As I write this, in late September, our
weather is pretty much back to normal. Much cooler temperatures, showers
and breezes, noticeably shorter days and fall colors starting to
show. This past summer was indeed very dry in this area. In
fact we set a record for the driest May through August with just 1 inch
of rain. (Compare that to other places.) Perhaps the
smokiest (is that spelled right?) too with several weeks of breathing
the output of BC forest fires. The fact is, we went almost 3
months without clean air – violating federal smog standards for 87
consecutive days. The low amount of precip took its toll on many
trees. You can see many of our evergreens that have been killed in
the process. Perhaps proving to some that it does not rain here all the time?
Other regions had their own issues - - California experienced terrible
wildfires that will take years to heal. This picture speaks
volumes. (Note the lights of an on-coming train coming around the curve.)
Hurricane Florence has made a mess of the
things on the other coast with epic amounts of rainfall and flooding,
power outages and, of course, failures of services and systems we depend
on…Radio and TV Stations, Cable TV and Cellular telephone systems.
As we move into
October, those of us that travel into the mountains of Western
Washington are reminded that the ‘Windy Season’ is here. The big
historic October blow took place on Columbus Day in 1962…hopefully this
year we won’t have any big storms to deal with.
A friend in Southern California sent me this picture of what it’s like
to be heading to the transmitter site, after a wind storm, and finding a
tree across the road.
I recall, a few years
ago, after a big ‘Blow’ we had about 30 of these down across the road
to West Tiger. It took 3 of us a day just to get the road
open. Yes, I carry a chain saw, as do others that have to go up
there this time of year. Here’s Paul Carvalho, Chief at
Bonneville/Seattle, getting in some practice at the KIRO-AM transmitter
site on Vashon.
Perhaps by the time
you read this, the EAS National Test, on Oct. 3rd, will have come and
gone…The first scheduled date was scrubbed due to Florence. This
year’s test is the first one for both EAS and WEA alerting
systems. Will be interesting in how it turns out. To find
out, all EAS Participants are required to file an electronic
report. One wrinkle involved a great bit of Federal timing – EAS
Participants had to update security certificates to all their EAS
equipment shortly before the big test. My guess is that some will
not do this, meaning that their equipment won’t decode the test message.
On the topic of EAS – We have a committee of folks working on the
revision and update of the Washington State EAS Plan – Several are
broadcasters from this area. The major reason for this is to bring
our plan into full compliance with the most recent FCC EAS Report and
Order. If you would like to be a part of this process, please let me know.
In August we lost another whose name continues on today. Jack
Moseley passed. Jack sold the company that we all know, back in
1977. He was 91. Could not help but note that his Obit
mentioned that he enjoyed HAM Radio, like so many other pioneers in this
It’s long been known that you could easily purchase two-way radios….for
very low prices….at a number of on-line locations. The FCC posted
this item the last week in September -
TWO-WAY VHF/UHF RADIOS MAY NOT BE IMPORTED, ADVERTISED, OR SOLD IN
THE UNITED STATES UNLESS THEY COMPLY WITH THE COMMISSION'S RULES. Advises
retailers and operators that VHF/UHF two-way radios must comply with FCC
technical requirements before they may be marketed, imported or operated. By
Advisory. (DA No. 18-980). News Media Contact: Will Wiquist at (202) 418-0509,
email: Will.Wiquist@fcc.gov. EB. Contact: Jonathan Garvin at (202)
418-1130, email: Jonathan.Garvin@fcc.govDA-18-980A1.docDA-18-980A1.pdfDA-18-980A1.txt
I could not help but note a recent story
written about legendary Seattle Top-40 DJ, Pat O’Day. In the piece
I learned that his dad was a preacher in a Tacoma Church and had a
radio ministry on KMO, the station I was associated with from 1966 to
1985. It would be interesting to know just how many people, whose
names we would recognize, were associated with that station. The
piece also mentioned the Spanish Castle, one of Pat’s concert venues
during the 60’s. This was a big dance hall on the NW corner of
Kent-Des Moines road and Pacific Highway. Another path crossing,
as I remember playing in a band there…way back when.
