|Color Television and print-media have brought us a vastly superior way to
see the events of the day…at the same time they have uncovered some
things that I have issues with. Think back at how TV
and Newspapers were all black and white and how we relied upon the
writer, or in the case of TV, the announcer to tell us what color
something was. This was not a problem because our mind
will ‘colorize’ for us. For some reason the
fact that we can actually – see the color – has been lost to those
whose words go along with the pictures. When they don’t
agree – I have a problem. For example….The recent plane that
crashed in the Java Sea….Every TV channel has described the search for
the ‘black boxes’….and yet when these boxes were recovered…they were NOT
black but bright ORANGE. Who are they trying to
fool – AND WHY?
The Mike and Key Club will be holding their 34th Annual Electronics Show
and Flea market at the Washington State Fair Grounds in Puyallup on
Saturday, March 7th with doors opening at 9 a.m. This
annual event is often attended by many broadcast engineers…For the last
few years, many of us gathered for breakfast in Auburn prior to driving
to the event …Perhaps you’d like to join us? – Drop me a note, or give
me a call if you are interested in joining us for breakfast …This way I
don’t have to give the restaurant a free commercial.
If you recall a while back I recommended that we get away from some of
the terms that we have been using, if for no other reason than the fact
that too many technophobes have been using our terms. For example –
Equipment should be referred to as ‘Apparatus’. Antennas should
(again) be ‘Aerials’ etc. In the interest in improving the verbal
skills of Engineers, here are
some terms you may wish to add to your vocabulary when conversing with
technically challenged people –
- Replace – Wiring with ‘Infrastructure’ or IFL (Inter-facility-link).
- Refer to negative outcomes as a ‘Kerfuffle’ or
a brouhaha. If you are dealing with someone that’s perhaps
an English major…You can reach a bit deeper in your tool box and use
neurasthenia or psychasthenia.
- Replace CAT-5 or CAT-6 for awhile and use another
animal's names just to see who notices. DOG-6 has a nice
ring to it. See if anyone notices.
Going back in time can be loads of fun -
For TV -
- Tell them the TV camera is down for ‘orbiter maintenance’.
- Run around the plant asking everyone where they put the Registration Chart.
For Radio –
- Ask almost anyone in radio today how to back-time.
- Ask someone what a Radio-Loop is ….or a NEMO.
When all else fails – and some quick wit lines are occurring to you
….you can always use ‘Double-Talk’…Nothing like some bafflegab or
gobbliegook. If you are looking for some material you can
always find some gems in the speeches of GWB.
If you have some gems along this line that you are willing to share – drop me an email….
Recently the Seattle Times in their Smart Money column mentioned
TV Antennas (always a favorite topic of mine). Allow me to quote –
“Reader seem to love learning more about an
old-fashioned – and free – way to get TV programming with an
over-the-air-antenna”. A reader wrote in and
said, “I was unaware of the current technology, I just purchased an
antenna for $18”…..”And it works as advertised with excellent
reception.” The column writer added this gem – “…And the picture is
likely to be superior to the one you get via cable or satellite because
the signal is less compressed.”
What can I say other than WOW! This is yet another example
of how great technology from yesteryear can resolve issues
today. There is this mentality that assumes if it’s an old
technology that it’s automatically inferior. Hmmm,
seems to me that Humans were designed some time back too.
Received a note from Rick Kemp announcing that he is no longer with OTA
Broadcasting. He’s decided to hang out his own shingle (his
words). For more info – Contact Rick at 208-869-6416 or via
email at email@example.com. Good luck Rick – keep in touch.
Older than me – Was talking with Jim Jones the other day down at
J-Squared in Grants Pass, Oregon….Nice to know there is someone still
working that’s older than me (by even just a little). Ooops…I
failed to mention Ben Dawson. Jim is one of the last
of a breed of techs that does component level servicing. He’s been at it for almost 30 years.
Keeping up with the times…The NAB show this year will feature an Aerial
Robotics and Drone Pavilion that is sure to attract a lot of
attention. I have to ask…..Will those radio-controlled
‘Aerial-devices’ use Aerials?
