WAMU Granted HD Power Boost; Others Challenge Blanket Increase
May 21, 2010 at 4:29 AM (PT)
AMERICAN UNIVERSITY noncommercial Talk WAMU/WASHINGTON has received the first official FCC grant of increased power for its digital HD RADIO signal. The station applied for Special Temporary Authority for the increase to -14dBC (170 watts to 680 watts) on APRIL 27th.
Meanwhile, the blanket HD RADIO power increase has drawn objections and Petitions for Reconsideration from several quarters. Among the comments filed are a Petition for Reconsideration from SYRACUSE engineer ALAN JURISON, challenging NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO LABS's engineering study that was used to bolster the case for the power increase, citing the lack of analog control sample in the analysis of digital data and flaws in the interference protection methodology used by NPR.
PRESS COMMUNICATIONS filed an Application for Review and Request for Stay, citing an "unalterably biased" outcome of the proceeding based on testing conducted by the parties who had a stake in the outcome, without a full technical review or independent verification. "NPR had already admitted to vast amounts of new interference," wrote PRESS. "The NAB is somewhat tainted with a majority of its Executive Board and eight to 10 others on its Radio Board having invested money in the venture. Meanwhile, a member of its radio board with a heavy investment in HD equipment in its group largely conducted the 'tests' on its own stations working directly with iBIQUITY.
"What is particularly galling is the Commission, who has and continues to rigidly protect analog FM from analog to analog interference has allowed NPR and its cohorts to essentially assume the role of the Commission in vetting the change, not only accepting their 'engineering' findings, but even largely adopting the language proposed by the group," added PRESS, which also noted the disproportionate impact of interference on Class A stations in general and those in the MONMOUTH-OCEAN market in particular. "Let’s call this Order for what it really is," wrote PRESS, "an unparalleled assault on analog FM Radio listeners and to further reorder the competitive landscape to the favor of higher power large market broadcasters."
PROMETHEUS RADIO PROJECT and MEDIA ACCESS PROJECT filed an Application for Review complaining that the Media Bureau's decision came without consideration of "any of the substantive concerns and recommendations submitted by Prometheus and other affected parties," which the filing called arbitrary and capricious.
PETER AND JOHN RADIO FELLOWSHIP, INC., licensee of WRBS/BALTIMORE, submitted a Petition for Reconsideration noting the effect of the blanket increase on grandfathered severely short-spaced stations with interference agreements, saying that its own situation with co-channel WRBT/HARRISBURG would lead to " to the destruction of WRBS’ ability to provide interference-free service to a substantial portion of the presently interference free area within its 54 dBu and 60 dBu contours." MULLANEY ENGINEERING also filed a Petition for Reconsideration, noting that the 1% power level for HD RADIO was never intended to replicate the primary station's coverage area because the system was designed to "blend back to analog" when the digital signal drops out.
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