Clay’s Corner for September 2021


Providing news and views from a broadcast engineers perspective since September 1986

Wow!…..Look at that heading and do the math…..Can you believe that I’ve been writing this Column for 35 years!  All I have to do is look in a mirror to confirm that it must be true.  To be honest….I’ve been wondering how long I should keep doing this.    Perhaps it’s your feedback and emails that keep me going ?

At the end of August there are a number of big stories in the news…Ida, Drought, Covid, Afghanistan…Wow!

The Category 4 (almost a 5) storm slammed into the Gulf Coast again subjecting New Orleans to the worst nature has to offer.   Reminding many of Katrina that followed the same path 16 years ago to the day.   As was the case back then, many broadcasters were knocked off the air with those that were able to survive continuing to inform the citizens of the area what was happening.   In this case Ida did a real number of the electrical power system for NOLA plunging the whole city into darkness.   This mean that, once again, Radio was the communications system that rose to the occasion.   There are a couple of reasons for this – Generators and advance preparation at the station and battery powered radios.   The issue with TV is that there are not all that many battery powered sets out there.    Just like before, radio and TV news departments pooled their resources, an especially important partnership for the many radio stations that do not have news departments.

One of the stations often mentioned was WWL, now owned by Audacy.   They simulcasted their co-owned FM stations and went wall-to-wall with coverage as FEMA’s official station.   They were obviously geared up for the task with interviews of numerous public officials.   Reportedly the I-Heart cluster was also providing coverage.  Unfortunately, many radio and TV stations where off the air, including the entire cluster of Radio Stations owned by Cumulus.

As with Katrina, the FCC activated their DIRS System (Disaster Information Reporting System)  to track those stations, as well as cellular systems that were knocked out of commission.

Even though Hurricanes quickly move inland and dissipate, the mess left behind from Ida will take some time to recover from.   Power crews from all over were headed to NOLA to try and restore power, reportedly some 25,000 are going to be involved in this process. 5,000 National Guard Members will also be deployed.

I hate to say it, but our time is coming for a major disaster to impact our area.    Granted it will not likely be a hurricane, but rather a major earthquake.    The results will be similar.   We won’t have torrential rainfall, or  a Storm-Surge, but rather will have a Tsunami.   We will have major power outages, infrastructure damage and displaced people.  The bottom line, our disaster will be different, but the results will be just as devastating.

It seems like I have been writing something about Covid-19 forever!    Not long ago we thought that we were getting ahead of this nasty virus until we learned of the Delta Variant.  Not long afterward this version of the ‘bug’ began to spread around the world we have been pushed back to ‘Square-One’

Now we are faced with what appears to be a more serious situation than before.  For those that are vaccinated, there is some good news as the ‘shots’ appear to be working by keeping many out of the hospital or dying.

The numbers are sobering….In the U.S. –

  • We are experiencing some 100,000 daily Covid hospitalizations.
  • Predictions are that as many as 100,000 more will die by December first.
  • Already over 640,000 have died
  • In the last 28 Days, over 25,000 have died.

In Washington State –


I predicted that a time may come that we would find many that are opposed to getting their shots and that mandates might become more frequent.    Unfortunately, not enough are getting vaccinated soon enough to stay ahead of the virus and now things are starting to change for the worse as hospitals are overflowing with those that are in need of their care. (Not to mention the death-toll is climbing again)

For those that are vaccinated the fact that those are vaccine hesitant is creating a serious problem for those that have other medical issues.   For instance, should you have a heart attack, or need a surgery procedure to save your life…You might not be able to get it due to the un-vaccinated Covid overflow.    This means that, with good reason,  the vaccinated are not very happy with those that refused to get their shots,


On August 24th, The New York Times wrote –

The F.D.A.’s full approval of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine is already making a difference. Within hours of the announcement yesterday, the Pentagon and several large companies and universities announced new vaccine mandates.  President Biden, speaking at the White House yesterday afternoon, urged other organizations to follow: “Require your employees to get vaccinated or face strict requirements,” he said.

Over the past week, about 1,000 Americans per day have died of Covid; vaccination would probably have saved more than 95 percent of them.

