Monthly Archives: October 2020

September 2020 – Clay’s Corner

October 12, 2020
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As I sit here we have been having a wonderful summer, complete with a bit of rain to keep the dust down. Likely for many, the most unusual summer of all, thanks to the Virus. There is something about wearing a mask that seems to dampen the spirit. Then again, if you were a motorcycle fan and made the annual trek to Sturgis…apparently few attending wore masks…now the tracking begins.

In this column I have been repeating the obvious questions. How long will this COVID-19 thing continue and/or when will it be over?

About mid-month in August we were all advised: Most Americans won’t be able to get a coronavirus vaccine until well into 2021. Specialists say that the vast majority of Americans won’t be able to get a coronavirus vaccine until spring or summer 2021 at the earliest, even if the most optimistic projections hold true and a COVID-19 vaccine is cleared for U.S. use in November. That timeline likely means that many Americans will have to continue to wait.

Perhaps surprising is a recent survey conducted by NPR/PBS NewsHour/ Marist poll showed that 35% would not be willing to get the vaccine.

This brings up the matter of masks. I’ve been reading stories about how the masks with valves are not acceptable. These masks are designed to let a person exhale unfiltered air, which defeats the purpose. Then there are those that don’t cover their nose. Gee don’t we exhale there too? Recently someone did a survey in Pierce County where they noted that 75% were wearing masks, but only 66% were wearing them properly. Some masks are laughable. I was at a grocery store recently where I saw someone wearing a Halloween Mask. Guess he was in compliance of the store’s rules that customers had to have a ‘facial covering’. Then there are those that are determined not to comply with the wishes of anyone else. I was at a convenience store recently when a fellow walked in to purchase a pack of cigarettes. You guessed it, no mask. His expression was pretty clear. He was ready to fight anyone that challenged him.

There have been a number of calls to make wearing masks mandatory, including Joe Biden, who would like to be our next president. He has even called for a nationwide mask mandate.

My questions are:

  • Is it not time to determine which of the zillions of masks you can buy actually do the job as intended?
  • Is it not time to make a rule that prescribes how a mask is to be worn?
  • Is it not time that retail businesses…and Ferry Deck Hands, be given the authority to enforce the rules?

You have likely noticed that women that wear masks are harder to understand than men. The science behind this is relatively simple. Women’s voices contain more high frequency content than do men’s, and masks (at least the good ones) attenuate high frequencies, making many women sound ‘muffled’. Perhaps the quality of the mask is determined by the amount of high frequency attenuation?

This situation did not go unnoticed in the design of the following mask, a picture of which was submitted by Mike Brooks of KING-FM. Any audio engineer will instantly recognize the visual of ‘High Frequency attenuation’.

Modelers at the University of Washington, and elsewhere, are now pouring over the data to try and determine how many lives might be saved if most people wear masks.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt anymore about the role of masks,” said Dr. Jared Baeten, vice dean of the University of Washington School of Public Health. Baeten was among those who initially questioned the value of masks for the general public, partly to preserve the supply for health care workers, partly because disease prevalence was low, and partly because he — like many other epidemiologists — mistakenly assumed the virus was mainly spread by people with symptoms, who were always advised to wear masks.

What changed his mind was the growing realization that people seem to be most contagious before they feel sick and that some infected people never develop symptoms at all.

“That was the real sea change,” Baeten said. If there is no way to tell who’s infected, then it makes sense for everyone to wear masks to avoid spreading the virus to others.

In large part, the battle over public acceptance has already been won. More than three-quarters of people in an NPR/ Ipsos poll released last week favored state laws requiring face coverings in public, and a previous poll found strong support among both Republicans and Democrats. At least 30 states have adopted some type of mandate, as have most of the largest U.S. cities and major retailers.

