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‘Cliff, the Radio Station Is on Fire!’

NAB engineering sessions include several devoted to safety

These presentations may be less sexy than speeches about digital radio, the future of AM or IP audio. But several Broadcast Engineering Conference sessions on “getaway” day of the NAB Show will deal with a subject arguably even more important: safety.

The “Planning for Safety” track begins with a discussion by Jerry Ehlers and John Peck of Dialight Corp. on the use of LED lighting systems for aviation obstruction. They promise to explain how LED obstruction lighting helps solve problems like hard-to-reach failed lamps, FAA fines, complaints of light “spill” and RF interference, while also reducing energy and carbon emissions, and lasting longer than traditional lights.

Robert Johnson of Narda Safety Test Solutions will discuss new international guidance that can help improve RF radiation safety measurements. He discusses four major parts of an RF safety program: exposure control, access, training and signage.

A panel of speakers will discuss several guides that are offered by the National Association of Tower Erectors, plus a recent Telecommunication Industry Association standard about gin pole use and tower rigging. Participants include Jim Coleman of Southern Broadcast Services, Don Doty of Stainless and Dave Anthony of Shenandoah Tower Services.

Cliff Shank will relate the story of the day in 2011 that he heard the phrase “Cliff, the radio station is on fire!” In fact, four stations had their facilities destroyed in the blaze. His session is “Broadcasting Disaster Planning and Insurance: How to Survive a Devastating Fire.” He’s with Ad Astra per Aspera Broadcasting Inc.

And Robert Curtis of Curtis Engineering & Management Services will discuss how ANSI/IEEE RF Safety Program Standards apply at radio/TV antenna sites, to help avoid common violations that occur when workers such as aviation light technicians, tower repairmen and electricians work too close to transmitting antennas. He promises to show photos of common RF violations at AM and FM radio and TV broadcast sites based on the assessment of 80 sites.

Martin Stabbert of Cumulus chairs these sessions, which take place Thursday morning of NAB.