Especially since the  full FDA approval of, Pfizer,  one of the major vaccines, one of the excuses that many have used to not get their shots (It’s experimental or rushed)  has been shot-down.   This has caused a couple of changes –

  • The numbers being vaccinated has increased.
  • An increase in the number of mandates.
  • An increase in the intensity of demonstrations opposed to mandates.

My major employer, WSU, owned by Washington State, is included in the requirement to get your shots by October 18th, or you are out of a job. (or document why you want to opt-out .  Of course you can quit your job…But, you might not be able to obtain un-employment benefits.

This move has resulted in the union representing State Employees suing the Governor, Jay Inslee, to delay his vaccine mandate until its full impacts have been adequately negotiated.  This is going to be very interesting to watch.    Perhaps unions should be expected to want to negotiate everything.

On the Federal Side – You work for Uncle-Sam, and in the Military, and refuse….You could face military legal issues.  Don’t think the military has any provisions for negotiating an order.

Delta Airlines, who is self insured, looked at this issue and announced that  the un-vaccinated would see a $200 boost to their medical insurance costs.   I suspect that others are watching this very closely.  If Insurance companies determine that it will cost more to insure those that are not vaccinated, look for that decision to cost the insured more.   This is not much different than a car insurance company structuring their rates based on their customers habits, for example, smokers often pay more for health insurance.

Recently I passed a number of, apparently, nurses that were protesting vaccine mandates, marching on a street corner in Federal Way.    Their signs conveyed their objections to being ordered what to do….Making it clear that they were objecting to what they feel is their freedom to choose.   There are a number that are not opposed to the medical aspect of this, but rather they are upset with the government, and in particular the Governor, for going beyond recommendations to mandates.

At least one union is challenging the Governors mandates in court.   Thus far the Governor has been batting 1,000 with these challenges, certainly all eyes are on this one.   If the challengers don’t win, perhaps they will take the matter to higher courts.

Unfortunately, a lot of people are rejecting getting vaccinated to the point they will demonstrate their opposition by standing on street corners or attending rally’s carrying signs and chanting. Some are, apparently, willing to quit their job over the issue.   Recently a fire-chief was interviewed where he expressed concern that 25% of his fireman may well walk off the job.

If  your house, or broadcast station, burns down because of lack of fireman, can, or should you blame those that refused to get vaccinated?

What seems to be lost is all of this is the concept we were taught in school where ‘The Majority Wins’.   Based on the percentage of those that have chosen vaccination, they are in the majority.   This reminds me of the recent Presidential Election where there is a segment that cannot accept the fact that they are in the minority and move on.

Those that are opposed to wearing masks or getting vaccinated appear to be reacting to our Governor issuing mandates, despite the Courts stating that he is within in authority to do so.  Everyone that has sent their kids to school should know all too well there are rules (Mandates) for vaccination for a number of diseases.

A recurring problem is that many fail to look at history.  Lawyers are the exception as they are frequently looking at what has been decided to aid them in handling present day events.   Unfortunately,  this has, for many, become an emotional matter triggering obstinance.

As far back as 1905, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a state smallpox vaccine requirement in Jacobson vs. Massachusetts, stating that “the liberty secured by the Constitution of the United States to every person within its jurisdiction does not import an absolute right in each person to be, at all times and in all circumstances, wholly freed from restraint. … Upon the principle of self-defense, of paramount necessity, a community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members.”


I remember when the news was full of stories of people contracting Polio seeing pictures of those in ‘Iron-Lungs’.    When the vaccine was developed to put an end to that horrible disease. I don’t recall anyone demonstrating against it (perhaps because I was quite young).  However, there was opposition.   If you look at history,  you will find that the elimination of Polio (and measles)  required vaccine mandates then too.

The other factor that seems tragic is how politics have played a role in this situation with ‘Red-States’ having the lowest vaccination rates.   Never thought I’d see the day when anyone would rather get their medical advice from a politician (or Radio talk-show Host)  than a Doctor!    When an un-vaccinated person is picked up by an ambulance, I wonder how many ask to not go to a medical facility because they don’t trust them?

