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Clay’s Corner for August 2012

August 19, 2012
By

By Clay Freinwald SBE Seattle Chapter 16Featuring News, Rumors and Views From Usually Reliable and Irrefutable Sources

Clay’s Corner for August 2012

The big story in July had to be the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado.  It was interesting to watch all the networks scramble to cover the story….Hopefully we won’t have another one of these.

August has some special meaning for me as it was back on August 1, 1961 that I got my first full-time job in Broadcasting….Looking in the mirror I can understand that this was 51 years ago.   I would have never dreamed that I would still be at it in 2012.   Wished I’d kept that 49 Ford however.

On July 28th – Many members and friends of Chapter 16 again gathered in the ‘backyard’ of KOMO-AM on Vashon Island for the annual SBE Picnic.    Again our thanks to Tim Moore and the crew at KOMO for opening the door to their historic facility and providing a great place for our event.  Thanks also to Shannon Nichols and BSW for again sponsoring this event.   The day started with overcast conditions and drizzle….By the time the first burgers were coming off the grill, the sun was winning the battle.

Did everyone get the EAS Equipment connected to the FEMA/IPAWS Server?   There have been a few wrinkles.   Our State EAS Remailer has been a wonderful tool with this change, especially having as subscribers the major manufacturers that have been quick to offer help. A big thank you goes out to Lowell Kiesow of KPLU for his tireless work of aiding those needing

Help.    By now everyone should have their EAS equipment connected to TWO CAP Servers- FEMA/IPAW – AND – The Washington State MyStateUSA system.    If you don’t – contact Lowell at KPLU (253-535-8758) for assistance.    Before I leave the topic of EAS – Remember that ALL your legacy Monitoring Assignments remain a requirement…These new CAP systems are – in addition to – what you have  been doing.

Weather across the country has been hot and dry with a lot of records set.  So how bad is it?

Water rationing is the law in many areas.   It’s been reported that ‘lawn painting’ is being done in some areas.  Then there is the stress caused to the power grids and, of course.  Let’s not forget the huge wind-storm that caused a massive power outage leaving many who can’t fathom being without A/C….in the heat.  That wind-storm and resulting power failures showed just how frail cell-phones really are.  (The Nisqually quake here proved that to many of us here years ago).  Broadcasting – again- came through and demonstrated how it can rise to the occasion.  Pretty hard to beat point-multi-point distribution systems.   Those that have been calling for having FM radios in cellphones were eager to tell all – See what I mean!

I heard a story on NPR where they interviewed a person that was sick and tired of the heat etc. and was moving to Portland.   This is a real reversal as most folks would never even consider moving to the PNW because they know – it rains ALL the time.    If the truth about our weather gets out we could be in real trouble, especially in light of the new determination that Seattle has the 4th worst traffic in the country.

Here in Western Washington we are enjoying (?) a relatively cool summer.   One thing that was quite unusual was several days of thunderstorms and a zillion lightning strikes.   KGY in Olympia apparently got hit with damage to their main transmitter, have not heard about anything else getting zapped.    Was certainly interesting watching the weather radar and seeing weather coming our way in reverse, i.e., over the Cascades from the East.

We recently lost a historic Seattle TV personality with the passing of Chris Wedes, aka, JP Patches.   He passed on July 22nd after a long battle with cancer.   Thinking about this a bit you need to understand that a huge number of people that never saw, or perhaps heard of JP Patches, Captain Puget, Stan Boreson or Brakeman Bill.   The thought of a major TV station doing programming aimed at children in the middle of the afternoon is complete foreign to them.

At this writing the Olympics are underway in the UK….The Internet is playing a major role this time with many watching the games – Live as opposed being delayed and broadcast at a time more suited for domestic program schedules.  This effort has taken the NBC effort to new levels.

The following picture is of the recently refurbished transmitter building for KVTI in Lakewood.

