Wow!.....Look at that heading and do the math. Can you
believe that I’ve been writing this Column for 35 years! All I have to
do is look in a mirror to confirm that it must be true. To be
honest….I’ve been wondering how long I should keep doing this. Perhaps
it’s your feedback and emails that keep me going?
At the end of August there are a number of big stories in the news…Ida, Drought, Covid, Afghanistan…Wow!
The Category 4 (almost a 5) storm slammed into the Gulf Coast again
subjecting New Orleans to the worst nature has to offer, reminding many
of Katrina that followed the same path 16 years ago to the day. As was
the case back then, many broadcasters were knocked off the air with
those that were able to survive continuing to inform the citizens of the
area what was happening. In this case Ida did a real number to the
electrical power system for NOLA plunging the whole city into darkness.
This means that, once again, radio was the communications system that
rose to the occasion. There are a couple of reasons for this –
generators and advance preparation at the station and battery powered
radios. The issue with TV is that there are not all that many battery
powered sets out there. Just like before, radio and TV news departments
pooled their resources, an especially important partnership for the many
radio stations that do not have news departments.
One of the stations often mentioned was WWL, now owned by Audacy. They
simulcasted their co-owned FM stations and went wall-to-wall with
coverage as FEMA’s official station. They were obviously geared up for
the task with interviews of numerous public officials. Reportedly the
iHeart cluster was also providing coverage. Unfortunately, many radio
and TV stations where off the air, including the entire cluster of radio
stations owned by Cumulus.
As with Katrina, the FCC activated their DIRS System (Disaster
Information Reporting System) to track those stations, as well as
cellular systems that were knocked out of commission.
Even though hurricanes quickly move inland and dissipate, the mess left
behind from Ida will take some time to recover from. Power crews from
all over were headed to NOLA to try and restore power. Reportedly some
25,000 are going to be involved in this process. 5,000 National Guard
Members will also be deployed.
I hate to say it, but our time is coming for a major disaster to impact
our area. Granted it will not likely be a hurricane, but rather a major
earthquake. The results will be similar. We won’t have torrential
rainfall, or a storm-surge, but rather will have a tsunami. We
will have major power outages, infrastructure damage and displaced
people. The bottom line, our disaster will be different, but the results
will be just as devastating.
It seems like I have been writing something about Covid-19 forever! Not
long ago we thought that we were getting ahead of this nasty virus until
we learned of the Delta Variant. Not long afterward, this version of
the ‘bug’ began to spread around the world and we have been pushed back
Now we are faced with what appears to be a more serious situation than
before. For those that are vaccinated, there is some good news as the
‘shots’ appear to be working, by keeping many out of the hospital or
The numbers are sobering….In the U.S. -
In Washington State –
- We are experiencing some 100,000 daily Covid hospitalizations.
- Predictions are that as many as 100,000 more will die by December 1st.
- Already over 640,000 have died.
- In the last 28 Days, over 25,000 have died.
- There have now been over 561,000 confirmed cases.
- 6,591 have died.
- 54.93% are fully vaccinated.
- 67.83% have received at least one dose.
- The graphs speak for themselves -
Coronavirus Washington, United States - live map tracker from Microsoft Bing
I predicted that a time may come that we would find many that are
opposed to getting their shots and that mandates might become more
frequent. Unfortunately, not enough are getting vaccinated soon enough
to stay ahead of the virus and now things are starting to change for the
worse, as hospitals are overflowing with those that are in need of
their care. (Not to mention the death-toll is climbing again.)
For those that are vaccinated, the fact that those who are vaccine
hesitant is creating a serious problem for those that have other medical
issues. For instance, should you have a heart attack, or need a surgery
procedure to save your life…you might not be able to get it due to the
un-vaccinated Covid overflow. This means that, with good reason, the
vaccinated are not very happy with those that refused to get their
On August 24th, The New York Times wrote:
The F.D.A.’s full approval of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine is already
making a difference. Within hours of the announcement yesterday, the
Pentagon and several large companies and universities announced new
vaccine mandates. President Biden, speaking at the White House
yesterday afternoon, urged other organizations to follow: “Require your
employees to get vaccinated or face strict requirements,” he said.
