Information from Broadcast Industry Insiders



For Immediate Release


Washington, DC, November 19, 2009: Television broadcasters, antenna
manufacturers, consumer electronics retailers and the consumer electronics
industry today announced the creation of two documents to help consumers
improve their over-the-air digital TV reception. Working with the Federal
Communications Commission, the group’s Tip Sheet and Advisory provide
information on antennas, ranging from where they should be placed to what the consumer should look for in buying a new antenna.

While the DTV transition has been a tremendous success, there are instances where viewers with an indoor antenna have been unable to receive some local over-the-air stations broadcasting on VHF channels 2-13. The two documents are based on the group’s collective experience helping consumers to resolve their particular antenna-related reception issues.

The participants represent the Association for Maximum Service Television, Inc. (MSTV), the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), the Consumer
Electronics Association (CEA), the Consumer Electronics Retailers Coalition
(CERC), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Audiovox, Antennas
Direct, Channel Master, and Winegard. The new consumer Tip Sheet and

Advisory are available on the following websites:
Federal Communications Commission: The Digital TV Transition: What You Need to Know About DTV
National Association of Broadcasters: (NAB): DTV Answers : What you need to know about the June 12, 2009 switch to DTV.
Association for Maximum Service Television, Inc. (MSTV): MSTV - Association For Maximum Service Television
Consumer Electronics Retailers Coalition: Consumer Electronics Retailers Coalition Homepage
Consumer Electronics Association: DigitalTips: Your Ultimate Guide to Consumer Electronics
Relying on recent data and consumer experiences, the group provides a number of tips to consumers.

• Consumers should make sure their antenna receives all the signals
being broadcast in their market. In most places, consumers have both
VHF channels 2-13 and UHF channels 14-51 available to them. Therefore, they must make sure their antenna receives both UHF and VHF channels

• Consumers should move indoor antennas away from household
electronics -- including the TV set -- as these devices may interfere
with indoor reception. In addition, consumers experiencing reception
problems are advised to experiment and reposition their antennas.
Indoor antennas should be placed in or near a window, if possible.

• To help consumers, the group plans to inform consumers that the
Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has adopted performance
specifications for indoor antennas. Antennas meeting or exceeding
these specifications will display a logo indicating they meet these

• The group plans on providing additional outreach to consumers and
community groups. Commenting on today’s announcement, and representing television broadcasters, David Donovan, President of the Association for Maximum Service Television, Inc. (MSTV), stated, “We are delighted to have worked cooperatively with our government and private sector partners. Informing consumers about the proper use of indoor antennas constitutes an important step in ensuring the American public can enjoy all the benefits of free, over-the-air digital television.”

“The NAB remains committed to ensuring that all Americans have continued
access to free, local over-the-air broadcast television," said NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton. "We are proud to partner with the FCC and our electronics industry friends to ensure that TV viewers have the needed
information to continue receiving our high-quality, free programming.”
Hank Caskey, Vice President, Reception, Audiovox Accessories Corporation, an antenna manufacturer participating in the effort, stated, “Through the combined efforts of all industry participants, we will be better able to ensure that our retail partners have the appropriate antennas available in their stores for their individual markets. Indoor reception has always been challenging. Working with broadcasters, retailers and the FCC, will help us to even better serve our customers with concise, accurate and reliable information.”

Christopher McLean, Executive Director of the Consumer Electronics Retailers
Coalition, noted, “Our members are anxious to help consumers optimize their
television viewing experience. CERC members stock a variety of antenna,
converter box and connection gear as well as an array of digital televisions to meet every budget and need. The jointly developed antenna tips will also help guide consumers to the solution that works best for them.”

Brian Markwalter, Vice President of Technology and Standards at the consumer Electronics Association, said, “We are happy to continue our efforts with industry and government partners to help consumers enjoy the benefits of the digital television transition. Through CEA’s Digital website and our Antenna web partnership with NAB, we provide consumers with valuable information about the reception of free, over-the-air digital television. We are confident that referencing CEA’s indoor antenna performance requirements on packaging and materials will help consumers select the antenna that is right for them.”

The Chief of the FCC’s Media Bureau, William Lake, expressed appreciation for the work of the ad hoc group and said, “We have posted on our website the materials developed by this group representing broadcasters, manufacturers, and retailers working in collaboration with FCC staff. The guides for use of indoor antennas represent the best advice we have developed so far to help consumers who rely on indoor antennas to get the most out of their DTV equipment.”

For Further Information Contact:

Federal Communications Commission: Janice Wise, Janice.Wise@
Consumer materials found at The Digital TV Transition: What You Need to Know About DTV
Association for Maximum Service Television Inc. (MSTV): David Donovan,

Consumer materials found at MSTV - Association For Maximum Service Television
National Association of Broadcasters (NAB): Dennis Wharton,

Consumer materials found at DTV Answers : What you need to know about the June 12, 2009 switch to DTV.
Consumer Electronics Association (CEA): Jason Oxman,
Consumer materials found at
Consumer Electronics Retailers Coalition (CERC): Chris McClean,

Consumer materials found at Consumer Electronics Retailers Coalition Homepage
Audiovox Accessories Corporation: Sandy Whicker,
Consumer materials found at StayTuned2TV
Antennas Direct: Katie Brady, or Scott Kolbe,

Consumer materials found at Antennas Direct | Your TV and HDTV Antenna Source
Channel Master: Wayne Massengill,
Consumer materials found at Channel Master
Winegard Antenna: Hans Rabong,
Consumer materials found at HDTV Antenna, Winegard HDTV Digital Antenna, Indoor HDTV Antenna, Outdoor HDTV Antenna VHF UHF HDTV Antenna


, Blogger: Orry's Orations
In other words, though we can't afford it, let's all go run out and buy new antennas. It's a nice press release, but in this economic environment, it's not very helpful.


Antenna viewer numbers are not really accurate

There seems to be a lot of misinformation around on just how many people actually use OTA signals for TV reception. There has never been an accurate way to gauge this aspect of broadcasting, even if you consider Nielsons ratings system, which has no capability to actually measure the OTA viewers numbers.

