Electronic Media Policy News

December 16, 2014

URGENT: Does Your Orchestra Use Wireless Mics or Other Wireless Devices?  Weigh in now, before costs go up yet again...

Over the last several years, the League has been sending periodic updates regarding wireless microphone technology and key FCC decisions and rulings that impact orchestras and other users of wireless devices. You may recall that in 2010, wireless microphone users had to vacate a portion of White Space spectrum, resulting in many organizations having to purchase expensive new equipment. The latest news in this continually evolving landscape is that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is proposing to exclude smaller and mid-sized performing arts entities from interference protection – leaving such users vulnerable to interference or in the position to purchase new equipment yet again. Orchestras and other performing arts organizations need to speak up and tell the FCC how we would be harmfully impacted.

Background at a glance:

Over the summer, the FCC had opened the door for performing arts entities that regularly use 50 or more wireless microphones to apply for a Part 74 license, which would entitle the licensed entity access to a database that would provide interference protection. All other users would have to apply for access and be subject to a 30 day waiting period. However, the FCC is now proposing that entities that are not eligible to apply for a license would also not be able to participate in the database at all. In other words, there would be absolutely no interference mechanism in place for organizations using fewer than 50 microphones from White Space Devices (ie TV Band Devices). Please remember that wireless microphone operators should be coordinating frequencies so as not to interfere with each other – the interference protection we seek is from new TV Band Devices.

What you can do:

The FCC has put forward many questions along with this proposal. This is our opportunity to respond! Please adapt this sample letter with as much information as you have available, putting your letter on your orchestra’s letterhead, and send as an attachment to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by January 15, 2015.

Access to the database has now become an issue for smaller and mid-sized performing arts organizations, as well as for larger entities that do not regularly use 50 or more wireless devices. Together with our partners in theater, opera, dance, and more, we hope to gather hundreds of letters together, and these will be entered on your behalf into the FCC’s electronic filing system.

Thank you!! Your efforts can and will make a difference, and we need every voice to speak up to the FCC while there is still time! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

July 17, 2014

Net Neutrality Debate Continues

Earlier this week, the League joined with more than 20 national arts and cultural organizations in joint comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in support of an open internet. With ever-increasing public demand for broadband, the League and co-signatories support safeguarding a platform for free expression and entrepreneurship. As stated in the testimony, “it is crucial that our creative communities are not disadvantaged as we advance and promote the diversity of expression that comprises American culture.” The group comments in support of “net neutrality” are available online.

November 22, 2013

Down, Set, Mic!

Decisions will soon be made by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that could negatively impact wireless microphone users, including orchestras, other performing arts organizations, and even the NFL. Your member of Congress can go on record in support of the performing arts by becoming a cosponsor of The Wireless Microphone Users Interference Protection Act of 2013, introduced by Congressman Bobby L. Rush (D-IL-01), which would protect performing arts wireless technology from potential interference. The League has been active on Capitol Hill to discuss the importance of protecting wireless microphone use, joining with such varied partners as the National Football League and the Southern Baptist Convention.  Learn how you can weigh in.

October 30, 2013

Keep Wireless Mics Interference-Free

Decisions will soon be made by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that could negatively impact wireless microphone users, including orchestras and other performing arts organizations. Your member of Congress can go on record in support of the performing arts by becoming a cosponsor of a bill that would protect performing arts wireless technology from potential interference.

The Wireless Microphone Users Interference Protection Act of 2013 has been introduced by Congressman Bobby L. Rush (D-IL-01) and it asks the FCC to protect the existing space designated for wireless microphone users, so that users will not suffer interference during performances. The League has been actively meeting with offices on Capitol Hill to discuss the importance of protecting wireless microphone use, joining with such varied partners as the National Football League and the Southern Baptist Convention, as well as fellow performing arts organizations.

Please Urge Your Representative to Support Wireless Technology in the Performing Arts Today!

January 30, 2013

Protecting Wireless Microphone Use in Future Spectrum Auction
            
In the past two years, wireless microphones have been moved around the broadcast spectrum to make room for new electronic devices entering the market place – causing confusion and new equipment costs.  This month, the League has joined other national performing arts groups urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to protect the use of wireless microphones as a new broadcast spectrum auction takes place and the airwaves are once again re-organized.  As a member of the Performing Arts Wireless Microphone Working Group, the League has submitted comments to the FCC urging protections to ensure that performing arts organizations may continue to use wireless microphones without interference and additional burdensome equipment costs.