Over the past week, about 1,000 Americans per day have died of
Covid; vaccination would probably have saved more than 95 percent of
Especially since the full FDA approval of, Pfizer, one of the
major vaccines, one of the excuses that many have used to not get their
shots (It’s experimental or rushed) has been shot-down. This has caused
some of changes –
- The numbers being vaccinated has increased.
- An increase in the number of mandates.
- An increase in the intensity of demonstrations opposed to mandates.
My major employer, WSU, owned by Washington State, is included in the
requirement to get your shots by October 18th, or you are out of a job.
(or document why you want to opt out.) Of course you can quit your
job…but, you might not be able to obtain unemployment benefits.
This move has resulted in the union representing State Employees suing
the Governor, Jay Inslee, to delay his vaccine mandate until its full
impacts have been adequately negotiated. This is going to be very
interesting to watch. Perhaps unions should be expected to want to
On the Federal Side – You work for Uncle Sam, and in the Military, and
refuse….you could face military legal issues. Don’t think the military
has any provisions for negotiating an order.
Delta Airlines, which is self insured, looked at this issue and
announced that the unvaccinated would see a $200 boost to their medical
insurance costs. I suspect that others are watching this very closely.
If Insurance companies determine that it will cost more to insure those
that are not vaccinated, look for that decision to cost the insured
more. This is not much different than a car insurance company
structuring their rates based on their customers habits, for example,
smokers often pay more for health insurance.
Recently I passed a number of, apparently, nurses that were protesting
vaccine mandates, marching on a street corner in Federal Way. Their
signs conveyed their objections to being ordered what to do….making it
clear that they were objecting to what they feel is their freedom to
choose. There are a number that are not opposed to the medical aspect of
this, but rather they are upset with the government, and in particular
the Governor, for going beyond recommendations to mandates.
At least one union is challenging the Governor's mandates in court. Thus
far the Governor has been batting 1,000 with these challenges Certainly
all eyes are on this one. If the challengers don’t win, perhaps they
will take the matter to higher courts.
Unfortunately, a lot of people are rejecting getting vaccinated to the
point they will demonstrate their opposition by standing on street
corners or attending rallies, carrying signs and chanting. Some are,
apparently, willing to quit their job over the issue. Recently a fire
chief was interviewed where he expressed concern that 25% of his fireman
may well walk off the job.
If your house, or broadcast station, burns down because of a lack
of fireman, can, or should you blame those that refused to get
What seems to be lost is all of this is the concept we were taught in
school where ‘The Majority Wins’. Based on the percentage of those that
have chosen vaccination, they are in the majority. This reminds me of
the recent Presidential Election where there is a segment that cannot
accept the fact that they are in the minority and move on.
Those that are opposed to wearing masks or getting vaccinated appear to
be reacting to our Governor issuing mandates, despite the Courts stating
that he is within his authority to do so. Everyone that has sent their
kids to school should know all too well there are rules (mandates) for
vaccination for a number of diseases.
A recurring problem is that many fail to look at history. Lawyers are
the exception, as they are frequently looking at what has been decided
to aid them in handling present day events. Unfortunately, this has, for
many, become an emotional matter triggering obstinance.
As far back as 1905, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a state smallpox
vaccine requirement in Jacobson vs. Massachusetts, stating that “the
liberty secured by the Constitution of the United States to every person
within its jurisdiction does not import an absolute right in each
person to be, at all times and in all circumstances, wholly freed from
restraint. ....Upon the principle of self-defense, of paramount
necessity, a community has the right to protect itself against an
epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members.”
I remember when the news was full of stories of people contracting Polio
seeing pictures of those in ‘Iron-Lungs’. When the vaccine was
developed to put an end to that horrible disease, I don’t recall anyone
demonstrating against it (perhaps because I was quite young). However,
there was opposition. If you look at history, you will find that the
elimination of Polio (and measles) required vaccine mandates then too.
The other factor that seems tragic is how politics have played a role in
this situation with ‘Red-States’ having the lowest vaccination rates.
Never thought I’d see the day when anyone would rather get their medical
advice from a politician (or radio talk show host) than a Doctor!
When an unvaccinated person is picked up by an ambulance, I wonder how
many ask to not go to a medical facility because they don’t trust them.