In this era of economic hard times we are currently enduring, it seems to be a simple decision about what to cut from the budget first, so goodbye satellite and cable, and hello antenna TV. I have actually advised several viewers on how to go about receiving OTA TV in the past year, and was told that they simply could not afford satellite or cable in the current economic situation.

You also have these situations such as a small TV in the kitchen for the cook to watch the afternoon or evening news while preparing meals, and many other places where satellite users or cable users still use OTA signals for some TV sets, even if they do subscribe to cable or satellite.

The recent snow and freezing rain storms we had over the Christmas Holidays in my area caused some problems with one of our full power transmitters, and we had to put a low power transmitter on the air while parts could be ordered. We got more calls and e-mails from OTA viewers than ever before who lost our signal, and that was only approximately half of our full power OTA audience who were outside the coverage area of the low power transmitter. If we had been completely dark, I am sure this number would have at least doubled.

This tells me that there are way more people using OTA TV than at any time than in the recent past based on the amount of calls and e-mails we normally used to get when a full power analog transmitter was off the air. The novelty of DTV has also attracted new viewers who just wanted to see what all of the fuss over the DTV transition was all about.

This says to me that there are a lot more antenna viewers than some inside the industry are counting, and there needs to be a better way to gauge OTA usage to actually make the numbers more accurate and meaningful. Those who want to steal the DTV bandwidth would surely like to keep those numbers as small as possible, and not show the true amount of people who still rely on OTA TV. Maybe we need a poll !!

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
FOX TV wrote:

Maybe we need a poll !!
Now that's one question I wouldn't hesitate to answer on the 2010 ultra-nosey Census!


Now that's one question I wouldn't hesitate to answer on the 2010 ultra-nosey Census!
O.T.: Best way to push back against nosy bureaucrats would be to provide the head count required under Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution, and nothing else. The penalty for failure to respond is a $100 fine. There's not much risk: Prosecution under 13 USC 221 would cost many multiples of the maximum fine.

But yeah, I'd make an exception for such a question, too :D


Are Viewers Rediscovering Over the Air TV?

Are Viewers Rediscovering Over the Air TV?

Are Viewers Rediscovering Over the Air TV?, by Randy Hoffner

by Randy Hoffner, 01.27.2010 at TV Technology Magazine

An article in the Business Section of the Dec. 25 issue of the Los Angeles Times, entitled, “Rabbit ears make comeback in digital TV era” was very interesting, and not simply because the Times has apparently adopted the European approach to headlines (capitalize only the first letter of the first word in the headline). The article heralds the fact that viewers in the Los Angeles area have discovered not only that off-air reception is free, but also, in the words of one interviewee, “Everyone who does it says that the picture quality is actually better than what you are getting through cable.”

Duh! These people obviously don’t read my column, do they? Although I readily concede that a good quality analog NTSC signal can look very good, a good quality digital SD signal can look better than good, and as for off-air high-definition versus cable and satellite: fuggedaboudit!


It was several years ago that I became acutely aware of the prevailing misconceptions about the quality of the various delivery methods. I was at an HDTV conference mounted by organizations in the advanced display industry, where I was representing the position (and touting the quality) of the broadcast network for which I then worked. Between presentations, there were some poll questions asked, and the audience responded using little RF devices sort of like TV remote controls. This question was asked: “Which delivers the best HDTV quality: broadcast, cable, or satellite?” The response tabulation revealed that broadcast lost by a huge margin. But we know better, don’t we? Broadcast HDTV delivers by far the best-quality HD pictures, because cable and satellite bit-starve the digital pictures in order to decrease the bandwidth they occupy. However, the perception was otherwise, even in this audience of people, many of whom worked in the high-end display industry.

The author's antenna setup
The Los Angeles Times article went on to describe the fact that a viewer in the Los Angeles area can see nearly 70 different channels off-air, broadcast by about 26 digital stations. Almost all of the Los Angeles area digital stations carry more than one channel. Many have a high definition signal plus two or three standard definition signals, and KABC-DT is even experimenting with a second 720p signal, in addition to the 720p main channel, plus a third low-bit-rate SD signal. Not all digital stations are transmitting an HD channel, though. Some are maximizing the number of SD channels they transmit. One station, KJLA, has no less than nine SD signals on their air which reflect some of the major ethnic communities in the Los Angeles area: three Spanish; three Vietnamese; one Korean; and one Armenian; plus an English-language shopping channel.

Your author has previously mentioned that he has a rooftop antenna. Updating my previous report, it now receives all the DTV signals coming off Mt. Wilson and nearby peaks. Rabbit ears probably would not work at my location, which is at an elevation of about 1,500 feet on the western edge of the Foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, the range that contains Mt. Wilson, located miles to the east. Off-air reception has always been problematic in this location, particularly in the analog NTSC days, because of the severe multipath conditions caused by the long San Gabriel ridge. But my rooftop antenna fortunately has a direct “look” at Mount Wilson, and the later-generation ATSC tuners are very good at sorting out multipath, and consequently I am able to receive all DTV signals off Mt. Wilson and vicinity.

In an interesting sidebar, I now have a second home in Southern Oregon, in a community much, much smaller than metropolitan Los Angeles. My house there is located on a hillside at an elevation of about 2,200 feet. There I have a recent-design omnidirectional amplified indoor antenna. Granted, this is a little more sophisticated than a pair of rabbit ears, but with this antenna set on the sill of a north-facing window, I can receive every broadcast station in the region, plus a number of translators, mostly digital and some analog. The stations I can receive give me access to all four broadcast networks and PBS, plus the “netlet” CW, and several independent stations as well. It certainly is not the variety available in the Los Angeles area, but it does provide considerable choice. Also as the ABC promotion campaign of a few years ago said, “Hello! It’s free!”

The Los Angeles Times article quotes antenna manufacturers who say their sales are “going through the roof” (pun intended?) with one company saying that their sales have tripled since the analog shutoff. According to the article, the largest ethnic community that watches television off-air is the Latino community. Nearly a quarter of U.S. Latino homes with televisions—about 440,000 households—view television off-air. The newspaper cites Neilsen figures that say that in the Los Angeles area, about 20,000 Asian homes with television recently started watching TV off-air, while about 8,000 African-American households in the region did likewise. All residents of the Los Angeles area have also switched to antenna viewing in significant numbers according to the newspaper.