The fact that the vast majority of those being hospitalized with Covid-19 are un-vaccinated would seem to me to be sending a powerful message that perhaps those that have been preaching against vaccination are wrong.   According to what I read, this is indeed increasing the number that are being vaccinated, however, it’s clear, from the statistics that this is not enough to keep our hospitals from being overwhelmed.

Just recently an outspoken critic of vaccination, Nashville conservative talk show host, Phil Valentine, passed away from Covid.  Before he died, from his deathbed he said he would “vigorously advocate” to get people vaccinated once he is back on the air.  Unfortunately, he will never have the opportunity. Stories like this have increased the numbers getting their shorts, unfortunately we are in a race with the Virus ….and in too many cases, the virus is winning.

One has to wonder if our freedom to say anything over the air has gone a bit too far?   Should the FCC have rules that limit what can be said, when that information is misleading and harmful to people?  I am constantly amazed that those who are against these vaccines will advocate extremely dangerous alternative treatments…and wonder how many of them are encouraged by those that are broadcasting their message via our Radio and TV Stations.

The number of wacko’s out there are a testimony to the old saying attributed to P.T. Barnum about a sucker being born every minute.    And we thought that the ‘Snake-Oil’ salesman was dead and buried?   The number of conspiracy theories related to Covid-19 is nothing short of mind blowing.    Want an example?   Read this –                                                                    The FDA Is Begging You Not to Take Horse Dewormer for Covid-19 – Rolling Stone

Should a talk-show-host be able to be sued when someone dies after taking their advice when it is proven to be wrong?    When are these cases. where people are clearly mis-lead,  going to result in lawsuits?   Is it possible that those that hold FCC licenses will be concerned about keeping them in cases where people have died based on heeding the advice of someone on that station?     Do broadcasters have any legal obligation to tell the truth, or are they protected under the laws that protect free speech?

The Governor of Illinois recently had a run in with a talk show co-host on WIND in Chicago, Amy Jacobson calling her out for spreading misinformation related to the pandemic and available vaccines to combat it.    Not often you hear about the governor of a state calling out a radio talk-show host.

Here’s another story along this line-

Texas anti-mask movement leader dies of COVID-19 | TheHill

He organized a “Freedom Rally” in July 2020 for people who were “sick of the government being in control of our lives,

My question is this – How many of these Anti-Vaccine advocates have to die before those that are refusing to get vaccinated stop believing that Government is not their enemy, but rather is trying to help them?    I suspect that those opposing getting vaccinated don’t fully understand the consequences of their actions.

New study reveals the real risk of the delta variant for unvaccinated people (

Now, with the return of mandated restrictions, the vaccinated are starting to look at the un-vaccinated as the source of the problem.   For a while, they were just viewed as being un-informed…..Now they are being viewed as the cause of the problem.

This time,  because of the Delta-Variant, those that have been opposed to getting vaccinated are now at even great risk of contracting this thing and this has increased the pressure upon them to do what they oppose with many digging in with greater intensity.

I wonder how broadcasters are approaching this issue?   Should broadcasters take sides?  From the sounds of things, some have.

In some other states, the Governor is on the other side of the argument fanning the flames.   One interesting argument …There are laws that limit doing whatever you want.   For example, there are laws that state you cannot assault another person.   If  you infect someone else, are you not violating them?

CNN recently terminated three of its employees of its New York facility for entering the facility unvaccinated  A memo to the CNN Staff read this way  – “All three have been terminated. Let me be clear — we have a zero-tolerance policy on this. You need to be vaccinated to come to the office. And you need to be vaccinated to work in the field, with other employees, regardless of whether you enter an office or not. Period.”  

On August 23rd, Beasley Media Group has become the latest radio group to require its employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. The company’s workers have until Nov. 1 to show they have been vaccinated or to “obtain an approved exemption as an accommodation. Beasley joins Cumulus Media and Urban One in adopting a vaccine mandate

I wonder how many other broadcast organizations are also taking a hard line?

In light of my railing about mis-information – I  thought this story was particularly interesting –

To address misinformation about COVID-19 in local areas, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is awarding a total of $275,000 in emergency grants to 14 public media stations across the country.

The grants — up to $20,000 each — will go to public television and radio stations in areas with low vaccination and high infection rates or in hotspots with a growing number of coronavirus infections.

