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