In the category of – it was bound to happen – an AM Radio station gets
an FM Translator and then asks the FCC if they can turn off their
AM. The FM Translator deal was the FCC’s plan for helping
struggling AM stations. The most recent instance involves KVSL in
Show Low, Arizona who proposed to do just that. They did not
propose to turn in their AM license, just turn off their AM ‘from time
to time’. In the end, the FCC said no to the proposa,l saying that
it was at odds with their intended goals of AM Revitalization.
The rules are pretty simple – The FM is a translator, and like all
translators, operate when the parent station is on the air. I
suspect that other AM radio broadcasters were watching this with a great
deal of interest, especially an AM that has relatively poor facilities,
or where they could sell the land where their AM tower is located and
continue to operate their FM translator.
On the subject of Translators, did you see where a pair of FM
translators in the Chicago area recently sold for 3.5 Million?
Wow! It would not surprise me that in some circumstances the value
of an FM Translator could exceed the value of a parent station,
especially if that station was a small signal, or daytime only AM.
There are some job openings for Radio Techs in the New York City area
that are having issues being filled. The reason.. the cost of
living in the Big Apple. A similar situation is taking place here
in the Seattle area. Bottom line – Wages for technical workers in
Broadcasting have not kept pace with those that do similar work in other
technical industries. Couple this with the number of people who
are retiring or passing away…and you have a recipe for some, perhaps
painful, adjustments to come for the broadcast industry.
Here’s a look at one of the openings in NYC, in this case, with EMF,
that provides an interesting look at what people who do what I do are
expected to know how to do (Love that sentence).
Responsibilities As a Field Engineer, here's what you will be doing... • Evaluate the overall technical
operation of facilities within the New York area, and take corrective
action as needed, to ensure equipment is functioning. • Install, maintain, and repair broadcast equipment (such as audio processors and mixers). • Install and maintain microwave and satellite equipment. • Regularly operate equipment that regulates the signal strength, clarity, and sound. • Maintain knowledge of
applicable FCC rules and regulations and ensure all equipment within
area of responsibility is operating safely and legally. • Analyze and fix technical faults on equipment and systems to the module level. • Manage and partner with contract engineers to resolve technical problems. • Occasionally, carry out work on
non-broadcast equipment (such as electrical generators, air
conditioning units, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, etc.) as
conditions dictate. • Make trips to sites to perform
installations or repairs; and EMF headquarters for training or special
projects. The length of these trips varies depending on the
specific needs. • If assigned, serve as Chief Operator/Engineer for one or more broadcast station(s). Qualifications To qualify for this position, here's what you'll need.... • 5+ years experience troubleshooting and repairing radio broadcast electronic equipment • Good understanding of the components necessary in a broadcast air-chain • Understanding of satellite technology • Understanding of radio frequency emissions • Ability to solder and de-solder electronic components • Knowledge of applicable, broadcast-related FCC rules and regulations • Proficiency using standard broadcast test equipment, such as VOMs, oscilloscopes, and RF spectrum analyzers. • Being highly organized, detail oriented and thorough as very strong skills/traits • Personal, relational, friendly • SBE Certification highly desirable • Candidates currently residing in Central New York preferred Employment Requirements • Must pass a pre-employment background & reference check. • Must provide proof of legal authorization to work in the US. • Must have a valid driver's license and an acceptable motor vehicle report.
According to Pew Research - The audience for nearly every major sector of U.S. news
media decreased in 2017. The sole medium that did not experience a
decrease was radio. In Pew Research’s “State of the News Media 2017” the
fact tank found that while local and network TV, digital-native news
sites and daily newspapers saw their audience shrink last year, radio
remained steady. Citing Nielsen data, Pew notes that the overall
audience reach for broadcast radio – which includes all formats, not
just news – has been at around 90% for the past nine years. Local and
network TV news declined 7%, while cable news fell 12%, according to
comScore TV Essentials and StationView Essentials data. The audiences
for digital-native news sites fell by 5% in terms of monthly unique
visitors in 2017, comScore Media Metrix Multi-platform data shows. The
biggest loss of audience was the circulation of U.S. daily newspapers,
which fell by 11% last year, according to the Alliance for Audited Media
Certainly a finding that should make those that own and operate radio stations quite pleased.
