Almost every venue, studio and mobile broadcast crew that uses wireless microphones will need to reconfigure their systems by 2020 to comply with new federal regulations. Since the definition of wireless microphones includes in-ear monitors, intercom systems, and interruptible fold back (IFB) systems, more devices will be impacted than most people realize. Pending the outcome of the auction, here’s what wireless mic operators should expect.
Ten Sinclair stations are already equipped with drones and the personnel to operate them and 35 will get them next year, says Sinclair Chief Pilot Jeff Rose. “Viewers love drones, he says. “They go over really big.”
Even before the deadline to make wireless channel requests had passed, the demand from broadcasters and other media outlets has exceeded the supply of available channels in both Cleveland and Philadelphia for coverage of the Democratic and Republican political conventions. Above, FCC Enforcement Bureau and election wireless engineers take RF spectrum measurements during testing before the opening of the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. (Kevin Parrish photo)
Following this year’s FCC spectrum auction and repack, TV broadcasters will find themselves facing technical challenges involving satellite newsgathering, wireless mics and the Broadcast Auxiliary Service.
Contrary to assurances the FCC gave Congress and the broadcast industry since first proposing the TV spectrum auction and repack, wireless mic advocates say, the agency has told parties lobbying to protect wireless mic spectrum that it will likely conduct a future auction to recover more TV spectrum.
What issues are likely to keep engineers, managers and other tech types awake at night in 2016? TVNewsCheck’s Phil Kurz offers his predictions of next year’s trends that range from ATSC 3.0 to a serious rethink of how to define the business of television.