Clay’s Corner for December 2022      Providing news and views from a broadcast engineers perspective since September 1986


Sports betting is a great opportunity for Broadcasters to boost the bottom line, I suppose.   (I’m not a lawyer, so this is only a guess).  I noticed recently some of the local Indian tribes are advertising their sports betting opportunities.    If you’ve been to Vegas, you have likely seen how much is dedicated to this endeavor.

I found the following FCC item to be interesting in light of all the Radio Broadcasters that have either never initiated HD operations, or those that installed their equipment long ago and are still running the initial power level (-20 dbc)

Released: 2022-11-28. MEDIA BUREAU SEEKS COMMENT ON PETITIONS FOR RULEMAKING PROPOSING AMENDMENTS TO FM BROADCAST DIGITAL RADIO RULES. (DA No. 22-1226). (Dkt No 22-405). Seeks comment on petition for rulemaking and combines with earlier-filed petition for rulemaking, both proposing power increases for FM digital broadcasts. Comments Due: 2023-01-12. Reply Comments Due: 2023-02-13. MB. Contact: Albert Shuldiner at (202) 418-2721, email:, Priscilla Lee at (202) 418-2957, email:, (202) 418-2957 or Tom Nessinger at (202) 418-2709, email: News Media Contact: Janice Wise at (202) 418-8165, email: DA-22-1226A1.docx DA-22-1226A1.pdf DA-22-1226A1.txt

Released: 2022-11-23. PUBLIC SAFETY AND HOMELAND SECURITY BUREAU ANNOUNCES COMMENT AND REPLY COMMENT DATES FOR ALERTING SECURITY NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING. (DA No. 22-1225). (Dkt No 15-94 15-91 22-329). The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau announces the comment and reply comment dates for the Alerting Security Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Comments Due: 2022-12-23. Reply Comments Due: 2023-01-23. PSHSB. Contact: James Wiley at (202) 418-1678, email: or Steven Carpenter at (202) 418-2313, email: Action by: .. DA-22-1225A1.docx DA-22-1225A1.pdf DA-22-1225A1.txt

 Back when I was on the SBE Board and involved with Frequency Coordination we were working with the DOD on coordination matters that involved situations where broadcasters and miliary operations were discussed and resolved.     Perhaps this was why this headline caught my attention?

Broadcasters And Defense Department Agree To Share Spectrum Around 26 Military Bases.

Nearly seven years of technical study, along with laboratory and field testing, have produced an agreement between broadcasters and the Department of Defense to share spectrum that is currently used by broadcasters for electronic newsgathering and other purposes. The joint memorandum of understanding between the military, the National Association of Broadcasters, and the Society of Broadcast Engineers, will mean 26 military bases will have access to the spectrum. The military will use it for activities including test and training missions that the two sides say are needed to “assure readiness” and “enhance electromagnetic spectrum superiority.”

Robert Weller, VP for Spectrum Policy at NAB, calls it an “amicable arrangement” that will ensure that there is a sustainable model for frequency allocation..”

“Frequency coordination is one of the foundation pillars of the Society of Broadcast Engineers,” SBE President Andrea Cummis said. “This agreement provides our partners at the DoD and the NAB and the SBE the tools to ensure the public is best served through the shared use of this spectrum.” In addition to coordination among broadcasters in a market, Cummis said the SBE has worked with commercial groups and government agencies in the past to minimize if not eliminate interference in the limited RF spectrum available for broadcast operations.

The spectrum – at 2025-2110 MHz – was identified for potential sharing in advance of a spectrum auction that the FCC conducted in 2014.  The spectrum is presently used only by television stations, networks and content creators for video contribution. It is available to radio stations, however it is not believed any radio stations are using it.

I recently read a ‘Guest Commentary’ in Radio World where the author, Ron Schacht, suggested many radio stations are ‘over-technologied and under-prepared’.   This hit home as I have been preaching the same sermon for many years.

Here’s the way I look at it – Modern technology is a wonderful thing…it enables us to do things that just a few short years ago would have been deemed impossible.   Much of this is made possible thanks to the giant strides we have made with computers, smart-phones (add your favorite, created in the last 20 or so years here) and all the infrastructure we have created that permits them to all work together.

Those of us that work in this field have spent a great deal of time removing the old and installing the new.   The demand for this transition is fierce!    These new systems are ‘feature rich’ with what I like to call ‘Bling’.    Bling sells new things!   Just watch a spot for a new smart phone and how they present the new things the new creation can do and work to convince you that this is the reason to purchase the new one.     This does not stop with Smartphone…it extends to home appliances and entertainment systems, motor vehicles and ….of course, all manner of communications equipment.

