Deborah D. McAdams /
06.30.2014 01:00 PM
McAdams On: Regulatory Ripple Effect
OUTSIDE, BELTWAY—There is a willful ignorance in Washington, D.C. of the ripple effects of lawmaking. It’s like that little old lady who cuts you off in traffic. If she doesn’t look at you, you don’t exist. I’m sure this calculated incomprehension cuts across all D.C. agencies, but we have a front-row seat to the FCC.

It’s clear the commission intends to do away with broadcast television. References to the “value” of broadcasting and “all reasonable effort” to preserve it resemble the imposturous passive-aggressive semantics employed by a benign torturer.

“I don’t want to do this, but I have to.”

The battle to kill broadcasting is a campaign by wireless providers—pure and simple—with pay-TV and the consumer electronics lobby cheering them on. It is cast as a battle against an entrenched titan unwilling to evolve for the greater good.

Far from being a titan, broadcasting is an industry of mom-and-pops, entrepreneurs and boot-strappers as much if not more than of corporate entities. There’s a substantial economic vertical that provides technology and services to broadcasters that’s being decimated by the twin forces of regulatory caprice and virtualization.

The revolving-door FCC legacy-building leadership ignores its deleterious impact on existing jobs, preferring instead to cite magical figures of jobs that will surely be created someday. It is a disservice to the nation and ultimately, the greater good, that the plan to alter the nation’s video media infrastructure is based on rhetoric rather than factual analysis.

The public was scared into believing in a non-existent spectrum crunch that one prominent former MIT professor characterized as absurd. Data usage figures derived from what may well be peak mobile uptake were used to make wildly escalating demand projections, with no consideration for the inevitable leveling off. The focus was kept deliberately off of making more spectrally efficient technologies.

It is under these distractive auspices that more TV spectrum will be auctioned off yet again, when indeed there is but one reason.

Congress already spent the money.

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Posted by: John Wayne Caluger
Wed, 07-02-2014 07:45 PM Report Comment
And broadcasters are not helping there own cause. Aero was perhaps the best thing for broadcasters in that unlike using a OTA TiVo or at home DDR one cannot skip commercials. It streams back as if off the air guaranteeing advertisers TV cloud computer stored programs will be played back as aired. OTA viewers has shown the largest growth since 2008 largely due to cord cutters a group that largely consist of young viewers the demographics advertisers want. So now broadcasters want to ditch cheered on by Tom Wheeler 8 VSB for OFDM that will kill off to a large degree the growing cord cutting market. The primary reason for OFDM is it will do a better job of filling in the nulls while making the broadcasters mobile and hand held a reality. Who is going to make the OFDM devices--where is the market. The new proposed 5G spec has kicked OFDM to the curb and I don't see anyone providing both chip sets in their device. Around 17% now get there TV via OTA so we are going to kill off the growing 17% with OFDM with the hope they will go out and buy a new set. CEA in my opinion supported Aero since it fits nicely into their new Smart TV lines and their members commercials will be seen not skipped. OFDM means nothing to the >80% cord connected viewers meaning when CEA members are forced to add a OFDM tuner along with 8 VSB they will have to increase costs to get a ROI. But broadcasters seem locked in on OFDM, while better than 8 VSB it offers the cord connected viewers nothing. CEA sold a lot of sets during the transition to digital that offered HD to the viewers. What most non technical buyers thought was 16x9 was HD regardless of the fact it was connected to an analog STB. Bigger was better to them just like the old analog days when people were happy with rainbow off colored pictures. Tom Wheeler blogs and NAB speech, the proof is in the pudding. One time hit towards the deficient while increasing tax revenue with expanded wireless franchise taxes, fees and state taxes. OFDM is what Dr Kevorkian Wheeler wants for his RIP for broadcasters.
Posted by: Anonymous
Tue, 07-01-2014 03:25 PM Report Comment
TV is Mom and Pop business? Really? Sinclair? Gannett? CBS? And others? All family owned? I don't think so.
Posted by: Anonymous
Tue, 07-01-2014 03:26 PM Report Comment
The TV spectrum to be auctioned has become available because analog gone now better compression on digital. How is it bad to convert that to 4g LTE where you can do broadcast channels onDemand and targeted to zones Regions counties cities states or countries ;) a global net of real time broadcasters ... Ain't it great?? Xo
Posted by: Anonymous
Tue, 07-01-2014 06:23 PM Report Comment
You are absolutely correct in your statement about the trumped-up spectrum crunch. The sad truth is that this entire spectrum auction is being financed on the backs of the LPTV industry which does not get to sell their spectrum rights, and has to pay for their own channel relocations. LPTV is the most diverse of all of the broadcasting services and as such women owners and minority owners are being disadvantaged yet again. The revolving door has a great deal to do with this, especially in the House and Senate where the legal counsel either came from the wireless industry, or became FCC Commissioners. And yes, Congress already spent the money!
Posted by: Anonymous
Wed, 07-09-2014 01:15 AM Report Comment
More great observations on the cravenness of an Obama-led FCC from Ms. McAdams. The thing we sometimes forget is that there is a built-in kill switch to the incentive auction in the form of funded mandates. Congress tacked on a whole bunch of "stuff" this auction has to pay for and if not enough stations participate, no auction. That's why it is imperative that broadcasters (especially the ever-weakening noncoms) not be seduced by the FCC's pennies on the dollar offer or the likes of Preston Padden with his EOBC and their self-centered shortsightedness. This "once in a lifetime opportunity" is a swindle most obvious and it will surely spell the end of television broadcasting if allowed to go ahead.

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