please reach out to Human Resource Services (HRS) at hrs@wsu.edu or 509-335-4521 if you have questions regarding this.

Summary of Duties:

The Telecommunications Systems Coordinator is responsible for the development, implementation, design, operations and maintenance of information systems, network transmission, as well as desktop computers, network servers/computers and related computer technology in the Murrow College. The Systems Coordinator evaluates and establishes protocols for users of hardware, software, and other network specifications. The position independently assesses, identifies and provides analysis and procedures including consulting and collaborating with users to determine systems functionality for internal clients including academic units and Northwest Public Broadcasting. This position bears the responsibility for maintaining all associated computer systems, servers, network transmission and related equipment to meet QOS standards and current FCC guidelines.

The complex computerized systems include (but not limited to): desktop computers, servers, IP based radio studios, FM, HD (digital FM), and AM radio transmission, high-definition television studios, digital television transport and world-wide transmission uplinks and downlinks, emergency standby power, central routing and processing infrastructure, and related computer-based monitoring and control.

The position occasionally travels to support system wide initiatives across Washington State, Idaho, and Oregon. The position must independently work at a distance to manage telecommunication and network facilities, and to supervise technical staff. The position must have proven experience with, and a demonstrated understanding of, work performed by supervised staff in order to provide effective instruction and training, documentation, creation and modification of operating systems and to lead team projects with staff from other areas.

Workload, resources, projects, or other priorities may vary the position’s duties to meet objectives of the college.

The position will be on-call to respond to system issues outside of normal business hours. Work will be occasional outdoors year-round in varying weather conditions.

This position manages their region’s budget for site maintenance.

This position is based out of WSU Tri-Cities in Richland, Washington.

Required Qualifications: A Bachelor’s degree and three (3) years professional experience OR a combination of education and experience totaling seven (7) years from which comparable knowledge and abilities are acquired. Education and experience may be tailored to specific need requirements of position.

Additional Requirements:

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Must complete a cold weather orientation course.
  • Must complete a general first aid course.
  • Must complete an RFR radiation hazards course.
  • Must possess, or be able to obtain at time of hire, a valid, unrestricted driver’s license.
  • Must work as a member of a diverse team under deadline constraints.
  • Must work a flexible schedule, occasionally travel, drive long distances, and occasionally work outside normal business hours.
  • Demonstrated experience with the Microsoft Office suite.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Five (5) years of progressively responsible experience with telecommunications systems operations and maintenance.
  • Advanced-level telecommunications industry certification or licensing. Examples of acceptable certifying organizations include the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE), Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE), International Association for Radio, Telecommunications and Electromagnetics (iNARTE), and Telecommunications Certification Organization (TCO).
  • Demonstrated working knowledge of Electronic News Gathering technologies including licensed and unlicensed microwave, satellite uplinks, IP based solutions including WAN/LAN, wireless WIFI and bonded wireless telephony.
  • Working knowledge of TCP/IP protocols and the open system interconnection (OSI) network model.
  • Demonstrated working knowledge of radio frequency (RF) transmitter and receiver systems.
  • Demonstrated working knowledge of television production techniques and systems.
  • Additional years supervisory experience to include evaluating position responsibilities, hiring, scheduling, training, evaluating work/performance, and disciplining.

Additional Information:

Monthly Salary: Commensurate with qualifications and experience.
FTE: 100%
Permanent/Temporary: Permanent

Position Term in months: 12

City, State, Zip: Richland, WA 99354

Area/College: Edward R. Murrow College of Communication
Department Name: Educational and Public Media, Northwest Public Broadcasting
Department Link: https://murrow.wsu.edu/ and https://www.nwpb.org/
Background Check: This position has been designated by the department to require a background check.

Screening Begin Date: Screening of applications will begin on October 11, 2021, and will continue until the position has been filled.
Application Instructions: Applicants must attach the following documents to their online application: 1) resume and 2) cover letter. Applicants are required to include contact information for professional references within the application. Application materials should clearly communicate how the applicant meets all required qualifications and additional requirements.
Required Documents:

1) Resume
2) Cover letter

Time Type:

Full time

Position Term:

WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY/AFFIRMATIVE ACTION EDUCATOR AND EMPLOYER. Members of ethnic minorities, women, special disabled veterans, veterans of the Vietnam-era, recently separated veterans, and other protected veteran, persons of disability and/or persons age 40 and over are encouraged to apply.

WSU employs only U.S. citizens and lawfully authorized non-U.S. citizens. All new employees must show employment eligibility verification as required by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

WSU is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation in the application process, contact Human Resource Services: 509-335-4521 (v), Washington State TDD Relay Service: Voice Callers: 1-800-833-6384; TDD Callers: 1-800-833-6388, 509-335-1259(f), or hrs@wsu.edu.


On the Covid front –

  • According to published reports, about 3% of the State workforce are now out of work as a result of the vaccine mandate – Including the WSU football coach who got a lot of press and airtime.
  • Will be interesting to see how many will reflect on their decision and end up getting vaccinated.
  • Like a lot of things in this country, the legal profession has been called on to attempt to change the decisions. Thus,  giving the press more fodder.
  • Private Industry, including many large broadcasting firms, have their own mandates
  • The recent Kracken debute had a vaccine requirement which did not keep them from packing the new venue.
  • Dan Bonjino (Heard in Seattle on 770/KTTH) is publicly threatening to quit because of the vaccine mandate of the network that carries his program….Westwood One, owned by Cumulus Media. I suspect that this may be an effort to gain attention.   It should be noted that Bonjino is, himself, vaccinated.  Time will tell.
  • Cumulus lost several radio hosts because of their vaccination status.
  • The fact is – Many have walked away from a good paying job over all of this. Considering the fact that there is a significant shortage of people to fill jobs these days, these may be safe bets?
  • When you consider that humans are emotional creatures, and are often driven to do counterproductive things, perhaps we should not be surprised.
  • Next Up – Boosters.
  • At least for a while, more and more places we go will be asking to see proof that you have been vaccinated. This happened to me on the 22nd at a restaurant in Sequim.  Even though I saw some grumbling at the entrance – The place was full of customers…King County is now doing the same.
  • On Oct 2nd, the Washington Post ran this item about the impact of Covid on Law Enforcement personnel –

Covid was the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths last year, killing at least 182 officers, according to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, which tracks such deaths. That’s nearly double the number killed by gun violence and vehicle crashes combined. At least 133 officers have died of covid so far this year, according to the organization.

And finally….One of my readers submitted this one –

The best news is the number of cases of this nasty bug are falling – Fingers Crossed!!!

Meanwhile, across the Pond, we learned the UK radio industry is asking their government for protection from ‘Smart Speakers’.     Really!   Apparently,  they are afraid that U.S. Based firms like Amazon and Google will use data from users listening habits to insert ad content (How dare they?)   and, thereby, make it harder to find UK produced content.

 I often like to write something about when another organization finds something nice to say about our area.   In this case, Wallet Hub has named Sammamish Americas Best Small City.  This is pretty cool when you consider there were 1,300 cities across  the country in this category.   But wait, there’s more !!    There were two Eastside towns on the list.  Redmond came in #12.

The study compared cities with between 25,000 and 100,000 residents and assembled rankings weighted across 43 livability factors, including housing costs, quality of school districts, median household incomes, unemployment rates and various quality of life measures.

As you may recall, I work for WSU’s NWPB as well as doing some contract work for firms that frequently has me traveling to Cougar and West Tiger Mountain.   What follows are pictures from my October travels –

This one taken on the 20th.   My planned trip to West Tiger Mt was cut short.   Just beyond the Gate at Tiger Summit I encountered this in the middle of the road.   Mitch, from IHM was there also and, like me, figured that we were not going to be going up the road on that day.               Yes, they are logging on the Mountain.   This is just one of several big machines that are being used in the process.

This is not the first time that someone tried to get some too-long equipment up that road and ended up regretting it.   It’s amazing that they don’t first take a drive up the road in a pickup etc. and scout-out what the conditions are.

Later in the day, Arthur Willetts took this one showing some of the heavy equipment used to get the equipment that slid off the road moved…. The machine that was on the low-boy trailer (Yellow) is now on the up-hill side of the trailer that had been pulled back up on the road with the help of another machine, shown here on the left that was apparently brought in to help.

So,  I came back on Saturday the 23rd thinking I would be able to drive up and get the work, planned for a few days earlier, accomplished.

I spoke with one of the loggers who told me they had to drive the big yellow machine, that was on the stuck low-boy, all the way up to the top of the mountain.   By now they figured out that they were not going to transport it to the top with the big trailer as first intended.

I shot this on Saturday the 23rd.  On the way up, I could clearly see that they had been logging the south-side of West Tigers summit ridge.    The tower on the far left is what we call WTM-1 (West Tiger #1) The tower on the far-right is the First Net Tower that was erected about a year and a half ago.  Please excuse the fuzzy picture, there were clouds drifting through at the time.   If you look close, you can see a number of vehicles on the road to the top.   The forest on this side has been cut down, the trees on the other side are next to go.  Soon the Ridge will be bare.

For those that travel to transmitter sites via paved streets and road….Think of what you are missing 😊

I’ve been traveling up these roads since 1987. (Perhaps before some that travel it now were born?)    I recall when we built this site marveling at the views from the summit.    Around these parts trees grow rapidly and, before you know it, your views are gone and your drive is ‘through the woods’.  Still hard to convince folks from afar that around here ‘Trees are a crop’.

Meanwhile, up on the ridge, in the following picture,  you can see all the recently cut trees on the left of the road, those on the right will be gone in a few days.  Oh yes….See that Yellow machine sitting in the middle of the road behind the white truck? This is the same one that was on the low-boy trailer that got stuck a couple of days before.   Now the same machine is unable to move due to some broken part and is – again- blocking the road.

Unfortunately,  this logging activity has interrupted access to the transmitter site (The towers beyond in this picture) as well as leaving the road a muddy mess for the 6 + miles to SR-18.    One trip up and down changes the color of your vehicle to a nice shade of ‘Tiger Mountain Mud Brown’.    The good news is that when they are done, the road will likely receive a fresh layer of gravel and will soon return to what we have grown to expect.   As they say, there is ‘light at the end of the tunnel’

Jared Twomey of AccelNet made it up to the site on the 25th and contributed the following picture taken from West Tiger-1 looking Northeast.   For the first time since WTM-2 was constructed the forest between the sites is gone and you are able to see one site from the other!

In the distance you can see the First-Net tower on the left and the ‘Twin-Towers’ of WTM-2 on the right.  To the right is Mt Si, near North Bend.

The ‘boxes’ in the foreground are PSE high-voltage metering equipment for the WTM-1 site as well as the Boeing facility on another Tiger peak to the NW of this location.

The building on the far left is operated by American Tower and houses public safety and microwave equipment for various area entities.

The overcast skies make the pictures look a bit murky.


Here are a couple of – Before & After pictures.  The ‘Before’ was taken out the windshield of my truck, backed into my customary parking place in front of the Transmitter building at West Tiger-1.   (Yes, this was taken last winter)

This was taken during a recent trip to the site, looking in the same direction (East).  The mountain you see, right of center, is East-Tiger.    Straight ahead is Rattlesnake Ridge which is south of North Bend.  Amazing difference !

One of the projects I was on this past month involved installing new 5G filters on NWPB’s C-Band antennas.   In this picture, you can see the shadow cast by Jason Royals,  up on a ladder working on the filter installation.   Note the shadow in the middle of the dish.

Here’s a close up –

It just so happened that after the new LNB and 5G filter was installed we checked to make sure that the receive signal was the same, or better, than before.   As they say, timing is everything.  It just so happened that we were, at the same time, experiencing what’s called a ‘Sun-outage’  This takes place when the sun and the satellite we are trying to receive a signal from are in the same direction.

Here’s a close up of the LNB and 5G Filter installed on one of the satellite dishes.   LNB is short for Low-Noise-Block downconverter or a receiving device mounted on the satellite dish which collects the signal from the satellite, via the dish, and converts it to a signal sent through the black cable shown to the receiver located in the transmitter building.   This is the item where you can see the word ‘DAWN’.    The 5G filter is the smaller device at the end to which the cable is connected.   Its role is to keep the new 5G signal from interfering with the reception from the satellite.   In some installations, like those on mountain tops, this whole assembly is inside a cover to protect it from the elements.

Over the years I have been hearing many firmly state that HD Radio is fine for big cities, like Seattle, but is not meant for smaller, less populated, locations ….Like Eastern Washington.  While I was in Forks recently (a very-small) town on the other side of the Olympic Mountains from Seattle (Home of Twilight).   I was delighted to find a station that appears to have not read that memo.   KBDB is not only running HD Radio – They are running – 4 channels of it !!.  And they all sound great.   To prove my point, I snapped the following pictures of my vehicles radio for you all to see –

On my way back from Forks making modifications to the satellite dish there for KNWU – (Heading to Burlington) we encountered an un-planned 2-hour delay along Lake Crescent (Between Forks and Pt Angeles)  One of the large trees along the slope on the south side of the road decided that this was the time to come down.  Unfortunately, there was a car in the wrong place at the wrong time.

As you can see, the Toyota Prius, got the worst of it.   They apparently were hit by the falling tree (on the right in this picture)  but were able to continue forward before it fell to the pavement and broke.    Fortunately, the couple, from California, were un-hurt in the process.

When I got there, a few minutes after it happened, they were walking around and talking about their experience.  The location was between the Lake Crescent Lodge and Ranger Station and La Poel.  Not long afterward a Park Ranger showed up.   He was able to use his two-way radio to contact Washington DOT who sent a truck and operator able to deal with the tree and a wrecker to deal with the car.

By this time traffic was backed up for a considerable distance in both directions and people were walking to the scene.  One fellow had a small chain saw that was used to cut some of the smaller limbs.   Many pitched in tossing limbs over the guard rail.  The fellow from DOT had a big saw that made quick work of cutting the tree so one-lane could get through.  Certainly,  this couple will remember their trip to the Olympia Peninsula for years to come!

I was right behind this log truck – Note Lake Crescent on the left and the beautiful fall colors.

Interestingly the truck had its snow-plow mounted on the front which was used to move the log to the side of the road.   Shortly afterward, we were on our way.

Just some of the interesting aspects of my job during this past month.

Only one person was able to name what this was from last month –

The answer – It’s a device, from long ago, for winding coils used in early day radio equipment.