The fact that the vast majority of those being hospitalized with
Covid-19 are unvaccinated would seem to me to be sending a powerful
message that perhaps those that have been preaching against vaccination
are wrong. According to what I have read, this is indeed increasing the
number that are being vaccinated, however, it’s clear, from the
statistics that this is not enough to keep our hospitals from being
Just recently, an outspoken critic of vaccination, Nashville
conservative talk show host, Phil Valentine, passed away from Covid.
Before he died, from his deathbed he said he would “vigorously advocate” to get people vaccinated once he is back on the air.
Unfortunately, he will never have the opportunity. Stories like this
have increased the numbers getting their shots, unfortunately we are in a
race with the Virus, and in too many cases, the virus is winning.
One has to wonder if our freedom to say anything over the air has gone a
bit too far? Should the FCC have rules that limit what can be said,
when that information is misleading and harmful to people? I am
constantly amazed that those who are against these vaccines will
advocate extremely dangerous alternative treatments…and wonder how many
of them are encouraged by those that are broadcasting their message via
our radio and TV stations.
The number of wackos out there are a testimony to the old saying
attributed to P.T. Barnum about a sucker being born every minute. And we
thought that the ‘Snake-Oil’ salesman was dead and buried? The number
of conspiracy theories related to Covid-19 is nothing short of mind
blowing. Want an example? Read this - The FDA Is Begging You Not to Take Horse Dewormer for Covid-19 - Rolling Stone
Should a talk-show-host be able to be sued when someone dies after
taking their advice when it is proven to be wrong? When are these cases,
where people are clearly mislead, going to result in lawsuits? Is it
possible that those who hold FCC licenses will be concerned about
keeping them in cases where people have died, based on heeding the
advice of someone on that station? Do broadcasters have any legal
obligation to tell the truth, or are they protected under the laws that
protect free speech?
The Governor of Illinois recently had a run-in with a talk show co-host
on WIND in Chicago, Amy Jacobson, calling her out for spreading
misinformation related to the pandemic and available vaccines to combat
it. Not often you hear about the governor of a state calling out a radio
Here’s another story along this line:
Texas anti-mask movement leader dies of COVID-19 | TheHill
He organized a “Freedom Rally” in July 2020 for people who were “sick of the government being in control of our live.
My question is this – How many of these Anti-Vaccine advocates have to
die before those that are refusing to get vaccinated stop believing that
Government is not their enemy, but rather is trying to help them? I
suspect that those opposing getting vaccinated don’t fully understand
the consequences of their actions.
New study reveals the real risk of the delta variant for unvaccinated people (msn.com)
Now, with the return of mandated restrictions, the vaccinated are
starting to look at the unvaccinated as the source of the problem. For a
while, they were just viewed as being uninformed. Now they are being
viewed as the cause of the problem.
This time, because of the Delta Variant, those that have been opposed to
getting vaccinated are now at even great risk of contracting this thing
and this has increased the pressure upon them to do what they oppose,
with many digging in with greater intensity.
I wonder how broadcasters are approaching this issue? Should broadcasters take sides? From the sounds of things, some have.
In some other states, the Governor is on the other side of the argument
fanning the flames. One interesting argument…There are laws that limit
doing whatever you want. For example, there are laws that state you
cannot assault another person. If you infect someone else, are you not
CNN recently terminated three of its employees of its New York facility
for entering the facility unvaccinated. A memo to the CNN Staff read
this way - “All three have been terminated. Let me be clear — we have
a zero-tolerance policy on this. You need to be vaccinated to come to
the office. And you need to be vaccinated to work in the field, with
other employees, regardless of whether you enter an office or not.
On August 23rd, Beasley Media Group has become the latest radio group to
require its employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. The company’s
workers have until Nov. 1 to show they have been vaccinated or to
“obtain an approved exemption as an accommodation. Beasley joins Cumulus
Media and Urban One in adopting a vaccine mandate.
I wonder how many other broadcast organizations are also taking a hard line?
In light of my railing about misinformation – I thought this story was particularly interesting –
To address misinformation about COVID-19 in local areas, the
Corporation for Public Broadcasting is awarding a total of $275,000 in
emergency grants to 14 public media stations across the country.