The comments urge the FCC to provide adequate interference protection for the full range of performing arts microphone users.  We ask the FCC to expand the eligibility of organizations to obtain Part 74, Subpart H licensing, which would enable large venues that exceed the capacity of two safe-haven channels for wireless microphone use to find relief through a geo-location database without the customary 30 day waiting period. For small and mid-sized performing arts organizations, the working group emphasizes the need for the FCC to continue reserving two safe-haven channels to provide sufficient interference protection. The written comments also point out the high cost of transition already borne by the performing arts sector in the last required move– a cost the sector can ill-afford when the FCC inevitably directs wireless microphone users to move again.  To that end, the working group proposes that the costs of moving be shared by those entities moving into spectrum currently being used by performing arts wireless microphone users. Finally, the working group requests that the FCC provide reasonable time for transition once digital sound equipment is deemed ready for professional use and also to provide reliable guidance for wireless microphone purchasers, such as an easily accessible link to database searches that will show safe-haven and other available channels for specific locations. Read the complete comments, and contact the League’s Washington, D.C. office with any questions.

OCTOBER 5, 2011

Check, Check! Your Orchestra’s Use of Wireless Microphones!

As new devices prepare to enter the broadcast space used by wireless microphones, important changes will impact the way orchestras plan their performances. You will need to ascertain if you have enough frequency to operate your wireless microphones. Wireless microphone users have been given 2 safe haven channels in which to operate, with these channels providing up to a maximum of 16 total frequencies, for operation by all users in an area. If your orchestra and other wireless microphone users in your vicinity determine that your collective use within the shared broadcasting range will exceed the capacity of these 2 channels, you will need to apply to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) database in advance to acquire more space. A public trial of a database began September 19, 2011 and is available for any and all interested parties for public testing through November 2, 2011. Please encourage the personnel in charge of your orchestras’ wireless microphone use to investigate and try out the database. Your feedback to the database manager and to us at the League is extremely important, as your experiences will inform our next steps as we communicate with the FCC. After the trial period concludes and the official database is unveiled, local wireless microphone users will need to work together to submit their anticipated aggregate needs to the database.

Find Complete Information Here

MAY 20, 2010

Wireless Mics Must Vacate 700 MHz Band June 12

The FCC will enforce their call for wireless microphone users to vacate the 700 MHz portion of the broadcast spectrum as of June 12, 2010. In order to comply with new FCC requirements, orchestras and the venues in which they perform need to make plans to vacate the 700 MHz Band immediately. The FCC has created a web page to assist wireless microphone users that currently operate in the 700 MHz Band.  You can also call the main FCC switchboard at 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) and select Option #2 to speak with someone about vacating the 700 MHz Band.

The Commission will soon consider whether wireless microphone users will be permitted to be licensed and protected from interference in the future, and is also considering further auction of the broadcast spectrum currently used for wireless microphones.  The League, in partnership with our colleagues in the Performing Arts Alliance, is in ongoing communication with the FCC to ensure that wireless microphone use is free of interference during performances and that any future requirement to relocate to new frequencies is affordable.   On May 19, 2010 the League submitted comments to the FCC in collaboration with Dance/USA and OPERA America, calling on the Commission to ensure that the full range of nonprofit performing arts organizations will be eligible for licensing. 

MARCH 16, 2010

More Changes in Store for Your Orchestra’s Wireless Microphone Use

The wireless microphone technology in use by orchestras and other performing arts organizations continues to undergo regulatory changes. Following TV's transition to digital, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is re-examining the allowable uses of the broadcast spectrum currently occupied by wireless microphone technology, and is sending to Congress a plan to overhaul our nation’s broadband policies.

The Commission will soon consider whether wireless microphone users will be permitted to be licensed and protected from interference in the future, and is also considering further auction of the broadcast spectrum currently used for wireless microphones.  The League, in partnership with our colleagues in the Performing Arts Alliance, is in ongoing communication with the FCC.   We are encouraging the FCC to find solutions for nonprofit arts organizations to ensure that wireless microphone use is free of interference during performances and that any future requirement to relocate to new frequencies is affordable.  We are also in the process of gathering information about your orchestra’s wireless microphone use to help us make the case as the FCC crafts its plans for regulating the use of wireless devices. 