This issue here is how we have become totally dependent on these new things and are quick to get rid of older, and in some cases, more reliable items because of their lack of ‘Bling’.  This is especially concerning when ‘Bling’ is more important that ‘Reliability’

There are a number of ways to increase reliability via better design.  In too many cases – “Price-point’ wins out over reliability.   Shortcomings like this can be overcome via redundancy, but this pushes up the cost.

The importance of having a ‘Plan-B’ cannot be overstated, however, it’s frequently ignored as dependency breeds complacency.   One thing a broadcast engineer needs to do is to constantly be asking ‘what would happen if something we count on, suddenly, was not there for us?

Sounds like the FCC is going to continue to ‘tinker’ with things in an effort to help AM Radio under the title of ‘Revitalization’.     I still believe they are, perhaps, ignoring the fact that many have given up on AM Radio (not to mention some auto makers that have omitted AM radios in new vehicles.     The fact is the percentage of people who listen to AM has been falling for years.   The laws of ‘Supply and Demand’ are here to stay, regardless of what the FCC does.    When there is a drop in demand, this is (usually) an indication there should be a reduction in supply.   Granted the number of AMs on the air is going down, however, I wonder if this reduction in supply is tracking the reduction in demand?

I still wonder how many AMs are on the air only because they are part of a group that operates profitable FM’s and whether these AMs would go silent should they have to stand on their own?

There are, certainly, a couple of factors driving this –

  • European countries are moving away from AM and FM broadcasting toward digital radio systems
  • Many of the new EV’s create their own AM Radio interference that the makers would rather not have to address.


Are you readying for the trek to the desert?  This year will mark the 100th NAB Show.

This year the dates are April 15 through the 19th.   Exhibits will open Sunday April 16th at 10 AM and close Wednesday at 2 PM.   I suspect attendance will be considerably above the 53,000+ that attended last year, on the heels of the Pandemic.



If you’ve been in this business for a while you know there are a couple of things about Broadcasting that many citizens dislike –

  • Nobody likes towers.  Citizens will often mount a campaign to try and force their local government to prevent them from being constructed, or, in the case of existing ones, make them go away.   Often this ‘visual blight’ will not be enough to change the minds of governments causing the objectors to dig deeper in their ammunition stash and come up with contentions that they cause cancer etc.
  • RF Interference.  AM stations are famous for being demodulated by any number of consumer devices – Telephones, Stereo’s, Internet connections, computer-speakers     The FCC is well aware of this issue and had rules requiring new installation address these things during the first year of operation.    Occasionally, these efforts are not sufficient to quell the objections. In some cases, local citizens insist that their local government deal with the FCC in an attempt to resolve their complaints to their satisfaction.

 Thus is the situation on Bainbridge Island where KKOL has been trying to turn on what  the FCC has permitted – 50,000 watts on 1300.  In a rather unusual action, the FCC is siding with the locals and has told KKOL they can’t run the full 50,000 watts, but only 35,000.

We are all seeing a tremendous push to get us to ditch our Petro-Powered vehicles and purchase EV’s.   There are some issues created in this process that are not fully being understood by many.

  • Where is all this electric power supposed to come from?
  • What about the issues where power is turned off due to lack of capacity, fires etc?
  • What will the reaction be when the EV owner discovers that his cost for a ‘fill-up’ of electrons exceeds the cost of a fill-up of a gas or diesel powered vehicle?
  • What’s going to be the allocation/priority scheme when commercial vehicles (assuming they have a bigger tank (battery)?
  • How many EV owners will be installing generators so they can charge their vehicle?
  • Pardon my pun….But it seems to me that this matter is in Flux.
  • Meanwhile – Toyota continues to think that Hydrogen is a better alternative.
  • Government entities are, rightfully, concerned we will be having a lot of vehicles on the road that are not paying taxes associated with purchasing Petrol (Gas and Diesel).   These governments are already tinkering around with charging everyone based on the miles they drive.   The EV owner is not going to escape !

As many of you know, many broadcast stations are operating with very old transmitters.

Here’s the ID Tag of a stations transmitter in our area that operates 24/7/365 –


My question is this –

Are there any stations that are operating one that’s older?

If so, please drop me an email and let me know.

I love pictures of unusual transmitter sites – This one certainly fits that category

WUMB’s tower on top of this stone tower.

Here’s a picture of a rather unique FM Broadcast stations transmitter.

Another sunset from my house with some interesting vapor trails.

This is the road between the two Broadcast Sites on West Tiger. Only traffic has been on foot.  Taken on different days


Hope to catch you here in 2023!

Clay, K7CR, CPBE

SBE Member # 714

Since March 1968