In this week’s issue… LPFMs use pandemic for power boost – Remembering CT’s Harris – Seven Mountains adds PA market – EAS skit = big Entercom fine – More job cuts across region
By SCOTT FYBUSH
*It’s been a long April, hasn’t it? And somehow we’re not even halfway through the month that was supposed to be kicking into high gear this week as so many of us would have been getting on planes and heading to the NAB Show and all its associated events in Las Vegas.
Instead, here we all are at home, or keeping near-empty studio and transmitter sites humming as essential services to our communities. It’s been exhausting for all of us, no doubt – and you’ll forgive your editor, we hope, if the podcast episodes we’ve been promising have been slow to arrive. This week? We’re hoping to do better, as circumstances allow at this end.
We hope you’re all staying safe, too – and we want to hear your stories of how your stations are surviving this strange time in our lives.
*On with the week’s news, beginning with two low-power FM stations in MASSACHUSETTS that are hoping to become a little less low-power for the duration of the emergency.
The city of Boston owns WBCA-LP (102.9), which shares time with two other Boston-area LPFMs on the channel, and the town of Acton, 20 miles or so to the northwest, owns WAEM-LP (94.9). Each currently operates with the most power allowed by the FCC’s normal LPFM rules – 14 watts from an apartment rooftop for WBCA, 21 watts for WAEM.
But as outlets for public agencies seeking to convey important emergency information to the public, both stations (with the aid of ace consultant Dave Doherty) saw an opportunity to request special temporary authorization to provide better coverage to their communities (and, in the case of WAEM, the adjacent town of Boxborough) for the next few months.
With a comprehensive set of technical exhibits backing up their claims that no interference issues will result from the power increases (both are far removed from the nearest full-power co-channel stations, and the other co-channel LPFMs and translators nearby have fewer protections), WAEM and WBCA both won FCC approval for their increases last week.
WBCA will go to 50 watts for at least six months, or longer if a state of emergency remains in effect; WAEM will go to 85 watts for three months.
(Can your LPFM station do the same? If it’s not government-owned, probably not. There’s more good advice to be had from Michelle Bradley’s REC Networks on that front…)
FOR SALE: Central New England AM Powerhouse with 50,000-watt nondirectional daytime potential to cover 5 million people.
Dennis Jackson – firstname.lastname@example.org
We have a great lineup of podcasts here on our site. While you’re catching up with your summer reading, don’t forget about your summer listening. Now is the time to make sure you’re up to date with Top of the Tower.
Our latest one features Donna Halper discussing her life in radio, from her time at WMMS when she helped Rush get US airplay, to what she learned from Arnie “Woo Woo” Ginsburg.
Don’t forget you can still visit our store to check out our other great products. We’ll be taking preorders for the 2021 calendar soon. Stay tuned!