Statement of REC Networks: FCC Digital Audio Broadcasting IBOC Decision

REC is deeply concerned about the full Commission's decision this week to proceed with the full implementation with the IBiquity in-band on-channel (IBOC) digital audio broadcasting (DAB) system. We are mainly concerned about information in the FCC press release that suggests that nighttime AM operation will be authorized. Not only will this create problems to the rural nighttime AM service in many areas of the country but it will give the NAB more leverage to push for FM translators to be used for AM stations, especially those that have now been obliterated by adjacent channel out of town stations with a digital signal. This will bring more translators on the air thus preventing the growth of the LPFM service.

Internet Radio Being Threatened

Recently, the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) issued the significantly higher new royalty rates for Internet radio for the 2006-2010 period. The ruling ignored webcasting community proposals and set out the SoundExchange proposed "per performance" rates (below) and a $500 minimum fee per channel per year.

For us, since we broadcast through Live365, this could mean that the future of Hardcore J and Hardcore XTRA are in jeopardy. The rates that are being proposed as driven by the recording industry will most likely put Live365 as well as many independent webcasters out of business leaving the market only open to the big names.

W0KIE's Dean Spratt dead at 54

We have received word today that Dean Spratt, host of W0KIE's "Thursday Night Potpourri" has passed away due to a relapse from a massive stroke he suffered last week, he was 54.

Dean has had a long involvement in TVRO radio as well as a professional career including doing traffic at one time for WCCO, Minneapolis, MN. Dean, who was blind, did his traffic broadcasts from his home using a leased line.

Spratt's death is the second one in the W0KIE family in the past 6 months. In early October, Dishnut Gerry passed on after a long term illness.

REC extends our condolences to Dean's family as well as to Dean's family on W0KIE.

FCC eliminates Morse Code requirements for all Amateur license classes

The FCC has issued a press release announcing that the Morse Code proficiency test is no longer required to obtain an Amateur Radio license at any class. In the past, only the Technician class license was available without the code. The change will take effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

In the past, REC has taken a "slow code" approach where the 5WPM code would still be endorsed for the Amateur Extra class license.

REC Transfers FMFIND Search Tool to SIRIUS Satellite Radio

REC Networks has reached a technology transfer agreement with SIRIUS Satellite Radio. As a part of the transaction, REC will transfer the rights to use the REC FM Broadcast Channel Search algorithms used for finding suitable frequencies for SIRIUS Satellite Radio receivers with built in very low power FM transmitters.

REC Networks will still own the domain name and will provide direct links to the new SIRIUS FM Channel Search application. REC will no longer engage in consumer Part 15 FM channel searches but instead will refer all requests to SIRIUS. REC Networks will continue to maintain weekly updates of the SIRIUS FM database, which will be coincide with REC's standard FCC database update schedule.

REC is not disclosing any other terms of the agreement.

Another nail in the coffin of rural/suburban radio

On Friday during the full Commission meeting, the FCC has adopted a report on MB Docket 05-210 for changes on city of license and other broadcast allotment issues in the AM and FM radio services. According to the FCCs news release, some of the changes include:
- The ability to move an AM or FM radio station from one community of license to another through a minor change application (where in the past for FM, it required amending the Table of Allotments).
- Requiring an FCC Form 301 with the filing fee when petitioning the FCC to drop in an FM allotment.
- Eliminate the prohibition of electronic filing for Table of Allotments proceedings.