Reader Letters: Main Studio, Right to Repair, More

AM REVITALIZATION

Responding to Mark Fowler’s commentary “Revitalization and Interference: Fact vs. Science Fiction” in the April 26 issue:

Please do not forget that if Class B and D stations are permitted to raise their power, Class C stations must also be permitted to raise power above the current 1 kW maximum to be able to counteract any increased first-adjacent-channel interference that would be caused by Class B and D stations.

Craig Fox
WOLF Radio Inc.
Syracuse, N.Y.

 

The work that the NAB, the NRSC and the broadcast engineering community did in the late 1980s and early 1990s that resulted in the current AM allocation scheme was conceived over several years of discussion and was generally well thought out.

In contrast, much of the FCC’s current proposal seems to be haphazardly put together and ill-conceived in many respects.

For instance, the proposal reduces first-adjacent-channel groundwave protection by approximately 30 dB at the 2 mV/m contour. This represents a potentially destructive increase in 10 kHz interference between stations. If fully implemented, the audio signal-to-noise ratio above 5 kHz will be degraded significantly.

I suggest reading the comment that was filed by Univision, written by Karl Lahm. He provides an in-depth analysis of how the FCC’s proposed changes could degrade adjacent-channel protection and significantly increase interference between all stations.

Degrading interference protections will only further AM’s demise. There are better ideas out there such as frequency synchronization and on-channel synchronous boosters that could potentially help “revitalize” AM without increasing existing interference levels.

Brian Henry
Henry Communications
Napa, Calif.

 

Mark Fowler makes excellent points but the big issue is still the amount of electrical interference, not the contour protected from other stations. While the recent reduction in forces at the FCC will make it difficult to police, there are ways to permit reporting of serious problems from volunteers whose qualifications can be ascertained. The FCC can then follow up without wasting time.

Bill Croghan, CPBE, WBØKSW
Lotus Broadcasting
Las Vegas

 

All nighttime AMs get 100 Watts. No more of the 21 or 6 watts crap. Maybe many years ago it was a problem but today AM is hanging on by its fingernails and every little bit counts.

A lot of the new transmitters have a problem running at such low power.

If two stations are having a problem with interference, make it so the station with the higher night power gets to keep their assigned power and the offending station needs to figure out how high they can go without interfering with the other station.

I would bet that very few stations will have an issue. I have a couple of stations that can’t serve their communities due to the low power requirements.

Mark Parthe
Arizona Broadcast Service
Prescott Valley, Ariz.

 

MAIN STUDIO RULE

Regarding “NAB: Main Studio Rule Actually Impedes Service,” radioworld.com:

It is obvious that the only concern you have for the broadcast operation is bottom line cost. You have no concern for content, access, or most obviously, service to the community of license.

Holding on to the “main studio rule” is the last, however minimal, point of contact that a community has with its “local” broadcaster. Notwithstanding that an excuse to remove any business from “Main Street” does not help the health of “Main Street” to begin with.

This also ignores the fact that this is the perfect foundation for creating the kind of media situation that Hitler used — all resources of information coming from one source and one source only with no ability to input from any other area.

No sir. The main studio rule needs to remain in place if only to serve as a reminder that stations are “licensed as a public trustee to serve in the public interest.”

Bill Shrode
Vice President and Director of Engineering
Mason Prairie Enterprises Inc.
Parkersburg, Ill.

 

The FCC has shown a willingness to consider updating the main studio rules. Good idea, but I’d go further, and consider changing the city of license rules.

In almost every city (including many small ones), there are stations with a city of license in some tiny burg nearby. How many stations ID themselves as “KXXX City of License/City where the studio is located”?

It’s an unexpected result of the 80-90 rules that created lots of new FM stations. Twenty-five years ago, we were proposing drop-in channels as “first service” to every little town outside a populated area. FCC rules at the time favored adding “first service” to a community (large or small) that didn’t already have a radio station.

This resulted in hundreds, perhaps thousands, of stations licensed to small towns while the stations were really operated from nearby cities. Many of these little towns that got “first service” were so small, they didn’t have any retail businesses. No matter. There were incorporated towns or villages, and thus, under FCC rules, qualified for first service.