Many years ago, the Weyerhaeuser Company made headlines when it moved its headquarters from Tacoma (where it had been for many years) to a brand-new building in Federal Way.   It was an amazing, vine covered, structure just north of SR-18.   The street it’s on was named Weyerhaeuser Way.    With the reduction in size of the historic company, and the alure of Downtown Seattle, a few years ago, it was announced that they were moving to Seattle.

More recently, Downtown Seattle has changed, for the worse, thanks to the Pandemic, homelessness and crime.    On the 1st of October, the Seattle Times ran this headline –

Weyerhaeuser cites crime in Pioneer Square for delay in reopening its Seattle headquarters

The Times writer explained it this way –

Concerns over crime in downtown Seattle escalated sharply this week after Weyerhaeuser reportedly delayed its return to its Pioneer Square headquarters due to neighborhood safety issues.

In an email to employees, Denise Merle, Weyerhaeuser’s chief administration officer, said the timber company won’t bring workers back to the offices overlooking Occidental Park without “significant and sustained improvements in neighborhood safety,”

Weyerhaeuser appears to be the first major employer to explicitly link its delay not only to COVID-19 but also to public safety concerns.

The Weyerhaeuser decision also comes at a critical moment for Pioneer Square in particular. Many of the iconic neighborhood’s restaurants, bars, galleries and other businesses have begun to see signs of economic recovery, driven in part by a return of tourists and fans attending Mariners, Sounders and Seahawks games.

But many fear that momentum could be stalled by the perception of unchecked homelessness and street crime, said Seattle City Councilmember Andrew Lewis, whose district covers Pioneer Square.

So why am I including this in my Column?    A couple of reasons-

  • Many broadcasters have their studios downtown, or close to it.
  • Weyerhaeuser is one of the landowners at West Tiger Mt with whom I’ve been associated with for the last 30+ years.

Recently, while looking for a parking space….I noted one next to a Red 4-Runner.  I could not resist parking next to it (Mine is on the right).  It was only after I parked  I noted the license plate:

I like to include a pretty picture in my column, this month an opportunity to capture an image came on the 24th.    This was a very blustery day with lots of power failures.   Then, suddenly, I look out our living room window and saw the following.    I grabbed my trusty S5 Cellphone and took this picture.  What a wonderful way to end a stormy day!


Hope to catch you here next month –

Oh yes….Have a Happy Turkey Day!


Clay, K7CR, CPBE

A SBE Fellow

SBE Member # 714

Since March 1968


Clay’s Corner for October 2021


 Clay’s Corner for October 2021

Providing news and views from a broadcast engineers perspective since September 1986

COVID-19 continues to be the headline maker this past month- Here are some items I selected to share.

Broadcasting etc

On September 7th this was published –

The NAB will require full vaccination of attendees, exhibitors and its own staff at the NAB Show, Radio Show, and the Sales and Management Television Exchange

Then on 15th of September,  we all received this –

To Our NAB Show Community: For more than a year we have worked tirelessly to bring our industry together safely in Las Vegas at NAB Show. Unfortunately, the pandemic and surge of the Delta variant has presented unexpected and insurmountable challenges for our global community. As we have always kept the best interest and safety of the industry as our priority, it has become apparent in the face of these challenges that we can no longer effectively host NAB Show or our co-located events, the Radio Show and Sales and Management Television Exchange, in person. NAB Show is the premiere destination for the media and entertainment industry and we will not move forward with a show that delivers anything less than the excellence our community has come to expect and deserves from us. While we are disappointed that we will not be together again in person next month, we look forward to converging in Las Vegas at the 2022 NAB Show, April 23-27, 2022, to reignite our passion for our business and focus on a bright future ahead. Stay tuned for details regarding virtual options for accessing select 2021 NAB Show content

The announcement comes after a number of its largest exhibitors, including Sony, Canon, Panasonic and Ross all announced that they were pulling out of the show, citing concerns over COVID-19. The association said it plans to offer select virtual sessions through its Amplify portal.


For the second time in as many years, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the cancellation of The NAB Show. The National Association of Broadcasters announced that it has pulled the plug on its biggest conference along with co-located events, the Radio Show and Sales and Management Television Exchange, all scheduled to take place next month in Las Vegas.

The announcement from Chris Brown, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Global Connections and Events at NAB, cited “unexpected and insurmountable challenges for our global community” from the COVID-19 pandemic and surge of the Delta variant.

The NAB, as well as many others have been thrust into to completely new territory with this pandemic.  Like  a lot of us, we thought that we were past the worst of it and were starting to make plans….Then – Along came Delta – and ‘here we go again’.

The NAB show is not the only event to run head-on into the impact of the Virus – The Audio Engineering Society also cancelled its 2021 event which makes sense as it was to be collocated with the NAB Event.


There were certainly a huge impact of the cancellation in a number of areas.   Hitting the ‘Emergency Brake’ this close to an event is tough.   A lot of things were in motion, including many that had hotel reservations etc.


One phrase that seems to be appropriate these days – ‘Don’t count on it’


Cumulus Media, a large radio station operator was one of the first to announce their COVID Policy-

Cumulus adopted the policy in mid-August mandating that all employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 ahead of the company’s previously announced return to work date of Oct. 11, or what CEO Mary Berner has called the company’s “grand reopening.” All employees must have received their full dose of one of the available vaccines by Sept. 27 – two weeks prior to the scheduled return date.

This headline perhaps sums up the situation –

Univision Adopts Vaccine Mandate.   More Broadcasters Expected To Follow Suit.

 And that’s exactly what they have been doing – on the 16th, Tegna, operator of KING and KONG TV in Seattle, told their staff that they have until November 12th to get the COVID vaccine as a condition of employment.       That seems to be pretty clear to me.

Here are some comments that pretty well sum-up the situation that Broadcasters are facing –


  • Small radio companies that employ fewer than 100 workers aren’t affected by Biden’s new policy. And there will almost certainly be legal challenges to what some have condemned as “heavy-handed authoritarianism.” However, if having a vaccinated workforce becomes the new ‘standard of care’ for businesses defending against lawsuits from employees claiming to have caught COVID-19 at work, it does put pressure on all broadcasters, including those with less than 100 employees, to seriously consider their policies as well.
  • With many workforces deeply divided on the issue of vaccine mandates, the President’s announcement provides some legal cover for larger businesses implementing mandates. And the four radio groups that have done so already have permitted exceptions on medical or religious grounds. “The courts have generally upheld such mandates as long as these escape valves are in place,”
  • The situation remains fluid with new developments on the COVID front almost daily. And while some station owners want to stay clear of the controversial issue and are hoping that most of their employees decide to get vaccinated on their own, that may no longer be an option. It is becoming increasing difficult for business owners to stay uninvolved, as there will be employees on both sides of the issue—those that don’t want to be required to get vaccinated, and those that are appalled that their employer is asking them to come back to the studio without ensuring that everyone they encounter there will be vaccinated,

          Staying out of the fray is not possible.


There is one area that Broadcasting is receiving poor reviews ….It’s where Radio talk-show hosts are on the air supporting the Anti-Vaccine movements.  These people frequently quote sources that are in agreement with their position.   Many of these appear to go out on a limb to attract attention.    Unfortunately,  there are many that apparently would rather get their medical advice from someone ‘On the Radio’  than their Doctor thereby giving Radio a bad reputation.

This headline should give those that follow that path some pause –

Conservative radio host who spurned vaccines,

mocked AIDS patients dies of covid-19. 

Here’s how that story read –

Timothy Bella  8 hrs ago

For years, Bob Enyart used his conservative media platform in Denver to mock those who died of AIDS by name or call for women who receive abortions to face the death penalty. Recently, the radio talk-show host — who had successfully sued the state over mask mandates and capacity limits in Colorado churches last year — joined a chorus of conservative voices who have bashed the coronavirus vaccine and vowed to stay unvaccinated.

The Story continued –

Enyart is at least the fifth conservative radio talk-show host to have died of covid-19 in the last six weeks after speaking out against vaccinations and masking. The others are Marc Bernier, 65, a longtime host in Florida; Phil Valentine, 61, a popular host in Tennessee; Jimmy DeYoung, 81, a nationally syndicated Christian preacher also based in Tennessee; and Dick Farrel, 65, who had worked for stations in Miami and Palm Beach, Fla., as well as for the conservative Newsmax TV channel.

Perhaps, in time, we will come to learn how people like this have influenced their listeners to make bad decisions that led to their demise?     As I have stated in the past, I have to believe that the legal profession will see opportunities here.

Many things have changed

The Broadcast Industry has, since this all started, made a number of changes that will change the way things function, perhaps many of them, permanent?


  • Many Radio Stations have, traditionally, relied on promotion departments that were engaging listeners with all means of events. The Pandemic changed all that with this kind of activity being shut down.
  • Just like other industries, working at home has become normalized. I can imagine how some of the managers I’ve worked with, over the years, handled this one.   You know the kind…The ones looking at the time people show up in the morning etc.   Many of them were convinced if they could not see you….You were goofing off and not working.  A very high percentage of people who have not been going to the office, want it that way forever.
  • Another winner in this process has been what has been called Central Casting (or other terms) TV has been doing this for some time with centralized master control operations have handled multiple stations. This has resulted in many stations becoming un-manned during weekdays periods and on weekends.
  • Radio is doing the same thing, to various degrees. In some cases,  a station may only have a ‘live and local’ morning show with the rest of the day being ‘Voice Tracked’ or with the talent located In a far-away location.
  • All of this would not have been possible had it not been for the internet, and compression schemes, that have permitted Audio and Video content to come from afar at a price that stations could afford.

Here’s a look at this issue in various categories –


Private Industry

We are witnessing a lot of ‘you do it first’ taking place….

How the airlines react to this is interesting for a couple of reasons.   This business was severely impacted by COVID as people stopped  flying.   They have had to deal with how to get passengers back by requiring masks.   That has not always gone smoothly with some of their customers with some reacting, at times violently, to the idea that they had to wear a mask while on board.   The result, the fines for being defiant have been increased.

Then there is how to deal with their employee’s …One by one, the airlines have been ‘ramping up’ their efforts to get their staff vaccinated with ever increasing pressure.      A lot of industries are watching how the airlines approach these issues with, justifiably, great interest.    United appears to be one of the leaders recently stating that 97% of their employees were vaccinated and indicated those that refused would be let go.


Amateur Radio

I received this notice  on the 15th underscoring that this issue is not just something that involves private industry.

Subject: Spokane HAMFEST


As folks are beginning to hear last evening the Spokane HAMFEST committee made the very hard decision to cancel this years Spokane HAMFEST and state convention. It was a decision we did not take lightly and one we felt was the best for all concerned. We will be working hard and looking forward to seeing folks at the Spokane HAMFEST on Sept. 24, 2022.

Government Action

Efforts in many areas to try and get this thing slowed down via increasingly restrictive rules, regulations have not been met with the degree of success that many had hoped.

One thing that is clearly frustrating many is the percentage of people that don’t want to get vaccinated.    These people appear to be standing in the way of us winning this battle. For a while…Incentives were tried (The carrot approach) when those efforts feel short, the next approach (The Stick) became necessary…Hence, we are increasingly hearing the word


Government, at all levels,  Federal, State and Local are getting involve with this issue in ways that, not long ago, would have been seen as impossible.    The question is what are they going to do with our hospitals being filled with un-vaccinated patients to the point that they are forced to turn away people suffering from other issue?

Perhaps one of the most followed stories involves the WSU Football Coach who is, apparently un-vaccinated.    It just so happens that he is also the highest paid person on the State Pay- Role making more than the Governor.

Here we are seeing a growing number of restrictions, rules, regulations and – that dreaded word- Mandates.   The un-vaccinated view this as government over-reach and dictatorial.

This is resulting in individuals, unions etc. suing state and local governments…And, in some cases, States suing the Federal Government.  All of these leading to having the courts determine what is to happen.

This process is, of course, being followed closely by the Media with a lot of air-time, and ink,  being devoted to this topic presenting facts and not radical opinions.

Sports Venues

One by one, the operators of venues where games are played are announcing their regulations.

All fans age 12 and over planning to attend Kraken games, concerts or events at Climate Pledge Arena will need to show proof they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Fans will also be required to wear a mask.

Exemptions by questionable means

Many of those that don’t want to get vaccinated are looking for means to get out of it.

One of the ways is the Religious Exemption.     And waiting to fill the bill, for a price, are pastors of some churches.

This headline came from the Washington Post –

This pastor will sign a religious exemption for vaccines if you donate to his church.

The pastor – Jackson Lahmeyer in Tulsa Oklahoma.   Here’s a portion of the article in the Post –

Lahmeyer said he is not anti-vaccine, but he has already had the virus and believes that people whoare infected with it can be treated with medications like ivermectin, which is used to treat parasites in humans and horses. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says ivermectin should not be used to treat or prevent covid-19.

So not only are people getting misleading information from the pulpit but are able get an exemption for a price.
Then there is the Chiropractor that will write you a ‘Medical’ Exemption ….Only problem is Chiropractors are NOT medical doctors.

Again, the exemptions are very likely to become legal battlegrounds.

Sarah Pulliam Bailey  12 hrs ago

The Insurance Industry

We are now just starting to hear from the Insurance Industry as they come to terms with the fact that the un-vaccinated are, statistically, more expensive to take care of than a person that chooses to be vaccinated.   This means that the un-vaxxed cost the insurance companies more and may well  be paying higher premiums.   No different than is the case with other forms of insurance.

The Print Media

The Print Media is also doing its part to inform, and, in some cases, offer opinions that are, what I feel, are spot on.  Kudo’s to Danny Westneat.   In the event you don’t read his column, let me share some portions of one of his recent writings –

In Idaho. Hospitals in northern Idaho are so flooded with COVID-19 patients that the state has declared an emergency, called “crisis standards of care.” It means when you show up to the emergency room, you may get treated based preferentially on who is most likely to live.

“If your mother has a heart attack, someone will have to assign her a point score designating how likely she is to survive,” the Idaho Falls Post Register wrote, describing the scheme last winter when it was first being contemplated. “If it isn’t high enough, she might not get an ICU bed, and a COVID patient will get it instead.

“We will ask the nurses and doctors who’ve broken their backs trying to save us to make that Sophie’s choice over, and over, and over.”

This past week the 200-bed hospital in Coeur d’Alene had 218 patients — so many it was treating patients in hallways and running out of oxygen to help them breathe, The Associated Press reported.

“What about the people who need emergency care but, because of the exploding COVID crisis here, can’t get it?” asked the Coeur d’Alene Press. “Do we just let them die?”