One of factors getting in the way of understanding this virus situation is the fact that its spread is not linear but rather exponential. Perhaps many, for the first time, are exposed to something that is not linear, is when someone explains compound interest. For some reason, most people are programmed to think about things in a linear manner. I recall having a discussion with a station manager many years ago, who was of the belief if a broadcast station were to double their power, the result would be a doubling of their signal. (Clue, it does not.) In the case of COVID-19 the fact that most think in a linear manner tends to greatly under estimate how the virus spreads. For example, the number of cases can double in two to four days. There is an actual term used to describe people who have trouble getting their head around this situation. It’s called ‘exponential growth bias’. This bias is one of the reasons why it’s so hard to get people to grasp the reason for wearing of masks, social distancing, etc. Another example of where a weakness in understanding certain mathematical principles can hurt us.

To held get your head around how bad this situation is – consider – (as of 8.28.20)

  • COVID-19 is now the #3 cause of death in the U.S. Only Heart Disease and Cancer kill more.
  • It’s killing more Americans that Alzheimer’s, Accidents and Diabetes – a tragic statistic for a virus the did not exist a year ago.
  • World-Wide we are over 24,466,482 cases and 831,827 deaths.
  • U.S. totals are approaching 6,000,000 cases and 182,923 deaths.
  • Washington State numbers are 72.703 cases and 1890 deaths.
  • The good news is the number of new cases appears to be trending downward.

One of the most difficult things for people to grasp has historically been that a person’s behavior has a direct correlation to the transmission of this virus. Stopping to think about it, there are a lot of bad things that happen as a direct result of a person’s behavior. Example – smoking, doing drugs, speeding, etc. Way too many of us feel that it won’t happen to us and many more feel that their behavior will not impact others. Tragically, this is not the case. Many will resent anyone telling them that their behavior violates other people, as perhaps aptly demonstrated by some parties recently in Seattle and Portland? There are some that will become angry and/or aggressive when confronted with violation of a rule that they personally don’t agree with. Recently in Pullman such an event took place.

I suspect the ‘invincible factor’ may be in play here. For some reason, certain college students are of the opinion that COVID-19 precautions at designed for ‘other’ people and are choosing to ‘party-on’. Unfortunately, many of these will become infected. Wonder who they will then blame?

Speaking of Pullman, being a WSU Employee, I receive a number of news items. I can just imagine the reaction if the Seattle Police did this!!!

Pullman Police enforcing Gov. Inslee’s proclamations to combat spread of COVID 19.

As of 8.28.20 –

12,500 students returned to Pullman for “remote” learning

1,000 living on WSU campus including frats/
sororities

Pullman COVID positivity rate over two week period up from 2.5% to 16.5%

Pullman 200 new confirmed cases in two weeks

Pullman PD now issuing citations for lack of distancing, no mask, more than 10 in a gathering…no more warnings or “education”

No hospitalizations or deaths in Pullman or Moscow at this point.

The Pullman Police Department is enforcing requirements under Gov. Jay Inslee’s proclamations aimed at mitigating the spread of COVID 19 while engaging with the community to promote public safety.

As we all wait for a vaccine to help in getting our lives back to the way they were, several are thinking about how getting vaccinated might work. For example, would your company require verification prior to being able to go to the office. How about sporting events or going to a restaurant? I can just see those that are not ‘rule-followers’ or anti-vaccine types reacting to this one. I can see airlines having such a requirement. Certainly, healthcare and government workers that interact with the public would have to be vaccinated. So it will be with schools. Then there will be those that will object based on a medical condition or religious grounds.

In the event you are thinking that this might be a first time that vaccinations would be required, you may want to look at history. There is a painting by Alfred Touchemolin from 1895 called ‘Vaccination’. It depicts French army recruits being vaccinated for smallpox. Back in 1901, Cambridge, Mass. had a law that required all citizens 21 and older to get vaccinated against Smallpox. The fine was $5 (equal to about $150 today).

Today the military requires troops to be immunized against a number of diseases. Several states require healthcare workers to do the same. According to what I’ve read, all employers, in any industry, can compel their employees to get vaccinated.

So how do you get those that reject being told what to do, even if its for their own good? You incentivize it. In other words, you want to do something popular, you want more freedom of choice? Fine, first let me see your vaccination documents.

At some point there will be legal aspects to consider. We are going to be in uncharted territory for some time to come, in addition to wearing your mask, keeping your distance and washing your hands, you may need to fasten your seatbelt.

