Indiana RadioWatch: February 27, 2017

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The FCC cancels the CP and deletes Teen Horizons Christian Outreach's WYLG-LP (94.5fm, North Manchester).

Adams Radio's Classic Rock/WXKE (96.3fm, Churubusco) files an application with the FCC to move tower sites to the northwest, from a shared tower site on Butler Road to the same tower as sister AC/WWFW (103.9fm, Fort Wayne) and other broadcasters. This proposed tower site move will also come with a power increase (6700 watts to 8400 watts) and an antenna height decrease (169 meters to 152 meters).

After two years, Nexstar CBS affiliate/WANE-TV (Channel 15, Fort Wayne) weekend sports anchor/reporter Jessica Starbard exits. Ms. Starbard joined WANE-TV in February 2015 after working as a sports anchor/reporter at WBKB-TV in Alpena, Michigan.


Woof Boom Radio president J Chapman reached out to me last night about last week's story involving the interference between his Classic Rock/WMXQ (93.5fm, Hartford City) and Emmis Communications' translator W228CX (93.5fm, Indianapolis). With his permission, I'm printing his remarks in bold.

Woof Boom’s perspective is this: Emmis made a commitment to stop the interference. The FCC granted their license application. They are turning their power down to two watts, pointing their antenna away from Anderson, and they are doing it within four weeks. The people in Anderson will have WMXQ back. Getting WMXQ back into Anderson has been the outcome we have always been seeking.

Notwithstanding our situation above, there is a much bigger story of consequence for Radio:

The AM Revitalization Effort initiated by Chairman Pai is significant not just for AM but for all of radio’s future. The FCC staff did a good job last year in rolling it out in a timely (fast) manner. Seeing a governmental agency respond in lighting speed was great relief to 1,000's of broadcasters. With anything this big there are always some 'bumps' and there were. Some of those bumps were when an applicant filed for a translator license using engineering that is permitted (47 CFR Section 74.1204) but causes interference (74.1203) in the real world. If you are going to operate a translator, it’s essential it is done under both rule sections. Of the translator interference complaints that are in front of the Commission right now, there are a number that fall within this category. The concept of translator licenses being not only GRANTABLE but SURVIVABLE written by Consulting Engineer, Jeremy Ruck, in last month’s Radio Magazine is a must read for anyone consider buying or investing in a translator.

In this instance and especially true in Indiana, the Emmis W228CX antenna stands tall at 866 feet. Most all of the 24.5 miles between the Emmis antenna and Anderson is flat farm land planted with corn – nothing to prevent a good signal from traveling long distances. In our case, it means knocking a primary service out of a community where it has served listeners for 30+ years.

A translator is a second service – meaning it can’t interfere with a fully licensed primary service station. The management of our FM spectrum is not an easy task; the FCC is doing a good job of overseeing it but with 15,000 radio stations, the Commission also needs broadcasters to work together when an initiative as big as the AM Revitalization takes place. Woof Boom owns and has engineered three translators – each time we have worked to ensure our compliance with both sections of the FCC rules. We’ve made big investments in translators and it is important to us that our investments remain survivable.

Soon there will be more translators. The next phase of the AM Revitalization offers an opportunity in 2017 for some AM operators who don’t yet have a translator to obtain one. Already there are a number of primary stations like WMXQ receiving interference from translators. It is important for all broadcasters to responsibly protect our most valuable asset – the integrity of the limited spectrum space. AM Revitalization was necessary as the AM band became compromised over the years. Now some are calling for a relaxing of the translator interference requirements. The FM spectrum is finite and if it gets compromised, it will be impossible to get it back. Radio faces more competition than ever and continues to thrive. We prosper because we remain ubiquitous with our delivery on a relatively clutter-free FM band. Above all else we need to protect it.

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For additional background info: the Commission rules that speak to the (1) Grantability of a Translator can be found under 74.1204 and (2) the Translator Survivability is found at 74.1203. (3) Jeremy Ruck’s article. Additionally, in some of the news and opinion pieces a small number of complaints were referenced; there are actually upwards of 70 complaints filed with the FCC from listeners who can't hear WMXQ any longer. In December the FCC asked Emmis to provide additional information on 17 of the interference complaints.


Where Are They Now? Former WWWY PD/Afternoon host Tonya Haze now helms middays (10am until 2pm, Central Time) at WGLX-FM in the Wausau/Stevens Point, Wisconsin market.

That's all for this issue. Thank you for your continued support.

Blaine Thompson
Indiana RadioWatch

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