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Amendment One: The Kahn Connection

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by Don Schellhardt

In my last article, “The Ventriloquist’s New Trick”, I discussed the huge consolidation of American media ownership that occurred during the 1990’s. The most extreme consolidation occurred in the American radio industry, where a few huge corporations, and NPR, drove hundreds of local and independent stations off the air, and converted thousands more into mere satellites of a central headquarters.

I also predicted we will see still more radio stations losing market share, or even sinking into bankruptcy, as a result of interference from In Band On Channel (IBOC) Digital Radio technology. On October 11, 2002, in Docket 99-325, the FCC approved IBOC Digital Radio broadcasting “on an interim basis” -- before the rules for regulating such broadcasts have even been proposed, let alone adopted. Now, with only a handful of IBOC stations up and running, even large radio stations, such as the 50,000-watt WOWO of Fort Wayne, have already experienced massive interference. Things will only get worse as more IBOC stations arrive.

Unless …

The FCC can be persuaded to suspend IBOC broadcasting while it reconsiders.

On October 25, 2002, 34 parties proposed just such a suspension in a Petition For Reconsideration, filed in Docket 99-325. The Petitioners included citizens’ advocacy groups, current radio stations, aspiring licensees and concerned citizens. I have been their attorney, and have seen my clients rise to 40 through new recruits.

For months, these Petitioners were “Horatio at the bridge”, erecting and defending the only remaining procedural barrier to permanent authorization of IBOC. Now, however, reinforcements have finally started to arrive in force.
The second procedural challenge to IBOC was a Motion To Dismiss, filed in Docket 99-325 by John Pavlica, Jr. of Ohio: a broadcast engineer. Later, in the separate proceeding of RM-10609, the Colorado-based National Translator Association filed Written Comments that expressed deep concern about IBOC interference with FM translator stations -- and urged corrective action.

On January 24, 2003, Leonard Kahn, P.E., President of New York City’s KAHN COMMUNICATIONS, filed an independent Petition For Rulemaking. That Petition, currently listed in PRM03MB of the FCC’s Electronic Comments Filing System (ECFS), calls for suspending IBOC broadcasting until the FCC has first proposed and adopted, and then applied to competing Digital Radio options, generic new standards for evaluating new technologies. On April 5, 2003, the company unveiled its own new technology -- Comparative AM Digital -- and urged the Commission to compare the technology competitively with IBOC.

Mr. Kahn has since authorized me to collect for him the names of any parties who wish to actively support The Kahn Petition. Please read the April 5 press release, set forth below, and then contact me if you are interested. I am reachable via email or at 45 Bracewood Road, Waterbury, CT 06706.



New York, N.Y., April 5, 2003

Kahn Communications, Inc. (KCI) announced today the development of new technology that will restore AM Radio Broadcasting to 15 kHz fidelity by use of digital processing. The system, Compatible AM Digital (Cam-D) *, unlike the pending proposal now before the FCC, will not increase adjacent or co-channel interference. Therefore, the system will be able to operate during the nighttime as well as during daytime hours.

Furthermore, the system is fully compatible with the over half a billion radios presently used by the American Public every day of the year. Actually, listeners to such existing radios will hear noticeably improved sound. The new system provides 15 kHz stereo fidelity when received by special new receivers, by use of frequency compression and digital transmission and digital reception techniques.

One of the main advantages of the Cam-D* System is that it can provide improved fading performance over vast distances at night. Accordingly, special emphasis was placed upon convincing Midwestern stations to act as Test Stations. KCI is now negotiating with stations in other regions of the country to test the system in urban areas, where reradiation from large buildings is prevalent, to prove Cam-D’s* relative insensitivity to reradiation.

As of this date, the first stations that have contracted to purchase and install the Cam-D * system are located in the states of: Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin. Some of these groups are equipping more than one station in a state. The committed stations range from a 500 watt daytimer, to major 50 kw stations with highly directional antennas.

These Test Stations will provide spectrum measurements as well as practical demonstrations that Cam-D* does not increase interference with even the first adjacent channel stations, proving its compatibility with present frequency assignments. The tests will also be performed day and night to prove that the system does not degrade station coverage, indeed, increases it. And, finally, these initial tests will prove full compatibility with radios in the hands of the American Public. Actually, listeners will not, in any way, hear degraded sound, but will enjoy the same frequency response broadcasters presently provide their listeners.

Special new digitally enhanced radios will be made available in small pre-production sample quantities to demonstrate to Broadcasters and the FCC that Cam-D * provides 15 kHz fidelity, night and day, for much of the stations’ normal coverage and also that Cam-D * provides Slow Speed Data over the full coverage of the Test Stations. The system is based upon a number of L.R. Kahn patents, as well as brand new inventions.

A spokesman for KCI, the New York, N.Y. and Carle Place, Long Island firm, stated that its president, L.R. Kahn, acting individually, had filed a Petition for Rule Making on January 24, 2003, requesting the FCC to appoint a Blue Ribbon panel of former FCC Commissioners, etc., to propose revised procedures for evaluating all new technology so as to avoid possible future control of industry FCC Advisory Committees by firms proposing Billion Dollar Rule Making Petitions.

The Rule Making also requested a STAY of the present FCC Order on Digital Audio Broadcasting. This Rule Making will not be withdrawn, Kahn stated, but it was recently amended to request the Commission to evaluate and compare the Cam-D* System with the presently proposed Hybrid AM DAB system to determine which system will best serve the American Public.

# # # #

* Cam-D is a trademarked name for Compatible AM Digital technology, as developed and marketed by KAHN COMMUNICATIONS of New York City and Long Island.


LEONARD R. KAHN, P.E., the president of KAHN COMMUNICATIONS, has authorized DON SCHELLHARDT, a writer and attorney, to collect for him the names of individuals and organizations who are willing to provide active support for his January 24, 2003 Petition For Rulemaking at the FCC.

PLEASE NOTE: The act of endorsing Mr. Kahn’s Petition For Rulemaking, as amended, does not automatically require or imply an endorsement of Kahn Communications’ specific Compatible AM Digital (Cam-D) technology. Endorsement of The Kahn Petition involves embracing only two assertions:

(1) that the FCC should carefully “evaluate and compare the Cam-D System” with the In Band On Channel (IBOC) Digital Radio that the FCC has currently authorized for use, on an interim basis; and

(2) that the present interim authorization of IBOC Digital broadcasting should be “stayed” [suspended] until the Cam-D alternative has been fully evaluated and the proposed Blue Ribbon Panel has developed new, and more effective, procedures and standards for the FCC’s evaluation of new technologies as they emerge.


Don Schellhardt, Esquire
45 Bracewood Road
Waterbury, Connecticut 06706
Send your NAME and SNAIL MAIL address. Your phone and E-Mail are optional.

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