I love it when someone creates a sign that says a lot with few words. Here is one that my readers have sent to me that help make my point:

If you ever wonder why we are blessed to live here in this part of the world, consider what happened on the 27th when Hurricane Laura came ashore with 150 mph winds.

The tower at the studios of KPLC-TV made an unexpected entry into their news set. The tower apparently damaged their STL (Studio to Transmitter Link) however the tower used for transmitting survived.

In addition, a representative from the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters reported that LPTV station KSWL, a CBS affiliate, has reported that its tower fell on top of its building.

Looking at the ceiling at KPLC-TV, portions of their news set can be seen on the right.

Outside, you can see what happened to the tower. The roof of the studio building is just visible at the bottom.

For more visuals, go here:

https://www.kotatv.com/2020/08/28/lake-charles-la-tv-station-tower-toppled-in-hurricane-laura/

At 1253 a.m. the National Weather Service weather-radar quit working as winds destroyed the system. The following story provides video of both events.

https://www.cbs17.com/weather/tropics/hurricane-lauras-high-winds-topple-tv-tower-obliterate-weather-service-radar-in-louisana/?ocid=uxbndlbing

Radio stations were also impacted with, reportedly, the Cumulus Media cluster of stations knocked off the air. For those of you not familiar with the area, Lake Charles is a community located approximately between Houston, TX and New Orleans, LA. on the Gulf Coast.

In previous columns I’ve mentioned that many businesses will be taking a fresh look at the amount of space they are leasing and start asking if it’s time to downsize. Think of it this way… If a high percentage of your employees are working from home and productivity has not suffered, perhaps you don’t need to provide an office or cubical for that person. In the past, many businesses were afraid to let employees work from home for fear that, without supervision, productivity would go down, etc. Studies are showing that in many cases the situation has been reversed.

Yes, this applies to broadcasting as well. Guess what? Recently the headline read:

Entercom Plans To ‘Significantly’ Reduce Size Of Office And Studio Facilities

Here’s the actual piece:

Entercom President and CEO David Field told analysts on Friday the company plans to “significantly” reduce the size of its office and studio facilities in the future, after learning during the pandemic that it “can operate at a highly effective level with modified work practices and reduced workspaces.” This will help the company save some of the roughly $70 million it spent on office rent and occupancy costs in 2019.

Entercom isn’t alone in looking to reduce real estate costs – iHeartMedia said last week it’s taking a “good hard look” at real estate with an eye toward reducing its physical footprint across the 150 offices it currently operates around the country.

Entercom also said on its second quarter results call, that it plans to discontinue some of its traditional promotional practices. They “have diminishing value,” Field said, in light of the “rapid evolution” of the company’s digital, social and other tech capabilities in recent years. This after the company pulled back on staffing of its radio station promotions departments during the pandemic.

Another way small market radio is reducing costs is by reassessing the value of paying for a survey of listeners, also known as, ratings. Firms that provide ratings services to broadcasters charge for their products. If your margins are extremely thin due to the present economic climate, you have to look at all ways you can cut expenses. This is especially the case when the costs for these services are viewed to be excessive during these trying times. I suspect that this is related to the fact that Nielsen pulled out of several smaller markets in this area, something I wrote about in a previous column.

Not all is doom and gloom….

The 2020 Business in the Northwest report, published by the Washington State University Carson College of Business, finds that although most businesses have experienced significant hardships due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Pacific Northwest business leaders are confident they have the necessary skills and resources to navigate the crisis.

Key findings from the 2020 report include:

  • Businesses feel the negative impacts of the pandemic: The majority of business leaders (64%) report feeling a negative impact on their business, resulting in a third of businesses having to close their doors. More than one in ten (12%) businesses had to close permanently, while almost a quarter (24%) have closed temporarily.
  • Adapting in the face of challenge: Refining or re-strategizing product and service offerings has helped 76% of business during this time.
  • Business leaders support stay-at-home policies: More than half of business leaders (66%) feel their state governments have done either an “excellent” or a “good” job responding to the COVID-19 crisis. More than two-thirds (79%) say stay-at-home orders were the correct response to slowing the spread of the virus.
  • In this together: The vast majority (87%) of business leaders feel a larger responsibility to help their communities during this time, and 95% feel an increased sense of responsibility to support their employees.
  • Teleworking is here to stay: More than half (56%) of business leaders will continue allowing employees to work from home, and 74% will continue with virtual meetings.
  • Optimism remains: Despite facing unprecedented challenges, 80% of business leaders are optimistic about the business climate in the region. Additionally, 92% feel their company is equipped with the tools it needs to withstand changes over the next three years.