The grants — up to $20,000 each — will go to public
television and radio stations in areas with low vaccination and high
infection rates or in hotspots with a growing number of coronavirus
Funding will be used to produce or extend programming about
the pandemic, to organize community outreach efforts about vaccines and
to develop multiplatform public service announcement campaigns.
“Public media stations, locally operated, work with their
communities through partnerships of trust,” said Patricia Harrison, CPB
president and CEO. “General managers of stations serving America’s
communities that are hard hit by the pandemic are committed to breaking
through the cycle of misinformation regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and
are providing information that is saving lives.”
Some of the 14 grants include Mississippi Public Broadcasting
in Jackson, Miss. The station will produce a series of radio and
television broadcast specials focused on COVID-19. The station will also
host a virtual town hall with medical experts and produce a social
media campaign designed to combat information. Others, like Wyoming
Public Media is Laramie, Wyo., will spotlight personal testimonials
about COVID infections and increase newsroom reporting on the pandemic’s
impact on the state economy. In the east, West Virginia Public
Broadcasting in Charleston, W.Va., will orchestrate a multiplatform
outreach effort to younger audiences in communities that have been
vaccine hesitant. The station will also work with kids programs like PBS
KIDS to reach families with young children.
Other stations include Arkansas PBS in Conway, Ark., Boise
State Public Radio in Boise, KERA in Dallas, Nine PBS in St. Louis, KRSU
in Tulsa, Okla., KOSU in Stillwater, Okla., Louisiana Public
Broadcasting and WRKF in Baton Rouge, WBHM in Birmingham, Ala., WCTE in
Cookeville, Tenn., and WJCT Public Media in Jacksonville, Fla.
One of the most difficult jobs these days is planning for the NAB
Convention in Las Vegas. The next one is scheduled for October 9 through
13. Near the end of the month, NAB announced that attendees will have
to be vaccinated. If you are planning on attending, you will need to
watch the NAB website for the latest information. If things get really
bad, I would not be surprised if they cancelled the October
event….keeping their fingers crossed for next April.
Word is that the biggest show in Las Vegas, the Consumer Electronic Show
(CES) will require every attendee to be fully vaccinated. This is in
Speaking of which, for those of you that have had your shots, and
received the little card with your shot record…perhaps you noticed there
are 4 spaces for entries. Unless you received the J&J Vaccine,
there are two spaces left to be filled out. We now know that boosters
are on the way for everyone. Guess those that designed the cards knew
something we did not.
Here’s a quote I thought said it pretty well –
It appears this debate, fueled largely by misinformation, will
continue until the public recognizes that the pandemic is caused by an
infectious disease and not political opportunism. Given this simple
fact, it will not be stopped by threats or protests or speeches, but
rather by vaccination and other preventive measures -- just like so many
infectious diseases before it.
Here’s another –
Kay Ivey, Alabama’s Republican governor, stated, “Time to start
blaming the unvaccinated. Vaccine mandates are the policy manifestation
of this frustration. They effectively tell the unvaccinated that their
decision is hurting others and that society has an interest in pushing
them to change. They can refuse, but they will pay a price — in lost
access to a job, a college campus or other shared experiences where they
may infect other people."
The time has come that many doctors and government leaders are no longer
holding back and are coming out squarely blaming the mess we are in on
those that are not vaccinated. The statistics, graphics and prominent
epidemiologists are painting a picture that states very clearly that
this is going to get worse, perhaps much worse, before it gets better
for all of us.
Unlike what we were seeing, a couple of months ago, that light at the
end of the tunnel appears to have indeed been a locomotive!
Oh Yes, Afghanistan. There is a local connection. Many of those C-17s
you saw operating out of Kabul are based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord
near Tacoma. Some of the local stations did pick up on that connection.
Many of us are now used to using our computers (with cameras and
microphones) to participate in meetings using Zoom, Teams or other
platforms. If you do use Teams – You might find this to be helpful –
One thing I quickly learned, in a Zoom meeting with a bunch of
broadcasters, several were quick to point out that I sounded like I was
in a restroom. The issue is, I was using the mic that’s attached to my
camera. My solution was to purchase a Jounivo microphone from a major
local on-line store. Since then, the complaints have gone away. Another
plus is having a mute button on the mic base with an LED that tells me
when I am muted. Much better than using a mouse.