This trend is not popular with cable companies, of course. The Times article quotes one cable company spokesman, for Time Warner Cable, trying to generate some FUD by saying, “There are always risks involved with going over-the-air or using an antenna to receive a digital picture, mainly because digital airwaves are not as forgiving as analog airwaves and are always subject to interference.” Risks aside, it has been this viewer’s experience that off-air reception of DTV signals is considerably better, in some problem areas at least, than off-air reception of analog TV signals. This should not come as a big surprise considering the many digital tools available to deal with multipath.

All this is happening in the wake of efforts in some quarters to get broadcast television off the broadcast spectrum so it can be sold. We know that the broadcast television networks still provide the only way to reach everyone in the United States simultaneously, or at all for that matter, raising a national security argument for the broadcast television network model. We have seen that shutting off over-the-air broadcast TV in the United States would disproportionately disadvantage our ethnic communities. Add to this the fact that no one has yet actually made a believable case that the television broadcast spectrum is really needed for broadband use.

After a few recent stories, including the hiring of an FCC consultant that doesn’t think that broadcasting is the “highest use” (read: most government revenue-producing use) of the TV spectrum, FCC broadband advisor Blair Levin has attempted to soften the assault on broadcast by telling Broadcasting and Cable that he does not think that any of FCC’s plans for ‘spectrum reclamation’ “threatens the future of over-the-air broadcasting”. Levin goes on to say, paraphrasing, that, “We might not want all of your spectrum, we might just want some of your spectrum.” In addition to the considerations just mentioned, it seems highly cynical to have forced television broadcasters to make considerable investments in digital broadcasting and abandon their investments in analog broadcasting; take back some of the spectrum they had been using since the 1950s; and then make not-even-veiled threats to grab all their spectrum and render their new digital transmitting systems useless.

I recently heard someone in the satellite radio business mouth the cliché, “It’s not about the delivery system; it’s all about content.” I am here to tell you that if we want to reach every viewer, it’s also about the delivery system.

So now forum users, this Gentleman, who is an industry insider, also sees this as a "Follow the Money" issue, just as anyone with half a brain will be able to see this too. By the way, this authors antenna is some form of a DB-8 double ganged antenna, and there is a picture of it at the TV Technology link at the top of this page.
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More opinions from industry insiders

More opinions from industry insiders.

Article Quoted from the link below.

Wha? Happened to the FCC?, by Mario Orazio

You might not have noticed the conspicuous absence of any broadcasters on the Federal Communications Commission, fondly known as the Commish these days. Could this be why it appears that the Commish doesn’t much care about broadcasting anymore?

After all, broadcasting is so twentieth century. We have lotsa new technologies that we might need to put on the wireless bands; so many that we might just need to grab the television broadcast spectrum so we can sell it to the highest new technology bidder.

Never y’all mind that broadcast television is still the only way to reach practically every household in the United States. If it ain’t interactive, it don’t count. Mayhaps we need to appropriate the funds to buy every U.S. citizen a smart phone. Yeah, that’s the ticket!


In this context we are doubly saddened to hear of the passing of James Quello, a stalwart Commissioner who served from 1974 until he retired in 1998. He was a radio broadcaster by background, and he was a standard-bearer for free, over-the-air television (which Mario knows is anathema to some).

Quello served as Acting Chairman of the Commish for a time in 1994, but he wasn’t just acting (thank you!). He did plenty as Acting Chairman. He was certainly the last broadcaster to serve as Chairman, and he might just have been the last broadcaster to serve on the Commish at all. Mario begins to get a clue as to why the Commish doesn’t care about broadcasting nowadays.

Let’s have a look-see at who is serving on the Commish today, why don’t we?

Chairman Julius Genachowski has a background in the computer/IT world. Uh oh! Aren’t those the guys who want our spectrum? Michael Copps has experience in trade development in the Department of Commerce, on the staff of former Senator Fritz Hollings, and as a professor of U.S. history. Robert McDowell’s background is as a telecommunications industry lobbyist. Mignon Clyburn served on the Public Service Commission of South Carolina and as publisher of a weekly newspaper. Meredith Atwell Baker served as Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information, and as Acting Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Agency, whose mission, among others, is to advise the president on telecommunications and information policy.

Now Mario does not dispute that all these Commissioners are fine, upstanding, public-minded public servants. But methinks broadcasting still has an important role to play in our 21st century society to entertain, inform, and alert the whole dang U.S. public.

It seems only reasonable that broadcasting should have at least one seat on the Federal Communications Commission, one whose job it is to regulate broadcasting. Not out of existence, Mario hopes.

Mario knows that we, the public, are obsessed with all the latest electronic gadgets and gizmos, and with all the different ways we can get them to communicate with each other (the devices, that is). Mario doesn’t have any issue with that.


James Quello
Methinks, however, that if the agency that administrates the airwaves and communications has one tiny fault, it might be that it is too willing to contemplate throwing yesterday’s technology in the dumpster in favor of the newest technologies. Sure, these newbies need a seat at the table. But they don’t need the whole table to themselves.

If the good members of the Commish have been keeping up with the news (on their Web-enabled telecommunications devices, for example), they may well have heard that more people, not fewer, are using antennas to receive off-air broadcast signals now that analog television has been shut off. And some of them are even (gasp!) cancelling their cable subscriptions.

From the time that it became apparent that HDTV was an idea whose time was coming in the United States in the 1980s, the beloved Commish did a right fine job of nurturing the creation of a terrific advanced television broadcasting system.

It went way beyond analog HDTV to digital broadcasting. It has packetized transport, so, instead of becoming a dedicated HDTV broadcast system, as was proposed in most of the proponent systems, it became a digital transport system that can also carry SD television, and all kindsa other data too. It’s a sight more versatile than anyone imagined it could be before it happened.

Then recently, everyone involved did a bang-up job of shifting television broadcasting completely over to DTV, shutting off all the analog full-power transmitters and freeing the spectrum they were occupying. Looking back at all that, Mario would say it was quite a heave.

Now, if there were a broadcaster or two on the beloved Commish, we would be less likely, methinks, to be hearing about “higher uses” of the television broadcast spectrum. Uses higher than serving the entire American public with information, news, entertainment, and emergency alerts? Mario thinks not.

