Protecting Wireless Microphone Use in Future Spectrum Auction

January 30, 2013

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.