Did you know that our planet’s magnetic field is doing strange things? Yep, check this out: https://www.sciencealert.com/nasa-is-tracking-the-mysterious-evolving-anomaly-in-earth-s-magnetic-field

Great test questions for ‘newbies’ in Television:

  • What’s a Monoscope?
  • What’s an Indian Head Test Pattern?
  • Where is the Front Porch?

And for Radio:

  • What’s a ‘Gibson Girl’ tape splicer?
  • What did a log entry of NBQ mean?
  • What is the meaning of the letters – NEMO?

The matter of C-Band Repack is simmering along. In this case, the FCC is offering broadcasters a choice: 1) Take a lump-sum payment for the changes they will have to make, or, 2) submit a detailed reimbursement request. SBE has asked for more time to make the decision. The FCC, apparently being in a good-mood, pushed back the deadline for the decision until Sept. 14th. Apparently under pressure from those that are salivating over the thought of getting more spectrum for wireless devices in that spectrum, the Commish has made it clear – no more delays. They plan on auctioning off the, to be liberated, spectrum starting on April 8th. Stations are going to be faced with, depending on a number of circumstances, a variety of changes. This is certainly not as complex as the TV Repack, however, nonetheless, this is going to be a challenge, especially for smaller broadcasters who will likely be employing consultants and contractors.

As if the impacts of COVID-19 were not enough, some firms based in California, are also having to deal with their extremely bad fire season. One of these is Inovonics who recently sent out an email blast to their customers telling everyone they were fine, however, because they were in an evacuation zone, there were going to be delays.

Was it just me, but did you notice a reduction in robocalls a few months ago?  Seems to me the Feds were touting the fact they were cracking down on them. More recently, these slimeballs have apparently discovered the government is all bluff, or something, because the volume of these annoying/ pesky phone calls is once again on the increase. I’m receiving voice calls to my cell and home phone as well as text messages. Many of them are using their old pitches, using familiar voices. I can’t wait for political season to heat up…to make me seriously consider only turning on my phone to make outgoing calls. For incoming, perhaps a snail mail request for an appointment to talk in real time might work?

If you are looking for a job in Radio, here are a couple to consider in Oregon:

Hi everyone.

After thirty-odd years with OPB, our Western Region Chief Roger Domingues has decided it’s time to retire.  We just posted his position today. The job is based in Corvallis and it covers 35 sites from Tillamook down to Gold Beach, and inland through the Roseburg, Eugene, and Corvallis areas. This Chief will be maintaining VHF, UHF, FM, AM, and microwave transmission equipment, and will manage one Engineer. In addition to the Western Chief position, we are hiring a field engineer for the same region. The job is in Corvallis and maintains VHF, UHF, FM, AM, microwave, and IP STL installations. Please see the link here and spread the word.  https://www.opb.org/careers/

Thanks.
Jonathan Newsome | Director of Engineering
OPB | 7140 S Macadam Avenue | Portland, OR 97219 | (503) 293-1952

There have been a number of notable passing’s recently –

Sumner Redstone, who, for many years, led Viacom/CBS, died at the age of 97 on August 11th.

Community radio legend Lorenzo Milam. Lorenzo passed-away at the age of 86 on July 19th in Pueblo Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico. Lorenzo was a leader in community radio, disability rights, publishing, and half a dozen other pursuits. There are many radio stations still broadcasting today which he helped to launch, either directly or through the guidance of his writings.