Funding will be used to produce or extend programming about the pandemic, to organize community outreach efforts about vaccines and to develop multiplatform public service announcement campaigns.

“Public media stations, locally operated, work with their communities through partnerships of trust,” said Patricia Harrison, CPB president and CEO. “General managers of stations serving America’s communities that are hard hit by the pandemic are committed to breaking through the cycle of misinformation regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and are providing information that is saving lives.”

Some of the 14 grants include Mississippi Public Broadcasting in Jackson, Miss. The station will produce a series of radio and television broadcast specials focused on COVID-19. The station will also host a virtual town hall with medical experts and produce a social media campaign designed to combat information. Others, like Wyoming Public Media is Laramie, Wyo., will spotlight personal testimonials about COVID infections and increase newsroom reporting on the pandemic’s impact on the state economy. In the east, West Virginia Public Broadcasting in Charleston, W.Va., will orchestrate a multiplatform outreach effort to younger audiences in communities that have been vaccine hesitant.  The station will also work with kids programs like PBS KIDS to reach families with young children.

Other station’s include Arkansas PBS in Conway, Ark., Boise State Public Radio in Boise, KERA in Dallas, Nine PBS in St. Louis, KRSU in Tulsa, Okla., KOSU in Stillwater, Okla., Louisiana Public Broadcasting and WRKF in Baton Rouge, WBHM in Birmingham, Ala., WCTE in Cookeville, Tenn., and WJCT Public Media in Jacksonville, Fla.

One of the most difficult jobs these days is planning for the NAB Convention in Las Vegas.  The Next one is scheduled for October 9 through 13.   Near the end of the month, NAB announced that attendees will have to be vaccinated.  If you are planning on attending – You will need to watch the NAB Web Site for the latest information.  If things get really bad, I would not be surprised if they cancelled the October event….Keeping their fingers crossed for next April.

Word is that the biggest show in Las Vegas, the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) will require every attendee to be fully vaccinated.  This is in January.

Speaking of which, for those of you that have had your shots, and received the little card with your shot record…perhaps you noticed there are 4 spaces for entries.   Unless you received the J&J Vaccine, there are two spaces left to be filled out.   We now know that Boosters are on the way for everyone.   Guess those that designed the cards knew something we did not.

Here’s a quote I thought said it pretty well –

It appears this debate, fueled largely by misinformation, will continue until the public recognizes that the pandemic is caused by an infectious disease and not political opportunism. Given this simple fact, it will not be stopped by threats or protests or speeches, but rather by vaccination and other preventive measures — just like so many infectious diseases before it.

Here’s another –

“ Kay Ivey, Alabama’s Republican governor,  stated- “Time to start blaming the unvaccinated.”  
Vaccine mandates are the policy manifestation of this frustration. They effectively tell the unvaccinated that their decision is hurting others and that society has an interest in pushing them to change. They can refuse, but they will pay a price — in lost access to a job, a college campus or other shared experiences where they may infect other people.

The time has come that many doctors and government leaders are no longer holding back and are coming out squarely blaming the mess we are in on those that are not vaccinated. The statistics, graphics and prominent epidemiologists are painting a picture that states very clearly that this is going to get worse, perhaps much worse, before it gets better for all of us.

Unlike what we were seeing,  a couple months ago, that light at the end of the tunnel appears to have indeed been a locomotive !

Oh Yes, Afghanistan….There is a local connection.  Many of those C-17’s you saw operating out of Kabul are based at Joint-Base Lewis McChord near Tacoma.   Some of the local stations did pick up on that connection.

Many of us are now used to using our computers (with Cameras and Microphone) to participated in meetings using Zoom, Teams or other platform.     If you do use Teams – You might find this to be helpful –

One thing I quickly learned,  in a Zoom meeting with a bunch of broadcasters, several were quick to point out that I sounded like I was in a restroom.    The issue is I was using the mic that’s attached to my camera.   My solution was to purchase a Jounivo microphone from a major local on-line store.   Since then, the complaints have gone away.   Another plus is having a mute button on the mic base with an LED that tells me when I am muted.   Much better than using a mouse.

