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Clay Freinwald

Clay’s Corner for February 2016

Providing news and views from a broadcast engineer's perspective since September 1986



I guess I’ve always been a bit of a weather-nut….When I was younger, before I discovered radio, I thought about getting into that field….Perhaps this is why I write about our weather in this column?

Looking back at 2015 some thoughts about this subject –
  • Last Winter was a no-show.  Very little snow, whining skiers, frightened farmers in Eastern Washington and apprehensive fire fighters.
  • Our summer was glorious with lots of sunshine leading to lots of talk about drought…Later in the season they were even water rationing in Forks!
  • On cue, the switch was thrown about the first of November with the clouds rolling in and before long those warm summer days were washed away in the reality that we are indeed in the PNW.
  • December the skies opened even wider giving us the 2nd wettest December on record with over 11 inches falling.
  • December also brought more records to the Mountains with Snoqualmie Pass receiving over 193 inches of snow…112 inches falling in one week.  For the first time in a while, vehicle access to the broadcast sites on West Tiger have been left to over the snow vehicles.
  • As the year came to a close the spigot shut off and we were giving a period of cold/clear frosty weather but not before ending the year with considerably above normal precip.

Looking ahead we are reminded that a record setting El Nino is lurking out there.  It’s being blamed on lots of unusual weather.  For this area….The forecasters have thrown in the towel and proclaimed the drought over and admitting they are not really positive about what lies ahead.  This leaves us all in the same boat – What we do know is what falls to the ground.

The year started out with plenty of snow at West Tiger…To the point that chained up 4x4’s could not get to the site…Those of us that maintain equipment up there could only sit and wait, with fingers crossed, that there are not major failures as none of the broadcast stations up there have ever deemed it necessary to purchase over-the-show vehicles for times like this.  In years past Alan Robinson would take one or more of us up in his snow-cat, however Alan has retired and sold his machine.  Doug Fisher of ComTek Service has a John Deere Gator with Mattracks that is available for hire should the need arise.  Conditions began to moderate after the middle of the month to the point that we again had access to the sites on the mountain with conventional vehicles.

A couple of pictures were transmitted to subscribers to the West Tiger Remailer – The first one came from Ralph Sims who operates at site at the summit of West Tiger for Accel Net (Oh yes, they have a snow machine to get to their site …Grumble)  He sent a video of folks skiing thru the site – in SHORTS!  Rob Purdy of Hubbard posted the following what we call WTM-2- (West Tiger Mountain 2 as opposed to the first broadcast site on the summit of West Tiger, WTM-1) the location of the CBS, Hubbard, ION and other transmitters.
 WTM-2 Snow

If you have been around towers and tower lights, you will instantly spot this very unusual beacon and conclude it’s nothing like what we have around here.  This beacon is mounted on a very famous tower.  Thanks to Jon Owen of GatesAir for providing it for my readers.  Any guesses?

 Unusual Beacon

I recently learned that Tim Schall is no longer with Town Square Media in Yakima/Tri-Cities.  He has been replaced by Kurt Oberloh.  Whereas I have not heard from Tim – I have no information as to his present status.

Some data was recently released on how things have changed in the last 2 years on how we get TV….Not wishing to bore you with the raw numbers …Here are some of my take-aways-
  • The number of Pay TV households is about the same
  • The number of households that pay for cable dropped .7%
  • The number of households that get their TV via Satellite dropped 1.6%
  • Interestingly of households that have multiple vendors went down 3.8%

We have been hearing a lot recently about cord-cutters and the data supports it –
  • Non pay-tv households increased 7.3%
  • Cord cutters increased 12.5%
  • Those that have never had a cable (other than antenna) connected increased 5.7%

