In this week’s issue… Wahl loses FM license – EMF expands on the Seacoast – NAB Show underway – Hub host loses voice – Shively finds a buyer – What next for Philly’s TDY?
By SCOTT FYBUSH
Jump to: ME – NH – VT – MA – RI – CT – NY – NJ – PA – Canada
LAS VEGAS – This year’s NAB Show in Las Vegas is celebrating the convention’s centennial, but it’s focused on looking forward, not backward.
What’s the talk of broadcasters this year? We hope you’ll listen live during show hours (1-8 PM ET) today and tomorrow on MaxxRadioNow.com, the streaming station that’s originating from the MaxxKonnect booth in West Hall, where your editor is on the air interviewing broadcasters and vendors from all over – or listen to archived interviews on the website. And we hope you’ll make sure you’re subscribed to the Top of the Tower Podcast on your favorite podcast app, because it’s back with a new series of episodes starting with Saturday’s chat with broadcasting consultant Valerie Geller.
Here’s just some of what we’re noticing so far on and off the show floor:
The future of AM radio – It’s not just the NAB that’s turning 100. The “senior broadcast band” is now more than a century old, and if declining listenership, older demos, aging equipment, the lack of experienced engineers and the increasing land values under AM sites aren’t enough (whew…), there’s yet another threat out there as automakers reconsider keeping radio, and especially AM radio, available on the dashboard. It’s not just Tesla or other electric vehicle makers. Now it’s Ford saying it will discontinue AM in the next few years as it refreshes its radios, and that has the attention of not only AM broadcasters but also FEMA, which is meeting here with auto companies to remind them of the role AM plays in emergency communications.
ATSC 3.0 – The new digital TV broadcast standard is really a digital data delivery standard that can serve up video, datacasting and, yes, radio. Broadcasters here are learning about how an ATSC 3.0 TV channel can also deliver up to 50 high-quality radio signals with robust reception and potentially national range when networked. But just because your scientists have figured out that they could…is there any business case for the new medium and all the new receivers it would need?
Virtualization – Sure, the show floor in the West Hall is full of shiny new boxes that do all sorts of things, but many engineers believe the future of broadcast facility will happen with fewer single-purpose boxes and more software that can run locally or in the cloud, significantly changing the architecture of studios and master control plants. Add to that the new reality that many office workers will never be coming back to expensive leased real estate, and we’re starting to see how different things will look at new radio station construction, with few dedicated offices for sales, programming and business staff, rack rooms that may not look like traditional rack rooms, and often less studio space, too.
We’ll have so much more on NAB in next week’s NERW, wrapping up our daily MaxxRadio coverage.
*Meanwhile back east, the axe has finally fallen on troubled PENNSYLVANIA broadcaster Roger Wahl. Almost three years after Wahl pleaded guilty to a felony and four misdemeanors for spying on a female acquaintance, impersonating her on a dating site and soliciting another man to have sexual relations with her, the FCC ruled on Wednesday that he is not qualified to hold the license for WQZS (93.3 Meyersdale).
Wahl’s case has been grinding slowly through the FCC bureaucracy for years now, delayed by Wahl’s attempt to transfer the WQZS license to his daughter and by his decision to try to represent himself in the proceeding, which resulted in repeated failure to respond to FCC queries.
“We find that Mr. Wahl lacks the qualifications to be or remain a Commission licensee,” the Commission wrote in its revocation order, noting that Wahl was afforded many opportunities to defend himself and to make the case that he should be able to retain his license. Instead, it says, Wahl waived that right by failing to participate.
What’s more, the FCC says, if Wahl were to apply today for a license, he’d be found unqualified for each of three reasons: the one felony count, the four misdemeanors and his attempts to delete files to avoid state prosecution.
The WQZS story isn’t quite over yet: Wahl now has 40 days to wind down the station’s operations before the license is officially revoked, and he still has one more opportunity to appeal this revocation order.
CALENDARS ON CLEARANCE
If you don’t have your 2023 Tower Site Calendar yet, now is the perfect time to get it. Because we have lowered the price to just $14.
The calendar has great photos of broadcast sites near and far (everywhere from Navajo Nation on the cover to Boston to Toronto to Texas, and beyond), plus a lovely “centerfold” you can keep on your wall for 2024.
It’s still shipping regularly, and you can have yours in just a couple of days!
Order your copy and you’ll see what we mean.
If you have already ordered your calendar, make sure you check out the other items in the store, too!