Want to feel a bit older? Think about the fact that MTV is 40 years old!
In the event you have not noticed – it has not really rained around here
in a long time. Sure we have had some heavy drizzle a time or two…but
no rain like this area is famous for. The impact goes beyond having a
‘blonde lawn’. Many of our trees are dying also. Want an example? Drive
Highway 18 around the Maple Valley Exit. The number of dying or dead fir
trees is enough to make you sick.
Sure, we had enough drizzle early in the month to officially end our 52
day long dry spell (the 2nd longest on record) but the dryness
continues. Perhaps you noticed that these long dry periods are taking
place more frequently...more signs of climate change.
We are certainly not the only place where it’s dry. The entire western
portion of the U.S. is in record territory. All of this has resulted in
massive wildfires, some of which will not be out for months to come.
Perhaps the lack of water is more evident in California where reservoirs
behind dams are so low that they can no longer generate electricity.
Read the news about Lake Mead and the impact on the water supplies for
several states and you will see.
Here’s a map of the Western US. The darker the color, the worse it is.
Zooming in on just the PNW States shows the only areas
where the forecast is for some relief is in Western Washington and part
of NW Oregon. The Yellow areas are to be ‘Abnormally Dry’.
We know, from past experience, that the rains will come. However, we should be prepared for not as much as we are used to.
I guess I should mention that it’s not just us in the West with the problem.
Look at this headline - State imposes water restrictions as drought worsens
Want to venture a guess what State they are referring to? Would you
believe that this is Minnesota? According to the U.S. Geological Survey,
about 60% of the state’s streams and rivers are flowing at or near
Meanwhile, Hurricane Henri has ‘over-watered’ New England and another
storm is having it’s way in Mexico (not to mention Louisana) and there
are still those that believe that it ‘Rains all the time in Seattle’. Go
tell that to those rain starved trees and the folks that are fighting
forest fires not too far away from here.
When I started in this business (way back in the middle of the last
century), one of more popular radio programs were when listeners could
call their favorite station to request a certain song be played, or
perhaps dedicated to a special someone. This was long before
computerized radio stations. In those days, there was a live announcer
that would be scrambling to find the record requested. Often the caller
would be recorded so that their request would be aired just before the
record played. (ahh…Those were the days!!)
Amazon recently made an announcement that they would be Beta-Testing new
tools that would allow more radio stations to take requests via its
Alexa system. Apparently, iHeart has jumped in, in four cities. It will
be interesting to see how this works.
Need to remember, for many, this will be 100% new 😊
I have to wonder how many things that radio used to do, would be
attractive today. Everyone else seems to re-cycle ideas. Who knows,
maybe a local TV station would consider a kids show for afternoons?
Congratulations to Dave Ratener on his recent election to the SBE Board
of Directors. Having spent 10 years with that group, I can say it was a
very worthwhile experience. Dave is the 3rd person from Chapter 16 to do
this. John Schneider was the first. Unfortunately, when it comes to
finding those willing to serve, the nomination committee has a hard time
finding the willing.
Here is the SBE Press Release on the Elections:
Andrea Cummis, CBT, CTO, is elected President of the Society of
Broadcast Engineers (SBE). Cummis serves as Chief Technical Officer of
“PBS39” WLVT-TV Bethlehem, PA. A member of SBE Chapter 15 in New York
City, Cummis is the first woman to be elected to hold the office.
“I look forward to serving the Society and its members,”
Cummis said in a release. “President Wayne Pecena has led the society
through an interesting and unusual time, and as everyone looks forward
to a return to normal, I'm pleased that the Society is still growing and
thriving. I’m eager to work with the Board of Directors and the
membership so we can expand our membership and outreach to the media
professionals among us.”
The 2021 election also resulted in the appointment of officers and members of the Board of Directors.
Serving one-year terms as officers, effective Oct. 11 are: VP
Ted Hand, CPBE, 8-VSB, AMD, ATSC3, DRB; Chapter 45 Charlotte; Secretary
Kevin Trueblood, CBRE, CBNT; Chapter 90 Southwest FL; and Treasurer
Jason Ornellas, CBRE, CRO; Chapter 43 Sacramento.