Want to feel a bit older – Think about the fact that MTV is 40 years old !

In the event you have not noticed – It has not really rained around here in a long time….Sure we have had some heavy drizzle a time or two…but no rain like this area is famous for.   The impact goes beyond having a ‘blonde lawn’.    Many of our trees are dying also.  Want an example…Drive Highway 18 around the Maple Valley Exit.   The number of dying or dead fir trees is enough to make you sick.

Sure,  we had enough drizzle early in the month to officially end our 52 day long dry spell (The 2nd longest on record) but the dryness continues.    Perhaps you noticed that these long dry periods are taking place more frequently, more signs of climate-change.

We are certainly not the only place where it’s dry – The entire western portion of the U.S. is in record territory.    All of this has resulted in massive wildfires, some of which will not be out for months to come.

Perhaps the lack of water is more evident in California where reservoirs behind dams are so low that they can no longer generate electricity.    Read the news about Lake Mead and the impact on the water supplies for several states and you will see.

Here’s a map of the Western US – The darker the color, the worse it is.

Zooming in on just the PNW States shows the only areas where the forecast is for some relief is in Western Washington and part of NW Oregon.  The Yellow areas are to be ‘Abnormally Dry’

We know, from past experience, that the Rains will come….however, we should be prepared for not as much as we are used to.

I guess I should mention that it’s not just us in the West with the problem.

Look at this headline –

State imposes water restrictions as drought worsens

Want to venture a guess what State they are referring to ?     Would you believe that this is Minnesota?   According to the U.S. Geological Survey, about 60% of the state’s streams and rivers are flowing at or near record lows.


Meanwhile – Hurricane Henri has ‘over-watered’ New England and another storm is having it’s way in Mexico (Not to mention Louisana)     And there are still those that believe that it ‘Rains all the time in Seattle’…Go tell that to those rain starved trees and the folks that are fighting forest fires not too far away from here.

When I started in this business (Way back in the middle of the last Century) one of more popular radio programs were when listeners could call their favorite station to request a certain song be played, or perhaps dedicated to a special someone.    This was long before computerized radio stations, in those days, there was a live announcer that would be scrambling to find the record requested.  Often the caller would be recorded so that their request would be aired just before the record played. (ahh…Those were the days !!)

Amazon recently made an announcement that they would be Beta-Testing new tools that would allow more radio stations to take requests via its Alexa system. Apparently,  I-Heart has jumped in in four cities.    It will be interesting to see how this works.

Need to remember, for many, this will be 100% new 😊

I have to wonder how many things that radio used to do, would be attractive today.  Everyone else seems to re-cycle ideas.   Who knows, maybe a local TV station would consider a kids show for afternoons?


Congratulations to Dave Ratener on his recent election to the SBE Board of Directors.    Having spent 10 years with that group, I can say it was a very worthwhile experience.       Dave is the 3rd person from Chapter 16 to do this – John Schneider was the first.  Unfortunately, when it comes to finding those willing to serve, the nomination committee has a hard time finding the willing.

Here is the SBE Press Release on the Elections

Andrea Cummis, CBT, CTO, is elected President of the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE). Cummis serves as Chief Technical Officer of “PBS39” WLVT-TV Bethlehem, PA. A member of SBE Chapter 15 in New York City, Cummis is the first woman to be elected to hold the office.

“I look forward to serving the Society and its members,” Cummis said in a release. “President Wayne Pecena has led the society through an interesting and unusual time, and as everyone looks forward to a return to normal, I’m pleased that the Society is still growing and thriving. I’m eager to work with the Board of Directors and the membership so we can expand our membership and outreach to the media professionals among us.”

The 2021 election also resulted in the appointment of officers and members of the Board of Directors.

Serving one-year terms as officers, effective Oct. 11 are: VP Ted Hand, CPBE, 8-VSB, AMD, ATSC3, DRB; Chapter 45 Charlotte; Secretary Kevin Trueblood, CBRE, CBNT; Chapter 90 Southwest FL; and Treasurer Jason Ornellas, CBRE, CRO; Chapter 43 Sacramento.