Mario Orazio is the pseudonym of a well-known television engineer who wishes to remain anonymous !!


It is all about the money and here is the proof !

by Tom Hazlett

Hi, broadcasters. I'm an economist. Happy Thanksgiving. Let's talk turkey.

People say you're sitting on some very valuable radio spectrum. Like about $107 billion worth at March 2008 prices. And "sitting" is the inoperative word because the FCC's broadcast TV license has you frozen on those 49 channels. That's the 294 MHz of rich, fertile bandwidth that iPhone users (and the network engineers they bug most) dream about morning, noon and night. You're just running up a wretched electricity bill while the world has moved on. There's no app for that.

Indeed, if you had it to do over again, you wouldn't even use terrestrial broadcast. I know because some of you have done it over with ESPN and CNBC and FX and scores of other cable networks. That Travel Channel deal valued the network at $1 billion.

You folks could have a broadcast travel channel of your own and broadcast it on one of your digital subchannels to all 114 million TV homes. But no one is watching your off-air-only channels. Not even Aunt Minnie in Peoria, the one who was supposed to go bonkers when analog went dark last June.
That's fine. You've still got good shows. I don't need forensic experts from CSI: Hollywood to know that. You're not 100 percent of the TV market, like you were when the FCC stepped in to limit upstart cable TV systems 40 years ago on the grounds that cable would "siphon" viewers, but would never be a real competitor. (Boy, did the Washington bureaucrats blow that one) But you've still got the Super Bowl and Dancing With the Stars, and haul in $40 billion in ads every year — or you did until recently.

You don't need the TV band for that. Others like mobile broadband, smart phones and e-readers and M2M networks do. It's the coming wireless bandwidth tsunami. The carriers are starved for airspace, and you're way long in the stuff. Time for a deal.

You know that. I know that. Even the new crew at the FCC knows that. But they think that you're imbued with the "public interest" and have a spiritual attachment to terrestrial radio transmissions. I follow the money. Your greatest desire as a broadcaster is to secure cable and satellite carriage. That's business, not religion. You bought your stations from a broadcaster who also had a deep, metaphysical investment in the "public interest" and followed that shining light right all the way through escrow.
A fierce commitment to the TV allocation table of 1952 is your opening bid. You won't budge until you know three things. First, how much will you be paid to do your part? Second, how will your life change? And, third, how can you be sure that you won't get whacked by the opportunists in Congress — the ones you've been scaring all these years about any competitive threat to "free, universal, over-the-air TV" — when they catch a clue that you're prepared to sell out?

The first two questions are answered by seeing what the FCC should do. It should split the TV band into seven overlay licenses of 42 MHz each. Then auction all seven.

At the same time, it should provide a mechanism to supply the 10 million households not having a cable or satellite subscription with free broadcast video service for five or 10 years. This can be done by vouchers, as with the DTV set-top box subsidies or via a procurement auction. It won't cost more than $3 billion ($300 times 10 million), a small fraction of the spectrum auction receipts.

The overlay licenses will embed encumbrances — you. Existing stations would have the right to continue broadcasting, to relocate to another channel assignment or to go off off-air. No worries about coverage. The new spectrum owners will pay cable and satellite operators to guarantee carriage. If not, you won't vacate.

So "free" TV service remains, but the delivery platform will be technology-neutral. And you'll be part of the solution, for which you will be compensated. How does something like $30 billion spread across 1,750 full-power TV stations sound to you?

That figure simply derives from the prices paid in last year's 700 MHz auction. At $1.28 per MHz per capita, a station in New York might clear $200 million. A station in Spokane, Wash., about $8 million. Again, these are estimates. Real prices may vary.

That gets us down to your greatest fear: you lose your "public interest" veneer when you start quoting sell prices. So, don't. Just sit there. Let the FCC move forward with a smart plan like this. It's actually in the public interest to unleash new bandwidth for the services consumers most desire. And it makes the U.S. more competitive in the Global Broadband Race.

Here's the blunt end of the stick: Losing your special place is no longer much of a problem. There's just not much left in your business model. What can "public trusteeship" deliver that matches $30 billion? Or a tenth of that?

Thomas W. Hazlett is Professor of Law & Economics and serves as Director of the Information Economy Project at George Mason University School of Law. He is also a Columnist for the New Technology Policy Forum hosted by the Financial Times. Prof. Hazlett previously held faculty appointments at the University of California at Davis, Columbia University, and the Wharton School, and in 1991-92 served as Chief Economist of the Federal Communications Commission.
Prof. Hazlett has published widely in academic and popular journals on the economics of the Information Sector. He has provided expert testimony to federal and state courts, regulatory agencies, committees of Congress, foreign governments, and international organizations. His book, Public Policy Toward Cable Television, was co-authored with Matthew L. Spitzer (MIT Press, 1997).

You can read more of Mr. Hazletts economic dribble at this website...
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An e-mail response to Mr Hazlett from article above

Hello Mr. Hazlett,

Your opinions on the DTV spectrum theft by the broadband industry really shows how deeply entrenched the greed factor has become in today’s world. The broadband infrastructure is not technologically capable of emergency communications during an extended power outage, which has been proven in the 9-11-2001 Trade Center disaster, and in Hurricane Katrina. According to your stance on this issue, the emergency communications needs of the American public are not as important as the greed of the broadband industry. Follow the money.

Why is it that every issue in the news today has to do with the money? Greed is rampant in today’s world, and it looks as if people like you are behind this never ending greed for the green stuff, and let's let logic and common sense take a backseat to extreme corporate profits, and the emergency communications needs of the American public be damned.

Where is the common sense here? Has greed taken over common sense to the point that the health and well being of the citizens of this country, along with national security itself is less important than these new "Fads"? Is mobile TV and all of these other childish fads worth risking the welfare of an entire nation in a time when the "Sand People" still want to destroy us as a nation and as a people?

I suppose you will also agree that it is the responsibility of the American taxpayer to pay for Broadband access for those who currently "Depend" on broadcast TV, and cannot afford "Pay TV" after the theft of a “limited Public Resource” (The Radio Spectrum itself) is complete. I am sure you would also support a program to sap the taxpayer with this bill too, being the intelligent, but naive economist that you are.