Got an email from Ron Diotte, CE of Channel 11. He was
reading this column where I mentioned that the owners of the station
elected to sell their tower. Ron reminds us that the
tower was first sold by CBS back in 2009 to Richland Tower and again in
2014 to American Tower. Ron, following up on my item about owners
of electric cars in some locations in the country are using electricity
that’s generated by the burning of coal, therefore they are driving a
coal powered vehicle, stated that he is now driving an electric
car…knowing that a huge part of our power is generated by
Hydro. On that topic, I wonder if VW will come out
with a VoltsWagen?
At least one station has announced they will take the money. In
this case, it’s KMGM-TV in Atlantic City, N.J. I
wonder who in the Seattle market will take the bait? Meanwhile, an
AM station in the market is going to broadcast a 30 minute
nightly newscast to replace the one that will go away on
TV. Obviously it remains to be seen just how many viewers to
the cast on KMGM-TV will migrate to an AM Radio station…The video is
likely to be pretty weak.
Alpha, who operates a cluster of radio stations in Portland, has again
whipped out their checkbook and is purchasing stations from Coast Radio
Company in California.
KIRO-AM 710 here is Seattle (AKA ESPN Radio) is spreading its wings a
bit. They have been simulcasting KJOX in Tri-Cities since 2013 and
will now be adding KGA-AM 1510 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Spokane. A
mini-network originating on Eastlake Ave in Seattle. Station
engineering honcho Tom Pierson reports the Seattle-Spokane
connection will be via IP. The Bonneville
facility on Eastlake is no stranger to feeding other stations and
markets from KIRO as well as KTTH.
For some time I have been asking our State's EAS Steering Committee to
come up with a new person to Chair the SECC. Due to
lack of any visible action on that front, I announced that the January
meeting of the ground that 2015 would be my LAST YEAR as SECC
Chair. I’ve been doing this now for about 18 years and
feel it’s time that someone else step forward and fill this
chair. I stressed that now would be a better time that
waiting for me to expire…. At least now I can help get this person up
to speed so that in 1-1-16 the transition will be smoothly
completed. If you have an interest – now
is the time to speak up.
A while back we were informed by NWS that this winter was going to be
mild….Looks like the NWS Dart-Board was right on, at least thus
far. We’ve only had a couple of snows at West Tiger
where I was glad I had my M/T’s on the truck. The forecast
for this coming weekend (Jan 24/25) calls for temps near 60! Hope
we get some winter, not just for the skiers, but for the snow-pack
that we depend on for water this coming summer. Anyone
remember when Seattle had water rationing due to lack of mountain
snow? Unlike California, we are getting plenty of rain ….In
fact too much. The lack of snow could bite us in the
future. We have been warned this would start happening.
In the category of passages, we recently lost Bill Boeing Jr, the son of the airplane makers founder. Bill was 92.
What many don’t know, or recall, was that Bill was also a Broadcast
Station owner here in Seattle back in 1959. I
recall 101.5, then called KETO and that little concrete
block building on Cougar Mt. being associated with the name Boeing back
when I got started in this business. Following Bill,
in 1976, came Gene Autry and then, in 1994 Fisher. Today 101.5,
now KPLZ, is owned by Sinclair who also operates KVI as well as KOMO
Radio and TV.
The FCC keeps telling folks not to run EAS Data Bursts for anything
other than EAS…but for some reason the temptation to do what’s wrong
overcomes many….And it’s becoming evident that these folks don’t have
anyone in management that is warning them that the Feds will be in a
‘snit’ if you do it….So here we go again. The
FCC has fined ESPN $280K and Viacom 1.12 Million Bucks for EAS
Abuse. Go ahead and call me stupid…but I just don’t get
it. What are the Feds to do to get the point across that
this is a no-no? Perhaps a 60 during the Super Bowl would
work? And, of course, A Viacom spokesman deemed the response by
federal authorities "unwarranted" and said they were considering their
We all recently learned what happens when a wind-storm causes a power
bump that trips circuit breakers on the NOAA Weather Radio Transmitter
on Cougar Mountain during a Federal Holiday……The Answer?