Hard to believe it’s the same place.   All new metal exterior, porches etc.   The 90.9 station is being operated cooperatively by CPTC and WSU’s Northwest Public Radio.   The red-stuff in the foreground is part of the Lakes High School new athletic field, immediately adjacent to the transmitter facility.

It happens now and then….In this case the Navy is suspected of being the cause of malfunctioning garage doors at a submarine base in Groton, CT.   Apparently, due to their low power, garage door opener transmitters don’t need a license.  Refreshing that the problem is not being caused by Amateur Radio or Broadcast operations.

I know, I’ve been saying this for a long time….But the Tribune bankruptcy could be coming to an end, with it could come the sale of its newspaper and flagship station, WGN, in Chicago.    Tribune, of course, owns 2 TV’s in Seattle.

For years it’s been suspected by the tin-foil-hat crowd that broadcast transmitters or power lines cause cancer.    Now a new study puts ‘light’ on a new suspect – CFL’s….Yep those curled up florescent light emitting devices .    Reportedly the Phosphor coatings on the bulbs wear off thereby causing them to leak high levels of UVC and UVA.   The study noted that old fashioned, power wasting and heat generating light bulbs are safe.

Recent studies have pointed out the aging of broadcast engineers.   Our industry appears to be much like Amateur Radio – Lots of Gray and White hair in our ranks.    Peters Almanac has a saying that appears to fit this situation “Early to bed and early to rise — till you get enough money to do otherwise.”    For the Senior Engineers out there – Think of it this way – You are not an old ____, elderly or a senior – You are just chronologically experienced

Being an official senior….I can’t help from noticing a recent ad in the newspaper for the “McIntosh 50th  Anniversary Edition Gold MC275 Vacuum Tube Power Amplifier” …Something to keep the house nice and warm on these summer days.   Sounds like back to the future to me.

The FCC is out with FY2012 Regulatory Fees for TV stations and wouldn’t you know it…the Commish had determine the amount paid should be based on the stations virtual channel and not the ‘real’ channel they occupy, even if that channel is in the higher end of the UHF band.  I guess that’s logical?

Can you believe that it’s time again for the NAB to call for papers for the next show in ‘Vegas?

In the event you have not marked your calendar, it’s April 6-11, 2013.  The deadline is Oct 19.

91.7, KXOT is now silent, in fact, they are officially silent as of June 29th    My memory of 91.7 goes back to when the station was operating as KTOY from a tower on top of Tacoma Vocational School at 11th and Yakima.  One morning, after a Pacific storm raked the area, that tower ended up lying across 11th street.   The stations transmitter was then moved to Indian Hill using the old KLAY-FM Transmitter and the call letters were changed to KBTC (as in Bates Technical College)    Later, after changing hands, the station made a number of upgrades and became KXOT and was operated by KUOW for some time.     Not sure what will happen to the station, or the plans to move to Gold Mountain.   Not often an FM goes dark in this market, NCE or Commercial.

A couple of names come to mind when I think of 91.7…..  One of the instructors at KTOY there was another broadcast legend in our area, Chuck Ellsworth. Chuck started 102.9 in Centralia (as KGME) that later became KELA-FM and is now known as KNBQ operated by Clear Channel and running the same programming as KJR-AM.   The other name, Terry Denbrook.  Terry spent many hours keeping KXOT on the air from Indian Hill.    Oh yes, one more thing about Indian Hill – that tower was used by KMO-AM prior to the 1360 AM moving to Browns Point.  It was erected in 1973….I know, I was there….and so was a very young Tom Pierson.

July 14th, about 11 AM, WA2MN was on the air on 42.8 (Megacycles) from the Armstrong tower in Alpine, NJ.   Very cool that the Major is still remembered in this way.
This past winter saw the broadcast site at South Mountain (West of Shelton) again sustained damage due to falling ice.    The following picture shows a damaged dish antenna belonging to KDDS.   Note how the feed is bent downward.    This cost the RSL about 20 db.

Speaking of South Mountain.   This site is about to become home to a third FM station with the addition of KANY on 93.7.   The station will operate with 33 kW at 677 Meters AAT using a directional antenna.   The City of License is Montesano, near Aberdeen.