It is greed mongers like you who have driven this economy to the brink, and you actually call yourself an economist? I will have to equate the word economist with the robber barons of the past, who have a never-ending lust for the almighty dollar to the extreme detriment of others.

The capitalist concept works well, and it has made this nation as great as it is today, but greed has taken over the capitalist society, and it will be the death of our society and the nation as we know it. Not everyone is as fortunate as you, and they are not always at fault, but to follow your business model of an all broadband world is a scary proposition in today’s threatening environment, and greed and profit should never over ride the needs of "All of the People” for the wants and wishes of a select few in a nation that is still supposed to be ruled by "The People", and not controlled by the robber barons with an obscene desire for profits over all else.

I feel sorry for you in the fact that you have let the greed for the almighty dollar over ride your common sense, and to think that people like you (Economists, IE Robber Barons) are running this nation is a scary thought to those who are much less fortunate than you, because your greed for the dollar threatens their very existence where emergency communications is concerned.

Not everyone can afford internet access, or cell phones with internet access, and the DTV Broadcast spectrum is their only means of emergency communications, but your business model of the broadband industry automatically makes them second class citizens in your plan to steal the spectrum away from this group of people for the obscene profits for the benefit of private companies.

Shame on you for putting the dollar ahead of a nation, and its people’s safety. The theft of the radio spectrum for private profits is shameful a least and a crime at best, and you seem to advocate this concept fully at the expense of those less fortunate. Let the dollar rule !!


Letter to my Congressman

Parts of this letter have been posted in other threads in this forum, but it contains additional text not included in original post

Dear Mr. Goodlatte,

I spoke to you on this weeks telephone town hall meeting regarding this topic. I am not against new technology that is actually useful, but anyone with any common sense should be able to see that a lot of the broadband uses are nothing more than ridicules fads that are blinding people to the need to keep a real and functioning Emergency Communications system that has the capacity to reach virtually every household in this country in a time of emergency situation such as Hurricane Katrina.

How can this be accomplished in an all broadband world? The answer to that is that the current broadband infrastructure is not equipped to function for an extended period of power outages.

Opinions by__________

I am writing this to express my opinions as a broadcast engineer, as I am seriously concerned about all of the threats to our beloved radio spectrum we as TV broadcasters use. I have been giving this issue a lot of thought and have come up with a few ideas that I hope could help educate legislators and the public alike about the benefits of DTV, as well as the continued need for a reliable method of delivering emergency communications to the masses in time of need.

If broadcasters can fill that entire 19.36-megabyte channel with new and innovative services, and implement the “Use it or lose it” mantra that Amateur Radio has had to implement over the years to keep their spectrum, it would fill unused bandwidth on one hand, and provide other possible revenue streams at the same time. New ideas are needed to help fill the space they will view as unused.

As you well know, most broadcasters have taken the "Public Interest" aspect of their “Privilege to Broadcast in the Public's Interest” to heart by having some type of emergency reserve power capacity, but the broadband industry has not taken this approach due to the high costs associated with having so many individual sites to equip and maintain, and they are not required to provide any investment in the "Public Interest" aspect for their frequency “Privilege” (Or in their eyes “Rights”) as their interest is mainly a financial one, and "Public Interest" regulations do not apply to them.

A full Power DTV transmitter can cover literally thousands of square miles, where a Cell Site is lucky to cover 10, square miles at best. I have never looked at coverage for cell sites, but the location and power levels, interference issues, and even regulations limit a cell sites coverage area by their very nature.

Cable TV line amplifiers have no reserve power source either, and can cover zero square miles when the power is out, and most satellite and cable TV viewers would have no way to power their satellite or cable receiving equipment anyway.

There are now many more models of portable or battery powered DTV receivers being produced with the capability of being powered from small solar panels, rechargeable, or automotive batteries for emergency use.

As it stands now, the broadband communications infrastructure has a very serious lack of reserve backup power, and to me that is a major flaw in the overall broadband plan to “Use the spectrum for better and more efficient uses”, which is the current excuse being used to steal the DTV spectrum that the broadband industry is in such a mad rush to do right now.

It just seems to me that the need (or greed) of the broadband industry is overtaking common sense, and the concept of the “Publics Interest” is taking a back seat to “Fads” such as Face Book, My space, Twitter, and online video games of all things that are not absolutely necessary to life and limb in times of extreme emergencies.

There is currently legislation being considered in the House and Senate right now that parallels the urgent need to keep Broadcast TV for all of the emergency needs mentioned previously. There is a House bill (HR-2160) titled "Amateur Radio Emergency Communications act of 2009" that was introduced by Rep. Sheila Jackson from Texas that outlines the need to preserve Amateur Radio for emergency communications needs.

The legislation currently has 29 supporters along with a Senate companion bill (S-1755) with the same title proposed by Senator Susan Collins of Maine, and Senator Joe Lieberman from Connecticut that mirrors the house bill.

Its almost a complete parallel of the importance of preserving DTV for the same emergency communications reasons, and give it the same importance level they are giving to Amateur Radio for exactly the same reasons. If this point could be made with these legislators and supporters, it could go a long way in helping the cause of saving DTV as an emergency communications medium if for no other reason.

Emergency communications has always always been the reason for TV broadcasting in the first place, with entertainment taking a back seat in times of Emergency Communications situations. So now, the broadband industry will have their way with the under the table payoffs to Congress and Senators as is status quo in Washington DC, and this will have far reaching consequences in times of dire emergencies. Lets don't forget that the "Sand People" still want to wipe us off of the face of the earth.

Lets get logical about this and apply the same amount of “Public Interest Concern” and emphasis on emergency communications that the FCC has always applied to TV broadcasting since its conception, as that aspect of emergency communications has always ruled where OTA TV broadcasting is concerned.

In the past, it has always been the reason broadcasters have been allowed to “use” the bandwidth, and they have always taken that role seriously and made real infrastructure investments into ensuring that they could be depended on most all of the time to provide needed emergency communications to masses of people in times of emergency situations. It’s now time to put the same amount of real emphasis and concern into not losing that communications method in times of dire need.