There are a lot of reasons for cutting the TV cord…Perhaps the most compelling is the fact that the cable industry continues to raise prices and still believes that the more channels the better.  The problem here is that the supply and demand equation runs into a problem with Cable and Satellite both forcing you to pay for channels that you don’t want.  Many look at the OTA Model – with Radio and TV you only listened or viewed what you wanted and it was free to you with cost of production and delivery being paid for via advertising.  The second big reason for the decline of these delivery systems is the fact that the Internet, with its ever higher speeds, has become a reasonable vehicle for delivery…And your ISP bill is a bargain.  This is the reason that Cable is investing, big time, in their Internet capabilities…They well know that this is the way to keep their profits up.  On the personal side I recently dropped Cable in favor of Satellite.  Not only are my costs much less than cable but the video quality is superior.  With Cable I got one ‘HD Box’ and one SD Box for the other set.  With Satellite I get HD on both sets.  With all that I had to make the decision to be happy with my DSL knowing that this computer is not going to be used to watch movies etc.  Perhaps I am just old fashioned?  At this age, perhaps I should be?

Nielsen released some figures on how much time American Adults spent with different media per month in the second quarter of 2015 –
  • As one would guess – the biggest audience for TV is 50+ while the smallest is 18-34.  This begs the question – Will the younger set watch more TV when they get older, or will this dip in viewing continue into their later years?
  • For Radio the pattern is similar, however the dip in the 18-34 group is not as deep as with TV, perhaps good news for Radio in the long term?
  • For those devices like DVD, Games, Multimedia etc. the curve is the opposite with 18-34’s being the heaviest users.  (Not surprising)
  • The 18-34 group is really strong with 18-34 followed by a close second 35-49’s

Speaking of Nielsen…..I guess you could say the dust has not yet settled.  First a product call Voltair was produced whose mission was to increase the Nielsen sub-audible coding in broadcast audio.  This was of special concern during periods of time when the broadcast consisted mainly of talk.  Many of these devices were purchased and installed and, from what I have heard, stations were pleased with their investment.  Attention then shifted to Nielsen who, after considerable study, made certain changes to their encoders which all participating stations performed.  Now what happens when the ‘remodeled’ Nielsen encoder is paired with the device that was sold to correct the shortcomings of the encoder?  Well, from what I have been hearing, all is not a bed of roses.  Many stations have complained that they can now ‘hear’ artifacts in their on-air audio causing them to back down the amount of enhancement produced by the Voltair to the point that some stations are wondering if they should have purchased he device.  (They go for more than pocket change.)  I suppose, in time, this will all be sorted out….Meanwhile there are frowns and smiles to be seen depending who you talk to.

If you recall, last month, I wrote about the fact that Vancouver has (finally) turned on an FM station's HD Radio signals.

CKNW in HD 
 
In this case, it’s co-owned CFMI on 101.1 transmitting from one of Vancouver’s popular transmitter sites.  What I did not write about was the impact that this operation had on a translator licensed to WSU’s Northwest Public Radio in Bellingham that was recently installed at King Mt and operating on 101.3.  The impact of the upper digital sideband from CFMI, operating with a robust -14 dbc on 101.3 was severe in the Bellingham area, especially because the CFMI transmitter site is line of site to the area.  It was if the translator had reduced power to about half a watt.   This is clearly a situation where a station adding HD can, quite effectively, protect their adjacent channels.  The lesson learned is to pay close attention to any FM station that is not operating HD, especially, if you operating a translator on an adjacent channel.

Yet ANOTHER chapter in my WHERE’S THE OUTRAGE Department -

The dose of cold weather we had around the first of the year caused me to develop rather strong feelings for those that install chain-link fence gates in these parts.  For some odd reason they install them with a drop-rod that goes below grade into a piece of pipe that fills with water that freezes, creating a gate that won’t open unless you use a –
  • Torch to heat the rod to melt the ice
  • Torch to cut off the rod
  • Saw to cut the rod
  • Wrench to take apart the whole thing
  • Grrrrrr

What do they do in areas where freezing weather is common all winter?  I will admit that up at West Tiger we have such a gate and, every winter, I pull the drop-rod up and lock it there until spring.

Where’s the outrage update –
 
According to reliable sources the Tacoma translator is still on the air translating an AM station that is not.  Perhaps we should chalk this one up to the fact that no one cares, least of which the FCC that has clearly demonstrated that they no longer are interested in enforcement of their rules at the local level, preferring to issue huge fines in the hope that such actions will demonstrate to the ‘little folks’ that they mean business……..Right!