  • Lorenzo Wilson Milam in the studios of KRAB, the noncommercial Seattle FM station he helped start in 1962. Credit…KRAB Archives.Milam loathed commercial radio stations, which he saw as purveyors of mindless junk. With KRAB and about a dozen other stations that he helped start in the 1960s and ’70s, he created a freewheeling, esoteric vision of commercial-free community radio as the voice of the people it served. Today the 107.7 frequency is the home of Entercom’s KNDD. If you go to one of the American Tower Sites on Cougar Mountain, you will be able to see the concrete slab that once supported the KRAB transmitting equipment. I suspect Ben Dawson would be able to provide a lot of interesting stories about this station. BTW, the KRAB call letters are now in use in Bakersfield, CA.Perhaps one of the most famous Disc Jockeys to ever work in Seattle Radio was Pat O’Day. Pat died recently at age 85. I have vivid memories of listening to Pat in those days on ‘KJR Seattle, Channel 95’. To say that he left his mark is a huge understatement. I was working at a station in Tacoma at the time. Pat’s innovative style impacted everyone in the industry. I never met the man, however I came close. One night I was playing in a band at the Ft. Lewis Officer’s Club. In an adjacent room there was a private party going on. I recall asking what it was and was informed it was a wedding reception for a Seattle DJ named Pat O’Day. Another interesting connection was the fact that Pat was influenced by Radio via his father who had a program on KMO in Tacoma….a station where I was associated for 19 years. Here are a couple pictures of Pat – In his prime and more recently.

Here is a collection of comments about Pat from various sources:

  • For most of the 1960s, the most powerful single person in the Puget Sound rock ‘n’ roll scene was Pat O’Day, the legendary disc jockey and program director of KJR-AM, then a Top 40 station.
  • O’Day reigned in an era when KJR routinely garnered 30% to 40% of all listeners. These days, a station with a 7% share can claim to be No. 1.
  • It was a time when, after school, kids would be listening to O’Day’s afternoon drive-time show in their cars or on their transistor radios.
  • O’Day decided what tunes were played on KJR. He controlled the local teen dance circuit. He booked many of the rock concerts. He sponsored “teen fairs.” He was instrumental in promoting local rock groups.
  • Patrick MacDonald, the longtime Seattle Times rock critic who retired in 2008, says he remembers listening to O’Day on a portable radio as he walked home after finishing his newspaper route. He says O’Day would make sure local bands ended up in the weekly KJR Fabulous Fifty listing you could pick up at record stores. “He sort of manipulated his Top 10,” MacDonald says.
  • In a 2010 Seattle Times interview, Don Wilson, one of the founders of The Ventures, credited O’Day with making “Walk Don’t Run” a national hit in 1960.
  • The year before, Wilson had been working construction in Tacoma. The group took their single to every radio station in Seattle, and they all turned them down, except for O’Day, who began using 30 seconds of it as “news kicker” just before the news. That was enough. The kids began calling, and the record went onto regular programming.
  • Jason Remington, founder and creator of Puget Sound Media, a website that focuses on the history of local radio and TV, is unequivocal in his assessment: “Pat O’Day was the creator of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll radio station in the Northwest. He did what others couldn’t do. He was a genius at hiring talent. He knew what sounds he wanted. That’s what made KJR.”
  • Listening to old recordings of O’Day, or other popular disc jockeys he hired — Larry Lujack, Lan Roberts, Murphy, Jerry Kaye, Dick Curtis — their jokes and patter often don’t translate very well some five decades later.
  • O’Day was born Paul W. Berg in Norfolk, Nebraska. O’Day enrolled in a broadcasting program at a Tacoma vocational institute after graduating from Bremerton High in 1953. He bounced around a few radio stations until 1960, when KJR went rock ‘n’ roll.
  • He’d be there for 15 years, named the nation’s top program director in 1964 and 1965, and “Radioman of the Year” in 1966.
  • During the 1960s, he led O’Day & Associates that staged teen dances and teen fairs, including at Parker’s on Aurora, the Spanish Castle Ballroom on Pacific Highway South, the Lake Hills Roller Rink in Bellevue, all now razed and gone.
  • In 1967, O’Day helped found one of the world’s largest concert firms, Concerts West, and staged shows for the likes of Led Zeppelin, Elvis Presley and the Rolling Stones. By 1976, O’Day was out of that business, amid management infighting.
  • In 1967, too, he began calling hydroplane races. Back then, the major local TV stations all broadcast the Gold Cup live. But with an engineer’s strike, a little independent station, KTVW, Channel 13, decided to step in. On short notice, O’Day was called.
  • He asked Wayne Newton, in town for a show, to help with the color, though Newton knew nothing about hydroplanes. But Newton owed him because KJR was one of the first to play his records.
  • That was the beginning of 46 years of O’Day broadcasting the hydros either on TV or radio, ending in 2013.
  • O’Day always just kept on going.
  • Ø    In 1986, after undergoing treatment at Shick Shadel Hospital, he became its spokesman.
  • O’Day would end up investing in three radio stations. In one of them, KYYX, he tried to recreate the KJR magic. A floating $10 million loan with sky-high interest rates during the Jimmy Carter administration turned into bankruptcy.
  • O’Day just kept on going. He bought a real estate franchise in Friday Harbor and became successful in that business.
  • But he never forgot radio.
  • O’Day is survived by his wife, Stephanie John O’Day; three sons, Jerry O’Day, Gary O’Day and Jeff O’Day; a daughter, Kelsey O’Day; and several grandchildren.