Serving two-year terms as members of the Board of Directors, which also begin Oct. 11, are: Zhulieta Ibisheva, CBTE, CBT; Chapter 50 Hawaii; Jeff Juniet, CBTE; Chapter 42 Central Florida; Charles “Ched” Keiler, CPBE, 8-VSB, CBNE; Chapter 53 South Florida; Geary S. Morrill, CPBE, AMD, CBNE; Chapter 91 Central Michigan; David Ratener, CPBE, CBNT; Chapter 16 Seattle; Dan Whealy, CBTE; Chapter 96 Rockford.

The National Board of Directors of the SBE is responsible for the development of policy and determines the programs and services the society provides to its more than 5,000 members.

The newly-elected members join six other directors who have another year remaining on their terms. They include:  Stephen Brown, CPBE, CBNT; Chapter 80 Fox Valley; Roswell Clark, CPBE, CBNT; Chapter 39 Tampa Bay Area; Kirk Harnack, CBRE, CBNE; Chapter 103 Nashville; Thomas McGinley, CPBE, AMD, CBNT; Chapter 16 Seattle; Shane Toven, CPBE, DRB, CBNE; Chapter 43 Sacramento; Fred Willard, CPBE, 8-VSB, CBNT; Chapter 37 Washington, DC.

 A recent op-ed in a national publication caught my attention.   Was written by an owner of an AM station in the South Dakota talking about how the FM Translator he has is limited in coverage compared to his AM and there for has limited value because its only good to about 15 miles out, whereas his AM signal goes much further.    This is a giant lesson on one of the major factors that impact the coverage of an AM radio station ….Ground conductivity.

Take a close look at the following map – Note the Yellow arrow pointing at South Dakota and notice how their conductivity numbers like 15 and 30

Now notice the conductivity numbers for Western Washington (Blue Arrow) are 2 to 4.

Without getting into a bunch of engineering …This means that an AM station, on the same frequency, running the same power, will go a lot further in South Dakota than it will here.

Sure,  the Dial-Position has an impact, lower on the dial stations cover further with the same amount of power…but Conductivity, ie, what the earth is made of, has a huge impact.    If this fellow’s station were located in an area with conductivity like we have in Western Washington, he could well find that his translator had better coverage.   Again, this is based on flat land which we have very little of.

Before I leave this topic – Note the area where the Green Arrow is pointed.   The conductivity of this area is an 8.  (Twice as high as Western Washington)  This explains why KWSU in Pullman has significant coverage in that part of the State with their 5,000 watts.

Speaking of AM’s.   It was announced that WIBC has gone silent   What makes this significant is the 1070 frequency, listened to many in Indianapolis will be no more.  Like many AM’s the land where their towers were located was sold,   Likely, making more money for the station’s owners than possible in these days of declining AM listeners.  The stations 6 towers were on 70 acres zoned for mixed use, commercial and residential.

The Seattle area experienced something similar many years ago.  Fortunately, for the stations here, most found another place to transmit from rather than go dark.  Of course, this happened prior to the slump in AM listening.   KAYO was located along 4th Ave in SoDo, they moved to the Bellevue Swamp near 880/KIXI.   KOL was on Harbor Island, they moved to Tacoma and now to Bainbridge Island.  KJR was on the west side of the West Waterway…They moved to Tacoma and then Vashon and 1050 moved from Port owned land to Pigeon Point in West Seattle.

Another AM bites the dust – This time, closer to home.  KSCR (1320) in Eugene, Oregon.    The station operated with relatively low power, 600 watts day and 40 watts at night.   The station started operation in 1962 as KATR. They added an FM Translator in 2017, but this was, apparently, not enough to make the station viable.   The stations owner, Cumulus, surrendered the license on July 12th of this year.

On the Job Front –

  • Alex Brewster has accepted a position with GatesAir as a Service Support Engineer. Most recently Alex has been with the local Hubbard stations. (Congrats Alex). This creates an opening .   For more information… Google – Hubbard Jobs.
  • The retirement of Tom Saylor and, more recently John McDaniel, have created several openings at WSU’s Northwest Public Broadcasting. One of the openings is for an IT Support person. Check out – (Work with us | Northwest Public Broadcasting ( The others will be posted soon.   For more information contact the department head,  Jeff Snell   You are also welcome to contact me for some background information on what it’s like to work for NWPB…I’ve been there going on 12 years now.   In my last two columns you got to see pictures of some of the cool places I get to work.