News circulated this past month that there were plans to shut down
legacy radio signals from WWV and WWVH due to budget cuts.
Just think – That Atomic Clock you have would be ‘free to roam’.
For more information – Check out -
As we all know, newspapers are failing at an alarming rate.
Pittsburgh is about to have the distinction of being the largest city in
the U.S. without a daily print newspaper, as the city’s Post-Gazette
recently announced they will no longer be producing a weekend
paper. This paper began publication 232 years ago. They did
add that they will be publishing a digital edition 7 days a week…..Times
do change. You do remember holding a Seattle PI don’t you?
I recently ran across a piece titled -
“24 things that are considered 'normal' in the US but the rest of the world finds weird.”
One of the items has bugged me for a long time – Why do people in the
U.S. use the term ‘American’ as if that were an exclusive term, or think
that United States and American are interchangeable terms? The
rest of the world finds this weird. After all, the U.S. is just
one country in the Americas. In my way of thinking Canadians are
American’s too. Most folks from other countries refer to the U.S.
as ‘The States’.
Sirius XM Radio says it is buying Pandora in a stock deal valued at $3.5
billion, according to the Associated Press. The satcaster says
buying the pureplay webcaster will allow it to expand its service beyond
cars and into homes and other mobile areas.
The after-effects of the Sinclair/Tribune deal continue to simmer.
Perhaps good news, the Inspector General concluded that the FCC didn’t
show favoritism in their decision making process. Now the two
parties, that thought they’d have an approved deal are suing each
other. I’ve heard nothing as to the ownership status of the
Tribune stations, other than that others are looking at them.
Around here we don’t get a lot of days with blue skies and white puffy
clouds. As I was driving into the KVTI transmitter site recently –
I saw this –
No, it’s not your imagination. The amount of spam phone calls is
According to new data from First Orion, a call protection
company, the amount of junk calls will reach 46% by mid-year 2019. And by the
end of that year, the amount is projected to finally cross the halfway point,
meaning that half of all calls will be spam.
Collecting data from 50 billion calls over the past 18 months,
the company was able to shed light on a phenomenon that many people have
noticed and lamented: a severe uptick in calls, many of which use “neighborhood
spoofing” techniques to entice people to pick up by having a fake caller ID
that resembles the caller’s number.
The numbers weren’t nearly this high even a year ago. In 2017,
mobile call scams made up just 3.7% of total call volume. By 2018, the number
had shot up to 29.2% and projections for spam calls look on track to hit half
of all call volume next year.
I had a recent experience that was ‘interesting’.I was driving along when my cellphone rang
and my truck's ‘radio’ announced I was being called by Clay Freinwald. Knowing that I rarely call myself I
instantly knew it was a Robo-Call. What
was interesting was the displayed phone number – 000 000 0000.Apparently they are able to not only spoof
the phone number they are calling from, but they are able to gain access to
your address book in your phone and use one of those names to make you think
you are receiving a call from someone you know.Perhaps the good news is that my home phone
now rarely gets a Robo-Call as the scammers have shifted their attention to
mobile devices.Despite all the efforts
of the FCC, FTC and others…they have done little to stamp out the practice.Perhaps the sad part is that the fuel that
keeps these outfits going is victims that fall for their baloney. If everyone just hung up they would all go
away.A sad commentary.
Did you see the story about the big transformer that was being
moved through Washington?The media
picked up the story about this big piece of electrical equipment and promptly
called it a ‘Windmill’transformer. I recall having been sternly corrected a
few years ago when I called those big machines ‘Windmills’….and being educated
to the fact that they don’t mill anything. They are to be called WIND-GENERATORS. It was truly a big one – weighing just over 1-million pounds.
