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