Today this seems almost silly. We have clusters of stations operated from studios located in the nearby city, who may have several stations with cities of license in nearby little towns. The only time the city of license is ever mentioned is in the hourly ID.

I propose to make the city of license where the studio is located. Simple as that. All other rules still apply.

A case could be made that whole concept of “city of license” is outdated. Perhaps. But I’m suggesting that at least the current rules should reflect the reality of radio today.

Art Morris
Contract Engineer and ABIP Inspector
Aurora, Mo.

 

TRANSLATOR TRICKS

Responding to “Are Broadcasters ‘Gaming’ the Translator Rules?” in the RW May 10 issue:

Good article exploring FM translator issues, thank you.

What you hinted at needs to be stated more bluntly: FM translators were gaming the system from Day One. In reality, they are a broadcasting service in their own right, not just a supplementary adjunct to the main station. They elbow their way into an already overcrowded FM radio dial.

FM translators have become the must-have prestige bauble to keep up with the Joneses to aggrandize radio property value. Full-service FM stations that complain about fringe contour interference from a translator are baring the fiction held out to their advertisers of exaggerated coverage claims. Average listeners don’t attempt to listen to a station that can’t keep receiver capture.

On the AM side, the notion that FM translators support AM revitalization is the oxymoron of the century. Clear FM reception seduces listeners away from the noisy AM band, thus directly subverting rather than enhancing the AM radio service. Let’s quit the winking and nodding about FM translators.

As the boy in the crowd observed: “Hey! The emperor isn’t wearing any clothes!”

A genuine improvement to the AM radio service would be to pull in the contour protections of Class A and B stations to allow lower-class AM stations to up their power, same day as night, and sunset their FM translators. That would be AM revitalization!

James B. Potter, K3NSW
Cutting Edge Engineering
The Little Spot Shop
Kimberling City Mo.

 

RIGHT TO REPAIR

Responding to “Why I Support the Right to Repair,” April 26 issue:

This subject caught my attention. As a volunteer “engineer” for eight years at non-profit KCAM(AM/FM) in rural Alaska, and even after 35 years as an electronics engineer in an aerospace company, the attempt to repair and/or work around a critical air chain component was a nightmare.

There was absolutely no overnight shipping. And talk about shipping cost! I spent much of my time attempting to incorporate backup and alternate signal routing; backup transmitter, STL, even a backup antenna. And, yes, I considered it a blessing to find schematics, troubleshooting and repair documentation.

For me, my time at KCAM(AM/FM) was incredible, with great people to work with, in the middle of the most scenic area in the country, in a community where everyone is looking out for the welfare of all, and challenges to keep both mind and body moving even at –40 degrees F.

Roger Bovee
Glennallen, Alaska

 

HEAR CHARLIE PERSONS’ BOOK

Paul, you told Radio World readers last year about the book “Where Have All the Broadcasters Gone,” written by my father Charles B. Persons (http://tinyurl.com/rw-persons-2).

I’m writing to share links to the free audio version of the book, narrated by Kirk Harnack. Anyone interested may hear it at mwpersons.com/books or go to SoundCloud or YouTube and type the book title into the search field.

Mark Persons
Brainerd, Minn.

 

REMEMBER NICK LEGGETT

It was good to see your recognition of Nickolaus Leggett (“Nick Leggett Dies; Was Advocate for Microcasting and LPFM,” radioworld.com, May 17).

As a reporter covering the FCC, I had been following his filings for some years.

Nick and Judith were guests of honor at the opening night of WERA(LP) here in Arlington last year. Though it was physically difficult for him to attend, Nick was so upbeat and personable. He sat for an interview, which aired on WERA several times, and left the station a donation.

A Renaissance man of sorts, he was an independent and dogged advocate.

So thanks for your article. We also were delighted to see the kitten in the air studio as RW’s Photo of the Week.

Benn Kobb
WERA volunteer
Arlington, Va.



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