From the Chair – March 2010

For your chapter chairman, February was one of those lifetime memorable months.  After eleven years of widowhood, I found the woman of my dreams.  On February 6, I married the widow of one of my best friends from high school at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Issaquah.  Betty and I thank the many SBE Chapter 16 members that joined us to witness this wonderful event.

The month of February was a memorable media month… from tsunami’s to blizzards.  The snowstorms of the east crippled the eastern half of the nation.  There was the devastating earthquake in Haiti and then the Chilean earthquake just six weeks later as February came to a close.  Close to home, we are preparing for a potential major flood from the Green River.  And we are often reminded of the earthquake threat to the Puget Sound area with the “big one” yet to come.

Regional attention turned to the internet and broadcast radio for news about the potential tsunami along the West Coast and Hawaii.  Fortunately, damaging waves did not arrive, but broadcast radio became the best real-time source of news.  The quest for information, particularly about the Hawaiian coast, came primarily from the radio and television broadcast media.

A timely series of articles was published online in mid-February titled:  “In Case of Emergency” that has a lot of information for broadcasters.  The series was excerpted from the new book from Focal Press – “Beyond Powerful Radio – A Communicator’s Handbook for the Internet Age.”  You can read the excerpts online at

The broadcast television spectrum continues to be a target for expanded broadband wireless services.  FCC Chairman, Julius Genachowski, is proposing auctions, with participating television broadcasters sharing in the proceeds.  The NAB noted that broadcasting makes very efficient use of spectrum, and vowed to work with the FCC on its spectrum search.

The FCC will deliver its National Broadband Plan to Congress March 17. The plan details a strategy for connecting the entire country to the Web, with the goal of bringing the United States into a position of global leadership in high-speed broadband access.

We should see a lot of changes in the EAS system this year.  Talks are underway to implement national EAS testing, similar to the recent test in Alaska.  We should also see the integration of the internet for EAS message distribution.   Clay will have a lot more EAS information in “Clay’s Corner.”

As engineers, we sometimes fail to see the impact of changes in business practices that affect our livelihood in tPiggyhe broadcast industry.  The record companies push for the Performance Rights Act (PRA) may be an example.  There is a significant possibility that enactment of PRA could bring down many broadcasters, and particularly devastating to minority and religious broadcasters.  Meanwhile the record industry has started their publicity campaign portraying our broadcast employers as pigs.

73 Jim W7PB