Nothing. Apparently NOAA does not repair these things
during holidays. Broadcast Engineers should be so
lucky with our 25/7/365 jobs. The bottom line is that if
your assigned Monitoring Assignment calls for 162.550 in the Seattle
Area you did not receive the test that they did not send. Some
stations in this area switched over to monitoring Capital or Miller
Peak during this time…Proving that some broadcast engineers don’t get
MLK day off.
Dwight, always watching his back, Small found this one. If someone were to monitor my keystrokes as I write this column….They’d
have a side-ache from laughing, not at the content, but at the
From Don Peters at Wazzu comes this -
We currently have a Telecommunications Systems Supervisor position open
(university Title: Broadcast Chief Engineer). This is based in
Pullman and supports Television, Radio and College of
Communications. It supervises two classified staff currently. More
information can be found at: https://www.wsujobs.com/ We will shortly have a Broadcast Tech II position opening. The
emphasis of this position is Television studio operations. People
can contact me about this position. You can reach Don at firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking at the latest, 12+ Radio Ratings for Seattle a couple of things of interest (to me anyway):
- For the first time in quite a while a station's
ratings were in double digits, in this case the #1 station, KRWM at a
10.7. Likely due to their all Christmas Format.
- The ONLY AM in the top 10 is KIRO – Perhaps….just maybe….Due to the Hawks?
- The next AM on the list is KOMO ranking #19.
- KING-FM is doing very well ranking #8…Perhaps the lack of commercials?
- The other Non-Comm’s are doing well with KUOW at #7 and KPLU Tied with KMPS.
- The Wolf appears to have won the Country Music wars ranking #6 compared to #17 for KMPS.
Here comes Tablet TV which hopes to have service in the top TV
markets by the end of 2016. This is a really clever little
gadget that receives OTA TV and transmits to a tablet via
Wi-Fi. Have to wonder why something like this has taken so
long to come to market. Roll-out of the device is in San
Francisco. What I especially like about this is the
recognition that broadcasters legacy point-multi-point system is much
more efficient than an Internet based delivery one where the bandwidth
needs of everyone down-stream must be accommodated. Just like antennas – It takes a while for better technology to be
adopted for the simple reason that it’s been around for so long.
A bit of a time-out for a Dog update. As you know we lost
Taylor back in November. In early December, our dog groomer, who is
also involved with pet rescue, called telling us she had a rescued a
year and a half old Yorkie that we should see. We did and
quickly adopted the fella. The story of his name is
interesting. I have often thought if I got another male dog I
would name him Yagi. When we ask what this fellow's
name was they said ‘Shaggy’. Wow, that’s close….When I bent
down and called him 'Yagi'…he came right to
me….DONE! Yagi is a wonderful, loving and
outgoing pup that will certainly be spending a lot of time with me as we
visit the various transmitter sites in the future – I hope you get to
meet him. Here’s his picture, with a dirty face after
working to catch that backyard mole.
The story of his ID Tag is interesting. My Wife was looking at ID
Tags at our Vet and ran across this one…A dog house with an
antenna….Of course the antenna is a Yagi – PERFECT!
I love to close with some phunnies…Here are some items sure to bring a smile –
*When chemists die, they barium.
*I stayed up all night to see where the sun went. Then it dawned on me.
*This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I’d never met herbivore.
*I'm reading a book about anti-gravity. I can't put it down.
*Why were the Indians here first? They had reservations.
*The Energizer bunny arrested and charged with battery.
*The old man didn't like his beard at first. Then it grew on him.
*Did you hear about the cross-eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn’t control her pupils?
*I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me!
*What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus.
*I got a job at a bakery because I kneaded dough.
*Velcro - what a rip off!
*Earthquake in Washington obviously government's fault.
*I used to think I was indecisive, but now I’m not so sure.
Well, that’s it for this month - Hope to see you in most of these same places next time -
73, Clay, K7CR & CPBE