The answer to that is: “Yes.” Letting them die is actually the plan. The GOP governor of Idaho said it was “an unprecedented and unwanted point in the history of our state.” But he made no moves to try anything else, such as requiring vaccinations for anyone (he earlier had banned the governmental use of “vaccine passports” in the state). It’s a red state, and so for the most part they’re letting the virus rip and run.

Remember years ago when a tea party debate audience cheered the idea of letting someone without insurance die? What’s happening in Idaho is even worse because it’s so preventable.

Doctors in Idaho have said their COVID-19 patients are almost all unvaccinated. “We don’t have any vaccinated patients here,” an ICU doc in Boise told The Associated Press. “Misinformation is hurting people and killing people.”

Idaho ranks last in the percentage of its population having at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, at only 45%. The U.S. is about 63%; Washington state 69%.

The main hospital in Yakima is seeing a record number of COVID-19 patients, almost all unvaccinated. They’re raising the specter of rationing care there, too — something the chief medical officer said has never happened at the hospital.

“I sure hope we don’t get there, but that’s where we’re heading,” he warned in The Yakima Herald-Republic on Wednesday.

When I wrote last week about a COVID-19 skeptic and anti-vaxxer who had died of the disease, asking whether society should care, I heard from a slew of readers furious because their own medical care is being delayed or cut off — a diffuse version of the triage going on in Idaho.

“Am I angry? You bet I am,” wrote Mike Morrissey, of Snohomish, who says his cardiac surgery has been put off indefinitely due to a flood of COVID-19 patients. “My heart is failing without intervention. I can’t walk a block without stopping. But their choice [to not get vaccinated] just negated my urgent need.”

Echoed a nurse at a regional hospital: “They’re dying of stupidity by choice, but at the same time taking up space in the hospital and displacing stroke, cancer and cardiac patients.”

“Do I care what happens to those who won’t take a simple step to end this nightmare?” asked reader Jon Kraus, who said his brother-in-law had a surgery to fix a painful back condition put on hold due to COVID-19 levels. “I’m tired of catering to people who don’t care about anyone but themselves.”

This is why Gov. Jay Inslee and President Joe Biden suddenly feel more comfortable mandating the vaccine for groups of workers and businesses. Yes, the right-wing flank of the GOP will sue, march around in tri-corner hats and scream at their local school boards. But people are done. The vaccinated — the majority in most states — have had enough.

Now, as the workplace vax wars rev up, the best point to keep in mind is offered up by reader Michael Andreoni:

“Who I DO feel sorry for are the medical personnel who have to deal with this mess,” he wrote.

It’s the story of our time, how a pandemic that was visited upon us, through no fault of our own, ended up morphing into such a self-inflicted wound for America.  We willingly did it to ourselves.

Then there is Media Bias

I don’t mean the type that you may first think of….What I am referring to is the bias toward running bad news in preference to good news.   As I learned, long ago, if a newspaper only put good news on their front pages, they wouldn’t sell many papers.     Face it, we expect the media – In all forms- to bring us the bad news first.

Do we see or hear any stories about the zillions of vehicles that travel our areas freeways…never.   But have one wreck (Like the recent one in Auburn with the wrong way driver) and it’s wall to wall coverage.

Do we hear about all the passengers that safely arrive at their destination via train?  (Nope) but that wreck in Montana was a big story.

And so it goes with just about every event – INCLUDING COVERAGE OF THE PANDEMIC!.

Do we hear about the ‘Majority’ that have been vaccinated?   Nope, just stories about those tht have not.

Face it, we like to hear bad news.   In the case of Covid-19, perhaps that’s a good thing as it scares many into getting their shots?

And, of course – There is plenty of Mis-information

How about this headline ?

Ivermectin poison control calls triple in Washington, despite multiple warnings against use for COVID treatment

Demand for ivermectin has increased nationwide, despite warnings from multiple health agencies about the dangers of consuming it for non-FDA-approved purposes — which includes using it for COVID-19 treatment and prevention.

Over 88,000 ivermectin prescriptions were reported nationwide in the second week of August, an amount 24-times higher than the pre-pandemic figure, the Washington State Department of Health said in a news release.

Since last year, the Washington Poison Center has received a threefold increase in calls regarding ivermectin, said Dr. Scott Phillips, the medical director for the center. He attributed the rise in calls to misinformation.

Most calls were from people asking about ivermectin safety, though some calls were made from people who were recently hospitalized or were experiencing mild to moderate symptoms of poisoning, he said.

No severe cases resulting in death have been reported. However, it is unclear how many hospitalizations or deaths have occurred across the state in relation to ivermectin use because the Department of Health does not track that data, and local hospitals are not required to report those cases, said DOH spokesperson Frank Ameduri.

Though the drug is typically used for veterinary purposes, it is FDA approved to treat some parasitic worms, external parasites and skin conditions in humans.

And, finally, some of my thoughts


  • Near the end of the month – The Washington Post ran this headline –

YouTube is banning prominent anti-vaccine activists and blocking all anti-vaccine content.

As my readers know….I have been railing against misinformation for some time.      Kudo’s to You Tube for their action in removing the megaphone for those that, perhaps, have been spreading misinformation that has resulted in the deaths of many.   Perhaps now is the time to ask the question – When are broadcasters going to do the same thing?   We need to face the fact that many broadcast stations have been sitting by and letting misinformation and conspiracy theories continue all in the name of free speech.  Is it time for broadcasters to stop their contribution to this crisis?

Could it be that those that have been getting their medical advice from You Tube or Radio talk-shows might now be deceased as a result?

  • It appears that that those that are refusing to get vaccinated are the ultimate gamblers willing to put their life on the line. According to Seattle & King County Public health
  • Those that are un-vaccinated are 49 times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 They are also 32 time more likely to die from a COVID-19 related illness.
  • Some politicians come out with some gems – “The average hospital stay for a case of COVID-19 costs about $17,064. The vaccine is free,” said Jayapal in her Aug. 30 Instagram post. Hat’s off to her.
  • Why is it that those that are opposed of getting vaccinated (a Medical-Procedure) are (apparently) wanting a medical team to save them when they fear for their life?
  • Why aren’t there protesters demonstrating against the Anti-Vaxxers objecting to the fact that they might die from something else due to the hospitals being clogged with the un-vaccinated? Where are the law-suits when a person dies because they could not obtain medical treatment because of this mess?
  • Has not part of the problem been confusing and often conflicting information?

Looking back, would we in the U.S. been better off had this issue been handled on a national basis instead of having different states approach the matter differently?  Perhaps with one-organization providing us with information about masking, social distancing, closures, mandates etc.  Think of the confusion where state-lines are very close.    Want an example?  Look at the difference between Washington and Idaho in terms of vaccination rates.

  • In the event you think this is a U.S. problem….Think again. I was recently talking with a person in a Canadian Province (Not B.C.) who explained they were vaccinated, and their spouse was not.   They went on to explain their decision was based on political rather than medical reasons.


Now to end this with some good news !                                                                                                     Merck says experimental pill cuts worst effects of COVID-19 (apnews.com).

Other than COVID related events –


On September 2nd I received the following email from John Price regarding Gary Hart.

‘Gary passed away this morning at 5AM. His wife Elaine called. Cause was dementia plus multiple myeloma’

Many of us have stories about Gary….My turn-

Way back in the last century (when I got started in this business) When a radio or TV station wanted to broadcast from somewhere other than their studio…We contacted the Telephone Company to provide them with the facilities to make it happen.   Pacific NW Bell, or PNB comes to mind.    Back in those days I was working in Tacoma radio and we had a go-to-guy that would, despite the odds and short notice, always make it happen.  His name was Jim Renny.   Occasionally Jim would mention his counterpart in Seattle…A guy named Gary.

Fast forward to the 80’s when I made my move to the ‘big city’ to the north and built new studios for KBSG.   I quickly learned of Gary Hart.   Interestingly the first time I heard his name was from one of the gals in Marketing when ordering a broadcast circuit (called Radio Loops) when I asked a technical question, they would quickly respond with ‘I’ll talk with Gary Hart’ and get back to you.  These were certainly the good old days when the Telephone company had people who worked in Seattle and whom you could have lunch with – Some names come to mind (with perhaps wrong spelling) Betty Carrie, Wilma Kilde, Frank Coffee and, of course, the guy that took the order from marketing and made it happen, Gary Hart.    After you placed the order, the matter was in Gary’s capable hands.   Often, he would call you to ask a question about where you wanted the ‘loop’ terminated.   Gary understood what you did with their facilities like no one else.    He took each of these circuits personally and would, in some cases, be on site when you arrived just to make sure.    Gary knew where every piece of telephone wire was in the Seattle area (without having to do some research) All that ‘Plant’ was his baby.   His personal touch and vast recall enabled him to, constantly – Pull the rabbit out of the hat. And make it happen.  There are legendary stories of his handywork involving the boat races and many other events.

On the other side of Gary was his love of Amateur Radio.   Gary, known to many as W7WWI was one of first ones to put a 2-Meter Repeater on Cougar Mountain.

When Gary retired a few years ago, he left a huge void. The Company, by now, had changed names a few times, was never the same and became something cold and distant.    Gone was the personal touch by a person that made the term ‘customer service’ mean so much to so many.     Perhaps he knew that the work he did would be put out to pasture with the advent of cellular systems and it was a good time to ‘hang it up’.

Gary retired to the vicinity of Rochester (South of Olympia) where he would continue to have summer picnics to meet his old friends. Thankfully, John Price lived near by and was able to be of significant help as Gary’s health declined.   A group of us would meet for breakfast prior to going to the Puyallup Flea Market – Often Gary was there with that big smile and warmth that made all that knew him love and respect him.    To say the least, Gary touched many hearts and has left a lasting memory with many.

I know that many have left comments about Gary on the SBE Chapters Remailer – Here are a couple I picked up to share with you



I’m sorry for your loss John.   I also knew and liked Gary  he was great.   Rest in peace Gary.


I had the pleasure of having Gary install a circuit for me a little over 15 years ago. I knew of him prior, but you never get to know a fellow until you work with them.  I was impressed by his good nature and congeniality.  A true asset to the Northwest’s broadcasting history, as he knew what it took to get a station’s signal to travel over POTS.

I did not know he was suffering.  I will remember his big smile, high spirits, and friendly attitude.



I seem to recall first meeting Gary around 1978-79 when Green River was setting up lines for sports remotes around the area. Over the years, we’d chat about various technology. I always enjoyed his stories. Eventually, I came to realize how spoiled we had become to have such a supportive and dedicated technician/engineer providing telco support.

Weather-wise we had one of the longest and hottest, and driest summers on record.   Hard to believe we only had .13 inches of precip. in 3-months.   Unlike those to the south of us in California, we can count on our famous ran to return.   And indeed, that’s what happened.  Around here we know that Fall is a shortened version of ‘Rain-Fall’.  About the middle of the month, right on cue, wham!   It was windy and wet.     Near the end of the month, I took the drive out to Enumclaw and was amazed at how wonderfully green things had again become.

Back to the topic of rain- Hurricane Ida did a real number (again) on New Orleans knocking out power to the city for quite a long time along with forcing a number of broadcast stations off the air.    In some cases, it took down some towers as the following clearly shows.   If you are a broadcast engineer and venture out to the transmitter site to find out why things are not working properly….This is something that  you don’t want to see!   In this case the storm removed all but about 150ft of the stations tower.

One of the reasons why broadcast stations are so important in times like this is because of the damage done to the Cellular Telephone systems.   Here is a map from August 31 that shows the impact.


Most cell-sites (Towers) have generators with a relatively small amount of fuel.    Then there is the fact that cellphones need to be periodically charged after which the become useless.   With power outages running many days…Broadcasters, especially Radio, was the lifeline to information.     One more time, WWL-AM came to the rescue at it did during Katrina.

Michael Patton operates a broadcast engineering service in that area and posted some insightful comments about IDA on a national remailer –

The only power to the NOLA area right after the storm was what individuals, businesses, and government facilities were able to generate on site.  I’m told that today Entergy, the Deep South’s main power utility, got a couple of small power plants in or close to the city online and are able to supply some power to critical infrastructure like hospitals, etc.  That is a major sore subject locally, but that’s another story.  Entergy has crews here from as far away as Indiana (I talked to them); they say they have 20,000 pairs of boots on the ground.  Still, I imagine there will be some serious grilling at the Public Service Commission meetings when this is all over.


This storm came up thru the largely (relatively) uninhabited swamps between NOLA and Baton Rouge.  As bad as it is, if the path of the eyewall had been 20 miles to either side, the damage would have been truly catastrophic, dwarfing what we are dealing with now.  We got lucky.  Damn lucky.


New Orleans is almost an island; in addition to being bisected by the largest river in North America, a mile wide and as deep as 300 feet at places (and dredged to be 65+ feet deep in the channel all the way to Baton Rouge, 60+ miles upriver), it is surrounded by water: Lake Pontchartrain on the north, and swamps on all other sides.  Well over half of modern New Orleans sits on land reclaimed from the swamps by levees and pumps, and only kept dry by that system.  The pumps have their own power generation and distribution system, old and creaky, but running the pumps as I write this (and their engineers worked non-stop to get the crucial but ancient Turbine #6, which had been offline for ages, spinning with only hours to go Sunday – true heroes).  All the power used in this major city (about 50th in population, the size of Nashville, Memphis, and Louisville, for comparison) is generated elsewhere and brought in via EHV lines that run from power plants across the lake (30+ miles) or across the river from a nuclear plant that’s 20 miles upriver from downtown, plus other smaller coal- and NG-fired plants.  Most of you have heard by now of the failure of the EHV tower crossing the river; that is a serious stain on Entergy’s stewardship of their system.


WWL has a very impressive array of backups.  First, at their main site, a mile on the west side of the levee about 10 miles SW of downtown, they have a 50 KW main and a 10 kW backup TX.  That site has not one but two generators, and a fuel tank large enough to run the plant at full power for a month.  At that site, in addition to the DA array, consisting of twin 500 ft towers with huge anchors (rebuilt/replaced after Katrina’s winds literally dragged the old ones out of position by several feet(!), either of which can be switched to run Non-D, they have a longwire that can handle 10 kW.  Then they have an EMP-hardened 10 kW backup site, just completed, that is diplexed in with their sister station WWWL (no, that’s not a typo), located just across the river from downtown. This site has its own backup generator and large fuel tank, as it’s designed to outlast the end of the world (as we know it) for at least a month, so we all have plenty of time to kiss our xxxx goodbye.  Unlike most if not all of the other EMP-hardened backup facilities FEMA has been sprinkling around the landscape (with some help from us and others), WWL cut a deal to be able to use this site if they need it.  At the other FEMA backup facilities, the local station has no access to the hardened backup for commercial purposes, only after the apocalypse.


