Major broadcast groups, including Fox, CBS, ABC, Sinclair, Tribune and 23 others filed a letter to the FCC, urging the commission to preserve those channels.
“Without interference-free wireless microphones, news gatherers simply would lack a reliable way to deliver the live, breaking news that all Americans — regardless of the medium they interact with — find important in their daily lives,” the letter reads. The NAB sent the letter out to reporters Wednesday morning.
Today, wireless microphones are used in-studio and in the field. Broadcasters were clear in the letter that they are not seeking additional channels, just the two channels that are currently reserved to them. Once a channel repack happens involving the broadcasters who want to remain on air, there are no guarantees that the FCC will reserve the two channels. And under current FCC rules, broadcasters can’t fire up a wireless microphone on someone’s TV channel (frequency). There are also spacing requirements put into place to prevent interference with a distant station that may be spilling into a market.
“If the FCC values the service that news gatherers provide, it must reserve some exclusive-use spectrum for wireless microphones so that these devices can operate without risk of interference. And given that the band plan discussions do not appear to contemplate a future with clean spectrum for microphones, we fear that the Commission inadvertently may be heading down a path that puts newsgathering at risk.”
The Society of Broadcast Engineers have been closely following the wireless microphone concerns during its monthly conference calls. Several of the wireless microphone manufacturers, like Shure, are also involved in those conversations.