Recently it has been reported (by me and many others) how some super-sized broadcast groups are in dire financial position….So, to perhaps demonstrate to the little guys they mean business, the FCC recently fined Cumulus some $540 Grand regarding violation of sponsorship ID rules.  The nice Mr. Commish is letting them pay the fine on the ‘installment plan’ with $15,000 to be paid over 36 months.

More – WHERE’S THE OUTRAGE -
  
One area where there is almost universal agreement - AM radio is, in some cases, on life-support.  My question is – Who Cares?  Certainly not those Millennials that equate AM Radio with the horse and buggy, Black &White TV’s and other technologies that now (in their mind) populate the dust-bin of history.  I hear the plight of AM Radio from broadcasters that feel ‘stuck’ with an AM and want a full-power Class-C FM to pull them back from the brink.  I hear the FCC make attempts to make it easier on AM via their regulation…but what I don’t hear is ‘Outrage’ from the average Joe.  Could it be that they just don’t care?  Other than those that use AM to provide them with their dose of news/talk, traffic reports and sports, would they be outraged if AM suddenly went totally away?  I suspect the answer is no.  Are we trying to lead a horse to water that is NOT thirsty?.....Consider one of LA’s legendary stations, KFWB was just sold for $8 Million.  Again, where is the outrage of the masses?

Which brings me to the idea that one way to secure something is to utilize technology from the past.  For example - If you are concerned that someone might access something with your present ‘Number Pad’ access system, why not replace that number input device with a – Rotary Dial – that was used prior to the Touch-Tone phone?   How about replacing it with a ‘telegraph key’ that would require that you enter your PIN via Morse Code?  Talk about a security enhancement!  The same concept could be used with computers.  You want an example of how Millennials are stumped with technology that is not all that old?  Consider the fact that, perhaps, the majority of drivers today cannot operate a manual transmission.  You often hear about a vehicle being stolen and quickly abandoned because the thief could not figure out how to make it work – The following item underscores my point.   
 
Antitheft Device

Congratulations to Phil Johnson (Retired KIRO Radio pronouncer and current EAS LECC Chair for the Central Puget Sound Operation area on getting his original Amateur Radio call letters back – K7BNU.

Congratulations to Phil Van Liew who is now the Chief Engineer of CBS Radio in Seattle, filling the slot for retiring Tom McGinley.

We are all saddened to hear about the passing of Mark Kennedy.

Mark KennedyMark Kennedy
 
Mark Allen Kennedy, 58, of Yakima, died Friday, December 25, 2015 at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital.  He was born September 16, 1957 in Laverne, Minnesota to James Patrick and Shirley Ann (Carlson) Kennedy. As a young child, Mark’s family moved to several cities and settled in Spokane, WA in 1973. He graduated from Shadle Park High School in 1976. Mark attended Montana Tech in Butte, Montana and took some classes at Eastern Washington University.  Mark worked in television broadcasting for 35+ years, holding a number of positions at television stations in Spokane. For the past sixteen years, he has worked for KNDO/ KNDU-TV in Yakima and the Tri-Cities, where he became Director of Engineering.  He was an enthusiastic engineer; a dedicated problem solver who approached the tough moments in life calmly, analytically, and with a wry sense of humor.  Outside of work, Mark had a passion for music, and was a very involved member of his parish.  He was in the Yakima Valley Community Band for the past three years and was a member of the Knights of Columbus. For the past 16 years, he was a member of Holy Family Catholic Church where he sang in the choir.  In a church choir more than three decades ago, Mark met Debra Ann Replogle.  They married in Spokane on June 20, 1981 and built a beautiful life together. Mark found great pride and joy in his wife, their daughters, and their grandchildren.  Mark is survived by his wife of almost 35 years, Debbie Kennedy of Yakima, his daughters, Beth (Justin) Gil of Spokane, Laura (Jack) Nieborsky of East Wenatchee and Diane Kennedy of Highwood, Illinois; four grandchildren, Kalize Gil, Alice, Henry and Ruby Nieborsky, a brother, David (Stephanie) Kennedy of Spokane, a sister, Marcia (Chad) Graves of Richland, and numerous nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents. Mark will be deeply missed by all who knew, respected, and loved him.