WWL-TV, not co-owned, is another impressive transmitter facility. Located on the West Bank a few miles upriver from downtown, it is almost a fortress, complete with backup generators, studios, and even living quarters for the staff.  The whole thing is elevated, and it can sustain its crew and broadcast facility with zero outside infrastructure for a month, as long as the air remains fit to breathe.

“We finally taught her, that it takes a lot of water, to wash away New Orleans”

The FCC operates a Disaster Reporting System where Broadcasters and Wireless Carriers can report on their status after major storms like Ida.   This are now considering making use of the system mandatory as the follow from Bloomberg explains –


Top of Form

Bottom of Form

As Hurricane Ida in the east, wildfires out west and severe winter weather in Texas have demonstrated, there is no shortage of natural disasters that challenge the nation’s communications system. The Federal Communications Commission is poised this month to open a rulemaking that would look at ways to improve the reliability and resiliency of communications networks during emergencies.

While the focus is primarily on the wireless networks and the 9-1-1 infrastructure, the FCC is also examining is its Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS). The voluntary system is often activated during a natural disaster to give the FCC and other emergency response teams a status report on where things stand. But the FCC thinks improvements could be made. That includes looking for steps that could be taken to encourage broader voluntary participation during disasters.

In a draft of the proposed rulemaking (PS Docket Nos. 21-346), the FCC says one of the ideas that it is looking at is making filing DIRS reports mandatory. It is a change that it acknowledges would be significant. “We recognize that a proposed requirement to file in DIRS must be balanced against additional burdens on service providers, particularly as DIRS reports are filed in the midst of disasters and other emergencies,” it says. The FCC says it would need to explore whether it has the legal authority to require DIRS filing, what the benefits of doing so would be, and what penalties it could use to enforce any failure to do so.

The proceeding also looks at whether local radio and television stations have a larger role to play in helping communities prepare for natural disasters, such as through the airing of public service announcements. That includes potential requirements that wireless carriers make better use of local media to help consumers prepare ahead of a disaster, and to keep their customers updated after an incident knocks service offline.

“With wildfires still raging in the American West and Hurricane Ida’s historic devastation from New Orleans to New York, the need for resilient communications infrastructure has never been more apparent,” said Acting FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel. “Today, the rain has stopped, the winds have subsided, and the storm surge has receded. But Mother Nature’s wrath is sure to visit us again. That is why we are fundamentally refreshing our playbook for disaster preparedness and resiliency,” she wrote in a blog post.

Filing reports with DIRS has not been a top priority for radio along the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Ida. The FCC’s daily reports have only included updates from fewer than 50 stations about whether they were on the air or not.

Interesting story about Delilah, who is heard here locally on 94.1, purchasing the radio station, KDUN,  on the Oregon Coast where she got her start.   The station is an AM operating on 1030.

According to published stories, the physical plant was upgraded in the process.   Just good to hear of someone having interest in investing in AM radio these days.

While I’m writing about AM’s….I was driving through Everett on Sept 10th and noted that 1230 was not on the air.   Anyone know what’s happening there?   This station has long been broadcasting Korean programming.   I believe they simulcast on 1450 in Puyallup.


ZoneCasting is hoping to get the FCC to approve their Single-Frequency Network system whereby FM Boosters could broadcast certain items on their own.   Geo-Broadcast Solutions have been around a while.    Busto’s Media has been using their system with a number of boosters in the Seattle area on 99.3 for their KDDS.    Not everyone is in favor of the proposal, including NAB and several state broadcaster associations.   Many eyes are watching this one.

Once again,  the Hackers are at work, this time with a cyberattack from Russia against Marketron who operates systems used by many broadcasters.

One of the more difficult things for a broadcast engineer to explain is the Coverage Map.  The FCC allows you do use certain signal levels in creating these maps, depending on whether the station is AM, FM or TV.    The problem is that many look at these lines (Called Contours) and, from them, develop expectations as to how any given receiver will perform.

For example –

  • Why can’t I receive the station where the map shows there is signal?
  • Why can I receive the station outside of the area shown?
  • How far away can you receive the station?

Over the years I’ve had to explain that there are a number of variables in play here.  Not sure that it helps, but the FCC has come out with something that addresses this issue.

They simply state ‘RF propagation maps don’t stop at the contour line, and the contour line doesn’t guarantee reception’


A bit dated…..I found this email from Jack Ondracek back on August 10th while clearing out my Junk Mail folder….None the less – Interesting to those that maintain transmitting equipment and what can happen should someone decide that they wanted to steal some copper….

2 nights ago, an attempt was made to pull the coax, sample lines and control cables out of the entry ports at KDYK, Union Gap.  The effort resulted in pulling over the transmitter, control rack and phasor.  They were found, leaning against the wall at a 45 degree angle.  The transmitter was found in this position, still running.

It was probably a good thing the equipment was that close to the wall.  If it had gone completely over, I expect the damage would have been much more severe.

Other than the wiring, the worst of it appears to be to the phasor control panel.  As the cables were being yanked out, they tried to extract the panel backwards through the rack.  We had new panels stamped by Kintronic, and it looks like that will be the extent of repairs to that component.

The perpetrators tied a tow strap to the cables and pulled them out of the building with a Suburban, destroying the entry ports, some concrete blocks and damaging the door frame.

They pulled 100 feet of the cables out, going toward the towers before being stopped by a satellite dish pole.  Were it not for the pole, the next obstacle in their way would have been the guy wires, supporting 2 of the 3 towers.

We’re now replacing everything… RF, sample, power and control lines.  This time, everything will be buried!


The following signs come to mind –


Appears the 97.7, KOMO-FM-1, Booster in Tukwila for KOMO-FM is no-more with it’s license and call letters deleted.   I assume this is part of the change in ownership of KOMO Radio to Lotus.   That deal closed the last week of the month.   Time will tell what the new ownership will mean for these legacy stations.

Here’s a factoid for yah –  The Earth Isn’t Exactly Round- It’s actually shaped like an Oblate Spheroid  (Test your kids with that one)

The Country Music Association, CMA, has announced their awards finalists.  A Seattle station made the cut –

Radio Station of the Year Finalists include in the category – Major Market

  • KNIX Phoenix (iHeartMedia)
  • KNUC Seattle (Hubbard)
  • KYGO Denver (Bonneville)
  • WNSH New York (Audacy)
  • WXTU Philadelphia (Beasley Media Group)
  • WYCD Detroit (Audacy)

While browsing around recently I ran across this item –

Starting with the Call letters that are now gone-


Below the line – KXA, KTAC, KYAC, KMPS, KMO, KDFL, KBRO, KGAA and KUPY

Anyone have a guess when this was accurate?

Then there is this listing from a local newspaper for KRSC (Now KING) from 1948.


When was the last time you could find TV program listings in the newspaper?  When was the last time you could find a listing for a Test Pattern? When was the last time KING-TX signed off, much less at 1030 PM?  Note how there were no programs on Monday and Tuesday!

The FCC was not happy with a little LPFM Station(WAWL-LP) in Grand Rapids Michigan that was running underwriting announcements that sound a bit too much like full blown commercials.   The Commish asked they contribute some $17,500 for that one.   So how did the FCC learn of this?    They were tipped off by a commercial broadcaster in the market.


I  recently received an email from WDFW Public Affairs.    At first,  I thought it was a broadcast station ….Reading on I discovered it was the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.   I did check and could not fine WDFW listed as an AM, FM or TV Station.     This is in the same category as KCLS which is the King County Library System

Yes I do get mail – Here’s one –

Hi Clay,

I can’t remember if I sent this to you previously.  I thought you and your waveguide readers would enjoy this attached pic of one very dedicated tech I met in Las Vegas.

Erik Utter

This month I’m going to do something a bit different – A quiz…

This item was found by a friend – Can you tell me what it is?


While over at KWSU in Pullman recently I got this one of Jim Boothby in front of a legacy RCA transmitter that was once on the air there.    Yes, those are vacuum tubes inside !!

And in time for Football season –


Hope to catch you here next month –

Clay, K7CR, CPBE

A SBE Fellow

SBE Member # 714

Since March 1968


 Clay’s Corner for September 2021


 Clay’s Corner for September 2021

Providing news and views from a broadcast engineers perspective since September 1986



Wow!…..Look at that heading and do the math…..Can you believe that I’ve been writing this Column for 35 years!  All I have to do is look in a mirror to confirm that it must be true.  To be honest….I’ve been wondering how long I should keep doing this.    Perhaps it’s your feedback and emails that keep me going ?

At the end of August there are a number of big stories in the news…Ida, Drought, Covid, Afghanistan…Wow!

The Category 4 (almost a 5) storm slammed into the Gulf Coast again subjecting New Orleans to the worst nature has to offer.   Reminding many of Katrina that followed the same path 16 years ago to the day.   As was the case back then, many broadcasters were knocked off the air with those that were able to survive continuing to inform the citizens of the area what was happening.   In this case Ida did a real number of the electrical power system for NOLA plunging the whole city into darkness.   This mean that, once again, Radio was the communications system that rose to the occasion.   There are a couple of reasons for this – Generators and advance preparation at the station and battery powered radios.   The issue with TV is that there are not all that many battery powered sets out there.    Just like before, radio and TV news departments pooled their resources, an especially important partnership for the many radio stations that do not have news departments.

One of the stations often mentioned was WWL, now owned by Audacy.   They simulcasted their co-owned FM stations and went wall-to-wall with coverage as FEMA’s official station.   They were obviously geared up for the task with interviews of numerous public officials.   Reportedly the I-Heart cluster was also providing coverage.  Unfortunately, many radio and TV stations where off the air, including the entire cluster of Radio Stations owned by Cumulus.

As with Katrina, the FCC activated their DIRS System (Disaster Information Reporting System)  to track those stations, as well as cellular systems that were knocked out of commission.

Even though Hurricanes quickly move inland and dissipate, the mess left behind from Ida will take some time to recover from.   Power crews from all over were headed to NOLA to try and restore power, reportedly some 25,000 are going to be involved in this process. 5,000 National Guard Members will also be deployed.

I hate to say it, but our time is coming for a major disaster to impact our area.    Granted it will not likely be a hurricane, but rather a major earthquake.    The results will be similar.   We won’t have torrential rainfall, or  a Storm-Surge, but rather will have a Tsunami.   We will have major power outages, infrastructure damage and displaced people.  The bottom line, our disaster will be different, but the results will be just as devastating.

It seems like I have been writing something about Covid-19 forever!    Not long ago we thought that we were getting ahead of this nasty virus until we learned of the Delta Variant.  Not long afterward this version of the ‘bug’ began to spread around the world we have been pushed back to ‘Square-One’

Now we are faced with what appears to be a more serious situation than before.  For those that are vaccinated, there is some good news as the ‘shots’ appear to be working by keeping many out of the hospital or dying.

The numbers are sobering….In the U.S. –

  • We are experiencing some 100,000 daily Covid hospitalizations.
  • Predictions are that as many as 100,000 more will die by December first.
  • Already over 640,000 have died
  • In the last 28 Days, over 25,000 have died.

In Washington State –


I predicted that a time may come that we would find many that are opposed to getting their shots and that mandates might become more frequent.    Unfortunately, not enough are getting vaccinated soon enough to stay ahead of the virus and now things are starting to change for the worse as hospitals are overflowing with those that are in need of their care. (Not to mention the death-toll is climbing again)

For those that are vaccinated the fact that those are vaccine hesitant is creating a serious problem for those that have other medical issues.   For instance, should you have a heart attack, or need a surgery procedure to save your life…You might not be able to get it due to the un-vaccinated Covid overflow.    This means that, with good reason,  the vaccinated are not very happy with those that refused to get their shots,


On August 24th, The New York Times wrote –

The F.D.A.’s full approval of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine is already making a difference. Within hours of the announcement yesterday, the Pentagon and several large companies and universities announced new vaccine mandates.  President Biden, speaking at the White House yesterday afternoon, urged other organizations to follow: “Require your employees to get vaccinated or face strict requirements,” he said.

Over the past week, about 1,000 Americans per day have died of Covid; vaccination would probably have saved more than 95 percent of them.

Especially since the  full FDA approval of, Pfizer,  one of the major vaccines, one of the excuses that many have used to not get their shots (It’s experimental or rushed)  has been shot-down.   This has caused a couple of changes –

  • The numbers being vaccinated has increased.
  • An increase in the number of mandates.
  • An increase in the intensity of demonstrations opposed to mandates.

My major employer, WSU, owned by Washington State, is included in the requirement to get your shots by October 18th, or you are out of a job. (or document why you want to opt-out .  Of course you can quit your job…But, you might not be able to obtain un-employment benefits.

This move has resulted in the union representing State Employees suing the Governor, Jay Inslee, to delay his vaccine mandate until its full impacts have been adequately negotiated.  This is going to be very interesting to watch.    Perhaps unions should be expected to want to negotiate everything.

On the Federal Side – You work for Uncle-Sam, and in the Military, and refuse….You could face military legal issues.  Don’t think the military has any provisions for negotiating an order.

Delta Airlines, who is self insured, looked at this issue and announced that  the un-vaccinated would see a $200 boost to their medical insurance costs.   I suspect that others are watching this very closely.  If Insurance companies determine that it will cost more to insure those that are not vaccinated, look for that decision to cost the insured more.   This is not much different than a car insurance company structuring their rates based on their customers habits, for example, smokers often pay more for health insurance.

Recently I passed a number of, apparently, nurses that were protesting vaccine mandates, marching on a street corner in Federal Way.    Their signs conveyed their objections to being ordered what to do….Making it clear that they were objecting to what they feel is their freedom to choose.   There are a number that are not opposed to the medical aspect of this, but rather they are upset with the government, and in particular the Governor, for going beyond recommendations to mandates.

At least one union is challenging the Governors mandates in court.   Thus far the Governor has been batting 1,000 with these challenges, certainly all eyes are on this one.   If the challengers don’t win, perhaps they will take the matter to higher courts.

