With regard to your editorial, Micromanaging the FCC in the July issue, it sounds like you don't realize that it was the FCC who had ruled, repeatedly, that third-adjacent channel protections were not required, and that second-adjacent channel separation was sufficient. It was lobbying on Congress that forced the FCC to adopt third-adjacent channel separation despite the FCC's stand that there was no reason for it.
You are undoubtedly correct that many LPFM stations will fall away over time. Many people will not appreciate the challenge that is 24/7/365 broadcasting. But others will do a great deal of good with these licenses. In our case, I represent a small private school that has been awarded a construction permit and we are well into the planning for a student-operated radio station with near professional quality recording studio facilities and multiple studios. We have partnered with a local radio club to get additional technical resources. We will be creating original radio theater, original local musical performances, talk format and other things. One of our talents is a gentleman who has spent most of his life creating and preserving old-time radio theater techniques and scripts.
There is a certain freedom in not having to generate a profit. If you have the right mix and quantity of dedicated talent willing to support a program like this as a labor of love, it can accomplish things that neither commercial stations, nor the average PBS/NPR station can do.
If many stations fall away, then nobody but they are the poorer for it, but the community can benefit from LPFM.
I read with interest your article Tower Inspecting and Climbing in the July issue of Radio. I have just celebrated 50 years in broadcasting. My jobs have ranged from chief engineer (before some smart guy invented transistors) to station owner. However, as a 14-year-old, I started by climbing towers for a small firm in northeast Texas. I discovered at an early age the value of leather pegs over the nails in the soles of my boots.
My main concern is the photo in the article that shows two young men climbing in tandem. Any old climber (and I mean really old, like myself) will tell you don't climb in tandem. If the lead (the guy on top) falls, he will take out the climber below. The bottom climber should be on the other side of the tower. No exceptions.
Enjoyed the article.
Paul R. Beane
owner, KLVT AM-FM, Levelland, TX and KZZN-AM Littlefield, TX
general manager, KRBL-FM, Lubbock, TX
Good point, Paul. Safety should always be the top priority, and this was a bad example that slipped by us.
The shape of things
I enjoyed your June Viewpoint More to Digital Radio very much. It was prophetic and challenging. On the technical career side of things, I'd like to share some observations.
I suspect in 10 to 15 years commercial radio as we know it will be quite different, and this will affect the role of the broadcast engineer. There is a mixture of dread, curiosity and excitement in my conversations with my colleges across the country. Nothing is happening slowly these days and it can be a bit unnerving at times. What are the associated emotions?
Dread. I think because we don't know what radio station we will work for; I mean, who really knows where all the IP stations live and do they even have an office for a CE? Where is the transmitter site? Think about a computer in the dashboard of a car that can receive a thousand signals from Wi-fi, to satellite, to terrestrial. The listener doesn't care where it comes from, so long as it's what he wants and it's affordable. Television will face the same issues.
Curiosity and excitement. Technical people are naturally drawn to new technology and the techno tsunami is coming fast! Perhaps faster than we would like. Positioning for the broadcast engineer in the brave new world you described will require some homework, open minds and fast feet!
Keep up the good work. Keep sounding the trumpet!