I did not know Mark very well, our connections were always about EAS where he was a great help with the EAS Program in the Yakima Valley.  Mark was with KNDU/KNDO in Tri-Cities and Yakima as their Chief Engineer for many years where he earned a great reputation.  Mark started at KNDU/KNDO about 2000, prior to that he was with KAYU and KXLY.

Jer Hill wrote – Wow! Mark was a great friend and was most generous with his time to me and to countless numbers of people.  He had the mind of a rocket scientist when it came to his work and the humility to work hard.  He was well known in SBE chapter 51 circles and you could always ask him a question about something technical that was beyond your reach because he had probably already solved it.  This is a very sad day for his family and for all of us in the SBE family and the many people of eastern Washington who knew him.

If you have other memories of Mark that you’d like to share - Please send them my way - Clay
                                                                                                                       
The NAB has teamed up with NPR on urging the FCC to take action that would lead to the installation, or activation, of FM Chips in Cellphones.  Their effort has a lot of support from not only broadcasters but Emergency Managers and first responders.  This has been a long battle that started several years ago.  I see a number of problems with the concept –
  • The phones (that I know of) do not have a built in antenna for receiving FM, depending on the use of ear-buds doubling as an external antenna.,,If you are like me….you have a smart phone but never plug in earphones.
  • There is not a present method in place that would alert the phones user as to what frequency to use to receive emergency information.  
  • There is not (as far as I know) any organized system that would feed this information to certain FM stations. 
  • Did you also notice that AM Radio is completely left out of this conversation, likely for the reason that the receiving capability of a small form-factor cellphone does not lend itself to AM antennas?
  • In the case of a large scale disaster (like our forecasted 9.0 quake) power would be knocked out and within a day or two – most of these cellphone radios will be useless.

This all reminds me of the discussions we are having regarding having a method for Emergency Managers to reach the public after a major quake which is part of Cascadia Rising.  Historically, government officials have relied on Broadcasters being there for them to communicate with the public after a disaster.  Emergency Managers have, largely, not taken into account that broadcast stations are going to be knocked out by natural disasters also and have no way to reach the public in these circumstances.  This is the reason that I have advanced the idea of an Emergency Public Information System (I call it EPIS) that would provide government entities with a means of distributing emergency information to the public.  The Seattle SBE Chapter will be involved in these discussions.

One of the biggest questions to face an NCE Station in the Seattle market in a long time is will KPLU be able to come up with the funds to purchase the station from Pacific Lutheran University…or will it be sold to U-Dub’s KUOW?  Rather than read about my thoughts on this matter – I refer you to the following link - http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattlepolitics/2016/01/15/the-drive-to-purchase-and-preserve-kplu-fm-six-months-to-do-everything/  I do know that the staff at KPLU are optimistic that they will be able to pull it off – Time will tell.

Nielsen is out with some interesting numbers.  In this case numbers indicating the audience size expressed as million per month for three different forms of media in the U.S.
  • TV - 282
  • Radio  - 259
  • Internet - 182

While you are digesting this ….Gallup released a study that showed that TV hit a new low as a favorite way to spend an evening.  According to the poll results, a record-low 16% now name TV as their favorite evening pastime.  34% now say ‘staying home’ as their first choice.  Looking at this in the other direction – 84% would rather do something other than watch TV in the evening and 66% would rather not stay home.

Looks like the effort of Al Jazeera to become a player in the world of cable news in the U.S. has failed with the announcement that they are ‘folding their tent’ by the end of April.  They stated that, after 3 years of efforts, low ratings and lack of advertisers were the deciding factors.  If I recall a long-time KING-TV anchor went to work for them….Wonder if he will be back?  Already a weather forecaster that worked for KIRO-TV left for A-Jaz is reportedly coming back to KCPQ/13.