It seems to me that the mission statement of the FCC has changed from protectors of the airwaves to procurers of the dollar, and they have abandoned the concept of “Public Service” to the extreme detriment of the general public at large, for the needs, wants, and wishes of the broadband industry.

Just what was the purpose of the DTV conversion in the first place? In a free society that is supposedly ruled by “The People”, at some point in time the needs of the “all of the people” should at least be as important as the needs of a minority of Face Book, My Space, Twitter Tweeters, or broadband video gamers. And we won’t even go into details about what all of this questionable technology is doing to the social skills of the younger generations.

Are the needs of the “Twitter Tweeters” really more important than the needs of the “Minority” of antenna viewers whose numbers seem to range from 14 to 20 million depending on whose numbers you read? I also believe that these numbers are very inaccurate due to the current economic situation. When the economy is bad, entertainment is normally the first to go, so goodbye Satellite and Cable TV, and hello Antenna TV. Considering this aspect of our times, are the current penetration numbers for OTA viewers really accurate?

In an all-broadband world as it exists now, the number of users who will loose urgent emergency communications will climb dramatically above the 14 to 20 million to include almost everyone if the current business model of the broadband industry is adopted, as the current infrastructure model of the broadband system lacks adequate reserve backup power capacity to address extended power outages, unlike most OTA broadcasters, and should not even be considered as plausible or feasible until that issue could be addressed and drastically improved upon. This is our nations, as well as our personal security we are playing with here for the benefit of the “Twitter Tweeters”, and broadband profits, and at the expense of our personal and national security.

The fact that the broadband industry has no “Public Service” obligations to comply with, makes this a drastically important and urgent issue to consider, regardless of the final fate of OTA TV broadcasting. If this flawed concept is implemented to quickly, and without considerable additional thought into all of its potential pitfalls, the results could be fatal for many.

Lets hope that real, productive, and fair thought is actually given to this extremely urgent and alarming Public Safety issue, and hope that DTV is not ruled into non existence just for the sake of less important uses such as “Tweets” and profits over the actual and critical emergency needs of other spectrum users and owners, and could be considered criminal in some minds.

Also at question here is the taking of the radio Spectrum itself which has been designated by the laws of this land as a “Limited, and shared Public Resource”, and use it for private profits at the expense of the very same American Public who is actually supposed to collectively “Own” the spectrum as outlined in the laws of this land. “

Just some of my thoughts as a Broadcast Engineer and industry insider on how to help convince the powers that be that Face Book, My Space, and Twitter Tweets (That just sounds so juvenile to me to be laughable) are no more important than the than the needs of the “Minority” of antenna viewers whose numbers seem to range from 14 to 20 million, and will surely grow larger in an extended power outage or emergency situation such as Hurricane Katrina in the not adequately prepared, but technologically advanced “All Broadband” world of the near future if powers that be get their wish.

Is more technology always better? Is it wise to throw away a current proven technology to make way for a system whose pitfalls have already been tested and proven to fail in extreme emergency situations such as 9-11-2001 or Hurricane Katrina? Is it wise to throw out a technology before all of its benefits have even had a chance to be realized, discovered, or exploited fully before we abruptly move on to a to another untested technology, and then forget the merits of the last one?

Technology now has adopted the “Keep up with the Joneses” aura about it that may come back to bite society at some point in the future by losing track of “The Old Ways” of doing some basic things. If we have learned anything from technology it is that no matter how far it advances, we normally have to look back to the past for some solutions to current issues that new technology itself simply cannot solve on its own. Sometimes ignoring, or forgetting history could have its own unknown, or unforeseen consequences.

Current estimates put OTA viewers at around 14 to 20 million, and Isn’t it strange that we are trying to rebuild our entire health care system at a cost of trillions of dollars for about that same amount of people, but that same amount of people are not considered important enough to be counted in the bandwidth battle? Isn’t there a great deal of irony here, or is it a complete lack of logic, or should we be “Following the Money” for the answer to that question?

We all know that this is about the money, and the real and urgent emergency communications needs of this nation as a whole my be in jeopardy just to satisfy the greed for the almighty dollar.

Why did the government mandate the switch to digital TV broadcasting at a cost of billions of dollars to broadcasters, only to see it all thrown away less than a year after the transition was completed? Can you say greed, lobbyists, and corruption? I can !!!!

Rich Robber Barons and corrupt politicians, and unscrupulous private enterprises make me sick, and that is who is leading the way to stealing the "public's radio spectrum" for obscene profits for private enterprise. Maybe the broadband industry should be working on a better way to conserve bandwidth than to push everyone aside for the greed of the almighty dollar.

This is sickening to those who depend on broadcast TV, and to those who earn their living working inside the industry such as I.If the robber barons are successful, that will show everyone who looks at this at just how far greed can penetrate the minds, hearts and souls of human beings.

I guess now that the taxpayer will have to foot the bill for those who cannot afford pay TV just like the converter boxes, with one major difference, and that will be that this will be a never ending tax as opposed to the converter box fiasco which was a one time only proposition.

The DTV transition is not over!!
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I guess now that the taxpayer will have to foot the bill for those who cannot afford pay TV just like the converter boxes, with one major difference, and that will be that this will be a never ending tax as opposed to the converter box fiasco which was a one time only proposition.

Yeah one problem with that "solution" is people like my good friend that lives out in the sticks where cable isn't offered. Exactly how is he supposed to get his "free" TV? Is the FCC going to force cable companies to expand services in areas they currently don't because they aren't "profitable" enough? I somehow doubt it.

This whole "free basic cable" in exchange for killing off OTA is as stupid as all these free government funded cell phone crap I see. Is there going to be an expansion of the USF fee applied to cable/satellite bills? That's the only way I seee where this money is going to come from. Sounds fricken awesome.


Is the FCC going to force cable companies to expand services in areas they currently don't because they aren't "profitable" enough? I somehow doubt it.
Somehow, I wouldn't put it past this crew. They're living proof of the old adage that common sense... isn't all that common after all.