KRKO in Everett has been trying to sell their old transmitter
site, hoping that some Ham Operator would want the place. Comes complete with
towers and a pretty good sized building…Check out -
In a similar category – the 1210 AM transmitter site,
east of Auburn, that’s been used for many years as the 1210 ‘Night Site’ is
going away.The owner of the station,
Amador Bustos, has received a construction permit to operate Nights at the 1210
Day Site on the west-side of Auburn, with much lower power.The property owner has put the land on the
market (minus the towers that have to be removed).I was
looking through the files on that site and found a purchase order I had signed
for those 4 towers back in 1989!The
10 kW transmitter from that site will be moving to Woodburn, Oregon.Another example of the retraction of AM
Looks likes Seattle isno longer the nation’s hottest housing market – We've been replaced by
Las Vegas.Apparently the folks at the
King County Assessor’s office are not moved by this news as my ‘Value Notice’
showed my house value increase by about 5%...In a while I will find out what the
5% means in terms of actual tax increases.I should add that I live in Auburn, not Seattle.
With that being said – the typical single family home in
Vegas goes for just under$300K, while
Seattle is at over $800K.
While stopped for my favorite beverage recently I could
not help but notice this license plate:
Just for drill – I looked up KPEB in the FCC Data Base and could not find a station with those letters.
Radio transmitter manufacturer Nautel seems to be doing well of late
with the sale of two more FM transmitters for use on Cougar Mt.
Hubbard is getting a new GV10 for use as an Auxiliary for their 98.9
station (The Bull) and Crista is getting a new GV30 for their
KCMS/105.3. The only recent sale for GatesAir (that I am aware of)
in this area has been to KNHC (I wrote about that recently).
GatesAir may have an edge over Nautel with their offering of Liquid
Cooled FM transmitters. Liquid cooling has been S.O.P. for TV
Transmitters for years. Thus far I’ve not heard of anyone buying
one in this area, however. Nautel is a Canadian company based in
Nova Scotia. GatesAir is in Illinois.
It’s been a year since Hurricanes Irma and Maria blew into Puerto Rico
and the US Virgin Islands, and there are still Radio and TV Stations
that have not fully restored operations. To be exact - The
FCC reports 10 AM stations, 8 FMs and 3 FM translators are
currently silent. That’s in addition to 11 full-power TV stations,
35 low-power TV stations and 3 TV translators.
Another country says goodbye to analog (or in their case, analogue) TV –
This time it’s Ukraine. One exception is the area's bordering
Responses to what I have written -
I recently posted a picture of a pickup truck tailgate that had a big
RAM on the back suggesting it might be taken as an invitation to do just
that. A reader of this column reminded me that those vehicles say
DODGE in the front.
Then there was the piece about the FCC Chairman climbing a tower. A
reader suggested that this was ‘Pai in the Sky’.
In response to my list of paraprosdokians, a reader suggested this one – ‘Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like an banana’.
And from John Schneider, who was active in the Seattle SBE Chapter when I
started writing this thing – “Glad to see you are still doing your
column, after all these years. Who knew it would last so long when
I found this survey info to be quite interesting -
According to the 2018 Infinite
Dial, 82% of respondents 18+ who have driven or ridden in a car over the
past month currently tune into traditional radio in the car.
Likewise, the audio source used most often in-car is radio, at
56%. Next in line among chosen audio choices is
a CD player, at 49%, then owned digital music (45%), online radio
(28%), podcasts (23%) and satellite radio (21%).
Jacobs Media’s 2018 Techsurvey showed FM radio to be the No. 1 feature radio listeners want included in their next car purchase.
My question – Why is it that many vehicle makers want to remove the CD Player from new vehicle radios?
I often write about the radio ratings in Seattle. This time, a
look at the numbers in our neighbor to the south – Portland,
Oregon. First some market stats – Population 2.54 Million
(Seattle is now just under 4 million) Market Rank – 22 (Seattle is 13).