I love how call letters keep getting recycled – This time the familiar call KNBQ-FM will be showing up on 98.5 from Capital Peak.  I have a bit of history with that call going back to 1986 where it was the call that replaced KTNT-FM in Tacoma.  Viacom dropped the call in favor of KBSG.  The call then went to Nebraska for a while and then came back for use on 102.9 under Clear Channel.  The call letters KBSG are now ending up in Westport, WA.

In the job opening department – a couple this month –
  • In Sacramento, CA Ion Media is looking for a Chief Station Engineer.  Contact jobs@ionmedia.com for more info.
  • In Pullman they are looking for a Director of Engineering and Technology, DOE for NWPR/NWPT.

In this case, Don Peters is retiring. (Yes, you would be my boss) For more info - https://www.wsujobs.com/postings/23215

If you are considering a job in the Seattle area – Here is a web-site that you might want to view.  http://www.trulia.com/home_prices/Washington/Seattle-heat_map/  Even if you are not….It’s very interesting to look at average home prices in this area as well as rental prices too.  This goes a long way explaining why our freeways are so congested as people opt to bunk where they can afford it.  Helping to drive up the cost of housing in this area is the huge influx of people filling the large job market coupled with a lack of available housing.  Let’s face it – the Seattle area is booming.

Are you ready for 4K ? – First of all try and avoid confusing this with 4G the wireless carrier thing.  4K is the ‘buzz-term’ used for ATSC 3.0 that was demonstrated via a local Vegas TV station recently during CES (KHMP-TV).  There is a lot of excitement over it with multiple industry equipment makers dreaming of sugarplums (aka Dollars).

A lot of folks knew that this was going to happen….The proposed 101 story building to be constructed in downtown Seattle has run into the raised palm of the FAA.  For some reason, every once in a while, someone concludes that the FAA’s height restrictions are ‘soft rules’ that can be overcome.  Right across the street, the owners of the present 76 story building, a few years ago invited a number of broadcasters to a meeting where we were told about their plans to erect big poles on the top of the building for broadcast antennas that would provide a superior location to what they called - substandard mountain top locations…uh-huh!  We all know how that went.  The FAA stopped that one cold in its tracks.  Those of us that have been working in this market for a while also will recall the proposal to build very tall towers on Capitol Hill and Cougar Mountain that met the same fate.  The FAA’s territory is something they protect very well with the success rate of those that challenge it very poor.  I’m ready to be surprised with this proposal, but I’m not putting any money on it.

For many years I have heard various stories about how putting batteries in the refer will prolong their shelf life.  Now another chapter – Freezing (Not just keeping them cool) NiMH and NiCad batteries can boost their lifespan by 90 percent…Meanwhile cooling those Alkalines will increase their shelf-life by 5 to 20 percent.  Another use for the freezer is reviving a hard-drive.  The advice is to put it in a zip-lock bag in the freezer for 24 hours then, try and recover the data.  Of course you can send to it a firm that specializes in this kind of work…No word on whether or not they use freezers.

Last month, thanks to reader W7ALF listed the chief engineers of a number of local radio stations.  This time more views of the past from the same source.  This time from the pages of the 1966 Broadcasting Yearbook – Chief Engineers of TV Stations – Remember these fellows?

Bellingham – KVOS-TV /12 - John Price
Lakewood Center- KPEC-TV/56 - Bill Evans
Seattle – KCTS-TV/9 - John Boor; KING-TV/5 - Robert Ferguson; KIRO-TV/7 - Chuck Morris; KOMO-TV/4 - Cliff Miller
Tacoma – KTNT-TV/11 - Dick Engh; KTVW/13 - Ray Swalley

Here’s a headline that will grab your attention – Your smartphone is making you hallucinate, Really!.....According to a Georgia Tech professor, Robert Rosenberger our portable phones are giving us a new, what he terms – ‘Learned bodily habits’….The phone actually becomes a part of you, and you become trained to perceive the phone’s vibrations as an incoming call or text,” …… “Due to these kinds of habits, it becomes really easy to mis-perceive other similar sensations.”  He explains that other actions can make your body ‘think’ that your phone is really vibrating, signalling an incoming call, only to come to find out that it is not.  This leads me to ask you – Have you reached for your phone only to find out that you were not receiving an incoming call?  Perhaps because I rarely put my phone on vibrate I’ve not had that problem………………yet!