The people running the show these days remind me of a fraternity brother of ours: Guy was a Phi Beta Kappa who just couldn't stifle the urge to defend his "rights" around groups of sidewalk-blocking townies, who got pretty annoyed every September when the college boys returned to school. Impromptu debates were of absolutely no interest to these individuals. I don't know how many times we heard he was badly outnumbered and in trouble again, and a bunch of us had to run to extract him from situations that might well otherwise have ended in sound beatings. Here was a 4.0 student who, when repeatedly confronted with a real-world problem involving his own personal safety, couldn't think his way out of a wet paper bag.

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Somehow, I wouldn't put it past this crew. They're living proof of the old adage that common sense... isn't all that common after all.

The people running the show these days remind me of a fraternity brother of ours: Guy was a Phi Beta Kappa who just couldn't stifle the urge to defend his "rights" around groups of sidewalk-blocking townies, who got pretty annoyed every September when the college boys returned to school. Impromptu debates were of absolutely no interest to these individuals. I don't know how many times we heard he was badly outnumbered and in trouble again, and a bunch of us had to run to extract him from situations that might well otherwise have ended in sound beatings. Here was a 4.0 student who, when repeatedly confronted with a real-world problem involving his own personal safety, couldn't think his way out of a wet paper bag.

Several people I know come to mind who fit that and here's one: there was a (Hospital Chief) Anesthesiologist who lived up the street and his screen door latch failed on his kitchen door. He borrowed an electric drill and bits from me because the replacement lock assembly was sized differently. He drilled one new hole and was unable to get the drill bit out of the door, so he stood there nearly TWO HOURS waiting for his son to get home from school to help. His logic was to wait for help to arrive because he didn't want to break the drill bit ... but of course, something HAD to be wrong with the drill bit. His teenage son took over holding the drill so Dr. could call me to help and you guessed it ... his son squeezed the trigger for 2 seconds and the bit slid out of the door. A brilliant man with no common sense. :duh:

Then there was the guy next door who's tailgate on his pickup truck would not open, so he 'worked' on it with a steak knife, but that's another story ... and they both vote!



Actual Engineers at the FCC? Maybe miracles do happen !!

I received this important update via E-Mail at work today (3-10-10). (See..Bicker..I really do get inside information on these topics) This could be great news if it actually passes. One surprise was that one of my own states Representatives is co-sponsoring the Senate version of the bill. Good news on that front !!

SBE Legislative Alert
March 10, 2010
To: All members of the SBE ( Society of Broadcast Engineers)

McNerney introduces House companion bill to S.2881

Congressman Jerry McNerney (D) of California today introduced a companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives to S. Bill 2881, which would authorize an engineering staff person for each of the five FCC commissioners. With a House bill now introduced, the legislation can move through the committee process of both chambers of Congress.

McNerney's introduction of the bill comes after representatives of the Society of Broadcast Engineers met with his Washington staff last week. SBE's Government Relations Chairman, Barry Thomas, CPBE, CBNT and General Counsel, Chris Imlay, visited offices of several House members last week to garner support for a companion to the Senate bill introduced in January by Senator Olympia Snowe, (D) Maine and co-sponsored by Senator Mark Warner, (D) of Virginia.

Upon hearing the news, SBE president Vinny Lopez, CEV, CBNT replied, "I am delighted that representative McNerney has chosen to introduce this important legislation on the House side. This bill will go a long way to ensure technical excellence at the highest levels of the Commission."

McNerney is a second term congressmen representing California's 11th congressional district, which includes a portion of California's Central Valley. He has an engineering background and serves on the House Energy and Environment and Communications, Technology, and the Internet committees.

At the time this report was written, the number and text of the House bill was not available. We will provide an update as the information becomes available. SBE members are encouraged to contact their U.S. Representative and Senators to urge them to support this legislation.


Somehow, I wouldn't put it past this crew. They're living proof of the old adage that common sense... isn't all that common after all.

The people running the show these days remind me of a fraternity brother of ours: Guy was a Phi Beta Kappa who just couldn't stifle the urge to defend his "rights" around groups of sidewalk-blocking townies, who got pretty annoyed every September when the college boys returned to school. Impromptu debates were of absolutely no interest to these individuals. I don't know how many times we heard he was badly outnumbered and in trouble again, and a bunch of us had to run to extract him from situations that might well otherwise have ended in sound beatings. Here was a 4.0 student who, when repeatedly confronted with a real-world problem involving his own personal safety, couldn't think his way out of a wet paper bag.
Sounds like some who hold a high office right now !! Can you say health care? I can..and it is actually spelled Oba...Oh no..I won't go there now, and will try to be nice !!


Somehow, I wouldn't put it past this crew. They're living proof of the old adage that common sense... isn't all that common after all.

The people running the show these days remind me of a fraternity brother of ours: Guy was a Phi Beta Kappa who just couldn't stifle the urge to defend his "rights" around groups of sidewalk-blocking townies, who got pretty annoyed every September when the college boys returned to school. Impromptu debates were of absolutely no interest to these individuals. I don't know how many times we heard he was badly outnumbered and in trouble again, and a bunch of us had to run to extract him from situations that might well otherwise have ended in sound beatings. Here was a 4.0 student who, when repeatedly confronted with a real-world problem involving his own personal safety, couldn't think his way out of a wet paper bag.

I personally don't really have a problem with forcing a "Profitable" enterprise to service everyone who is in need of their service if that service is or may be critical to life and limb. Now if you go out with a heavy hand and force all companies big and small to service all who ask, and that threatens that businesses future, that is a different story. These people peddle a service that is critical to life, and they should not have to power to deny life or death to anyone in a free society.

The telephone and electrical utilities took this same approach many years ago, and politicians who actually cared about the good of the people back then, forced them to service all who asked for their service. Those services were deemed as "Critical to Life and Limb" back in the day, and In my opinion, they took the right and correct approach to that issue back then.

Politicians back then became involved in politics to actually "Serve the People" with integrity and respect for the rights of "All of the People", instead of serving lobbyists with fists full of dollars as is the way politics are done in D.C. today just for the greed of those fists full.

I hear their cries that it is not "Profitable" to service "Those People", but in reality, if you take payments from these people, it will eventually pay for itself, just not in the first month of service as they expect now. Instant gratitude rules, especially in big business. Now we see where the Me ME ME generation got its lead from. Follow the Money !!


More Common Sence at the FCC ?

