Journalists seek protected spectrum for wireless mics


MicrophoneWireless microphones are an indispensable tool for those in the critical business of bringing up-to-the-minute news and information to the American public, and an all-star lineup of electronic news-gathering organizations have written a letter to FCC Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn asking for two dedicated channels in each market to assure their preservation.

They opened, “The undersigned organizations and companies represent just a small handful of the wide range of American journalists and newsgatherers who work tirelessly day in and day out to keep Americans informed about issues of importance to their communities and their lives. Although we compete fiercely with one another in the field to be the best at what we do, we share one common reality: all electronic newsgatherers rely extensively on wireless microphones to communicate vital information to Americans. We urge you to preserve the two channels set aside for wireless microphone use in each market so that we can continue to provide Americans with an essential public service. Without interference-free wireless microphones, newsgatherers 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.”

They noted how broadcasters have become the first wave of the first responders in times of emergency, going toward rather than away from the epicenter of trouble. And they pointed out that this bravery would be for naught if interference prevents wireless mics from getting the job done.

This will be particularly important in densely-populated market, they pointed out. “Importantly, interference-free use of wireless microphones was integral to reliable coverage of these events. And without the two reserved channels for wireless microphones, it would be virtually impossible to guarantee an interference-free experience for newsgatherers in large markets, given the multitude of unlicensed broadband devices that are (or may be) permitted to operate on the same frequencies.”

Signatories to the letter include:
* Fox
* Time Warner
* Fox News
* Univision
* Albritton Communications
* Barrington Broadcasting
* Belo
* Delmarva Broadcasting
* Gray Television
* Hearst
* Local TV
* London Television
* Mission Broadcasting
* Nexstar Broadcasting
* Raycom Media
* Sarkes Tarzian
* Schurz Communications
* Scripps
* Sinclair Broadcasting
* Tribune Broadcasting
* California Oregon Broadcasting
* WNET New York Public mmm
* Journal Broadcast Group