Copper theft is a huge problem for many.    The following signs, on a government installation that’s been the victim of this activity is fighting back…Here are a couple of signs showing how they are dealing with the issue –

 

This month our Seattle SBE Chapter, working with one of our local utilities, Puget Sound Energy, will have a program dealing with this issue.   Watch the SBE-16 Remailer as well as Web-Site for more info.

On topic of copper theft – This just in from Kent Randles of Entercom-Portland

Some low-lifes broke into the old round green 1080 transmitter building last night.  There were not a lot of things worth stealing, since almost everything of use has been moved to the new site next door, but they were after anything of value, especially copper.

The obvious items of value were a small Honda portable generator and a Vertex UHF mobile 2-way radio.  For some reason they decided to take a big old Tek scope.  However, one of them knew enough to take the two sets of tubes to my Raytheon RA-1000 which I had been storing there.  A copy of the manual was in the tube box.  One set was wrapped in newspaper, but the other set was new in boxes.

So keep a look out for a group of the following tubes:
833A
813
845
807
6J7
6J5
If you come across any of the items above and think they may have been stolen, please call or text me at 503-544-4289.

Sirius XM keeps growing with almost 30 million subscribers.   Can’t help but reflect on those that said this was a venture that was sure to fail.  Flush with cash the Sat-Broadcaster has announced they are going to be retiring $186 Million in Debt – Early.   Considering the economic climate the last few years for many firms, this is certainly a bright spot.

The July 8th Seattle Times NW Magazine had a picture in their Then and Now section that caused quite a buzz.   Shown was a staff picture of KRAB (Now KNDD).   Shown in the picture is a considerably younger Ben Dawson.

Another wonderful quote – If it weren’t for Philo T. Farnsworth, inventor of television, we’d still be eating frozen radio dinners.  – Johnny Carson

If you are an Amateur Radio buff, or perhaps an electronic experimenter –The Radio Club of Tacoma is putting on its annual Electronic Flea Market – Date is August 11th at Bethel Junior High in Spanaway…For more info, check out Hamfest@W7DK.org

Here in Seattle we know well what it means for a print publication to go on line – Now comes news that Newsweek Magazine may be near doing the same thing.   Makes me wonder if the term  – News Stand –is going to be a short-timer ?

Many stations have been thinking about sustainability and have looked for ways to reduce their energy or carbon footprint.  In one case, which still causes me to smile….a, very non-technical person on the staff who was given the task to lead the charge, asked me to compare the energy use of the stations transmitter compared to a Ford Explorer, he then asked me if the transmitter could be converted to solar power.   Looking at this another way, why not push for greater receiver sensitivity so that broadcasters could turn the power down?   Next time you are faced with those that are looking for energy conservation toss this item their way….It’s been estimated that a single Google search takes about as much power as turning on and off a 60 wall light bulb for 17 seconds.   Explain to them how much power server farms consume and suggest they should be concerned about how much energy they waste surfing the web.

Got a note from old friend John Franz who used to work in this market – Happy to share –

It is with excitement that I tell you that I have accepted the Director of Engineering position with Max Media Montana. I plan to report to work in Missoula some time next week. MMM operates a HUB in Missoula pushing 12 streams (ABC on .1 and FOX on .2) to 6 stations and a stand alone NBC with 2 streams in Billings. Because of the topology of the state, MMM also operates translators and supports community translators in just about every habitable valley in the state. They also serve areas in Wyoming. It a different model than in most markets where all you have to do is feed the cable

Mt Rushmore Broadcasting in Wyoming has set some sort of record with a total of almost 70 Grand in FCC files…All related to lack of the required paperwork filed with the FCC for their STL’s.    It’s not unusual for some small broadcasters to make STL changes without going thru the required steps; in this case, the FCC has come down hard.  Perhaps causing others to scramble to make sure that their systems are operating within the Commission’s Rules.

