In this week’s issue… End of shutdown gets regulators back in action, at least for now – Helicopter lifts new TV antenna – NY’s NASH names new morning show – Silent AM returns – More turmoil at Canada’s JAZZ.FM

By SCOTT FYBUSH

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*For broadcasters, the partial government shutdown whose end was announced Friday was a little shorter than for the rest of the country. The FCC’s funding lasted into January, running out January 3 and leaving (most of) the Commission out of business for just under a month before things start opening up again today.

If you heard our Top of the Tower podcast last week with veteran DC attorney Melodie Virtue, you heard us discuss many of the shutdown’s effects on broadcasters: signal upgrades and changes were put on hold, the sales landscape slowed down dramatically as deals were unable to be filed, and while some Commission systems remained up and running (the CDBS database system, for instance, was available during the shutdown, unlike during previous shutdowns), there was no guarantee that a power glitch or other system issue wouldn’t take them down without warning.

Other systems, somewhat inexplicably, went away immediately when the shutdown hit. Broadcasters who didn’t get in to the online public file system right at the start of January to file their quarterly issues lists found that the URL redirected them to an official shutdown notice (and, for a time, some found an outdated link that went to an earlier test version of the public file site, though the Commission took down that test site once broadcasters alerted them to the issue.)

We’ll be watching the Commission today to see how it resolves some issues at the end of the shutdown. In theory, any filings that were due during the shutdown – like, say, those quarterly issues lists that were supposed to have been in January 10 – will be due two business days after the FCC reopens. Given the load that a month’s worth of filing will put on the Commission’s systems, will any of those deadlines get stretched?

And of course we’ll also be watching closely as all that pent-up activity gets filed in the next few days – station sales we might not have known about, for instance, without a transfer filing in CDBS. With the threat of another shutdown looming in just a few weeks, will broadcasters be moving more expediently to get things filed right away? And how fast can the beleaguered FCC staff move on processing a backlog? We’ll be watching.

We had one day of unseasonably warm weather followed by dropping temperatures and high winds. And that’s not to mention the freezing rain.

But neither cold nor wind nor freezing rain will keep us from sending you your 2019 Tower Site Calendar.

As we’ve said before, we have abundant options for any calendar lover. We have the standard version. We have the signed version. We have resealable polyethylene bags if you want to keep them once the year is up. We have pens if you want to use the calendar as a planner. And we have last year’s calendar if you want copies of those pictures.

We also have a dozen left of The Radio Historian’s 2019 calendar.

Be your own valentine and treat yourself to both. Check them out now at the Fybush.com store!

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Click Here To Register And Purchase This Column!!

You don't have to stop reading here! Each week's NorthEast Radio Watch is packed full of exclusive, in-depth reporting and analysis from across the nine states and five provinces we've been serving since 1994. You won't find anything like it on any free site - and you can read the rest of this week's column for just $2.99 by clicking on the "Purchase Only" link below. 

Or click here to subscribe and enjoy full access to current NERW and Tower Site of the Week columns and two decades of searchable archives -- for as little as 25 cents per day.

If you are already a member, please login to view the rest of this column. (If the site does not recognize your username, don't panic! Either your subscription has expired and we need to reactivate your account, or your username and email do not match our payment records and we need to link them. Please email Lisa,  or call her at 585-442-5411, for instructions.)

Why are we now subscriber-based? Click here to read more about the reasons behind our decision.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hey Scott. Any official position from Fybush.com re: the FCC proposal on changing (loosening) restrictions protecting Class A AM stations (especially the old 1-A’s) so that daytimers and others can go on or stay on at night on previously restricted clear channels? I can assure you that my management in Utica, N.Y., if I asked them, would decline to put up a directional array to go on adjacent clear channels. What’s your position and are you sending anything in to the FCC now that they are re-opened. DK

  2. Hi Dave,

    I decided not to file on the current rulemaking, which is a very specialized one. In general, I am in favor of retaining protections on the class As; I think the value of their broad coverage generally exceeds any small benefit that most smaller AMs will derive these days from being able to modify their signals. Like you say, nobody in your position is building new DAs.

Comments are closed.