ATSC-3.0 continues to spread it’s wings with seven TV Stations in Portland recently launching the new system, often called NextGen TV.

There is an ever increasing amount of interest in Mars with new robotic missions on their way. This is causing some to ask the question, ‘Why launch now with so many problems on Earth?’ Some have asked if the money spent on exploring Mars were suddenly spent on a COVID-19 Vaccine, or addressing the cause of all of the riots, would it resolve those problems?

Stations impacted by the process of repacking C-Band to make room for more wireless systems are wrestling with the question: Should they accept a lump-sum to pay for the required changes, or, should they gather all the required information about the costs of the project? SBE asked for more time, the FCC was really nice and said, OK, here are two more weeks. Making the process more complicated are those advocating both methods. The lump sum would vary depending on what needed to be changed. For stations with engineering staffs it’s a lot easier. For many smaller operations, not so much.

Elections are over at SBE with Wayne Pecena elected to a second term as President. Wayne is the Associate Director of Educational Broadcast Services at Texas A&M University, which operates public stations news/ talk/ classical KAMU-FM (90.9) and KAMU-TV. He is a member of SBE Chapter 99 in College Station, TX.

The following have been elected to one-year terms:

  • Vice President: Andrea Cummis, CBT, CTO; Chapter 15 New York; Roseland, NJ
  • Secretary: Kevin Trueblood, CBRE, CBNT; Chapter 90 Southwest FL; Ft. Myers, FL
  • Treasurer: Ted Hand, CPBE, 8-VSB, AMD, DRB; Chapter 45 Charlotte; Charlotte, NC

Serving two-year terms on the board of directors will be:

  • Stephen Brown, CPBE, CBNT; Chapter 80 Fox Valley; Appleton, WI
  • Roswell Clark, CPBE, CBNT; Chapter 39 Tampa Bay Area; Clearwater, FL
  • Kirk Harnack, CBRE, CBNE; Chapter 103 Nashville; Nashville, TN
  • Tom McGinley, CPBE, AMD, CBNT; Chapter 16 Seattle; Missoula, MT
  • Shane Toven, CBRE, CBNT; Chapter 43 Sacramento; Antelope, CA
  • Fred Willard, CPBE, 8-VSB, CBNT; Chapter 37 District of Columbia; Washington, DC

They join the other six directors who have another year remaining in their terms:

  • Mark Fehlig, PE, CPBE, 8-VSB; Chapter 40 San Francisco; Walnut Creek, CA
  • Charles “Ched” Keiler, CPBE, 8-VSB, CBNE; Chapter 53 South Florida; Ft. Lauderdale;
  • Geary Morrill, CPBE, CBNE; Chapter 91 Central Michigan; Saginaw, MI
  • Jason Ornellas, CBRE, CRO; Chapter 43 Sacramento; Sacramento, CA
  • Chris Tarr, CSRE, AMD, DRB, CBNE; Chapter 28 Milwaukee; Milwaukee, WI
  • Dan Whealy, CBTE; Chapter 96 Rockford; Waterloo, IA

Jim Leifer, CPBE, of Andover, MA, continues as immediate past president.

