26 January 2011

FCC Needs Help

Interference on AM Radio.
Digital interference on AM and FM radio.
Terrestrial Radio Signal degradation.
Frequency Allotments.
Mobile Communications.
The Fairness Doctrine.
Accurate Assessment of Facilities.

This list could go on for two or three columns. It's a partial list of things that the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, has NOT done to the satisfaction of many who are directly impacted by their ignorance, inaction, or ineffective actions.

Not everyone considers what the FCC does, or what its direct impact upon ALL Americans it has on a regular basis. But for those of us in broadcasting, communications or telecommunications, we have at least a peripheral knowledge of what the Commission does in regulating some of our business practices, physical engineering, policies, and future. But the Commission must also decide on issues that influence our daily work. And unfortunately, it's obvious to many of us, the commissioners don't always have a clue about what is going on at the ground level. This is crucial because it is at the ground level --- where most of us work --- that their activity or lack thereof is felt first.

Taking one of those things in which I have a direct interest: INTERFERENCE on the radio dials. For those of us who regularly on AM Radio stations, the interference of electrical wires, computer equipment, testing equipment, etc., is having one of the biggest impacts because the FCC --- which used to do a stellar job in forcing manufacturers to keep any interference to an absolute minimum --- does VIRTUALLY NOTHING to stop the EXTREME interference of the broadcast signals on AM/Amplitude Modulation RADIO.

Sure, we can do "live streaming audio at our website" and have others listen to us on their smartphones, PC's and net radios --- but it is not the same. We depend upon drivers to hear us on their automobile radios. When you're driving through almost ANY neighborhood in the U.S. where there is cable strung around the utility poles, the interference ranges from "some" to "too much to make AM listenable for extended periods of time" --- the impact is direct and immediate. This should NOT be this way because the FCC should have MANDATES on interference levels, mandates on remedies to restrict the interference to "near nil", regulatory engineers monitoring these levels --- and, they should be ENACTING FINES to the companies which put these modes of interference into our "public airwaves".

Why --- when the FCC is charged with being the authority over these problems --- do we have them at all? In the 1980s and early 1990s, we rarely had problems with such interference because the FCC sent out investigators to quell the problems associated with electric interference on AM radio.

What is the remedy?

Unfortunately --- MORE GOVERNMENT!

You sure didn't expect me to write that, did you?

I'm not a regular advocate for "more" government. But in this case, there was a dramatic fall-off in personnel and action at the FCC when the U.S. Government cut back funding for this branch. We suffered from at least two administrations that cut some of the essential parts of the FCC budget because of "deregulation". This left the FCC with a serious lack of personnel to handle their chores.

These cutbacks have led to AN EXTREME SITUATION >>> electrical interference is at an all-time high on AM radio and on other forms of audio and visual communications. And it must be STOPPED SOON.

The only way the FCC will be effective in putting the problem to rest is to ensure that they're in the right places with the correct rules and regulations set in stone.


I am calling on ALL United States Senators and Representatives, the President and Vice-President of the U.S., and judges from the lowest courts to the highest court in our nation, to make sure the Federal Communications Commission is funded properly and fair.

The commission must be charged with finding the proper ways to end such a serious long-term problem facing the broadcasters across our country. This is but ONE issue that faces the direct questioning of the industries that have to follow FCC regulations.

If the Commission is not given the proper workforce, these problems will not go away.

And then the problem becomes worse, and YOU will have to deal with extremely upset broadcasters.

I give you this scenario:

RADIO STATION ON-AIR PERSONALITIES will be discussing the problems at the FCC more often than celebrity news if this isn't fixed right away.

(Okay, now that we have that out of the way --- let's get the Congress and the FCC focused second on the problem of conglomerates and get into properly regulating ownership of broadcast stations back to ACCEPTABLE levels --- How about 10 AM and 10 FM stations per company nationwide?)

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