And…The FCC has not forgotten about CB Radio…especially when a CB’er causes interference to fire department radio communications.    Refusing to let the FCC inspect his station didn’t help his case either.   So….Mr. Jones in Merced California has been fined $7,000

Before I end this month’s column…A big thank you for permitting me to chair the Seattle Chapter of SBE these past two years.    I will still be around one more year on the Board of Directors.  I’m excited about the direction of our Chapters new leadership and wish them the best.

That’s it for this month – Enjoy the rest of summer !

Clay Freinwald, K7CR, CPBE

The KE0VH Hamshack for August 2012

August 19, 2012
By
Jack Roland KEØVH@q.com

Jack Roland KEØVH@q.com

The KE0VH Hamshack will return next month!

Random Radio Thoughts – July 2012

July 8, 2012
By

Cris Alexander, CPBE, AMD, DRB Crawford Broadcasting Company

The FCC EAS CAP deadline is now in the rearview mirror.

It’s amazing to me as I read the trade press how many stations waited until the last minute to order CAP-compliant EAS equipment. Of course they are finding out that there is a backlog of orders and it may be several weeks until those units are shipped. I’ve read on various list servers advice on how to deal with FCC inspectors should they happen to come by before the CAP-compliant equipment arrives and is installed, measures such as keeping documentation of the equipment order at the control point. And not surprisingly I have read other reports that say the FCC won’t be giving any breaks in such cases, documentation or no. And who can blame them? We have had almost two full years to deal with this! My company had everything installed and working before the first deadline, and I know a lot of others took care of this months ago.

It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if the Enforcement Bureau didn’t make an inspection sweep of stations this month or next to check for EAS CAP compliance. I remember past deadlines and the sweeps that followed those. In the summer of 1990, when the NRSC-2 standard became law, the FCC made a sweep looking for the required NRSC audio filters. I think it was 1996 when the Part 17 Antenna Structure Registration rules became law, and the FCC subsequently made a sweep of tower sites looking for the proper posting of ASR signage. And then again in 1997, when the EAS system replaced the EBS system, the FCC made a sweep looking for EAS equipment in stations. Since this seems to be a pattern, forewarned is forearmed; we should probably expect a visit in the coming months.

Despite having CAP-capable equipment installed since December of 2011, it was still a bit of a last-minute scramble for the stations in our company to get firmware updates installed and the units properly polling the IPAWS server. But it did work and we immediately began receiving daily weekly tests from that server (FEMA was sending “weekly” tests on a daily basis through the first week in July so that stations could confirm proper operation as they installed, updated and configured their equipment). It will be interesting to see what the routine is in terms of CAP tests going forward.

Wildfires

June was a very challenging month as we all, to one degree or another, dealt with record heat, wildfires and smoke/ash. Buckhorn Mountain was perhaps the broadcast site that was most affected. While the site itself was mostly untouched by fire, power to the site was lost early on in the High Park fire, and the generator either didn’t start or ran out of fuel, taking several stations, including KUNC, KJAC, KYEN, KGCO, KXGR and a couple of translators, off the air for the duration. Some stations scrambled to temporarily relocate to other sites, but others remained off the air until either power was restored or the generator came back on line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But just because the fire did not burn the building doesn’t mean there wasn’t fire damage at the site. There was evidently tremendous heat coming up the slope behind the building (west). That heat melted the KGCO Andrew Ku-band dish, melted the jackets on the L-band and control cables and melted the deicer control. Even the “Andrew Flash” decal was melted off the face of the dish. The EMF Broadcasting folks had to replace the dish and all to restore the satellite feed to the station.

Air conditioners were strained pretty hard from the 105-degree heat along the Front Range. Two of the units in our stations failed at various times and had to be serviced. The one unit that seemed to weather the heat the best was the new (last summer) BreezeAir high-tech evaporative cooler at KLZ. That unit was pumping ice-cold air into the building even on the hottest afternoons, and it’s no wonder… I saw the dew point on a couple of those days down in negative territory, -27 degrees F in one instance! There’s a lot to be said for evaporative cooling in our usually arid climate, but since most transmitter sites do not have water, it’s probably not an option except in a very few cases.