As if your cellphone is not creating enough problems comes yet more from those that propose that your phone is indeed causing you real harm.  I will let you read it for yourself – http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/02/technology/at-cdc-a-debate-behind-recommendations-on-cellphone-risk.html?_r=1

We’ve all heard the term ‘Luddite’….or Luddite thinking (Probably you are guilty of using it too).  Did you know where the term came from?  It’s named for a fellow named Ned Ludd who, being fearful of the invention of mechanical looms used in the textile industry.  Now I have come to learn there are actually two types of Luddites – 1) The old fashioned hand-wringers who are afraid of anything new and innovative…and 2) Soft-Luddites who say they embrace technology but want to go slower.  OK, now that you know, you can go forth and apply the proper labels. Smiley Face

The following was submitted by Mike Brooks, Ops Manager at KING-FM – Carefully read the sign on the tripod -

Fiber not Copper 

Mike wrote – “Seen on Mercer Street, Seattle, Comcast telling copper thieves openly: "Please don't steal me, I'm just glass!"

My invitation to write me has been noticed.  In this case Jon Pearkins from Edmonton, Alberta wrote about my writing that it was difficult to find an AM/FM receiver with a connection for an external Antenna.  He mentioned the offerings from C Crane - http://www.ccrane.com/!xPpxmtJr-X2-fHMZ6!ngOA!/.  Jon is, in addition to a reader of this column, a broadcast band DX’er. 

In the past we reported on the demise of TFT…Now comes word that their assets will be auctioned.  Someone who examined their place said it’s as if they just got up, walked out and locked the doors.  The same end comes to a lot of companies that failed, for one reason or several, to keep up with the market and go out of business.  At one time the EAS equipment that everyone must have was made either by Sage or TFT….Today it’s down to Monroe or Sage.

Thanks to Steve Flyte, Field Engineer for EMF, to sending me this picture of the famous Stonehenge Tower in Portland, Oregon  home of many of Portland’s FM Stations.  It’s been said that this tower looks much like Seattle’s Space Needle…without the disc at the top.  There are a number of major differences.  For example, the legs are made of pipe pumped full of high-strength concrete.  The antenna at the top was made by Jampro – A mate to it resides on a much shorter tower on Seattle’s Cougar Mt.  In the transmitter building is a big Shively multi-station combiner.  If you have the chance, and you are interested in towers and transmitter sites, be sure and add this to your bucket list.

Stonehenge Tower
 
Recently a piece on MSN’s Business Insider caught my attention.  It was a ranking of all 50 states' economies…So I scanned thru the list to see where some states ranked.  At #13 was Oregon…#3 was Colorado and at #1 was non-other than the State of Washington.  Here is what they said about the place I live –

Washington state scored extremely well on most of our metrics. Its Q2 2015 annualized GDP growth rate was a stunning 8.0%, by far the highest among the states and D.C. The November 2015 average weekly wage of $1,073 was the second highest in the country, and was 5.6% higher than the weekly wage in November 2014, the third highest wage growth rate.

Guess this explains why we have a forest of cranes building stuff and our freeways are clogged?

Here’s another picture from Portland’s Stonehenge Site…This time inside the transmitter building.  On the left is Steve Flyte with Kyle McGuire standing in front of K-Love's new Nautel GV30N transmitter.  (This is the same model as used by KING-FM in Seattle).  Both of these fellows get to the Seattle area periodically dealing with the 104.5 on Cougar Mt.
 
Steve Flyte and Kyle McGuire

It’s been a year!

Clay's dog "Yagi"
 
It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since our home was blessed to add Yagi to the family.  This little guy, rescued from someone in Wenatchee that did not want him, has been more than a blessing.  I just wanted you all to know.

