Two notables in spectrum policy, Bennett Kobb and Don Messer, recently filed comments in the FCC’s inquiry into the potential expansion of the FM band. While not directly related to the DoD testing of Digital Radio Mondiale in Alaska, the comments make a strong case for considering the 26 MHz band be a perfect space for utilizing DRM to provide a new class of local radio stations.
The comments, while brief, are very specific about the benefits of extending DRM to uses other than those currently considered in the ongoing testing. While it’s not a formal proposal for rulemaking, it’s an interesting seed planted in this ongoing policy story. Continue reading “Comments Filed in Support of DRM Broadcasting”
And not just to adjacent stations – iBiquity’s proposed 10-fold power hike for FM digital sidebands will cause what one commentator has called “honkin’ interference” to an HD parent station’s analog signal. Although the suspicions of just what increasing the signal strength of FM-HD sidebands would do to analog FM radio coverage have been well-discussed in the engineering community for nine months now, the new report from NPR Labs confirms the worst.
The “monumental 18-month study,” involving extensive laboratory and field-testing of increased FM-HD sideband power finds that increased digital interference is simply unavoidable. While the tests do show that increasing FM-HD sideband power by a factor of 10 will make digital service coverage equivalent to (or, in some cases, slightly exceed) the coverage of a station’s analog signal, the modification comes at a price: Continue reading “Raising FM-HD Power Levels Will Cause Increased Interference”
I just updated the Enforcement Action Database: FCC field agents really went on a tear in July, and they are on pace to meet or beat their enforcement record set just last year.
But the really interesting cases I found involved stations who were licensed, let them lapse, and then just kept running as if nothing was amiss. Continue reading “Post-Facto Piracy: Not So Bad”
This is a first, as far as I know. The FCC’s tried to bluff their way into busts in the past, but not past actual cops.
In June, FCC Enforcement Bureau field agents made a run into Mount Carmel, Tennessee, to investigate unauthorized jamming of a police radio channel in the area (the problem had been going on for months before the FCC got around to sniffing around).
While in town, the agents ran into Mount Carmel and Church Hill police officers not once, but twice, on traffic stops. In both instances, the FCC folks told the local cops that they were part of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Meth Task Force. They had no credentials to back up their claim, and that made the cops suspicious. Continue reading “FCC Agents Illegally Impersonate Real Cops”
Two suspicious proposals to expand the FM spectrum have surfaced at the FCC. While on its face the idea seems promising, the devil, as always, is in the details.
The first proposal was filed in late July by the Educational Media Foundation – parent company of the K-LOVE and AIR-1 Christian music radio networks, which can already be heard on more than 150 full-power, low-power, and FM translator stations.
A second, new group, called the “Broadcast Maximization Committee,” which represents the interests of AM broadcasters, followed up with its own proposal within days of EMF’s filing. It is difficult to believe the timing of the filings were coincidental. Continue reading “Translator-Mongers and AM Stations Eye Expanded FM Band”
It appears that the U.S. Senate may be moving toward a floor vote on the Local Community Radio Act. This bill originally began under the auspices of undoing the Congressional fiat in 2001 which severely restricted the promulgation of new low-power FM (LPFM) radio stations. By imposing draconian channel-spacing regulations on the new service, LPFM stations were precluded from being sited in areas of the nation in which 80% of the population lives.
The Local Community Radio Act has been the focus of a seven-year campaign to right this wrong. Most importantly, it would relax channel-spacing rules for LPFM stations (allowing them to be placed in more urban areas) and give LPFM stations a semblance of parity with regard to other classes of FM station. This would make LPFMs less susceptible to being bumped off the air by a larger station looking to move or otherwise modify its own transmission infrastructure. Continue reading “LPFM: Movement in Congress?”
According to my pal Bennett Kobb, limited tests of the DRM broadcast protocol are now taking place on a station in Alaska specifically licensed for the research. It is important to note, however, that the tests do not involve the broadcast bands – although Digital Radio Mondiale has been certified to work on them all.
Instead, the ultimate hope of these DRM tests is to assess the protocol’s performance in the 26 MHz segment of the spectrum. This falls between frequencies designated for radio astronomy and maritime mobile use – and, according to the experiment’s proponents, could be utilized to provide “hundreds” of new, low-power community-based broadcasting stations across the country. Continue reading “Digital Radio Mondiale Tests Underway in Alaska”