As things wind down with the big fires of June along the Front Range, we all need to recognize that the danger is far from over. The “dog days of summer” have yet to arrive, and once the monsoonal flow is gone, I suspect we’ll be back in the same situation – maybe worse if we get good rains in July and early August and the grass/brush grows up.

As I have visited our various sites in recent weeks, I have thought about how easy it would be for a fire to start and sweep through those sites. A passing train, for example, might easily spark a grass fire along the right of way out by Barr Lake and the westerly winds would drive that fire right through the KLTT antenna site. The fences and exposed parts of the electrical, control, transmission and sample lines to the towers would be vulnerable to fire/heat damage. I suspect the same is true at many other sites, AM and FM, in the area.

All of that points to the need to take extraordinary brush clearance measures this summer. Keep the grass and weeds cut all the way to the ground with a good-sized buffer zone around tower base fences, doghouses, ATUs, transmitter buildings, generators and generator fuel tanks. Think about what would happen if a fire were to come through. If there is very little standing fuel available, your chances of escaping damage are good.

During the Catalina Island fire of 2007, the blaze swept through our transmitter site but didn’t damage anything at all with the exception of a single fence post. The fire went through the site in about five minutes but found no standing fuels because our chief engineer had maintained his clearances around the towers and any flammable structures or improvements. The one fence post that we did lose was the victim of an airborne ember that landed on top of the post many hours after the fire passed the site. It smoldered for a couple of days without anyone noticing before it finally burst into flame.

Let’s all hope that the second half of the summer (and the second half of the Rockies’ season!!) is better than the first!

If you have news to share with the Rocky Mountain radio engineering community, drop me an email at crisa@crawfordbroadcasting.com.

The KE0VH Hamshack for July 2012

July 8, 2012
By
Jack Roland KEØVH@q.com

Jack Roland KEØVH@q.com

The latter part of May and all of June have been very busy months for me, so that is why I didn’t post an article last month.  As of this writing I will be on the NEW job as the Denver based Colorado Engineer for the KLOVE facilities here.  I am very sorry to be leaving my wonderful boss and crew in Colorado Springs at the Salem Communications facilities there, but God has called me on to new things in a very amazing and I still can’t quite believe it way.  I will now be covering all of Colorado and some of Nebraska, Wyoming, and New Mexico looking after the EMF/Klove transmitters and facilities.  I am very excited and looking forward to many new explorations and adventures!  And I will have the Icom 706MK2G installed in the new company truck totally ready for some hamming on the road too!

The KLOVE NOC in Rocklin California, looking after 700 or so sites across the entire country!

Many have contacted me over the first part of July of course about the Waldo Canyon fire in the Colorado Springs area and have been concerned for the many who have lost homes on the NW side of the city, plus asking about how my Salem facilities were effected.  There was no problem for our stations there, as we are located just to the EAST of I-25, on the north side of Woodmen Drive there.  BUT, the evacuations all happened just on the west side of I-25.  Here is a map of the main fire boundaries during the evening of Tuesday, June 26th when it was just obliterating neighborhoods on the west side.

                                                 

I took this picture of KMGH-7 off our TV during this evening.   Also, a video was put together from a vantage point NE of Colorado Springs showing a time lapse over several days of the fire.  It is absolutely fascinating but really frightening at the same time.  Fortunately as of this writing the fire is contained and no one else is in danger, but as the news has pointed out, “Colorado is burning”, with many fires statewide.  We are most definitely praying for rain!

See the video at : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBA7eHY022k

The High Park fire west of Fort Collins was still burning at the same time.  One of the Klove facilities are located on top in the old ATT bunker building meant to survive even a bomb blast if needed back in the Cold War days.  But the fire burnt up and over the mountain, with many of the facilities there off air for several days until it cooled down enough for people to get up safely.  My co-worker Butch, Alan from EMF/Klove in Rocklin, and the new Denver area tech Patrick went up to check the Klove transmitter there, and while there was no trouble with the transmitter, the satellite dish behind the building indeed suffered some heat damage, take a look at what the heat did to the coax feeding the LNB there.

