NEWLY ELECTED NASB OFFICERS
Congratulations to Ed Evans and Jeff White, who were elected at the last NASB Annual meeting as President and Vice President respectively! The NASB by-laws state that after a person has served for six consecutive years, they must then go off the Board for at least one year. I want to personally thank the Board and the NASB membership for the backing and encouragement you have so generously given me during these past six years. The present Board is well qualified to carry on the leadership and has already demonstrated a great deal of ability in presenting the needs and concerns of the NASB membership as they have interfaced with the FCC and the committees preparing for the World Radio Conference in 2003. We can rest assured that our interests are being well represented. I have assured the NASB Board that I stand ready to help in any way I can. Again, congratulations Ed and Jeff!
NASB PRESIDENT'S NEWSLETTER
Hello to everyone. I hope your summer has been going well.
A lot has been happening since our Annual Meeting in May, so this letter is to give all of you an overview of what the NASB has been doing.
Shortly after the Annual Meeting, I contacted Dick Zaragoza, who was our legal counsel at the law firm of Fisher Wayland. Dick informed me that Fisher Wayland was "absorbed" by the law firm of Shaw Pittman, and that Shaw Pittman was now handling all of Fisher Wayland's business. So Dick Zaragoza is still legal counsel for NASB.
As our "Corporate" legal address was the Fisher Wayland firm, Dick stated that we should file with the District of Columbia to have our legal address changed. Dick also recommended that we include in this filing to use "CT Corporation Services" as our corporate address. CT Corp. is a clearinghouse for entities such as ourselves that have/need a District of Columbia corporate address. The NASB Board agreed that this was the proper course of action, and we informed Shaw Pittman to make this change. The paperwork for the change has been signed and filed, and we are waiting to hear back from the District of Columbia.
License Renewal - on-air announcements
For any of you that are in the process of filing for a license renewal, it seems that the FCC is "requiring" pre- and post-filing on-air announcements regarding the license renewal. The Shaw Pittman firm has petitioned the FCC on behalf of the NASB that such announcements for international broadcasters are useless and unnecessary. The petition requested a blanket waiver of this requirement for all FCC-licensed HF broadcasters, which was turned down. However, the FCC did agree to grant individual waivers to stations filing for license renewals. So if you are renewing or preparing to renew, please remember to request this waiver in your process.
FREQUENCY HOUR FEES
All of us pay the FCC a great deal of money in Frequency Hour fees.
These fees began back in the early 90's, at $35/hour, and have increased
substantially since then. While the original intent of the fees was
to ensure that we (through the FCC) were represented at the HFCC conferences,
we now feel the fees we are paying have gone beyond that stage. Unfortunately,
the fees were instituted by an act of Congress, so getting them removed
would require a similar action. However, we have discussed this with
Shaw Pittman, and they feel we may have an opportunity to appeal the fees,
or at least get them reduced. This is why we have asked all of you
to please let us know what your 2000 and estimated 2001 fee costs are.
By having this information at hand, we can argue our position more effectively.
Even if you are not a current NASB member, it is important that we have
your data on this as well.
HFCC MEETING IN MONTREAL, CANADA
For the very first time since its inception, the High Frequency Coordinating
Conference is being held in the western hemisphere. Montreal, Canada,
will host the summer meeting August 27-31. This meeting will attempt
to coordinate the B-01 frequency schedules for the majority of the world’s
HF broadcasters. NASB Vice President Jeff White will be attending
as the NASB representative. We will be attending as "observers" as
this is our first conference. George Jacobs will also be in attendance.
If anyone else is interested in attending, you can contact Jeff or George,
and they can provide you with hotel and meeting details. We are attending
this meeting to participate and learn the process, and to assist Tom Polzin
in any way we can.
WRC-2003 AND IWG-6 ISSUES
Ladies and Gentlemen, we are participating in a real dogfight here, it seems. Your Board of Directors has become very aware that our participation in the development of US positions on HF issues is extremely critical.
Agenda Item 1.2 - Addition of "Digital" as a broadcast method
This agenda item seemed simple enough. Agenda item 1.2 was to have allowed the inclusion of "digital and other new modulation techniques." This item is tied though to the Recommendation 519 that came out of WARC-92. This recommendation was the one that basically said that SSB emissions should replace all DSB emissions by 2015, and that all new bands created for broadcasting would be exclusively SSB. The U.S. and other administrations took issue with this, and have allowed broadcasters to use the new bands on a non-interference basis.
There has been a push at the ITU-R in Geneva to basically grant all
new expanded bands exclusively to "digital." We are actively fighting
this, as we currently have a large shortage of frequencies available now,
and also that there is no demonstrated evidence that "digital" will fare
any better fate than SSB.
The NASB will be drafting the Proposed US Position on this agenda item, and we plan to recommend that the expanded bands be open to "all" accepted modulation techniques. Further, we will propose that the restrictions placed on DSB emissions be removed.
Agenda Item 1.23 - Re-alignment of the Amateur Bands Worldwide
The ARRL and IARU are actively pursuing this at WRC-03. Our main interest here is to ensure that we are accommodated accordingly if the amateurs are granted spectrum that was originally allocated to broadcasting. The NASB will co-write this proposed US position paper with the ARRL.