Did you see the Magazine section of the Sunday, August 22nd, Seattle Times?   A very nice story about KHNC….One of several High School operated stations in our State.   I could not help but notice one of the pictures showed the stations EAS equipment with a Binder hanging in view.   Long time area Broadcast Engineer, Buzz Anderson provides their technical support.

The article brought back a lot of memories for me….I  credit my start to one of those high-school stations.      Way back in the last Century my family moved to Lakewood, and I found myself enrolled at Clover Park High School.   In the back of the campus was this little green building with a tower at both ends.   One tower held a 10-meter beam for the school Ham Station…(Uniquely the call letters were W7SBE).   At the other end of the building the other tower supported the antenna for the schools FM station, KCPS  (Clover Park Schools).   Inside were  two classrooms for the instructors- Ron Manning and Tex Turner, a shop, radio studios and, of course, a room dedicated to the Ham station.   I found myself a student there soaking up all that I could.   From this the seeds were planted for my interest in Ham Radio as well as Broadcasting.    When the School district obtained portions of the old Navy supply base in Lakewood, they moved KCPS there (and changed the call letters to KPEC) and added a TV station,  where I continued my education.  The TV station morphed into KCPQ which was sold to Kelly Broadcasting…The Radio station continued for many years with the call letters KVTI, to do what KNHC is still doing, training tomorrows broadcasters.    With the closing of that program about 10 years ago, the stations operation was taken over by NWPB where I became responsible for its maintenance. This means that my association with 90.9 goes back about 60 years.   It’s been quite a journey.

I’ve often spoken about American Tower.    After all,  they purchased two of the transmitter sites that I was responsible for building in this area.  Their success is quite impressive as you can see from the following –

American Tower reported financial results for the quarter ended June 30. The company’s revenue increased 20.2 percent to $2.299 billion; property revenue increased 17.9 percent to $2.233 billion; net income increased 66.8 percent to $748 million; adjusted EBITDA increased 21.8 percent to $1.476 billion; and consolidated AFFO increased 18.7 percent to $1.097 billion.

As most of you know, I have announced my retirement from Chairing the State EAS Committee, aka – The SECC.    The SECC Meeting on September 14th will be my last time to conduct this meeting.   At the meeting there will be elections for Chairman and Vice Chair.    Ted Buehner, who has been with the group since it started 25 years ago, has agreed to move up.     The meeting is accomplished with Zoom.    You are welcome to participate.  I will have posted on the EAS-WA Remailer information on how to do so.    If  you are not a subscriber to that system, drop me an email and I will send  you the information.

New Census Data is out and with it some interesting tid-bits –

  • We all knew that Seattle was growing rapidly, however, who would have guessed that Kent (South of Seattle between Tukwila and Auburn) was one of fastest growing cities in the U.S.  Outpacing the Seattle growth rate.


  • Yes, Seattle did grow about 100,000. It was one of 14 major cities that increased by at least that amount in the last 10 years. Seattle’s population is now 737,015.


  • King County increased by 338,000 up to a total of 2,269,675]


  • Our State Population gained by 14.6%. 7,705,281 can now say they are Washingtonians


  • Perhaps if you have not been there in a while, but two of the fastest growing counties in the State are Franklin and Benton County. More commonly known as the Tri-Cities. The area is home for over 300,000.   Compare that to the Spokane City population of 228,989 (The Spokane Metro area is about 600,000)

According to published reports – TV Stations will start using 5G to reach Smart Phones by the end of the year.   Sinclair, owner of KOMO and KUNS in Seattle are very active with this new technology.   Now to see just how many will put it to use.   It’s all about Next-Gen TV.   Perhaps they need to be careful as there are those out there that still feel that 5G is what causes Covid-19 infections.  (Seriously !)


Those that track these things are saying the only Radio deal this year that was over $10 million was the Sinclair/Lotus deal to sell KOMO-AM & FM, KVI and KPLZ.   Still waiting to hear when this might happen.   Can’t believe it has not closed by now.