Unfortunately, a lot of people are rejecting getting vaccinated to the point they will demonstrate their opposition by standing on street corners or attending rally’s carrying signs and chanting. Some are, apparently, willing to quit their job over the issue.   Recently a fire-chief was interviewed where he expressed concern that 25% of his fireman may well walk off the job.

If  your house, or broadcast station, burns down because of lack of fireman, can, or should you blame those that refused to get vaccinated?

What seems to be lost is all of this is the concept we were taught in school where ‘The Majority Wins’.   Based on the percentage of those that have chosen vaccination, they are in the majority.   This reminds me of the recent Presidential Election where there is a segment that cannot accept the fact that they are in the minority and move on.

Those that are opposed to wearing masks or getting vaccinated appear to be reacting to our Governor issuing mandates, despite the Courts stating that he is within in authority to do so.  Everyone that has sent their kids to school should know all too well there are rules (Mandates) for vaccination for a number of diseases.

A recurring problem is that many fail to look at history.  Lawyers are the exception as they are frequently looking at what has been decided to aid them in handling present day events.   Unfortunately,  this has, for many, become an emotional matter triggering obstinance.

As far back as 1905, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a state smallpox vaccine requirement in Jacobson vs. Massachusetts, stating that “the liberty secured by the Constitution of the United States to every person within its jurisdiction does not import an absolute right in each person to be, at all times and in all circumstances, wholly freed from restraint. … Upon the principle of self-defense, of paramount necessity, a community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members.”


I remember when the news was full of stories of people contracting Polio seeing pictures of those in ‘Iron-Lungs’.    When the vaccine was developed to put an end to that horrible disease. I don’t recall anyone demonstrating against it (perhaps because I was quite young).  However, there was opposition.   If you look at history,  you will find that the elimination of Polio (and measles)  required vaccine mandates then too.

The other factor that seems tragic is how politics have played a role in this situation with ‘Red-States’ having the lowest vaccination rates.   Never thought I’d see the day when anyone would rather get their medical advice from a politician (or Radio talk-show Host)  than a Doctor!    When an un-vaccinated person is picked up by an ambulance, I wonder how many ask to not go to a medical facility because they don’t trust them?

The fact that the vast majority of those being hospitalized with Covid-19 are un-vaccinated would seem to me to be sending a powerful message that perhaps those that have been preaching against vaccination are wrong.   According to what I read, this is indeed increasing the number that are being vaccinated, however, it’s clear, from the statistics that this is not enough to keep our hospitals from being overwhelmed.

Just recently an outspoken critic of vaccination, Nashville conservative talk show host, Phil Valentine, passed away from Covid.  Before he died, from his deathbed he said he would “vigorously advocate” to get people vaccinated once he is back on the air.  Unfortunately, he will never have the opportunity. Stories like this have increased the numbers getting their shorts, unfortunately we are in a race with the Virus ….and in too many cases, the virus is winning.


One has to wonder if our freedom to say anything over the air has gone a bit too far?   Should the FCC have rules that limit what can be said, when that information is misleading and harmful to people?  I am constantly amazed that those who are against these vaccines will advocate extremely dangerous alternative treatments…and wonder how many of them are encouraged by those that are broadcasting their message via our Radio and TV Stations.

The number of wacko’s out there are a testimony to the old saying attributed to P.T. Barnum about a sucker being born every minute.    And we thought that the ‘Snake-Oil’ salesman was dead and buried?   The number of conspiracy theories related to Covid-19 is nothing short of mind blowing.    Want an example?   Read this –                                                                    The FDA Is Begging You Not to Take Horse Dewormer for Covid-19 – Rolling Stone

Should a talk-show-host be able to be sued when someone dies after taking their advice when it is proven to be wrong?    When are these cases. where people are clearly mis-lead,  going to result in lawsuits?   Is it possible that those that hold FCC licenses will be concerned about keeping them in cases where people have died based on heeding the advice of someone on that station?     Do broadcasters have any legal obligation to tell the truth, or are they protected under the laws that protect free speech?

The Governor of Illinois recently had a run in with a talk show co-host on WIND in Chicago, Amy Jacobson calling her out for spreading misinformation related to the pandemic and available vaccines to combat it.    Not often you hear about the governor of a state calling out a radio talk-show host.

Here’s another story along this line-

Texas anti-mask movement leader dies of COVID-19 | TheHill

He organized a “Freedom Rally” in July 2020 for people who were “sick of the government being in control of our lives,

My question is this – How many of these Anti-Vaccine advocates have to die before those that are refusing to get vaccinated stop believing that Government is not their enemy, but rather is trying to help them?    I suspect that those opposing getting vaccinated don’t fully understand the consequences of their actions.

New study reveals the real risk of the delta variant for unvaccinated people (msn.com)

Now, with the return of mandated restrictions, the vaccinated are starting to look at the un-vaccinated as the source of the problem.   For a while, they were just viewed as being un-informed…..Now they are being viewed as the cause of the problem.

This time,  because of the Delta-Variant, those that have been opposed to getting vaccinated are now at even great risk of contracting this thing and this has increased the pressure upon them to do what they oppose with many digging in with greater intensity.

I wonder how broadcasters are approaching this issue?   Should broadcasters take sides?  From the sounds of things, some have.

In some other states, the Governor is on the other side of the argument fanning the flames.   One interesting argument …There are laws that limit doing whatever you want.   For example, there are laws that state you cannot assault another person.   If  you infect someone else, are you not violating them?

CNN recently terminated three of its employees of its New York facility for entering the facility unvaccinated  A memo to the CNN Staff read this way  – “All three have been terminated. Let me be clear — we have a zero-tolerance policy on this. You need to be vaccinated to come to the office. And you need to be vaccinated to work in the field, with other employees, regardless of whether you enter an office or not. Period.”  

On August 23rd, Beasley Media Group has become the latest radio group to require its employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. The company’s workers have until Nov. 1 to show they have been vaccinated or to “obtain an approved exemption as an accommodation. Beasley joins Cumulus Media and Urban One in adopting a vaccine mandate

I wonder how many other broadcast organizations are also taking a hard line?

In light of my railing about mis-information – I  thought this story was particularly interesting –

To address misinformation about COVID-19 in local areas, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is awarding a total of $275,000 in emergency grants to 14 public media stations across the country.

The grants — up to $20,000 each — will go to public television and radio stations in areas with low vaccination and high infection rates or in hotspots with a growing number of coronavirus infections.

Funding will be used to produce or extend programming about the pandemic, to organize community outreach efforts about vaccines and to develop multiplatform public service announcement campaigns.

“Public media stations, locally operated, work with their communities through partnerships of trust,” said Patricia Harrison, CPB president and CEO. “General managers of stations serving America’s communities that are hard hit by the pandemic are committed to breaking through the cycle of misinformation regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and are providing information that is saving lives.”

Some of the 14 grants include Mississippi Public Broadcasting in Jackson, Miss. The station will produce a series of radio and television broadcast specials focused on COVID-19. The station will also host a virtual town hall with medical experts and produce a social media campaign designed to combat information. Others, like Wyoming Public Media is Laramie, Wyo., will spotlight personal testimonials about COVID infections and increase newsroom reporting on the pandemic’s impact on the state economy. In the east, West Virginia Public Broadcasting in Charleston, W.Va., will orchestrate a multiplatform outreach effort to younger audiences in communities that have been vaccine hesitant.  The station will also work with kids programs like PBS KIDS to reach families with young children.

Other station’s include Arkansas PBS in Conway, Ark., Boise State Public Radio in Boise, KERA in Dallas, Nine PBS in St. Louis, KRSU in Tulsa, Okla., KOSU in Stillwater, Okla., Louisiana Public Broadcasting and WRKF in Baton Rouge, WBHM in Birmingham, Ala., WCTE in Cookeville, Tenn., and WJCT Public Media in Jacksonville, Fla.

One of the most difficult jobs these days is planning for the NAB Convention in Las Vegas.  The Next one is scheduled for October 9 through 13.   Near the end of the month, NAB announced that attendees will have to be vaccinated.  If you are planning on attending – You will need to watch the NAB Web Site for the latest information.  If things get really bad, I would not be surprised if they cancelled the October event….Keeping their fingers crossed for next April.

Word is that the biggest show in Las Vegas, the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) will require every attendee to be fully vaccinated.  This is in January.

Speaking of which, for those of you that have had your shots, and received the little card with your shot record…perhaps you noticed there are 4 spaces for entries.   Unless you received the J&J Vaccine, there are two spaces left to be filled out.   We now know that Boosters are on the way for everyone.   Guess those that designed the cards knew something we did not.

Here’s a quote I thought said it pretty well –

It appears this debate, fueled largely by misinformation, will continue until the public recognizes that the pandemic is caused by an infectious disease and not political opportunism. Given this simple fact, it will not be stopped by threats or protests or speeches, but rather by vaccination and other preventive measures — just like so many infectious diseases before it.

Here’s another –

“ Kay Ivey, Alabama’s Republican governor,  stated- “Time to start blaming the unvaccinated.”  
Vaccine mandates are the policy manifestation of this frustration. They effectively tell the unvaccinated that their decision is hurting others and that society has an interest in pushing them to change. They can refuse, but they will pay a price — in lost access to a job, a college campus or other shared experiences where they may infect other people.

The time has come that many doctors and government leaders are no longer holding back and are coming out squarely blaming the mess we are in on those that are not vaccinated. The statistics, graphics and prominent epidemiologists are painting a picture that states very clearly that this is going to get worse, perhaps much worse, before it gets better for all of us.

Unlike what we were seeing,  a couple months ago, that light at the end of the tunnel appears to have indeed been a locomotive !

Oh Yes, Afghanistan….There is a local connection.  Many of those C-17’s you saw operating out of Kabul are based at Joint-Base Lewis McChord near Tacoma.   Some of the local stations did pick up on that connection.

Many of us are now used to using our computers (with Cameras and Microphone) to participated in meetings using Zoom, Teams or other platform.     If you do use Teams – You might find this to be helpful –


One thing I quickly learned,  in a Zoom meeting with a bunch of broadcasters, several were quick to point out that I sounded like I was in a restroom.    The issue is I was using the mic that’s attached to my camera.   My solution was to purchase a Jounivo microphone from a major local on-line store.   Since then, the complaints have gone away.   Another plus is having a mute button on the mic base with an LED that tells me when I am muted.   Much better than using a mouse.

Want to feel a bit older – Think about the fact that MTV is 40 years old !

In the event you have not noticed – It has not really rained around here in a long time….Sure we have had some heavy drizzle a time or two…but no rain like this area is famous for.   The impact goes beyond having a ‘blonde lawn’.    Many of our trees are dying also.  Want an example…Drive Highway 18 around the Maple Valley Exit.   The number of dying or dead fir trees is enough to make you sick.

Sure,  we had enough drizzle early in the month to officially end our 52 day long dry spell (The 2nd longest on record) but the dryness continues.    Perhaps you noticed that these long dry periods are taking place more frequently, more signs of climate-change.

We are certainly not the only place where it’s dry – The entire western portion of the U.S. is in record territory.    All of this has resulted in massive wildfires, some of which will not be out for months to come.

Perhaps the lack of water is more evident in California where reservoirs behind dams are so low that they can no longer generate electricity.    Read the news about Lake Mead and the impact on the water supplies for several states and you will see.

Here’s a map of the Western US – The darker the color, the worse it is.


Zooming in on just the PNW States shows the only areas where the forecast is for some relief is in Western Washington and part of NW Oregon.  The Yellow areas are to be ‘Abnormally Dry’

We know, from past experience, that the Rains will come….however, we should be prepared for not as much as we are used to.

I guess I should mention that it’s not just us in the West with the problem.

Look at this headline –

State imposes water restrictions as drought worsens

Want to venture a guess what State they are referring to ?     Would you believe that this is Minnesota?   According to the U.S. Geological Survey, about 60% of the state’s streams and rivers are flowing at or near record lows.


Meanwhile – Hurricane Henri has ‘over-watered’ New England and another storm is having it’s way in Mexico (Not to mention Louisana)     And there are still those that believe that it ‘Rains all the time in Seattle’…Go tell that to those rain starved trees and the folks that are fighting forest fires not too far away from here.

When I started in this business (Way back in the middle of the last Century) one of more popular radio programs were when listeners could call their favorite station to request a certain song be played, or perhaps dedicated to a special someone.    This was long before computerized radio stations, in those days, there was a live announcer that would be scrambling to find the record requested.  Often the caller would be recorded so that their request would be aired just before the record played. (ahh…Those were the days !!)

Amazon recently made an announcement that they would be Beta-Testing new tools that would allow more radio stations to take requests via its Alexa system. Apparently,  I-Heart has jumped in in four cities.    It will be interesting to see how this works.

Need to remember, for many, this will be 100% new 😊

I have to wonder how many things that radio used to do, would be attractive today.  Everyone else seems to re-cycle ideas.   Who knows, maybe a local TV station would consider a kids show for afternoons?


Congratulations to Dave Ratener on his recent election to the SBE Board of Directors.    Having spent 10 years with that group, I can say it was a very worthwhile experience.       Dave is the 3rd person from Chapter 16 to do this – John Schneider was the first.  Unfortunately, when it comes to finding those willing to serve, the nomination committee has a hard time finding the willing.

Here is the SBE Press Release on the Elections

Andrea Cummis, CBT, CTO, is elected President of the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE). Cummis serves as Chief Technical Officer of “PBS39” WLVT-TV Bethlehem, PA. A member of SBE Chapter 15 in New York City, Cummis is the first woman to be elected to hold the office.

“I look forward to serving the Society and its members,” Cummis said in a release. “President Wayne Pecena has led the society through an interesting and unusual time, and as everyone looks forward to a return to normal, I’m pleased that the Society is still growing and thriving. I’m eager to work with the Board of Directors and the membership so we can expand our membership and outreach to the media professionals among us.”

The 2021 election also resulted in the appointment of officers and members of the Board of Directors.

Serving one-year terms as officers, effective Oct. 11 are: VP Ted Hand, CPBE, 8-VSB, AMD, ATSC3, DRB; Chapter 45 Charlotte; Secretary Kevin Trueblood, CBRE, CBNT; Chapter 90 Southwest FL; and Treasurer Jason Ornellas, CBRE, CRO; Chapter 43 Sacramento.