You can see how the outer jacket of the coax melted down in a curve off the cable.  Amazing picture!

Don’t forget our SBE hamnet is happening still the 1st Saturday of the month as always.  Details on how to join us are at www.qsl.net/ke0vh/SBEhamnet.

More to come next month!

73’ de KE0VH

Clay’s Corner for July 2012

July 8, 2012
By

By Clay Freinwald SBE Seattle Chapter 16Featuring News, Rumors and Views From Usually Reliable and Irrefutable Sources

Met Park Sells    The Metropolitan Park buildings have sold (again) for $210 Megabucks to Brookfield Office Properties of New York.    Met Park West houses Entercom’s radio operations.   The Seattle times called the buildings ‘Twin Toasters’….hmmm sounds like a name change to me, I always called them, especially the West Tower, the ‘Spam Can’.   Then there is the Amazon where they are going to build some 3.3 million square feet of office space in a series of new 38 story buildings not far away.   At least they are thinking of a good name …..Rufus 2.0.  Reportedly the name of a Corgi that used to come to work with an employee..  Gotta love Seattle.

Not often I write about any programming….However, I must mention how much I am going to miss Car-Talk.   The news that the ‘brothers’ are going to hang it up is a bit hard to take.   C.T. is heard locally on KUOW, KPLU and the stations of NWPR.     They plan on airing re-runs, so at least we will still be able to get our dose of weekend yucks.

In previous columns I have written about how the Seattle area ranks in various categories…Tyrone Beason wrote in the June 3rd issue of The Seattle Times magazine how one way to look at things is the number of patents issued to people and companies in a region.   Interestingly, Seattle ranks #2, second only to the Bay Area in this category…Pretty impressive when you consider the population in that region of California is twice that of Seattle.  Adding to that stat. is the growth rate of new patents by area.   Between 2006 and 2010 the number of patents issues in the Bay Area increased by 26% while that category grew by 79% here.    What does all that prove?  Perhaps it has something to do with our climate?…Plenty of indoor time to think and create? ….Or perhaps the per capita consumption of coffee?  Or (long shot here) the quality of our local Radio and TV programming?    Nice thought – now go out and invent something and patent it!

Quoting Richard Johnson –  Sometimes I don’t get it right because I have been taught wrong.

We all understand the competitive situation between commercial broadcasters, however not much is written about how this situation is alive and well in the non-commercial world…

On the TV side,  KBTC, operating out of the former KSTW facility in Tacoma, not only operates KBTC from the former KCPQ (KTVW) Site in the north end of Tacoma (RF Channel 28) but they also operate from the KZJO Tower on Capitol Hill, which just happens to be across the street from KCTS.   Bates Technical College, in addition to KBTC, operates KCKA

Some of our areas NCE Radio Stations often carry similar programming, for example –KUOW from the KCTS tower on Capitol Hill, KVTI from Lakewood (SW of Tacoma) and KPLU from West Tiger Mt

‘Oddio’  – A term used to describe the electrical characteristics of strange and unusual sounds.

One of the two major cable companies in lower BC have stopped carrying FM Radio stations.    In this case, a few Seattle stations are no longer available, via cable, in these areas.  This usually generates complaints from listeners to these stations asking that they do something.   Likely the reason that Cable has, over the years, been dropping carriage of radio stations is that there is little incentive for them to do so.  Radio stations don’t pay cable systems for carriage, and cable companies don’t charge their subscribers for doing so.   Radio stations on cable will likely be another item added to the dust pile of history.