I ran across this item recently – Should be of particular interest to those stations that have been installing filters on their C-Band equipment.

Possible Obstacles Remain for Widespread 5G Deployment | AGL (Above Ground Level) (



A long time ago I recall someone talking about taking advantage of the amazing amount of water that flows back and forth through the Tacoma Narrows.      This memory was all brought back to mind with this headline –

‘World’s most powerful’ wave turbine starts generating electricity.

In this case the location is off the northeaster coast of Scotland.   The developer, Orbital Marine Power took 15 years to develop and 18 months to build this, very interesting, machine    In this location it will generate power with incoming and outgoing tides direction.   I can imagine there would be a huge amount of environmental opposition to such a contraption being placed in the Tacoma Narrows, or perhaps some other location in Puget Sound…However, it’s a cool idea.

Here are some pictures –

Many of my readers will recall me writing about the impact of rising sea-levels on a couple of local AM Stations (570 on Vashon and 1360 at Browns Point).   Recently KING-5 ran a story about how Tacoma is going to deal with this issue at Owen-Beach near Point Defiance.

Can you believe Tom McGinley has been working for Townsquare Media in Montana now for 6 years?   Guess so.   Miss you around here, Bother Tom.

In a sign of how important drones have become to some local news organizations, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. has announced that the company’s Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) drone program recently completed its 25,000th logged flight. Sinclair’s drone program, which launched in 2016, operates across 45 of its newsrooms nationwide.

For some time now there has been a translator whose antenna was mounted on one of the KMIA Towers in Auburn.    Tuning into 102.1 you could hear KOMO-AM.    Recently that changed, now 102.1 is broadcasting KMIA.

Sorry to report the passing of Darryl Parker.   For many years he was the face of TFT.    A very tall and very nice gentlemen that was dedicated to customer service…even after the firm closed up shop in 2015.   Darryl was 77.

Those nice little Cellphone Batteries created a serious moment recently on an Alaska flight from Nola to Seattle when the owners cellphone caught on fire.  Apparently the airlines was ready and deployed a ‘Battery Containment Bag’.   Sounds like the kept the aircraft out away from the terminal and bussed the passengers.

If you are concerned about this issue – Here you go – Electronics Fire Containment Bag (FAA Materials Standards) Large/Laptop Sized : Electronics

These new batteries are wonderful in terms of performance, but they are also scary at the same time.    GM is recalling every Chevy Bolt ever made due to concerns over battery safety –

GM Recalls Every Chevy Bolt Ever Made Over Faulty Batteries | WIRED

For some reason the following picture caused me to stop and smile – Can you imagine playing a wind instrument while wearing a mask?

My column would not be complete without a picture looking out over Dwight Small’s ‘back yard’  At the bottom of the picture you can see the top of a chair on his little deck.    Just imagine sitting there knowing that you don’t have to deal with the Seattle areas traffic anymore !     Some people have it good, others have it VERY good.

Let me close with this, from an old friend.


Winston Churchill loved paraprosdokians – figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected. Sort of like watching the news 2021, which is largely paraprosdokial… Enjoy this selection, and pay no heed to political innuendo!

  1. Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.
  2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it’s still on my list.
  3. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
  4. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.
  5. War does not determine who is right – only who is left.
  6. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  7. They begin the evening news with ‘Good Evening,’ then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.
  8. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
  9. I thought I wanted a career. Turns out, I just wanted pay checks.
  10. In filling out an application, where it says, ‘In case of emergency, notify:’ I put “DOCTOR.”
  11. I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
  12. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street…with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.
  13. Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.
  14. A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.
  15. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
  16. Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.
  17. There’s a fine line between cuddling and…holding someone down so they can’t get away.
  18. I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not so sure.
  19. You’re never too old to learn something stupid.
  20. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
  21. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
  22. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
  23. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
  24. I’m supposed to respect my elders, but now it’s getting harder and harder for me to find one.


Until then, if you are vaccinated, plan on getting your booster

If you are un-vaccinated….You know what you should do.



Clay, K7CR, CPBE

A SBE Fellow

SBE Member # 714

Since March 1968