Station Groups Remind FCC to Keep Wireless Mic Channels After Spectrum Auction

By Kevin Eck 

Expressing concern for what they see as “little or no apparent effort” to  protect the current spectrum broadcasters use for wireless mic frequencies, several station groups including Nexstar, Sinclair and FOX Television Stations have asked the FCC to keep them in mind when it undertakes its upcoming spectrum auction and subsequent channel repack.

“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,” the broadcasters wrote in a letter to acting FCC chairwoman Mignon Clyburn. “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.”

The letter asks the Commission to maintain two channels per market for wireless mic transmissions. “To be clear, we are not seeking any new accommodations or set asides; rather, we are asking only that the Commission preserve the status quo so that we can be assured of having a place to operate post-auction.”

The letter ends by letting the FCC know emergency coverage like that seen in the Boston Marathon bombings, the tornadoes in Oklahoma and Superstorm Sandy may not be possible without the availability of clear wireless channels,  “The Commission should not take lightly the risk of interference depriving consumers of audio from breaking news and emergency events.”