Fisher has been granted a minor change for their KPLZ-FM (101.5).  From the looks of the FCC data, they are going to move their operation back to their own tower on Cougar and away from the Ratelco combiner and master antenna.  Rumor also has it that Fisher is about the pull the trigger on their option to purchase what is known as KOMO-FM operating from South Mountain on 97.7.   In a related move, the Tukwila/South Center area is now served with an on-channel booster on 97.7.   How it gets there is interesting.  97.7 is received in Auburn and re-transmitted on 93.7 to the booster in Tukwila.    Interesting to put your radio in scan and have it stop on 93.7 and the RDS display KOMO-FM.   A good deal of the work to make this happen can be credited to Jim Dalke.

Tim Schall recently posted this comment on the SBE-16 Remailer –

Got a kick out the piece of junk mail from ‘Spotify’ (An internet provider of music programming….) today that said, “Have you heard?  Free mobile radio has arrived!”  I thought, “Wow, really?  I’m supposed to be paying someone for that AM/FM thing in my dash?”

This is right in there with those that are amazed to find out that milk comes from a cow or that you can get – free- TV through the use of an ancient device known as an antenna.

The FCC has been sent back to the drawing board when it comes to Indecency by a recent Supreme Court ruling.    Apparently the airing of visual or verbal ‘malfunctions’ are now OK.   Just don’t stage them.   How this will turn out will be anyone’s guess.

I have to admit that after 25, or so, years of writing the column I have become increasingly interested in our language and, occasionally, will be compelled to write about it.   A few years ago I wrote about the ‘F’ and ‘PH’ situation.    Recently I have been pondering the L – As in what the L.     Let me explain.

Who in the world determined that we should have the letter L in a world and not pronounce it?  Here are some examples

Why is it HALF and not HAFF?

Why is it SALVE and not SAVVE (As in Savvy)

Why is it HALVES and not HAVZ?

Or CALVES and not CAVZ

Of course there is SALMON…Pronounced SAMON (Unless you are from the South)

HD Radio continues to gain with HD Radio coming standard on 14 new models from nine different makes of vehicles and optional on many more.  The totals are more impressive with now 28 car-makers offering HD in 140 models.    This should take the wind out of the sails of those broadcasters that have been holding back awaiting the day when there receivers out there.   Granted, it will take some time for these new vehicles to take the place of the millions that are stuck with analog equipment.   To be honest, I am somewhat caught in the middle with an HD radio in my Truck and an analog in my car.   When driving the truck I sure don’t miss the multipath and distortion.

Another positive move for the digital radio system is the announcement this past month that HD Radio is on the air in the Dominican Republic.  Interesting that some stations are going on the air, immediately, with HD2 and HD3 programming.

The FCC is going after a couple of broadcasters for tower light infractions….

WNLA, an AM in Miss. is on the hook for about 14 Grand.   Apparently last November they were inspected and, among other issues, the tower lights were not functioning.   The folks at the studio were very helpful and explained to the inspector that they knew about the outage.  Then there is the case of 3 towers in San Souci, S.C.  In this case the station said they knew their tower lights were not working and submitted the reason was ‘negligible gross revenues’ , i.e., they claimed they could not afford the repairs.  Reportedly they will be paying $1000 on top of the cost of getting those lights back on.

The FCC has proposed a 15 Grand fine for the operator of a pirate radio station in Miami.   Like a lot of these un-licensed stations they don’t try and hide their operation and operate Web Sites to promote their stations.   89.1 is now silent.

It’s congratulations time as the winners of the 2012 National Edward R Murrow awards were announced…

On the national level/networks –

Overall Excellence, TV – NBC News ….Radio – CBS Radio News

Here’s a look at how local facilities performed –

Video Continuing Coverage – KING-TV – Seattle

Video News Documentary –   KING-TV – Seattle

Website – mynorthwest.com – KIRO- Radio- Seattle

The FCC has announced the end of analog milestone with the announcement that cable systems no longer have to carry stations in digital and analog, however, if this could be revisited if there is a public outcry.   The impact of this decision will be interesting to watch as many subscribers have a mixture of types of cable boxes.

The effort by the FCC to put their public files on-line is being supported by many broadcast groups, including some that operate stations in Seattle like Cox and Belo.  If you recall we had a Chapter 16 program last year on this topic.    It appears likely that radio will follow in the future.