Serving two-year terms as members of the Board of Directors, which also begin Oct. 11, are: Zhulieta Ibisheva, CBTE, CBT; Chapter 50 Hawaii; Jeff Juniet, CBTE; Chapter 42 Central Florida; Charles “Ched” Keiler, CPBE, 8-VSB, CBNE; Chapter 53 South Florida; Geary S. Morrill, CPBE, AMD, CBNE; Chapter 91 Central Michigan; David Ratener, CPBE, CBNT; Chapter 16 Seattle; Dan Whealy, CBTE; Chapter 96 Rockford.

The National Board of Directors of the SBE is responsible for the development of policy and determines the programs and services the society provides to its more than 5,000 members.

The newly-elected members join six other directors who have another year remaining on their terms. They include:  Stephen Brown, CPBE, CBNT; Chapter 80 Fox Valley; Roswell Clark, CPBE, CBNT; Chapter 39 Tampa Bay Area; Kirk Harnack, CBRE, CBNE; Chapter 103 Nashville; Thomas McGinley, CPBE, AMD, CBNT; Chapter 16 Seattle; Shane Toven, CPBE, DRB, CBNE; Chapter 43 Sacramento; Fred Willard, CPBE, 8-VSB, CBNT; Chapter 37 Washington, DC.

 A recent op-ed in a national publication caught my attention.   Was written by an owner of an AM station in the South Dakota talking about how the FM Translator he has is limited in coverage compared to his AM and there for has limited value because its only good to about 15 miles out, whereas his AM signal goes much further.    This is a giant lesson on one of the major factors that impact the coverage of an AM radio station ….Ground conductivity.

Take a close look at the following map – Note the Yellow arrow pointing at South Dakota and notice how their conductivity numbers like 15 and 30

Now notice the conductivity numbers for Western Washington (Blue Arrow) are 2 to 4.

Without getting into a bunch of engineering …This means that an AM station, on the same frequency, running the same power, will go a lot further in South Dakota than it will here.

Sure,  the Dial-Position has an impact, lower on the dial stations cover further with the same amount of power…but Conductivity, ie, what the earth is made of, has a huge impact.    If this fellow’s station were located in an area with conductivity like we have in Western Washington, he could well find that his translator had better coverage.   Again, this is based on flat land which we have very little of.




Before I leave this topic – Note the area where the Green Arrow is pointed.   The conductivity of this area is an 8.  (Twice as high as Western Washington)  This explains why KWSU in Pullman has significant coverage in that part of the State with their 5,000 watts.

Speaking of AM’s.   It was announced that WIBC has gone silent   What makes this significant is the 1070 frequency, listened to many in Indianapolis will be no more.  Like many AM’s the land where their towers were located was sold,   Likely, making more money for the station’s owners than possible in these days of declining AM listeners.  The stations 6 towers were on 70 acres zoned for mixed use, commercial and residential.

The Seattle area experienced something similar many years ago.  Fortunately, for the stations here, most found another place to transmit from rather than go dark.  Of course, this happened prior to the slump in AM listening.   KAYO was located along 4th Ave in SoDo, they moved to the Bellevue Swamp near 880/KIXI.   KOL was on Harbor Island, they moved to Tacoma and now to Bainbridge Island.  KJR was on the west side of the West Waterway…They moved to Tacoma and then Vashon and 1050 moved from Port owned land to Pigeon Point in West Seattle.

Another AM bites the dust – This time, closer to home.  KSCR (1320) in Eugene, Oregon.    The station operated with relatively low power, 600 watts day and 40 watts at night.   The station started operation in 1962 as KATR. They added an FM Translator in 2017, but this was, apparently, not enough to make the station viable.   The stations owner, Cumulus, surrendered the license on July 12th of this year.

On the Job Front –

  • Alex Brewster has accepted a position with GatesAir as a Service Support Engineer. Most recently Alex has been with the local Hubbard stations. (Congrats Alex). This creates an opening .   For more information… Google – Hubbard Jobs.
  • The retirement of Tom Saylor and, more recently John McDaniel, have created several openings at WSU’s Northwest Public Broadcasting. One of the openings is for an IT Support person. Check out – (Work with us | Northwest Public Broadcasting (nwpb.org) The others will be posted soon.   For more information contact the department head,  Jeff Snell snell@wsu.edu.   You are also welcome to contact me for some background information on what it’s like to work for NWPB…I’ve been there going on 12 years now.   In my last two columns you got to see pictures of some of the cool places I get to work.

Did you see the Magazine section of the Sunday, August 22nd, Seattle Times?   A very nice story about KHNC….One of several High School operated stations in our State.   I could not help but notice one of the pictures showed the stations EAS equipment with a Binder hanging in view.   Long time area Broadcast Engineer, Buzz Anderson provides their technical support.

The article brought back a lot of memories for me….I  credit my start to one of those high-school stations.      Way back in the last Century my family moved to Lakewood, and I found myself enrolled at Clover Park High School.   In the back of the campus was this little green building with a tower at both ends.   One tower held a 10-meter beam for the school Ham Station…(Uniquely the call letters were W7SBE).   At the other end of the building the other tower supported the antenna for the schools FM station, KCPS  (Clover Park Schools).   Inside were  two classrooms for the instructors- Ron Manning and Tex Turner, a shop, radio studios and, of course, a room dedicated to the Ham station.   I found myself a student there soaking up all that I could.   From this the seeds were planted for my interest in Ham Radio as well as Broadcasting.    When the School district obtained portions of the old Navy supply base in Lakewood, they moved KCPS there (and changed the call letters to KPEC) and added a TV station,  where I continued my education.  The TV station morphed into KCPQ which was sold to Kelly Broadcasting…The Radio station continued for many years with the call letters KVTI, to do what KNHC is still doing, training tomorrows broadcasters.    With the closing of that program about 10 years ago, the stations operation was taken over by NWPB where I became responsible for its maintenance. This means that my association with 90.9 goes back about 60 years.   It’s been quite a journey.

I’ve often spoken about American Tower.    After all,  they purchased two of the transmitter sites that I was responsible for building in this area.  Their success is quite impressive as you can see from the following –

American Tower reported financial results for the quarter ended June 30. The company’s revenue increased 20.2 percent to $2.299 billion; property revenue increased 17.9 percent to $2.233 billion; net income increased 66.8 percent to $748 million; adjusted EBITDA increased 21.8 percent to $1.476 billion; and consolidated AFFO increased 18.7 percent to $1.097 billion.

As most of you know, I have announced my retirement from Chairing the State EAS Committee, aka – The SECC.    The SECC Meeting on September 14th will be my last time to conduct this meeting.   At the meeting there will be elections for Chairman and Vice Chair.    Ted Buehner, who has been with the group since it started 25 years ago, has agreed to move up.     The meeting is accomplished with Zoom.    You are welcome to participate.  I will have posted on the EAS-WA Remailer information on how to do so.    If  you are not a subscriber to that system, drop me an email and I will send  you the information.

New Census Data is out and with it some interesting tid-bits –

  • We all knew that Seattle was growing rapidly, however, who would have guessed that Kent (South of Seattle between Tukwila and Auburn) was one of fastest growing cities in the U.S.  Outpacing the Seattle growth rate.


  • Yes, Seattle did grow about 100,000. It was one of 14 major cities that increased by at least that amount in the last 10 years. Seattle’s population is now 737,015.


  • King County increased by 338,000 up to a total of 2,269,675]


  • Our State Population gained by 14.6%. 7,705,281 can now say they are Washingtonians


  • Perhaps if you have not been there in a while, but two of the fastest growing counties in the State are Franklin and Benton County. More commonly known as the Tri-Cities. The area is home for over 300,000.   Compare that to the Spokane City population of 228,989 (The Spokane Metro area is about 600,000)

According to published reports – TV Stations will start using 5G to reach Smart Phones by the end of the year.   Sinclair, owner of KOMO and KUNS in Seattle are very active with this new technology.   Now to see just how many will put it to use.   It’s all about Next-Gen TV.   Perhaps they need to be careful as there are those out there that still feel that 5G is what causes Covid-19 infections.  (Seriously !)


Those that track these things are saying the only Radio deal this year that was over $10 million was the Sinclair/Lotus deal to sell KOMO-AM & FM, KVI and KPLZ.   Still waiting to hear when this might happen.   Can’t believe it has not closed by now.


I ran across this item recently – Should be of particular interest to those stations that have been installing filters on their C-Band equipment.

Possible Obstacles Remain for Widespread 5G Deployment | AGL (Above Ground Level) (aglmediagroup.com)



A long time ago I recall someone talking about taking advantage of the amazing amount of water that flows back and forth through the Tacoma Narrows.      This memory was all brought back to mind with this headline –

‘World’s most powerful’ wave turbine starts generating electricity.

In this case the location is off the northeaster coast of Scotland.   The developer, Orbital Marine Power took 15 years to develop and 18 months to build this, very interesting, machine    In this location it will generate power with incoming and outgoing tides direction.   I can imagine there would be a huge amount of environmental opposition to such a contraption being placed in the Tacoma Narrows, or perhaps some other location in Puget Sound…However, it’s a cool idea.

Here are some pictures –


Many of my readers will recall me writing about the impact of rising sea-levels on a couple of local AM Stations (570 on Vashon and 1360 at Browns Point).   Recently KING-5 ran a story about how Tacoma is going to deal with this issue at Owen-Beach near Point Defiance.



Can you believe Tom McGinley has been working for Townsquare Media in Montana now for 6 years?   Guess so.   Miss you around here, Bother Tom.

In a sign of how important drones have become to some local news organizations, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. has announced that the company’s Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) drone program recently completed its 25,000th logged flight. Sinclair’s drone program, which launched in 2016, operates across 45 of its newsrooms nationwide.

For some time now there has been a translator whose antenna was mounted on one of the KMIA Towers in Auburn.    Tuning into 102.1 you could hear KOMO-AM.    Recently that changed, now 102.1 is broadcasting KMIA.

Sorry to report the passing of Darryl Parker.   For many years he was the face of TFT.    A very tall and very nice gentlemen that was dedicated to customer service…even after the firm closed up shop in 2015.   Darryl was 77.


Those nice little Cellphone Batteries created a serious moment recently on an Alaska flight from Nola to Seattle when the owners cellphone caught on fire.  Apparently the airlines was ready and deployed a ‘Battery Containment Bag’.   Sounds like the kept the aircraft out away from the terminal and bussed the passengers.

If you are concerned about this issue – Here you go –

Amazon.com: Electronics Fire Containment Bag (FAA Materials Standards) Large/Laptop Sized : Electronics

These new batteries are wonderful in terms of performance, but they are also scary at the same time.    GM is recalling every Chevy Bolt ever made due to concerns over battery safety –

GM Recalls Every Chevy Bolt Ever Made Over Faulty Batteries | WIRED

For some reason the following picture caused me to stop and smile – Can you imagine playing a wind instrument while wearing a mask?


My column would not be complete without a picture looking out over Dwight Small’s ‘back yard’  At the bottom of the picture you can see the top of a chair on his little deck.    Just imagine sitting there knowing that you don’t have to deal with the Seattle areas traffic anymore !     Some people have it good, others have it VERY good.

Let me close with this, from an old friend.


Winston Churchill loved paraprosdokians – figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected. Sort of like watching the news 2021, which is largely paraprosdokial… Enjoy this selection, and pay no heed to political innuendo!

  1. Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.
  2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it’s still on my list.
  3. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
  4. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.
  5. War does not determine who is right – only who is left.
  6. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  7. They begin the evening news with ‘Good Evening,’ then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.
  8. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
  9. I thought I wanted a career. Turns out, I just wanted pay checks.
  10. In filling out an application, where it says, ‘In case of emergency, notify:’ I put “DOCTOR.”
  11. I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
  12. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street…with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.
  13. Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.
  14. A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.
  15. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
  16. Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.
  17. There’s a fine line between cuddling and…holding someone down so they can’t get away.
  18. I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not so sure.
  19. You’re never too old to learn something stupid.
  20. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
  21. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
  22. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
  23. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
  24. I’m supposed to respect my elders, but now it’s getting harder and harder for me to find one.


Until then, if you are vaccinated, plan on getting your booster

If you are un-vaccinated….You know what you should do.



Clay, K7CR, CPBE

A SBE Fellow

SBE Member # 714

Since March 1968


Clay’s Corner for August 2021

 Clay’s Corner for August 2021

Providing news and views from a broadcast engineers perspective since September 1986


Perhaps the biggest local story this past month has been the weather. High temperature records were set all over the area.   Those who keep track of these things said – From a historic perspective the event was so rare and extreme that it qualifies as being a once in a millennium event.  At the same time….We are being warned that Climate Change is going to help increase the frequency of these events.

On the broadcast side – we had many stations reduce power simply because their ventilation and/or cooling systems were simply not designed for anything like this.   In several cases. Air Conditioning systems failed,  and stations were forced off the air until things cooled down.  If you are like me, I hope I never see an event like this again!

Hundreds of deaths were reported across our region due to the heat.   The fact is less than half of our homes have A/C.    I suspect that this will change before next summer.

Summer this year started early this year.   Urban legend calls for summer to begin after the rainstorm on the 4th of July.  Not this year!   The record length for a rainless period in the past was 55 days.   We are on a track to do it again…or, perhaps, surpass it.

One way we look at these events is in terms of their historic frequency is by calling them   20, 50 or 100 year events.   The problem is, whether it be heat or flooding, both are becoming more common.

Places that are normally cool, all summer, experienced record heat.   Hard to grasp that Forks, Washington…famous for its over 100 inches of annual rainfall, actually got to 100 degrees.  NWPB has two stations there.  That little transmitter building just has an exhaust fan.  Who would have thought you’d need a full-blown air conditioner in Forks!

Only later in the month did the high-pressure dome responsible for all of this break-down and the winds shift to off the ocean bringing relief to the masses.  For those on the coast, they even got a few sprinkles.

Around my neighborhood, very few are willing to spend the money on watering their lawns.  Golden-brown seems to be the most popular color

One major impact of the heat wave was the melting of snow in the mountains.   In a very short period, most of our mountain snowpack was melted away.   I recall, on the 22nd of July, looking at Mt Rainiers north side and finding is completely snow-free.  Only the ice on the top was white.  The mountain lost 30% of it’s snow in a week!


To give you an idea, according to the Northwest Avalanche Center, in early June, we had over 110 inches of snow up at Paradise, about 5,400 feet above sea level.  Over the month, the snow started to melt and now, thanks in part of those days in the triple digits, the data says the snow’ is all gone.

“I don’t recall 100 inches of snowmelt, basically, 95 inches of snow occurring over a 21-day period,” said Robert Hahn, an avalanche meteorologist for the Northwest Avalanche Center. “There was actually quite a bit of snow for late June early July and then it all just melted out with that heatwave so it’s all gone now pretty much,” said Gary Schneider with the National Weather Service in Seattle.