As you know, older folks like to look back (perhaps because we can see further in that direction?)  Looking back to 1915, it’s interesting to note some of the changes that have been made –
  • The average life expectancy for men was 47 years (Just think now how a number of our presidential candidates will be, if elected, over 70.
  • Fuel for cars was only sold in drug stores.
  • Only 14 percent of homes had bathtubs.  Gee this goes full circle as there are many new homes today that only have showers and no tub.
  • Only 8 percent had telephone.  We might get to those numbers with landline phones as many cut the cord making their cellphone their only telephone.
  • The tallest structure was the Eiffel Tower in Paris (Dwarfed by many of today’s buildings and towers).
  • The US average wage was about 22 cents per hour….Ahh the wonders of inflation.
  • The average US worker made between $200 and $400/year.  (And this was BEFORE Broadcasting came along)
  • Accountants could make $2000/year (Waaay before Excel) and a Dentist $2500.
  • A Vet could make $1500 to $4000 per year (Animals were a lot more important then…Their wages likely went down when the automobile came along)
  • A mechanical engineer could make 5 Grand a year.  (Nice to know that some engineers made good money.)
  • 95% of births took place in homes.  Probably having a lot to do with how long it took to get to a hospital considering the mode of transportation.
  • 90% of Doctors had no college education.
  • Sugar cost 4 cents per pound (Likely before the masses became addicted to the stuff).
  • Coffee was 15 cents per pound (obviously way before Starbucks).
  • Most women only washed their hair once a month and used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
  • The population of Las Vegas was only 30.
  • Crossword puzzles, canned beer and iced tea had not been invented.
  • 2 out of 10 adults could not read or write (in some cases, not much improvement here).
  • Only 6% of all Americans had graduated from High School.
  • Marijuana, heroin and morphine were all available, over the counter, at local corner drugstores.

We can only guess what those in the future will write about 2015 in 2115.

i-Heart stirred the pot with their cluster of radio stations recently by swapping and changing formats between their FM Stations on 106.1, 93.3, 102.9 and 104.9...From what I understand the call letters KUBE that has been associated with Cougar Mt for many years may end up elsewhere.  The rationale is to make their stations more competitive in the Seattle metro market.  National Media caught these changes with interesting references to the power of the stations….In this case, all they mentioned was the ERP or Effective Radiated Power.  They made no mention of the HAAT or Height Above Average Terrain of the stations.  My guess is that the technophobes that write these things have no clue about the impact of elevation in FM.  This is a very common problem with something that requires the use of (horrors) more numbers to better describe the coverage of a radio station.  An example would be KUOW which operates with 100,000 Watts is thought of as having more coverage than KPLU on West Tiger that operates with an ERP of 68,000 Watts – In truth, the opposite is true.  Jim Stevens, many years ago had an elegant solution to this problem.  He would multiply the ERP of a station by the HAAT and come up with what he called ‘Kilowatt Feet’.  Today, with the shift to Meters for measurement, we could do the same thing but call it ‘Kilowatt-Meters or kM.  Doing this you would take KUOW’s 100 kW @ 224 meters and come up with 22,400….KPLU’s 60kW @ 707 meters would be 48,076 kM.  Clearly demonstrating that the higher powered station does not have more coverage and that it requires the use of both figures to properly deal with the issue.

AM radio has long been measured by the amount of transmitter power only also.  Folks are shocked when they learn that KVI with 5,000 watts on 570 has better coverage than a 50 Kilowatter higher in the band.  The fact that the lower dial position yields better coverage for the same power is pretty deep for the technically challenged.  I have always thought that FM’s elevation should be thought of as AM’s Dial Position.  Any way you get my point.

Don’t forget to mark your calendar for one the area's more popular events…The Mike and Key Club Flea Market at the Puyallup Fair Grounds – March 5th this year.

That’s it for this month – Gee, only 11 more months this year.  Think SPRING!

CUL – Clay, K7CR, CPBE etc.