I spoke with Nick Winter recently and am happy to report that he is doing well recovering from his recent stroke and hopes to be back to work at KPLU in the next couple of weeks.

Copper theft continues to plague many.   Occasionally the thief appears to playing with less than a full-deck as demonstrated by the following picture.   In this case a County deputy thought this was slightly out of the ordinary.  When the deputy attempted to find out more, the occupants drove into a golf course and ran off.   They found two smaller spools inside.   The value of the wire was $4700.   Somehow they used a forklift to put the pallet and spool on top of the car causing it to be very dented in.     Reminds me of a theft a few years ago from a facility where I worked.    In this case the thieves managed to make off with a large spool of large Heliax.   In this instance, they used a power saw, cutting into the spooled cable cutting it into about 8 foot lengths.   They then tossed the chunks of cable thru a broken window into the back of a van and drove off.    They were caught.

 

Looks like the car was ‘Top-Loaded’

On the subject of copper, and such….

ERI, Electronics Research, has announced a new line of un-flanged transmission line components featuring aluminum outer conductors and coppery inners.   They claim lower cost and lighter weight.  Certainly a side benefit will be less attractive to copper thieves.

Warehousing spectrum???   I’m shocked that anyone would think this would happen.  Apparently AT&T is not to secret with their feelings on the subject with the release of a recommendation to the FCC that spectrum holders should make use of the spectrum they have, within a specific time period and if they don’t team up with a partner to use it or sell it.

Yah, I know we have been hearing it for a long time ….Word continues to circulate that Tribune is about to exit bankruptcy.    WGN in Chicago has been in this mode for 3.5 years.    Tribune owns KCPQ and KZJO here in Seattle.

Broadcasters continue to find ways to save money via staff reductions.   So was the case recently in Yakima where TownSquare Media eliminated the position held by Chris Duncan who has been the clusters Chief Engineer.   Chis told me he was going to be heading back home to Arkansas.

The FCC has granted a construction permit to BBC Broadcasting to change their city of license to Pt. Roberts and operate on 1550 with 50Kw full-time.    For those of you that are not familiar with Pt. Roberts, take a look at a map of the US/Canadian border just south of Vancouver.    This little chunk of US real estate is not connected to the US mainland.  To get there you have to drive in and out of Canada.  This may become the first US licensed station to get its power from another country.

This gem comes from Entercom Chief, Dwight Small –

“Don’t you wish there were a knob on the TV to turn up the intelligence? There’s one marked ‘Brightness,’ but it doesn’t work.” – Gallagher

Ludwig Enterprises has secured a patent and has chosen LG to building a satellite receiver for a planned network that is reported to be used to target ethnic and senior groups that the firm feels are presently being underserved.    If this is the case, wonder why we don’t have an HD Format targeting these groups?

Finally, I will leave you with the following –

I have been in many places, but I’ve never been in Cahoots. Apparently, you can’t go alone. You have to be in Cahoots with someone.

I’ve also never been in Cognito. I hear no one recognizes you there.

I have, however, been in Sane. They don’t have an airport; you have to be driven there. I have made several trips there, thanks to my friends, family and work.

I would like to go to Conclusions, but you have to jump, and I’m not too much on physical activity anymore.

I have also been in Doubt. That is a sad place to go, and I try not to visit there too often.

I’ve been in Flexible, but only when it was very important to stand firm.

Sometimes I’m in Capable, and I go there more often as I’m getting older.

One of my favorite places to be is in Suspense! It really gets the adrenalin flowing and pumps up the old heart! At my age I need all the stimuli I can get!

I may have been in Continent, but I don’t remember what country that was in. It’s an age thing.

Life is too short for negative drama & petty things. So laugh insanely, love truly and forgive quickly!
I hope everyone in your head is happy – we’re all doing well in mine!

Enjoy summer – Remember that fall is not very far behind –

Till next month –

Clay, K7CR, CPBE

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