Agenda Item 1.36 - Band Expansions for HF Broadcasting
This agenda item will look into the needs for expanded HF broadcasting,
especially below 10 MHz. We have data to show that there is immediate
need for more spectrum, and we have some specific ideas for these expanded
bands. The NASB will be drafting the proposed US position for this
item. Here again, there is a push for some exclusivity of band space
for "digital," which we will oppose.
Harris has just joined as an Associate Member of NASB. We welcome Harris, and look forward to their active participation in our meetings and activities.
Jeff White, NASB Vice President, sent out a mailing to all non-member FCC-licensed HF broadcasters. We also notified the non-members about our FCC frequency fee plans, and asked them to participate. Additionally, we will be sending this Newsletter to all non-members as well, to hopefully indicate that the NASB is a strong support organization for all FCC-licensed HF broadcasters. If you have had reservations about joining NASB, I encourage you to contact any of the members and discuss the benefits of membership with them. I can be reached at (803)-625-5551 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
In closing, let me again say that the WRC-03 issues are very important to us as HF broadcasters. We are dealing with "inside the beltway" parties that are primarily looking to serve their own interests, not ours. The NASB must maintain a presence in the HF issue discussions to ensure that our interests are preserved.
REPERCUSSIONS FROM BBC PULLOUT OF NORTH AMERICA
As was widely reported in the national and international press, the BBC World Service rather abruptly discontinued its shortwave transmissions to North America, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific at the end of June, despite thousands of protests from devoted listeners of many years. The BBC claimed that its shortwave audience in North America was over a million, but was declining in favor of access to the BBC via Internet streaming audio and local rebroadcasts on FM stations.
Dedicated shortwave listeners protested that many of them do not or cannot listen to the BBC via the Internet, and that the local rebroadcasts of BBC programming are usually just short news bulletins or program segments aired on certain public radio stations with limited coverage areas and generally in the middle of the night when there are few listeners.
Meanwhile, the shortwave service of Radio Netherlands, which also broadcasts world news, documentaries and cultural programming around the world, took advantage of the BBC's abandonment of North America to take over many of the frequencies the BBC had long used for those transmissions. So when listeners tuned to these frequencies on July 1, instead of the BBC World Service, they heard a special program from Radio Netherlands promoting the station's shortwave broadcasts to North America. The publicity campaign lasted for a few weeks, after which Radio Netherlands decided to remain on some of the former BBC frequencies indefinitely.
While the BBC was seen as "writing off" its shortwave listeners in North America, Radio Netherlands claimed the objective of its publicity campaign was "to recognize and support the millions of shortwave radio owners in North America who still believe in direct contact with Europe from across the Atlantic." RN's Director General, Loudewijk Bouwens, remarked: "Shortwave remains the only direct way to share a full range of important issues with a loyal audience in the USA and Canada."
"North American listeners have always been some of the most committed," Bouwens explained. "We're guaranteed a full postbag or e-mail box when we explain attitudes that people in the Netherlands have to drug prevention or euthanasia." He said that like the BBC, Radio Netherlands also has certain programs rebroadcast on FM stations in the U.S. and Canada, "but shortwave offers us the opportunity to share a much wider range of news and features at a convenient listening time. We can offer more depth and context than is allowed on domestic media, knowing that the audience has made that extra effort to tune in."
Bouwens also pointed out that experiments with digital broadcasting could mean much higher fidelity shortwave broadcasts in the not-too-distant future. As for webcasting, Radio Netherlands offers its audio on the Internet, but it says the current streaming technology is useless at coping with the peak demands of serious live broadcasting. For every 100,000 listeners over the air at any one moment, the station says there are only a few thousand capable of hearing the broadcasts simultaneously on the web. "Webcasting is expensive. It is often congested during a crisis. There are copyright restrictions. It's simply not ready for prime time," said Bouwens.
The BBC's move to cut shortwave broadcasts to North America came just a few months after Swiss Radio International announced it will be phasing out all shortwave transmissions worldwide over the next few years. It has already discontinued its broadcasts to North America. SRI too claims that it will continue serving its audience via the Internet and other new technologies.
Some observers believe these international broadcasters are resorting to Internet and local rebroadcasts because of the relatively small cost compared to the expense of shortwave transmissions. Most government-funded international broadcasting services have experienced serious budget cuts since the end of the Cold War and they must cut costs in order to survive. The director of Radio Austria International says his service is in danger of disappearing altogether due to lack of funding, and budget problems at Radio Canada International have recently resulted in the elimination of all newscasts on weekends and the reduction of all of its language services from one-hour to 30-minute programs daily.
Ironically, these cuts come at a time when shortwave radio sales appear
to be increasing significantly in many parts of the world, including North
America. Esmail Hozour, head of Grundig's shortwave sales in North
America, was quoted in a recent edition of Radio World as saying there
are over a million shortwave receivers sold in the U.S. and Canada
each year, and sales have been growing every year since 1991, "often at
double-digit rates." His counterpart at Sony of America, Paul
Sabo, told the same magazine that Sony's shortwave receiver sales have
increased 30 percent over the past two years.
Adventist World Radio
Assemblies of Yahweh
Family Stations, Inc.
Far East Broadcasting Company
Herald Broadcasting Syndicate
High Adventure Ministries
LeSea Broadcasting Corporation
Radio Miami International
Trans World Radio
World Christian Broadcasting
World Wide Catholic Radio
NASB Associate Members
Continental Electronics Corporation
George Jacobs and Associates
HCJB World Radio