Behind the Numbers @ the FCC Enforcement Bureau

At its October 10 meeting, the Commission’s decision to approve a standard for digital radio drew the headlines. But there were three items on the meeting’s agenda, one of which was the Enforcement Bureau’s release of its yearly Progress Report.

We’ve condensed the microradio-related enforcement news from the presentation and assembled a special report on what was revealed. My favorite highlight involves the Bureau’s number-fudging on enforcement actions finally catching up with it: the report claims fewer “pirate radio” enforcement actions than previous agency statements suggest. The discrepancy is not gigantic, but large enough to be noteworthy. Read More

FCC Admits Ignorance on Digital Radio, Adopts Standard Anyway

It took only 14 minutes today for the Federal Communications Commission to dramatically decide the future of radio broadcasting.

The FCC adopted a Report and Order authorizing the rollout of digital radio. The vote allows radio stations to immediately install In-Band On-Channel (IBOC)-based transmission equipment and, upon notifying the FCC, begin broadcasting using the new transmission standard.

Stations will initially run a hybrid analog/digital signal, so as to not make everybody’s analog receivers immediately obsolete. At some undetermined time in the future the FCC will require radio broadcasting to go completely digital – the hope is when that time comes the public will have forked out the hundreds of dollars each for the new “HD Radios” they’ll need. Read More

Bring the Noise

The implementation of digital radio is on the agenda for the FCC’s meeting this Thursday (Oct. 10). According to the summary, “The Commission will consider a First Report and Order concerning digital operation by terrestrial radio broadcasters.”

What this means is that the FCC will lay out the ground rules for the rollout of in-band on-channel (IBOC) digital audio broadcasting. It has been noted by multiple sources (both from within the radio industry and without) that IBOC is a technological nightmare with the potential to cause massive interference between stations on both the FM and AM dials. Its sound quality may also be worse than conventional analog signals. Read More

Michael Powell Wants Regulatory Slaughter, New Microradio Documentary in the Works, Interesting Uses for LPFM

The FCC’s Spectrum Policy Task Force has just wrapped up a series of four “workshops” on how best the agency can divvy up our electromagnetic spectrum.

In remarks at the closing workshop (held Aug. 9), FCC Chairman Michael Powell outlined four goals he wants to see the FCC work toward when it comes to managing spectrum. Goal #2 is the one that almost made me lose my lunch: Read More