Sunday, June 15, 2008

Deadlines and Opportunites Gallore on behalf of Public Radio

YOU HAVE UNTIL JULY 15TH to provide comments to the FCC, regarding the proposal to expand the FM radio dial by 20 channels (advanced by Mullaney Engineering). The space would come from the digital conversion of TV channels five and six, and the abandonment of their analogue frequencies just below the existing FM radio dial. There currently exists a situation among public radio stations in Colorado which screams for expansion; even if it only expands the FM dial slightly.

When Colorado Public Radio moves Classical music KVOD from 90.1 to 88.1 next month, Classical Music devotees north of Longmont will be out of luck. The diminished signal of 88.1 can be improved slightly once channel 6 goes away next year, but only slightly because of KGNU at 88.5 (which recently applied to return to more than 3,000 watts after channel 6 audio departs, just left of the KVOD and KGNU signals.

Here is where a little more wiggle room would help everyone concerned. Current FM tuners can usually receive frequencies down to about 87.5 FM (if your tuner receives channel 6 audio you know this is true). If the authorized FM band were expanded by the FCC just down to 87.5 from the current 88.1, a quick fix for KVOD and KGNU would be possible, with KVOD moving to 87.7 and KGNU to 88.3 (so KGNU could move one channel away from KCME, in Colorado Springs at 88.7). All stations involved could then improve their signals substantially.

Since everyone has a different vision, regarding HOW the FM band should expand, your comments to the FCC should include such specifics for the sake of public radio.

IN OTHER FCC MATTERS, YOU WILL ALSO HAVE A CHANCE IN THE COMING WEEKS TO PROVIDE COMMENTS TO THE FCC, REGARDING THE LICENSE TRANSFER OF KCSU, FORT COLLINS. The Colorado State Board of Agriculture, the governing body of Colorado State University, has announced it is relinquishing control of student-operated KCSU (as well as the student newspaper "The Collegian"), and will hand over the reigns of control to a non-profit Board of Directors. The FCC mandates that radio license transfers must undergo a 45 day public comment period.

As written several months ago, prior to the pending KCSU changes, one of Colorado Public Radio's (CPR's) options to continue serving Classical music listeners in Fort Collins-Loveland-Greeley (when KVOD is switched to 88.1 in July) is for CPR to gain control of KCSU. It is one of several options listed in the column on this page titled: "CRAZY EIGHTS: TAKING OFF IN 2008 WITH 88.1 IN PLAY". Now, if CPR has an interest in KCSU, they can participate in the FCC comment period. CPR's comments to the FCC, if any, would be interesting to say the least.

Another, less obtrusive option for CPR is possible in Northern Colorado. That would only require CPR to place KVOD on its' HD-2 signal for KCFR/ 90.1. But in order to ease the pain for listeners without HD capability, CPR could also bite the bullet and give KVOD contributors in Larimer-Weld a discount coupon, good for the purchase of HD receivers for home and autos. If that sounds a bit extravagant, consider the alternative: listener blowback that's about to occur in Fort Collins-Loveland-Greeley when 90.1 is switched to KCFR news. Another way to look at this option is to think of it as a race.... a race in which CPR tries to make loyal listeners comfortable with HD technology, versus letting once loyal supporters walk away, toward the satellite receiver route for their classical fix. In a recent column in Radio World Magazine, one public radio station in the Midwest has one of their staff; among them the station G.M., deliver and set up the HD radio to every member who buys one.

Is CPR willing to go that extra mile? In this case, we are talking about (by the year 2030) a Larimer-Weld population base of 750,000. The costs now could pay great dividends down the road.


Anonymous said...

NPR bilked Congress out of ten-of-millions for useless upgrades to HD Radio, which doesn't even work, as it suffers from poor coverage, dropouts, and interference:

bobyoung said...

I hope that coupon covers the cost of gas to bring back those piece of junk radios, they don't work and are already obsolete, even most radio engineers hate it and only use it because some suit upstairs got brainwashed into thinking this was radio's new savior.
You are lucky to receive IBOC 5 miles from the transmitting antenna for the most part unless you put an antenna on the roof ala 1958 TV, even then you'd be lucky to get much more than 10-20 miles with drop outs. Don't waste your money on something that will soon sell in a Goodwill for 6 bucks as I read recently in some radio list.
I like NPR and listen quite often but they won't get another penny of my money until they get rid of the junk HD transmitters and stop pushing HD junk onto the consumer just because they got a great deal from the cockroaches who developed it and push it today, BTW it is a legal monoploy.

Bob Young
Millbury, MA

LarrySteward said...

Just a note of clarification regarding KCSU-FM. Under the terms of the Operating Agreement with the soon to be incorporated Rocky Mountain Student Media Corporation, a 501(c)3 non-profit, Colorado State University will retain the KCSU license and enter into a brokerage agreement with the new organization. This agreement will be filed with the FCC in compliance with rules and regulations.

Larry Steward, interim president, RMSMC

Jimmy James Jr. said...

Colorado Public Radio assists its Board Members and large contributors with personalized audio setup in their homes. But, that house call will cost you! Wanna be a Network Partner? If so, maybe a CPR Engineer will visit you. Oh yeah, and make sure you have some warm Keystone Light in a can. Engineers can be finicky drinkers!

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