Reminder: The FCC will enforce their call for wireless microphone users to vacate the 700 MHz portion of the broadcast spectrum as of June 12, 2010. In order to comply with new FCC requirements, orchestras and the venues in which they perform need to make plans to vacate the 700 MHz Band immediately. The FCC has created a web page to assist wireless microphone users that currently operate in the 700 MHz Band.

Read More Background on the Vacating Requirement

JANUARY 26, 2010

New Moving Date Set for Wireless Microphones
 
The wireless microphone technology in use by orchestras and other performing arts organizations continues to undergo regulatory changes. Following TV's transition to digital, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is re-examining the allowable uses of the broadcast spectrum currently occupied by wireless microphone technology. The FCC has announced plans to enforce their call for wireless microphone users to vacate the 700 MHz portion of the broadcast spectrum as of June 12, 2010. In order to comply with new FCC requirements, orchestras and the venues in which they perform need to make plans to vacate the 700 MHz Band immediately. The FCC has created a web page to assist wireless microphone users. The League, in partnership with our colleagues in the Performing Arts Alliance, is in ongoing communication with the FCC as the agency considers broader changes to requirements for the use of wireless microphones. We are encouraging the FCC to find solutions for nonprofit arts organizations to ensure that wireless microphone use is affordable and free of interference during performances.

Check Your Equipment and Learn Answers to More FAQs

DECEMBER 18, 2009

Wireless Microphones Update

As of June 12, 2009 performing arts organizations were to have discontinued use of wireless microphones in a specific portion of the broadcast spectrum – channels 52-69, between the 700 and 800 MHz frequencies.  The FCC is currently considering an enforcement plan (with accompanying penalties) that could take effect as early as June 2010.  If you have not already done so, you are urged to discontinue use of this frequency range immediately. 

Performing arts organizations using Shure microphones may be able to re-brand their equipment with a new frequency range. Through the end of this month, Shure Manufacturers is offering a rebate plan to assist their customers in moving out of the 700 MHz band. Please visit shure.com/ProAudio/Rebates us_pro_rebate_wireless  to learn further details and determine if your equipment’s make and model is eligible.

Background:
The wireless microphone technology in use by orchestras and other performing arts organizations is undergoing changes.  As TV made the transition to digital, the FCC re-examined the use of the broadcast spectrum.  The wireless microphone devices used in backstage communication and performance amplification operate in the “white space” that exists between broadcast television channels.  Auction of the “white space” resulted in a reorganization of the broadcast spectrum, a re-examination of the allowable uses of the spectrum, and the development of new devices to be used in the same part of the spectrum currently used by wireless microphone technology.

The League, in partnership with our colleagues in the Performing Arts Alliance, is in ongoing communication with the FCC regarding this issue.  We are encouraging the FCC to find a solution that is affordable for nonprofit orchestras and that will guarantee that migration to new technology and a new location on the broadcast spectrum will be free of interference during performances.

NOVEMBER 6, 2008

White Space Moving Day - February 17, 2009
 
The wireless microphone technology currently in use by orchestras and other performing arts organizations will soon undergo changes.  As TV goes digital in February, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is re-examining the use of the broadcast spectrum, specifically the “white space” that exists between broadcast television channels.  Recent auction of the “white space” is resulting in a reorganization of the broadcast spectrum, changes to the allowable uses of the spectrum, and the development of new devices. 

On November 4, the FCC voted to authorize the use of new devices that would operate in the same space currently used for wireless microphones.  Also, a specific part of the white space (channels 52-69) has been auctioned off, and current users, including performing arts groups, will be required to vacate this part of the spectrum by February 17, 2009.

The Performing Arts Alliance, of which the League is a member, has filed comments with the FCC on behalf of the nonprofit performing arts community, urging the agency to find a viable solution to protect wireless audio devices from interference as new devices come into use.  We are encouraging all parties to find a solution that is affordable for nonprofit orchestras and that will guarantee that migration to new technology and a new location on the broadcast spectrum will be free of interference during performances.

View Nonprofit Performing Arts Comments