On the personal side, I have a lot of fond memories having served on the SBE Board of Directors for 10 years.

A lot of milestones are being celebrated these days as several Radio Stations are celebrating their 100th. Locally, congratulations are in order for the Radio Club of Tacoma, W7DK as they are one of a handful of Ham Radio clubs that have been associated with the ARRL for 100 years. I also note that the magazine Scientific American is celebrating number 150.

A change at KBTC (The Bates Technical College station in Tacoma) I recently received the following:

Clay,

I’m writing to let you know there has been a staffing change here at KBTC. Darin Gerchak has resigned his position as Director of Engineering, effective today, August 7.  Please contact me at snewsom@kbtc.org, 253-680-7735 (o), or (253) 241-0950 (c) if you need anything or have any questions.

Best regards,

Steve Newsom | Chief Engineer
KBTC-TV Tacoma/Seattle | KCKA Centralia
253.680.7735

Shortly afterward, I received the following from Darin Gerchak:

Hello Clay

Been a bit.  I am checking in to let you know that I am no longer with KBTC. If you need a hand with any projects or know of opportunities or places needing someone, please let me know.  I will keep in touch as I figure my way forward.

Darin Gerchak <gerchak@icloud.com

Speaking of Bates Technical College, congratulations to Roland Robinson.

SBE National Educator of the Year

As you can tell from the volume of traffic on our area’s highways, things are rebounding a bit after hitting some historic low points. iHeartMedia reported their revenue dropped 47% due to COVID-19, however they are seeing slow improvement. Salem reported their Q2 revenues declined y 18.3%. Entercom reported their revenues declined 54% in Q2. They report that Q3 revenue on the books is already 30% ahead of where Q2 finished.

In my last column I posted a number of pictures and details about the big FM tower/ antenna project on West Tiger. The last weekend of August saw one more ‘site shutdown’ related to this upgrade. This event was to install some Ice Shields and other related hardware on the tower. At this elevation, during the winter months, these towers accumulate a considerable quantity of ice during periods when the site is below freezing and the snow is falling. As happens in our climate, winter temperatures tend to go up and down. When the temperatures go up, that ice melts and falls off the tower. To protect equipment lower down, there are a number of structures called ‘Ice Shields’ deployed to ‘take the hit’ while protecting items below.

AccelNet, a Wireless Internet Provider, has a couple of installations on West Tiger. In the past I’ve shown you pictures taken from one of their several cameras they have deployed. In this case, a new camera is located near the summit of West Tiger pointed Southwest. To the left you can see several of the antennas on an adjacent tower. The brownish looking area near the center of the frame is the Cedar Hills Landfill. The water you see to the right is Puget Sound from Tacoma and up the east side of Vashon Island. As  you can see from the date stamp, this was captured the evening of August 6th with the clouds providing some nice color. Later in the year, this camera will be returning some great sunsets.

 

A lot of folks are looking for ways to keep kids busy during these trying times. I Guarantee this will become more critical as the days shorten and the weather gets more conducive to inside activity. The following story gave me a nice, warm, feeling:

The headline read:

Long Island kids are cracking Morse Code

Read more here:

https://www.newsday.com/lifestyle/family/morse-code-long-island-1.47458713

Periodically I hear from Charles Shaffer, K7NW, usually commenting on something I wrote. During a recent email exchange, the topic involved the old KAYO/KRSC building on 4th Ave. South. I never worked there, however I do recall a now famous engineer who did – Ben Dawson. I recall their old Continental Transmitter with Glass Doors!

The tower, behind the building in this picture, was one of the first in the area using a folded unipole feed system installed by Ben’s predecessor…Tad Jones.

Our conversation took a turn when I told him I had worked at KTW. That’s when he sent me this picture. I worked in this building between 1964 and 1966, just prior to going to KMO.

That’s about it for this month, my friends. Lord willing, I will be back, next month to most of the usual locations.

Until then, stay safe as you carefully venture out with your facial coverings!

Clay, K7CR, CPBE

SBE Member #714 since February 5th, 1968