Observations From Atlanta - Radio World

Observations From Atlanta

Cumulus changes, AM noise and lunch with Lara and the Beasleys
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Long-time Radio World contributor Scott Fybush is in Atlanta at the Radio Show. He provided us with a few observations from Wednesday.

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Convention attendees on Wednesday were keeping their eyes on two big developments outside the Marriott Marquis here in Atlanta. The Tuesday ouster of Cumulus Media head Lew Dickey was the talk of the floor Wednesday morning, of course. To the south, the impending arrival of Hurricane Joaquin had vendors and convention-goers checking their departure plans and hoping to be able to get out of Atlanta smoothly when the Radio Show ends on Friday.

At the presentation area at one end of the show floor, Atlanta-based FCC agent Doug Miller hosted an “Ask the FCC” session Wednesday morning, fielding complaints about the ever-rising noise floor that’s making life difficult for AM operators.

“I don’t think that we’re ever going to get the power companies to quiet their lines down and the electronics makers to stop generating so much interference,” Miller said. He told the crowd that the FCC hasn’t stopped trying to enforce the Part 15 rules that govern “unintentional radiators” like TV sets and household appliances, but “the problem is there are just so many more things” in the average house. Miller said a recent source of frustration is wireless providers who demand noise floors at LTE cell sites that are sometimes impossible to meet in the presence of powerful FM transmitters. “When we can’t resolve (a dispute), we take the measurements and if the broadcaster is meeting the emissions mask, we write up a report and send it to the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and Media Bureau. They determine the final outcome if we can’t get both parties to work together.” As for pirates, Miller says more enforcement is coming. In his region, he said “over 90% of [pirate] operators voluntarily surrender their equipment to the agent issuing an initial warning.”

It was all about family for Beasley Media founder George Beasley as he received the National Radio Award at the Radio Luncheon on Wednesday.

Accompanied by his wife and several of his children, Beasley took pride in noting that three generations of Beasleys are now in the radio business, including daughter Caroline (Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer) and several grandchildren. Beasley received a standing ovation after sharing tales of his earliest days in the business, when he was working as a North Carolina high school principal and his cousin Stu Epperson helped him apply for his first radio station.

The luncheon attendees also reacted emotionally to CBS News correspondent Lara Logan, who told stories of her time in war zones around the world, including an attack that nearly left her dead. Attendance at the luncheon was so high that tables were completely full and some latecomers had to watch from the back of the hall.

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