Schneider says the historic heatwave contributed a lot to this massive melt. Something that normally happens throughout the summer, not just over a few days. “It’s very uncommon to see that much snow go that quickly.”   But he says the only real concern to come out of that quick melt is an increased fire danger from higher elevations and potentially a longer fire season.

The following picture was taken by one of the AccelNet Cameras on Cougar Mt and perhaps, visually, shows what we have been dealing with this summer.

Our neighbors in BC got hit by the heat as well this time.   A small town east of the mountains record the highest temperature ever recorded of 121 Degrees.    Adding to their woes, the entire town of Lytton went up in flames.

In this picture you can see the local weather station (White boxes on stands) with the growing smoke clouds behind it.

The town’s mayor, Jan Polderman issued a town-wide evacuation order at 6 p.m. on June 30 urging residents to safely leave the village because a “fire event” is threatening the “building structures and safety of the residents within the municipality.”   “It’s dire -the whole town is on fire…It’s bad, I’ve never seen anything like this,” Polderman told CNBC journalist Meera Bains.

Images of the fire could be seen on weather radar.

Climate scientist for UCLA Daniel Swain tweeted that the wildfire was the “singularly most extreme” he had ever seen on satellite.

“This is a literal firestorm, producing thousands of lightning strikes and almost certainly countless new fires,” he wrote.

Videos show residents driving to escape the burning town, which is home to about 250 people.

The town is largely touted as a tourist location with several heritage parks and campsites, and is situated at the confluence of the Fraser River and Thompson River, about 160 miles from Vancouver.

Here are before and after pictures taken of the towns main street.  Even the power poles are gone

An overhead view of the fires

Here is a temperature map of the US and Canada with the darkest reds meaning the highest temperatures.   As you can see, Washington and BC bore the brunt of the heat.

This map shows the amount of difference from normal.   Keep in mind, in this example, the temperatures are in Celsius.

All of this heat and dry weather equals ‘ Drought’.   The following map shows exactly what this means to our area.  Thankfully Western Washington is in the ‘Short Term’ area.



One writer put it this way regarding Climate Change on the East Coast –


It’s almost as if the entire East Coast has shifted south.


Summers in Portland, Maine, are now almost as hot as summers in Boston

were for much of the 20th century.


Summers in Boston have come to resemble 20th-century summers in New York.

New York, similarly, has come to resemble Philadelphia, which in turn has become

hotter than Washington, D.C., or Atlanta were only a few decades ago.

Summers in Washington and Atlanta are hotter than summers in Tampa, Fla., used to be.

By The New York Times | Source: National Weather Service


On the West Coast it’s a similar story to tell in the Mountain West, a region that has been enduring a heat wave in recent days. Summers today have come to resemble summers of the past in hotter places:

Here’s how the matter was reported in the New York Times –


These are the cascading effects of climate change, and they are getting worse.
The data I’m showing you here is based on 10-year averages for July temperatures. I picked this longer time frame to avoid conflating normal year-to-year fluctuations — which have always existed and always will — with the effects of climate change. If anything, these 10-year averages understate how hot summer has become, because climate change continues to exert a small effect every year.


The summer of 2021 appears to be on pace to be the hottest on record. Last month was the hottest June since at least the 1890s (when federal records begin). The temperature reached 116 degrees in Portland, Ore., at one point and 121 in British Columbia, Canada. Climate researchers concluded that those levels of heat would have been “virtually impossible without climate change.”
This month has also been brutally hot in many places. The western U.S. is experiencing its fourth heat wave in less than two months, with temperatures in Montana and Idaho topping 100 degrees this week. On July 9, Death Valley, Calif., reached 130 degrees, matching the hottest temperature recorded on Earth (save for one 1913 reading that scientists doubt).


Numbers aside, the extreme heat is creating situations that are a mix of unnatural and horrific. Dozens of wildfires are burning across the West. Larger wildfires, like the Bootleg fire in southern Oregon, can sometimes create their own weather systems, spawning lightning from towers of smoke or generating a fire whirl, a vortex of air and flame that looks like a fiery tornado.


“Normally the weather predicts what the fire will do,” Marcus Kauffman of Oregon’s forestry department said. “In this case, the fire is predicting what the weather will do.”
Day to day, the summer heat in much of the U.S. is unpleasant. Boston is not supposed to feel like New York, and Philadelphia isn’t supposed to feel like Atlanta.


But the heat is not merely unpleasant. It can be downright dangerous, and the future is looking increasingly dangerous, too.

Here in our state, as predicted,  we have seen fires in many locations in Eastern Washington and in the North Cascades…And we have a lot of summer left to go.

I recently had a chance to get close to one of these fires as I was approaching Wenatchee on US2 on the afternoon of the 14th.   A fire was just getting going as you can see here.

As I got closer, I could see the area that had been burned and watch a helicopter getting water out of the Wenatchee River (On the right) and flying up and dumping it on the spreading fire.

Later the fire gained a name ‘The Red Apple Fire’.   The location was around and on top of on Burch Mountain NNW of Wenatchee.

NWPB’s Brady Aldrich was also in-route and got the following pictures.  In this one, you can see the towers and buildings associated with the communications facility on top of the mountain.


The following map, borrowed from the Seattle Times, gives you a better idea of where the fire was located.  The Red Dots show areas where the fire spread.

Not everyone was so lucky – Jesse Spurgeon, local Cherry Creek Engineer, sent me these pictures of one of their radio station transmitter buildings on Burch Mountain.   As can see the ground is burnt around their facility but it was not damaged.

Apparently, some flying embers from the fire on the mountain that covered several thousand acres, flew toward their little building setting it on fire.   Jesse told me the walls were made of wood and the roof composition…neither of which is fire-resistant.   The result can be seen in the following picture.   Their, relatively new, 5,000 watt transmitter and all the related equipment were completely destroyed.  Luckily, the antenna system was not damaged and they were able to deploy an emergency low power transmitter and get back on the air.   Here you can see the blackened hills and smoke beyond.

In the following picture – you can see the Wenatchee river valley below….This is looking generally west toward Cashmere

Cause of the whole fire has been determined as an out-of-season burn pile that got out of control.

Jesse sent along this picture of a site that survived, perhaps because it was constructed of non-combustible materials?   He said they are looking a perhaps constructing the new building the same way.


Here, west of the Mountains, we have been (so far) blessed with on-shore-flow, ie, winds from the West that have been pushing the smoke from all the fires eastward and away from us.   We all can recall what happens when this is not the case.   We were choking on the most horrible air quality in the world.     My fingers are crossed that I will not have to be changing every air filter like I did last year.

With the drought comes water shortages.   The news is full of stories about how the Colorado River and Salt Lake are drying up….in addition to other rivers in northern California.  There has even been a wild idea trotted out suggesting some of the Mississippi River could be pumped to the Southwest.   The problem is that much of the growth in the Southwest has been made possible by tapping into sources of snow-melt.   With climate change the mountains are getting less snow and therefore the Southwest is getting less water.   No recent suggestions the Columbia River be piped to California.

California has an advantage with a big coast-line.  They are going to have to do as they do in the Middle East….Build desalination plants. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/22/climate/desalination-water-climate-change.html

Already there are areas where having a lawn, or washing your car is prohibited and there are ‘water-police’ making sure.    When water is scarce, and/or high priced….comes water thieves who are making off with billions of gallons by tapping into Fire Hydrants, rivers and other sources illegally.   If you have a ‘grow operation’ you need water (no need to elaborate).

Locks on fire hydrants, or removing them entirely, is becoming a necessity.

So,  with all that going on could we be seeing a reverse migration?    Could it be that growth will be slowed or discourage and we will see an influx of people from the Southwest willing to put up with rain?

This map shows where the drought is the worst.   (Darker reds)

Shifting away from fires to other newzy happenings…..

The headline read –

‘Patience has worn thin’: Frustration mounts over vaccine holdouts

Seven months after the first coronavirus shots were rolled out, vaccinated Americans — including government, business and health leaders — are growing frustrated that tens of millions of people are still refusing to get them, endangering themselves and their communities and fueling the virus’s spread.  Here are some related headlines

  • The challenge is particularly acute in GOP-led states, where the virus is now surging, but protection against it remains disproportionately low. Alabama, for instance, has seen a 92 percent increase in coronavirus infections and a 72 percent rise in hospitalizations over the past week. But just one-third of Alabamians are fully vaccinated, one of the lowest levels in the nation The Governor of Alabama lashed out as Covid cases increased in the state saying – time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks.”
  • Washington State University football coach Nick Rolovich has supporters and critics after he declined to say Wednesday which exemptions to Washington State’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement — whether religious, medical or personal — applied in his decision not to get the vaccine. WSU president Kirk Schulz announced in April that all in-person students for the 2021-2022 academic year require the COVID-19 vaccination….This promises to get interesting!
  • The National Football League this week imposed new rules that put pressure on unvaccinated players, warning their teams could face fines or be forced to forfeit games if those players were linked to outbreaks.
  • Exhausted health providers say they are bracing for case spikes that are largely preventable, driven by the hyper-transmissible delta variant. “We are frustrated, tired and worried for this next surge — and saddened by the state we find ourselves in,” said Jason Yaun, a Memphis-based pediatrician,
  • It’s being reported that Florida alone accounts for 20% of new Covid cases and the 99% of them are un-vaccinated.
  • After months of careful cajoling, a growing number of Democrats and Republicans are venting about the sheer number of Americans who remain unvaccinated, particularly as hospitals are becoming overwhelmed in states with low vaccination rates.
  • Frustration is growing regarding social media systems and those that are allowed to continue to spread falsehoods and disinformation unabated.
  • The Food and Drug Administration also is expected to fully approve the vaccines by fall, which is expected to embolden more employers to require the shots.
  • Public health experts say they’re grappling with an irony: Americans who are already vaccinated tend to treat the coronavirus threat more seriously than many of the unvaccinated.

The use the old expression – ‘The Beat Goes On’..

Meanwhile Washington’s Governor may well be out with more restrictions.   Who knows…how this will play out?   It appears that those who are vaccinated will have less restrictions placed on them which is certain to anger the Anit-Vaxxers.   Could we see some back to originating programming from their home studio while the vaccinated are back at the station?   There is always the chance that broadcast stations will opt to follow the same script as Universities.

This is certainly not over….

Meanwhile, in other news in the world of Broadcasting –

Remember that little college radio station in LaGrande Oregon that said they could not afford to keep operating?   Well,  it’s gone.   The FCC recently cancelled the license for KEOL.   Guess of someone wants a station in LaGrande, 91.7 is available.

Every once in a while someone comes up with something that brings a smile…Credit to Jerry Olson of KPBX in Spokane who recently submitted how the letters CPR could be applied to something electronic.   Everyone has, at least once,  found that they had to ‘Power Cycle’ a piece of computer-based equipment to get it going again.   For this situation, Jerry suggested we use CPR – ‘PULL–CORD-REBOOT”


Audacy (formally Entercom)  has an opportunity for a IT Manager in Sacramento. This is a 6 station cluster with heritage formats. Feel free to redistribute to anyone that you know might be interested.   The stations are –

(AM1320-KIFM, FM94.7-KKDO, FM96.9KSEG, FM98.5KRXQ, FM102.5-KSFM, and FM106.5-KUDL).

For more info – go here-



This headline got my attention –   Meet The World’s 1st Wooden Satellite

Here is an artist’s concept of the WISA Woodsat, the world’s first wooden satellite. Its makers hope it’ll be in orbit around Earth before this year ends.    Wonder why the folks at Weyerhaeuser did not think of this?     With the prices for wood products these days, this is not likely to be a cost saving move.


Proving there are still plenty of people that will donate to Public Broadcast Stations…KQED in San Francisco just renovated their facility.

San Francisco public radio news/talk KQED (88.5) will celebrate the grand opening of its newly renovated headquarters with an open house and block party on Saturday, Sept. 25.  The entire project is expected to cost $94 million and is made possible by Campaign 21, a multiyear fundraising effort.

It’s hard to believe…but it was 15 years ago that Ibiquity launched HD Radio in the U.S.

I recall one of the first tests of this new mode took place while the NAB Radio Show was in Seattle.    The test site was the Entercom Cougar Mt Site (Now belonging to ATC).  The Master-Antenna at this site consists of two halves.    We used one of them for FM, using one of the existing stations there.   The other half was fed a prototype HD Radio exciter and specially modified transmitter.   This permitted attendees to actually experience HD Radio.    If I recall, the first station to go on the air in this market with HD was 106.1 using what was known as a ‘high-level-combining’ scheme at what we now call West Tiger #2.    After that came 8 stations at West Tiger #1 followed by many other stations at other locations in the region.  Interestingly, some of the transmitting equipment is still in operation.   The next big change came when Multicasting became possible permitting a station to not just operate in digital mode, replicating their FM signal, but by allowing a station to broadcast multiple program streams using what’s known today as HD-2 and HD-3.

Unlike the transition to Digital Television- There was no deadline for a changeover.  With radio stations adding the technology as time has gone by.  On the receiver side, again unlike TV, radio consumers had to want to purchase new radios.    With today’s radio listening largely in vehicles, the success of HD has been dependent on vehicle makers equipping their vehicles with radios that have HD capability.     This has been the case with virtually all vehicle makers fully on board.    We’ve come a long way!

Audacy’s 107.7/KNDD in Seattle is getting a new transmitter at their West Tiger Mt Site.  The new Gates Air FAX 30 is being installed by Phil Van Liew and crew.   It replaces a Continental 816 that was in service at this site for the last 20 years.    This change is another step in the change to all solid-state transmitters.   The old unit used one vacuum tube.   The new transmitter is in the light-colored cabinets shown on the right here.

Their old transmitter, shown here in the following picture, is being installed at a site on Cougar Mountain where it will become an Auxiliary for Audacy’s 94.1/KSWD.   This move is a bit of a round-trip for this venerable Continental Model 816.  It was originally installed at another Cougar Mt. site back in 1984 as part of a power increase for 107.7 when it was located there.

Perhaps you recall how many years ago telephones began being connected via a little plastic connector called an RJ-11.



Not long afterward the bigger brother to the RJ-11 came along to be used with multiple-line phones etc.   It was named – RJ-45.

Over the years computers began to be connected using telephone type circuits and the RJ-45 became the connector of choice.