The #1 Station is KOPB – Oregon Public Radio with an impressive 8.1
AM is not doing very well there either with the top rated station (KEX) at #18
Like Seattle, there are 3 Sports/Talk stations – All AM’s and 2 Country FM’s
If you recall my last column I
wrote about how KNKX’s HD2 actually gathered some ratings with a minimal
.1 share. Portland is, apparently ahead of Seattle in terms of HD
Channels getting ratings with THREE HD-2’s and HD-3’s showing…Each with
a .8 and one with a .1. Also ahead of Seattle is the KOPB Stream
showing up with a .4. I don’t know of any Seattle radio stream
that has listed ratings. One more thing. Remember the call
letters KMTT? Long time letters for Entercom’s 103.7 in
Seattle. They are now ‘parked’ on an Entercom AM in Portland.
Interested in combining your IT skills with Broadcasting?
Entercom Communications is seeking an IT
Manager for both Seattle and Portland Radio Markets. The position
allows living in either city. The position requires a minimum of 3
years of experience and a strong understanding of Local Area
Networking, Microsoft Outlook email administration, experience with
MacOS, server maintenance and disaster recovery, Windows Server 2012,
and teleconferencing and A/V systems. For more information, go to https://entercom.avature.net/careers/JobDetail/IT-Manager-Portland-Seattle/13387
The following item was submitted by now retired NWS WCM from Seattle Ted Buehner -
What’s the Forecast At My Transmitter Site?
Have you asked that question? What source do you use to address
that question? Your smart phone weather app? A website? Your
Some years ago, I pointed your Corner host Clay Freinwald to the
site-specific National Weather Service (NWS) digital weather forecast to
answer this question and he has used it ever since. If you go to
your local NWS forecast office website, you will find what Clay is
using. You can also find it on your smart phone by going to
mobile.weather.gov, a mobile phone website application that you
By using your local NWS forecast office digital weather forecast
information, you get forecast information from experienced and local
forecasters who live and work in your area. Other sources like
your phone weather app or other websites come from other parts of the
country or in one phone app case - Russia! Many of these resources
use purely automated computer forecast output with no human input at
all. This fact helps explain why those weather forecasts ‘seem to
be off’ at times.
Clay services many mountain top transmitter sites across mainly Western
Washington. One frequent site for him is West Tiger Mt. - about 20
miles east of Seattle. The site has elevation of a little over
2500 feet with a great view of Mt. Rainier to the south. [plug in one of
your Rainier photos] So the weather at that higher elevation
location is much different than in the lowlands near Puget Sound.
Over the years, Clay learned that the weather around Western Washington
differs greatly from one location to another, thanks to the combination
of complex terrain and the weather. Knowing what weather to expect
before ever heading to that targeted transmitter site is very
important. For example during the winter season, it can be raining
in the Puget Sound area while snowing up at West Tiger.
What does he use again? He visits http://www.weather.gov/seattle/
and has bookmarked his usual mountain top transmitter site-specific
forecast locations for easy access before ever stepping into his
vehicle. It is the old slogan - know before you go, that has
served him well over time. If the weather at the site is going to
be inclement, he is prepared for it. And there have been times
when it is snowing at the site, that he postpones that routine
maintenance until the weather there improves.
Here is an example of his West Tiger MT 7-day weather forecast off the
www.weather.gov/seattle/ web site. In this particular case,
wildfire smoke was widespread throughout much of the region.
But as they
say in some television commercials, there’s more! Upon scrolling
down a bit on the page, you get the hourly forecast for that same green
box (about one nm x one nm) location.
Yes, that is a hourly forecast for temperatures,
wind direction and speed, cloud cover, rain or snow amounts and more!
Has this information sparked your interest?
Can you get the same kind of weather forecast information where you work?
Yes, you can! There are 122 NWS forecast offices across the country with
at least one serving your area.