Serving two-year terms as members of the Board of Directors,
which also begin Oct. 11, are: Zhulieta Ibisheva, CBTE, CBT; Chapter 50
Hawaii; Jeff Juniet, CBTE; Chapter 42 Central Florida; Charles “Ched”
Keiler, CPBE, 8-VSB, CBNE; Chapter 53 South Florida; Geary S. Morrill,
CPBE, AMD, CBNE; Chapter 91 Central Michigan; David Ratener, CPBE, CBNT;
Chapter 16 Seattle; Dan Whealy, CBTE; Chapter 96 Rockford.
The National Board of Directors of the SBE is responsible for
the development of policy and determines the programs and services the
society provides to its more than 5,000 members.
The newly-elected members join six other directors who have
another year remaining on their terms. They include: Stephen
Brown, CPBE, CBNT; Chapter 80 Fox Valley; Roswell Clark, CPBE, CBNT;
Chapter 39 Tampa Bay Area; Kirk Harnack, CBRE, CBNE; Chapter 103
Nashville; Thomas McGinley, CPBE, AMD, CBNT; Chapter 16 Seattle; Shane
Toven, CPBE, DRB, CBNE; Chapter 43 Sacramento; Fred Willard, CPBE,
8-VSB, CBNT; Chapter 37 Washington, DC.
A recent op-ed in a national publication caught my attention. It was
written by an owner of an AM station in South Dakota talking about how
the FM Translator he has is limited in coverage compared to his AM and
therefor has limited value because its only good to about 15 miles out,
whereas his AM signal goes much further. This is a giant lesson on one
of the major factors that impact the coverage of an AM radio
Take a close look at the following map – Note the Yellow arrow pointing
at South Dakota and notice how their conductivity numbers around 15 and
Now notice the conductivity numbers for Western Washington (blue arrow) are 2 to 4.
Without getting into a bunch of engineering…this means that an AM
station, on the same frequency, running the same power, will go a lot
further in South Dakota than it will here.
Sure, the dial position has an impact. Lower on the dial stations cover
further with the same amount of power…but conductivity, ie, what the
earth is made of, has a huge impact. If this fellow’s station were
located in an area with conductivity like we have in Western Washington,
he could well find that his translator had better coverage. Again, this
is based on flat land which we have very little of.
Before I leave this topic – note the area where the
Green Arrow is pointed. The conductivity of this area is an 8 (twice as
high as Western Washington). This explains why KWSU in Pullman has
significant coverage in that part of the State with their 5,000 watts.
Speaking of AM’s. It was announced that WIBC has gone silent. What makes
this significant is the 1070 frequency, listened by many in
Indianapolis will be no more. Like many AM’s, the land where their
towers were located was sold, likely making more money for the station’s
owners than possible in these days of declining AM listeners. The
station's 6 towers were on 70 acres zoned for mixed use, commercial and
The Seattle area experienced something similar many years ago.
Fortunately, for the stations here, most found another place to transmit
from rather than go dark. Of course, this happened prior to the slump
in AM listening. KAYO was located along 4th Ave in SoDo, they moved to
the Bellevue Swamp near 880/KIXI. KOL was on Harbor Island. They moved
to Tacoma and now to Bainbridge Island. KJR was on the west side of the
West Waterway. They moved to Tacoma and then Vashon and 1050 moved from
Port owned land to Pigeon Point in West Seattle.
Another AM bites the dust. This time, closer to home. KSCR (1320) in
Eugene, Oregon. The station operated with relatively low power, 600
watts day and 40 watts at night. It started operation in 1962 as KATR.
They added an FM Translator in 2017, but this was, apparently, not
enough to make the station viable. The station's owner, Cumulus,
surrendered the license on July 12th of this year.
On the Job Front –
> Alex Brewster has accepted a position with GatesAir as a Service
Support Engineer. Most recently Alex has been with the local Hubbard
stations. (Congrats Alex). This creates an opening. For more information
Google - Hubbard Jobs.
> The retirement of Tom Saylor and, more recently John McDaniel, have
created several openings at WSU’s Northwest Public Broadcasting. One of
the openings is for an IT Support person. Check out - Work with us | Northwest Public Broadcasting (nwpb.org) The others will be posted soon. For more information contact the department head, Jeff Snell firstname.lastname@example.org.
