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If You Hate Surprises, You’ll Love This Idea

Also, take advantage of a simple Plexiglas solution

Fig. 1: Old and sagging doors are both unsightly and inefficient. The Federal Communications Commission conducts unscheduled inspections of broadcast facilities, both randomly and when they have a reason to believe a problem exists. Put your station under the microscope, and avoid an FCC inspection for 3 years by participating in an “Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program.”

Under this program, your state association of broadcasters will dispatch a private ABIP inspector to perform a complete FCC-type inspection of your station to ensure that it is in compliance with the commission’s rules. In most cases, you do not have to be a member of the state association, although the association manages the program and sets the fees, which may be higher for non-members.

The program is straightforward. After you complete the agreement, and pay the required fee, the state agency will notify the FCC that an inspection is pending. For a period of 150 days, dating from the the agreement, you will not be subject to a random inspection by the FCC. At a time convenient for both you and for the ABIP inspector, your station will then be inspected following a specific, FCC-prepared checklist.

The inspection will take four to six hours, depending on the complexity of your operation. Any areas found not in compliance will be discussed with you, your chief operator and/or technical staff at the time of inspection. Shortly after the inspection, you will receive a complete and confidentialreport detailing the findings, including violations and advisories, if any, and the forfeiture amount that may have been levied had it been an official FCC inspection.

If your station is in compliance, a Certificate of Compliance will be issued, and you will be exempt from random FCC inspections for three years.

Please note: There are certain exceptions, such as targeted inspections for safety matters related to towers or inspections responsive to a complaint, such as interference, where an FCC inspection may still occur.

Fig. 2: Evan Baker demonstrates the dangers to which exposed equipment can be subjected. If your station was found not to be in compliance, you will be given a certain amount of time to make the necessary corrections and to provide the ABIP inspector with proof of correction and compliance. In some instances, a re-inspection may be required. Once everything is as it should be, you will be issued a certificate of compliance.

Contact your state broadcasters’ association for more information.


Console furniture takes a beating, and Evan Baker, assistant engineer and fleet manager for Cumulus Media Albuquerque, offers a great way to deal with hinged cabinet doors that sag.

Fig. 1 shows how the doors may not close evenly, and the years of opening and closing makes the screws holding the door hinges impossible to reset.

Fig. 3: Hook-and-loop fastener strips maintain easy access for adjustments. So what did Evan do? He replaced the heavy doors with 1/8-inch clear Plexiglas. After removing the doors and hardware, Evan installed Velcro brand hook-and-loop fastener strips on each side of the cabinet, with matching Velcro on the sides of the Plexiglas sheet. The Plexiglas prevents feet or knees from kicking the rack mount equipment, as shown in Fig. 2. Plus, if you need access to the equipment, the plastic easily peels down to permit adjustment, as seen in Fig. 3.

Evan says the materials cost about $60 total.


It seems we’ve gone from winter right into the summer storms. It’s an appropriate time to check your uninterruptible power supply’s battery condition. Here’s a sampling of some tips from several listservs.

Just like anything else, batteries require maintenance. A double conversion UPS system, like those offered by Tripp-Lite, needs to be tested by disconnecting the AC power after the batteries have been tested and confirmed as good.

If your UPS does not have an auto bypass switch, it’s probably worthwhile investing in one. These switches permit the UPS to be swapped out of the circuit for maintenance and/or battery replacement. Having an external automatic bypass provides a necessary layer of redundant protection, and it also makes it easy to swap out an entire UPS, if needed. Contribute to Workbench. You’ll help your fellow engineers, and qualify for SBE recertification credit. Send Workbench tips to [email protected]. Fax to (603) 472-4944.

Author John Bisset has spent 44 years in the broadcasting industry and is still learning. He handles West Coast sales for the Telos Alliance. He is SBE Certified and is a past recipient of the SBE’s Educator of the Year Award.