Today the RJ-45 is being used for a variety of purposes, in addition to telephones.   Cables with RJ-45’s on both ends are now being used for Telephones, Computers and networking and, more recently, are being used in place of the XLR connector or screw- terminals for audio.  An example of this transition is shown here with a relatively new product from Broadcast Tools.

2×16 DA/RJ – RJ45 Analog Distribution Amplifier

By the way, Broadcast Tools is headquartered in Sedro Wooley, just east of Mt Vernon, WA.

Today there are all manner of adaptors that enable equipment using cables with different kinds of connectors to plug into devices with RJ-45.   An example is this creation that adapts a Coaxial Cable Type-F Connector to an RJ-45


If you look close you can see that only two pins of the RJ45 are used (1&2)

My question  is where would you used this kind of adaptor?   Let me know and I’ll pass it on next month.

McKenna as the new City of License for 102.9 KZTM.   The station, is operated by Bustos Media with its transmitter on Capital Peak.   FYI- The station was licensed to Centralia where it was started back in 1964 as KGME by the late Chuck Ellsworth.   Then it was operating from Cook Hill, NW of Centralia.   Later, after Chuck passed, it was purchased by the owners of 1470-KELA (Back when Bill Tilton, K7OKC was the Chief Engineer)  The transmitter was moved to Crego Hill (SW of Centralia) where it operated for several years.   Later Citi Casters purchased KELA (AM and FM).   They became part of Clear Channel that moved the transmitter to it’s present location.  Capital Peak provided a considerable upgrade to the performance of the station enabling it to be heard to the West into Grays Harbor and to the NNE into Seattle.

KZTM compliments the other Busto’s station, KDDS, on South Mountain however performs better in the Puget Sound Basin due to the fact that KDDS uses a directional antenna protecting a Canadian station on the same frequency.

And where is McKenna?

  • Just East of Yelm
  • Southeast of Olympia
  • South of Tacoma

Nice to see an American based manufacturer of broadcast equipment doing well and purchasing additional manufacturing equipment.  This is the case with Wheatstone who recently announced they are investing in a Million Dollars of new equipment.   Wheatstone has become one of the largest makers of Audio equipment used by Radio and TV stations.

If you were to ask a person, not living in this area, to name the 7 ‘Rainiest States in the U.S.’ There is a good chance they would name one of the states in the PNW….Perhaps, based on the urban legend that it rains all the time in Seattle?   Travel Trivia is out with a list that sets the record straight.


#1 – Georgia – 50.22 inches

          # 2 – Hawaii – 50.33          

          # 3 – Tennessee –  51.85

          # 4 –  Florida –   54.73

          # 5 –  Alabama- 56.00

          # 6 –  Mississippi – 56.48

          # 7 – Louisiana – 59.15

When you mention ‘Boom-towns’ in Washington State  you are likely to start with Seattle or Bellevue.   Did you know that Spokane is in that group?    Here are some tid-bits I recently picked up about the major city in the Inland Northwest –

  • Far too many people are moving in, far too few homes are being built and prices have skyrocketed.
  • Half of renters in Spokane County want to buy a house, but they can’t find one.
  • In May, the Wall Street Journal/realtor.com Emerging Housing Markets Index ranked Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, part of this combined metropolitan statistical area, as having the fastest-rising home prices in the nation. Spokane County came in at No. 5.
  • Of the roughly 200 homes for sale in Spokane County in any given week, only about five are priced under $300,000, Watkins said. In 2015, the average home in Spokane cost $179,000.
  • The Spokane-Coeur d’Alene area has more than 745,000 residents and is ranked 71st among combined metro areas in the nation.

Looks like we’d better stop referring to Spokane as ‘that sleepy little town on the east side of the State.   I’m sure that broadcasters are appreciating the fact that their area is growing rapidly.

Perhaps the only thing as beautiful as a sunset is a sunrise….However, my schedule usually limits viewing of early morning splendor.      Sunsets seem to be more available.   Here is one of my favorite shots.   I took this very near the KDDS Auxiliary transmitter site on the north end of the South Mountain Ridge, commonly called North Mountain.   Here we are looking generally south at the South Mountain Tower.   This 400 footer, on the right,  is home of KDDS, KLSY and KOMO with more slated to come.   The tower on the left, is actually much shorter, but is closer in this view.  On the top of it is an antenna related to the Vessel Tracking System used to track ships in Puget Sound.

I don’t know about you, but I receive a rather constant stream of emails advertising Drones.   I guess my profile fits the average user?    As you likely know there are a lot of regulatory aspects involved with these creations.   One of which is the fact that radio frequency transmissions are used between the drone and the person controlling it.   Radio transmitters, especially those that are high in the air, are of interest to the FCC.

So – The headline read –

FCC Reaffirms Nearly $3 Million Fine for Marketing Unauthorized Drone Transmitters

 In this case the vendor was a firm call HobbyKing.   The fine, actually $2,861,128 was for marketing non-compliant RF-equipment and failing to respond to FCC orders in its investigation of the company’s practices.

The ARRL explained it this way –


The fine resulted from an FCC investigation initiated by ARRL’s January 2017  complaint that the HobbyKing equipment was “blatantly illegal at multiple levels.”

“The Forfeiture Order is the final chapter of a story that started with a report to the ARRL Board by the EMC Committee in 2017, as a result of the discovery that aerial drone TV transmitting equipment was being imported and marketed without proper FCC authorization under FCC Part 15 rules,” said ARRL Electromagnetic Compatibility Committee Chair Kermit Carlson, W9XA.

As spelled out in ARRL’s 2017 complaint, the ARRL Laboratory had documented that the operating frequencies of these drone TV transmitters near the 1.3 GHz amateur band were dip-switch selectable for frequencies internationally assigned for use by Aeronautical Navigation, GPS, GLONASS L1, ATC Mode “S,” as well as to both the interrogation and reply frequencies used for Air Traffic Control Air-Route Surveillance “transponder” radar systems. “Transmissions from these drone TV transmitters would have caused harmful interference to these essential Navigation and ATC Radar systems, presenting a real and dangerous threat to the safety of flight,” Carlson said.

ARRL’s complaint noted that given the channel configuration, these units would not have a legitimate amateur radio use, and that the marketing was directed at drone enthusiasts and not to licensed radio amateurs. “ARRL Laboratory tests did prove that only one of the seven available channels was within the 1.3 GHz amateur band,” Carlson said.

HobbyKing had denied that it was marketing its drone transmitters to US customers, but as the ARRL January 2017 complaint pointed out, ARRL Laboratory Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI, was able to purchase two drone transmitters from HobbyKing and have them shipped to a US address for testing in the Lab.

Hare and ARRL Lab staffers Mike Gruber, W1MG, and Bob Allison, WB1GCM, tested the units. Carlson, as well as the Electromagnetic Compatibility Committee he chairs, were credited in the complaint for calling attention to the issue and prompting ARRL’s action.

“The FCC noted that Amateur Radio equipment used to telecommand model craft are limited to 1 W (1,000 mW), but three transmitters included in the FCC investigation operated at significantly higher power levels of 1,500 mW and 2,000 mW,” ARRL said.

HobbyKing had told the FCC that it had no notice of the Commission’s authorization requirements; that the Fifth Amendment relieved HobbyKing of its duty to respond; that the forfeiture amount was inappropriate because its parent company, Indubitably, Inc., lacked the ability to pay to the Forfeiture Order; and that the Commission was time-barred from taking action against ABC Fulfillment Services LLC because it was not part of HobbyKing’s business.

“Upon review of HobbyKing’s Petition for Reconsideration and the entire record, we find no basis for reconsideration because the petition fails to present new information warranting reconsideration,” the FCC said in the MO&O. “Rather, HobbyKing again raises the very same arguments already considered and rejected in the Forfeiture Order.


Delilah, who is heard on Audacy’s KSWD/94.1 in Seattle recently purchased the radio station where she got her start….KDUN in Reedsport, a small down on the Oregon Coast between Florence and Coos Bay.  The Station operates with 50,000 Watts Day and 630 Watts at Night.

She reportedly paid $60,000 for the station.

Here’s a bit of humor for a broadcast engineer to hang on the wall.


In the last several years many radio stations have purchased transmitting equipment manufactured by BW Broadcast.   Sadly,  both of the company founders have passed.    SCMS who has handled their marketing are still offering support.

The Seattle/ Tacoma  (6+)Radio Ratings are out – Here are some related comments-

  • KISW who has been hovering just below the top spot managed to get there.
  • Quite a surprise to many – KOMO AM/FM leaped into the #2 Slot.
  • KIRO-FM is still in there at #3
  • Non-Comm KUOW is at #5
  • KEXP who had been shocking everyone with their numbers, failed to keep the magic going.
  • KJAQ, KSWD, KKWF and KING-FM are all in a 4-way tie.

The FCC is still trying to get rid of outdated Radio Rules…The recently announced that 7 of them are now gone.   One of the more publicized changes was the elimination of the Main-Studio Rule.

MB Docket No 21-263 would make a number of changes –


  • Eliminate the maximum rated transmitter power limit rule for AM stations


  • Update noncommercial FM community of license coverage requirements


  • Eliminate the requirement that applicants demonstrate the effect of any FM applicant transmitting antenna on nearby FM or TV broadcast antennas

In the event you were not in attendance at the last Washington SECC Zoom Meeting

you missed something that I wanted to make sure you knew.

That was the announcement of my retirement as Chair of this Committee.

The Plan Revision Committee has been working for some time on the replacement for our present EAS Plan and now plans on launching WA-PAWS in September.

I concluded that this would a good time to step down.

Therefore, the September  14th Meeting of the SECC will be my last one as Chairman.

It’s been a long ride – I recall how in 1996  John Price and the late Jimmy Hocutt took me to lunch and convinced me that I should lead our State’s effort with this new EAS system that was replacing EBS.


I told the SECC in the recent meeting that I would be around to assist the Committee moving forward for the next year, or so.    I offered a couple of areas where I would be willing to continue to serve perhaps as Vice Chair.  I also expressed interest in continuing to manage our Monitoring Assignments.


Ultimately, the decision as to who should replace me is entirely up to the SECC.

I did submit a couple of thoughts along that line – I felt the Ted Buehner, our Vice Chair, is the obvious choice to become Chairman.  For Vice Chair, I mentioned Lowell Kiesow and Charlie Osgood.


The ‘bottom line’ ….It’s time for me to move on.   I am well past conventional retirement age and would like to enjoy the free time that not doing so much EAS Work will provide.


Thanks for your support over the past 25 years.    I know you will do well at keeping Washington States EAS Program in good hands.





If you recall in last month’s Column, I wrote about my trip to Aeneas Mountain to survey the upcoming project to replace the KQWS Transmitter.   On the 14th of July I was on the road to get the project completed.   (See earlier pictures of the Red Apple Fire taken the same day)


The plan was for 3 of us on the NWPB team to over-night in Omak so we could get a quick start on the 15th and, hopefully, knock this out in one day.   I was joined by Brady Aldrich.  He’s based in Wenatchee,  and this is his site to maintain, and Kenny Gibson from Tri-Cities who was bringing the replacement transmitter all tuned up on the new frequency.


Stepping out of my truck in Omak to 105 degrees was a bit of a shock!   Thankfully we knew it would be cooler at the 5200 foot transmitter site.    The Transmitter Site is right at one-hour from Omak and, thankfully the weather was great, and we were not subjected from wildfire smoke from the many fires all around us.

The following are some pictures from the Site taken on the 15th.   Note the beautiful blue sky.

Aeneas Mt Lookout Camera


My little Pickup with the lookout tower behind.   Here you can see the camera that replaced having an observer in the tower.    The concrete structure on the left supports the Satellite Antenna, you can just see the bottom.  The black hoses are for the heater that enables it to survive winters at this 5200ft location.

A close up of the Camera.   The cool thing about this is that you can connect to the camera, on-line, and see the view.

To get to this location it will take you an hour from Omak.     You turn off of US 97 about half- way between Omak and Tonasket.   The road starts out paved.   Once you go past Lake Lemansky, it becomes increasingly rough and steep.    There is no point of trying to dive fast, you quickly learn that it’s impossible.    It’s about a rough as driving up a stairway!    A place for 4-wheel drive, low-range, first gear only.    It is decidedly the roughest road I’ve been on in years.    During the winter, it’s snowcat only and even with that, you are not assured that you will make it to the top.   Brady Aldrich, who maintains the site, explained that they often have to snow-shoe the last 100 yards or so.      The day I was up here working, July 15th – it was in pleasantly in the mid-80’s – TWENTY degrees cooler than it was in Omak!

My pickup parked on the top of Aeneas Mountain.   Over the hood you can see the transmitter- building.  On the left is the tower that holds the transmit antenna, to the right is the pedestal that holds the Satellite Antenna.   Mounted on the blue pipe.

Bottom line – We were on the air with the new Antenna just after 6 PM.   The old Continental was taken apart to reduce the weight and was, by this time, in Tri-Cities.

Here’s a headline you (thankfully) don’t often read –Stolen Car Crashes Into Tower And Knocks Alexandria, LA Station, KDBS, Off The Air…..


Apparently, a stolen car was being chase by police when it left the roadway and struck a guy wire on the stations tower causing it to fall.  The lack of standing tower silenced the AM station as well as an FM translator whose antenna was mounted on the tower.   The station did have, as required, a protective fence around the guywire, but likely it was to keep out people and not motor vehicles.    Perhaps the replacement tower will include a new fence and some Gravity Blocks just in case?


For years I’ve heard the term ‘ A face for Radio’.    Meaning a person apparently does not have the ‘looks’ for Television.     Finally, someone has come up with a T-Shirt with that saying on it.

My Column would not be complete without a picture from Dwight Small.   Dwight said that he and his dog, Scout, went out or an early evening cruise and captured this scene.

I recently was able to get a photo of this at a local Costco parking lot on the back of a Nissan Leaf.

Not sure where the 9 Volts comes from.  Perhaps the owner is a non-technical person?

Here is what I found when looking into the matter –Perhaps 350 was too many digits?

Battery pack specifications

Number of modules 24
Number of cells 192 (2 in parallel and 96 in series)
Rated voltage 350 V
Capacity 40 kWh
External dimensions L x W x H 1547 x 1188 x 264 mm
Weight 303 kg


Until then, get your shots and stay safe.

Do try and be nice to those that refused to get vaccinated.

Clay, K7CR, CPBE

A SBE Fellow

SBE Member # 714

Since March 1968


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