Start by visiting www.weather.gov to view the whole nation and then click on your
neck of the woods - that click will get you to your local forecast office -
bookmark that. Then using the provided clickable forecast map, click on the
spot for your transmitter site. The next page to appear will provide a map with
a green box on it - you can zoom in and click one more time if you need to
‘fine-tune’ the location. Now you have the forecast for that transmitter site.
Scroll down and you can get the hourly forecast for that location as well. You
can bookmark both of these.
This process can be done for all your
transmitter sites as well as any other desired locations for business or
pleasure. I hope you find this information quite helpful. As always, when you
are weather aware, you are weather prepared.
If you have other weather-related questions that
you would like addressed, let Clay know and he will share with me.
Retired - National Weather Service
Washington SECC Vice-Chair
If you are like me, you are always pleased when someone
you know wins an award.In this case…I
want to congratulate Jeff Welton of Nautel on being named SBE Educator of the
year. I’ve known Jeff for many years. Our first encounter was by telephone,
dealing with an issue with an AM transmitter close to 30 years ago.At that time, he was a customer service tech
with the firm. Later he moved into sales, becoming central U.S. sales manager,
but, along the way, has made it a point to reach out and teach others about how
to do it better at their transmitter plants.I was chatting with Jeff most recently and he was telling me about a
day-long technical session he was involved with in the U.P. of Michigan.They had a great turn-out with engineers that
are unlikely to go to the NAB show in the spring. The subject matter was broad
ranging and I could tell that he was abundantly pleased that he could share
some of his knowledge with those that are unlikely to gain it any other
way. Those of you that know Jeff will
agree that SBE is honoring a person who richly deserves it.
Really….Is it that time already? I recently received word that the 2019 NAB
Show hotel block is now open.Prices in
their promotional piece range from $257 at the Aria Resort and Casino to $190
at the Westgate (formally the Hilton, next to the Convention Center) to $119 at
Harrahs, Of course, the further you go from the Contention Center the lower the
I’ve written about Smart Speakers quite a bit for the
simple reason that they might be the only radio in a person’s home these
days.I know that this is the case with
a young relative of mine.So here are
some of the latest news items in that world –
these gizmos is rapidly growing – Now some 32% of consumers own
one. (Would be interesting to compare that growth curve to other
consumer electric devices from the past)
Recent projections show that 48% of U.S. consumers will own one by the end of this year.
And as if this were not enough – 45% of consumers who presently own one, plan to buy another by the end of the year.
So what are people using them for?
Music - 70%
Weather forecast - 64% (So much
for NOAA Weather Radio) Fun questions - 53%
Online searches - 47%
Checking the news - 46%
Making a call - 36%
Research or information searches -
Asking directions - 34%
Ordering items - 30%
How many people who have one are actually using them?
Using it more - 76%
Using it daily - 71%
More than once a day - 44%
Amazon, our locally based giant – is fully on board with all of this
with their Echo products with a recent release of a number of new
products – including items for when you are on the go, in a vehicle.
I did have an interesting thought or two about all of this –
What happens if you already have a person in your home named Alexa?
Wonder how many children will end up with that name?
love this quote –
Susie Dent – ‘The joy of dictionaries is that they provide you with dozens of answers you were never looking for’.
Here are some words to ponder – confelicity - The joy you experience when witnessing someone else’s happiness; the near opposite of Schadenfreude scurryfunging - Term that describes the frantic rushing around the house we perform in a crazed effort to tidy up before guests arrive absquatulate - To leave somewhere abruptly clinomania - The overwhelming desire to lie down mumpsimus - Someone who rigidly sticks to their opinions despite being proved wrong quiddle - to waste time on trivial matters in order to avoid doing more important things.
Which aptly describes what we have just done
That’s it for this month….My brain has gone from empty to something more extreme.
Lord willing – I’ll have another installment next month in most of these same locations.
In the meantime – Your comments and pictures are always appreciated.
Don’t forget to Fall-Back.
Clay, K7CR, CPBE
SBE Member for over 50 years, #714