You are also welcome to contact me for some background information on
what it’s like to work for NWPB. I’ve been there going on 12 years now.
In my last two columns you got to see pictures of some of the cool
places I get to work.
Did you see the Magazine section of the Sunday, August 22nd, Seattle
Times? A very nice story about KHNC….one of several High School operated
stations in our State. I could not help but notice one of the pictures
showed the station's EAS equipment with a binder hanging in view. Long
time area Broadcast Engineer, Buzz Anderson provides their technical
The article brought back a lot of memories for me. I credit my start to
one of those high school stations. Way back in the last Century, my
family moved to Lakewood, and I found myself enrolled at Clover Park
High School. In the back of the campus was this little green building
with a tower at both ends. One tower held a 10-meter beam for the school
Ham Station (uniquely the call letters were W7SBE). At the other end of
the building, the other tower supported the antenna for the school's FM
station, KCPS (Clover Park Schools). Inside were two classrooms for the
instructors Ron Manning and Tex Turner, a shop, radio studios and, of
course, a room dedicated to the Ham station. I found myself a student
there soaking up all that I could. From this the seeds were planted for
my interest in Ham Radio as well as Broadcasting. When the school
district obtained portions of the old Navy supply base in Lakewood, they
moved KCPS there (and changed the call letters to KPEC) and added a TV
station, where I continued my education. The TV station morphed into
KCPQ which was sold to Kelly Broadcasting. The radio station continued
for many years with the call letters KVTI, to do what KNHC is still
doing, training tomorrow's broadcasters. With the closing of that
program about 10 years ago, the station's operation was taken over by
NWPB where I became responsible for its maintenance. This means that my
association with 90.9 goes back about 60 years. It’s been quite a
I’ve often spoken about American Tower. After all, they purchased two of
the transmitter sites that I was responsible for building in this area.
Their success is quite impressive, as you can see from the following –
American Tower reported financial results for the quarter ended
June 30. The company’s revenue increased 20.2 percent to $2.299 billion;
property revenue increased 17.9 percent to $2.233 billion; net income
increased 66.8 percent to $748 million; adjusted EBITDA increased 21.8
percent to $1.476 billion; and consolidated AFFO increased 18.7 percent
to $1.097 billion.
As most of you know, I have announced my retirement from Chairing the
State EAS Committee, aka The SECC. The SECC Meeting on September 14th
will be my last time to conduct this meeting. At the meeting there will
be elections for Chairman and Vice Chair. Ted Buehner, who has been with
the group since it started 25 years ago, has agreed to move up. The
meeting is accomplished with Zoom. You are welcome to participate. I
will have posted on the EAS-WA Remailer information on how to do so.
If you are not a subscriber to that system, drop me an email and I
will send you the information.
New Census Data is out and with it some interesting tidbits –
> We all knew that Seattle was growing rapidly, however, who would
have guessed that Kent (South of Seattle between Tukwila and Auburn) was
one of fastest growing cities in the U.S., outpacing the Seattle
> Yes, Seattle did grow about 100,000. It was one of 14 major cities
that increased by at least that amount in the last 10 years. Seattle’s
population is now 737,015.
> King County increased by 338,000 up to a total of 2,269,675.
> Our State population gained by 14.6%. 7,705,281 can now say they are Washingtonians.
> Perhaps if you have not been there in a while, but two of the
fastest growing counties in the State are Franklin and Benton County.
More commonly known as the Tri-Cities. The area is home to over
300,000. Compare that to the Spokane City population of
228,989 (the Spokane Metro area is about 600,000).
According to published reports – TV Stations will start using 5G to
reach Smart Phones by the end of the year. Sinclair, owner of KOMO and
KUNS in Seattle are very active with this new technology. Now to see
just how many will put it to use. It’s all about Next-Gen TV. Perhaps
they need to be careful as there are those out there that still feel
that 5G is what causes Covid-19 infections. (Seriously!)
Those that track these things are saying the only radio deal this year
that was over $10 million was the Sinclair/Lotus deal to sell KOMO-AM
& FM, KVI and KPLZ. Still waiting to hear when this might happen.