SBE Legislative Alert
March 11, 2010
To: All members of the SBE

We had a very exciting development yesterday....and we need your help and the help of your chapters!

Many of you know about the "FCC Commissioners Technical Resource Act"; Senate Bill 2881. This bill was introduced by Senators Olympia Snowe (R-Maine)* and Mark Warner (D-Virginia) on December 14th and is in direct agreement with SBE Legislative Goal #3 " To promote the maintenance or increase of technical expertise within the FCC to ensure that decision making by the FCC is based on technical investigation, studies and evaluation rather than political expenditures." (Society Broadcast Engineers).

President Lopez directed General Counsel Chris Imlay and me to visit Washington, DC last week in support of this effort. The purpose of our visit was to reach out to members of Congress and, hopefully encourage a companion bill in the US House. The trip was very productive and we met with a good number of staff and conducted some other SBE legislative business as well.

Long story short: Representative Jerry McNerney (D-CA) has just introduced HR. 4809 (H.R. 4809: To provide greater technical resources to FCC Commissioners ( This is an incredible development! Here's where we need your help:

1 - Please contact your US Representative and urge them to join Rep. McNerney as a co-sponsor or, at least, support HR.4809. For contact information for your US Representative go here: The U.S. House of Representatives - Determinig Your Representative

2 - Please contact your US Senator and urge their support for S.2881! - For contact information for your US Senator, go here: U.S. Senate: Senators Home

Our best members of Congress respond to the priorities of their constituents. With 5,500 members all across the US, we can make our voices known and have a real impact!

Thanks for your help!

Vinny Lopez, CEV, CBNT
SBE President

*Senator Snowe is a Republican from Maine. The SBE Legislative Alert sent on 3/10/10 mistakenly reported her as a Democrat. Our apologies for the error.

The Society of Broadcast Engineers
9102 North Meridian St, Suite 150
Indianapolis, IN 46260
Phone: (317) 846-9000
Fax: (317) 846-9120

You may view the web page for this announcement here

SBE Legislative Call to Action


More "For The Money" People

Hundt Comes Clean: Internet Trumps TV
By Harry A. Jessell
TVNewsCheck, Mar 12 2010, 11:06 AM ET

If you are in the broadcasting business, particularly as a station owner or top manager, you must set aside an hour today and click on this link.

You will see and hear Reed Hundt give a speech at Columbia University in which he candidly talks about his decision to promote the Internet over broadcasting as the one and only "common medium" for the United States while he was chairman of the FCC between 1994 and 1997, and how his work then will culminate next week when the current FCC under his protégé Julius Genachowski unveils the National Broadband Plan.

"The broadband plan that will be published on March 17 actually will reflect ... the end of the era of trying to maintain over-the-air broadcast as the common medium and the beginning of a very detailed, quite substantive, commitment to having broadband, the son of narrowband, be the common medium," Hundt said in the speech that he describes as a "confession or admission."

Among other things, he said, the "broadband plan will have in it a specific pathway to shrinking the amount of spectrum that broadcast will be able to use. In all previous eras, the government has expanded the spectrum for broadcast so as to give it a chance to thrive as it moved from analog to digital. Now, it's going to be moving in reverse."

Hundt said that his decision to favor broadband over broadcast was made in 1994, when his first days as FCC chairman coincided with the introduction of the Mosaic browser and the emergence of the Internet as a commercial medium.

"We decided ... that the Internet ought to be the common medium in the United States and that broadcast should not be," he says. The "we" includes Blair Levin — who is the principal author of the National Broadband Plan and who was Hundt's chief of staff — as well as Genachowski, who was a top aide and thinker.

Hundt said the decision was made even though TV broadcasting had ably served the country as the common medium since the year he was born, 1948.

And then he gave several reasons why.

The Internet was "going to be the pathway for the global promulgation of American values and American technology, he said. "A nation that doesn't believe ... that its values are values that ought to be shared and sold, if you will, to other countries, that's not the United States.

"Second, [the Internet] was fundamentally a richer medium — text and pictures — and that therefore it was going to be an easier and better way for people to have access to information. ..."

He also believed the Internet was "certain to be diverse in every conceivable respect and not by dint of regulation — diverse, meaning it would be in every language and every race would be welcome and the content would be ... generated by people who ... would choose any points of view; and any kind of ownership of the content would be admissible and any form of the content would be possible."

His embrace of the Internet was also prompted by "an anti-elite impulse." At its heart, he said, the Internet is a "disintermediating medium as oppose to broadcast that created intermediaries."

Hundt ran off several ways his FCC promoted the Internet in his day, chief among them the policy of allowing computers to connect to the Internet through telephone lines without incurring extra costs.

"In other words, we stole the value from the telephone network and gave it to ... society. When I say we stole it, it was a government rule that produced this outcome."

At the same time, he said, the FCC tried to suppress broadcasting. "This is a little naughty: We delayed the transition to HDTV and fought a big battle against the whole idea."

He said he found it "simply astonishing" that the government continued to promote broadcasting by helping it through the last leg of the transition from analog to digital last year by subsidizing converter boxes for consumers. "Those people would have been much better off getting a voucher for broadband Internet subscriptions."

Hundt also predicts the demise of must carry, which he sees as another "astonishing" pro-broadcasting regulatory artifact, possibly by a ruling of of the Supreme Court.

As a service to you, I have pulled out what I felt were Hundt's salient points from this extraordinary speech, but, again, I encourage you to check out the video. If you want to preserve broadcasting, you have to know what the other guys are thinking. I don't believe you'll ever get a better opportunity. While he was chairman, he said, he was afraid to publicly admit the pro-Internet bias of his policies.

Hundt made one particularly disturbing comment in explaining his preference for the Internet. "We also thought the Internet would fundamentally be pro-democracy and that broadcast had become a threat to democracy," he said without elaboration and without anybody in the room challenging him. I'd like to hear more on that.

According to Hundt, you cannot stop a government from choosing a common medium to be the dominant one for the nation. "It's going to [choose], because government in any country wants a way to reach everybody. It will encourage it and promote it up to some level."

I reject that. This is America. We can have two of everything, be it chickens in the pot or whatever. The question was once put to me: what would you rather have, the best broadcasting system in the world or the best broadband system. My answer: both.