Weekly Tech Reminders: Repack, Station Log & 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's weekly 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 to lwilkins@al-ba.com, and he will add you to the database.

REPACK EXPENSES

A good number of FM stations, along with LPTV and TV translators, that share space on a television towers are having to make plans to move to another location during the TV repack. This can amount to a rather large expense that was not budgeted for.

The FCC has released a Public Notice asking for comments on a "Catalog of Expenses" that would be reimbursed to licensees of LPTV and TV translator stations, as well as FM broadcasters, who are impacted by the repacking of the TV spectrum following the TV incentive auction.

Engineers should be aware that they will have to come up with what it would cost to accomplish certain tasks caused by the repacking — whether it would be for replacement equipment or necessary professional services.

Comments are due by Nov. 21, with replies due Dec. 6.

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME ENDS SOON

DST will come to an end this week. This year it occurs on Sunday, Nov. 4 at 2 a.m. This means 2 a.m. clocks are turned backward one hour to Sunday, Nov. 4 1 a.m. local standard time instead.

Sunrise and sunset will be about one hour earlier on Nov 4 than the day before. There will be more light in the morning.

THE STATION LOG

As a quick reminder, the FCC requires all broadcasters to maintain a “station log.” This log replaced the "transmitter log" that was in place for many years. The Station Log is a document that verifies that the station has been operating in accordance with the issued station authorization each week.

It must contain the following information...

  • Each test and activation of the Emergency Alert System. The EAS records may be kept in a special EAS log, in which case the EAS log is considered a part of the station log.
  • Regular observations of tower lights. If extinguished or malfunctioning, the log must also include the nature of the problem, the date and time of extinguishment or improper operation, and the date, time and nature of adjustments, repairs or replacements.
  • Entries concerning any out-of-tolerance conditions with the transmission equipment and corrective actions taken.

The station log must be reviewed(plus signed and dated) weekly by the station chief operator and kept for a period of two years.

DIGITAL AUDIO NOTES

Bit depth represents dynamic range in digital recordings. A recording that is done in 24 bits will have a greater dynamic range than a recording done in 16 bits.

When an audio file or digital recording is created with a particular bit resolution and is transferred to another device or application with a lower bit resolution, this change in bit depth must be resolved in some way. Do nothing, and the receiving device will truncate, or chop off the bits that it cannot handle.

In other words, if your recording has been made at 24 bits and you're transferring to a device that can only handle 16 bits, the "extra" 8 bits get chopped off and are lost in oblivion.

The solution to this problem is a processing effect called dithering. Dithering essentially is adding an inaudible layer of low-level noise to cover up the quantization distortion.

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