Weekly Tech Reminders: Intelligible Processing, Site Monitoring and More

An excerpt from this week’s Monday Morning Coffee and Technical Notes
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The following is excerpted from the�Alabama Broadcasters Association�sweekly e-newsletter, Monday Morning Coffee and Technical Notes. Thanks to Larry Wilkins, who puts together the content and has shared it with Radio magazine readers. To subscribe to the newsletter, send an email tolwilkins@al-ba.com, and he will add you to the database.


Every broadcast station uses a transmission audio processor somewhere in the audio chain. The processor�s most important function is to control the peak modulation of the transmitter to the legal requirements of the regulatory body. However, very few stations use a simple peak limiter for this function. Instead, they use more complex audio chains. These can accurately constrain peak modulation while significantly decreasing the peak-to-average ratio of the audio. This makes the station sound louder within the allowable peak modulation, but quite often at the expense of reduced �intelligibility.�


Broadcast plants are not authorized or designed to operate unattended all the time. Someone needs to �mind the store,� especially when it comes to the over the air transmissions. Thankfully, you don�t have to sit at the transmitter site and take meter reading every 30 minutes like we old timers did in the past. Equipment stability and remote ability have made the engineers job much less time consuming.

However, you must still visit your transmitter sites �as often as necessary to assure compliance with the station authorization.�

When visiting the site engineers would be wise to learn and be observant of three major items....

  1. The look of your site
  2. The sound of your site
  3. The smell of your site�

Each time you visit your site, these three items will become second nature and will aid you in recognizing something out of the ordinary. In between visits, having a reliable means of checking on the operations at the transmitter site is a valuable asset.


Being compliant with EAS rules is (or should be) a simple procedure, however seems like more and more stations are receiving the dreaded Notice of Apparent Liability for incorrect EAS operation.

Basically, part 11 of the FCC rules indicates that each EAS participant must have installed and be operating properly an EAS encoder and decoder. As of June 2012, all EAS equipment must be able to receive and process Common Alerting Protocol messages.

With respect to monitoring for EAS messages that are formatted in accordance with the EAS Protocol, EAS participants must monitor two EAS sources. The monitoring assignments of each broadcast station and cable system and wireless cable system are specified in the state EAS plan and FCC mapbook.�

In addition to the two required monitor sources, the EAS equipment must be connected to the internet and programmed to receive alerts and test from the Integrated Public Alert Warning System servers as part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.�

EAS participants must also transmit a required weekly test plus receive and relay the state required monthly test overview of EAS requirement available here.