Can’t believe it has not closed by now.
I ran across this item recently. Should be of particular interest to
those stations that have been installing filters on their C-Band
Possible Obstacles Remain for Widespread 5G Deployment | AGL (Above Ground Level) (aglmediagroup.com)
A long time ago I recall someone talking about taking advantage of the
amazing amount of water that flows back and forth through the Tacoma
Narrows. This memory was all brought back to mind with this headline -
'World's most powerful' wave turbine starts generating electricity.
In this case the location is off the northeaster coast of
Scotland. The developer, Orbital Marine Power took 15 years to develop
and 18 months to build this, very interesting, machine. In this
location, it will generate power with incoming and outgoing tides
direction. I can imagine there would be a huge amount of environmental
opposition to such a contraption being placed in the Tacoma Narrows, or
perhaps some other location in Puget Sound…however, it’s a cool idea.
Here are some pictures -
Many of my readers will recall me writing about the
impact of rising sea levels on a couple of local AM stations (570 on
Vashon and 1360 at Browns Point). Recently, KING 5 ran a story about how
Tacoma is going to deal with this issue at Owen Beach near Point
Can you believe Tom McGinley has been working for Townsquare Media in
Montana now for 6 years? Guess so. Miss you around here, Brother Tom.
In a sign of how important drones have become to some local news
organizations, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. has announced that the
company’s Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) drone program recently completed
its 25,000th logged flight. Sinclair’s drone program, which launched in
2016, operates across 45 of its newsrooms nationwide.
For some time now there has been a translator whose antenna was mounted
on one of the KMIA Towers in Auburn. Tuning into 102.1 you could hear
KOMO-AM. Recently that changed, now 102.1 is broadcasting KMIA.
Sorry to report the passing of Darryl Parker. For many years he was the
face of TFT. A very tall and very nice gentlemen who was dedicated to
customer service…even after the firm closed up shop in 2015. Darryl was
Those nice little cellphone batteries created a
serious moment recently on an Alaska flight from Nola to Seattle when
the owner's cellphone caught on fire. Apparently the airline was ready
and deployed a ‘Battery Containment Bag’. Sounds like they kept the
aircraft out, away from the terminal and bused the passengers.
If you are concerned about this issue – Here you go –
Amazon.com: Electronics Fire Containment Bag (FAA Materials Standards) Large/Laptop Sized: Electronics
These new batteries are wonderful in terms of performance, but they are
also scary at the same time. GM is recalling every Chevy Bolt ever made
due to concerns over battery safety.
GM Recalls Every Chevy Bolt Ever Made Over Faulty Batteries | WIRED
For some reason the following picture caused me to stop and smile. Can
you imagine playing a wind instrument while wearing a mask?
My column would not be complete without a picture
looking out over Dwight Small’s ‘back yard’. At the bottom of the
picture you can see the top of a chair on his little deck. Just imagine
sitting there knowing that you don’t have to deal with the Seattle
area's traffic anymore! Some people have it good, others have it VERY
Let me close with this, from an old friend.
Winston Churchill loved paraprosdokians - figures of speech in which the
latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected. Sort
of like watching the news 2021, which is largely paraprosdokial. Enjoy
this selection, and pay no heed to political innuendo!
1. Where there's a will, I want to be in it.
2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it's still on my list.
3. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
4. If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.
5. War does not determine who is right - only who is left.
6. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
7. They begin the evening news with 'Good Evening,' then proceed to tell you why it isn't.
8. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
9. I thought I wanted a career. Turns out, I just wanted pay checks.
10. In filling out an application, where it says, 'In case of emergency, notify:' I put "DOCTOR."
11. I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
12. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down
the street...with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are
13. Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.
14. A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.
15. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
16. Money can't buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.
17. There's a fine line between cuddling and...holding someone down so they can't get away.
18. I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not so sure.
19. You're never too old to learn something stupid.
20. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
21. Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
22. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
23. Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
24. I'm supposed to respect my elders, but now it’s getting harder and harder for me to find one.
Until then, if you are vaccinated, plan on getting your booster.
If you are unvaccinated….you know what you should do.
Clay, K7CR, CPBE
A SBE Fellow
SBE Member # 714
Since March 1968