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Here's to You Mr. Donovan

Deborah McAdams is the Executive Editor of TV Technology.

Dave Donovan had nearly 10 years under his belt as chief of the Association for Maximum Service TV, but he seemed to pack in 20 years worth of work. He wasn’t so much the polished suit at Capitol Hill hearings as the guy showing up in every other possible venue defending broadcast industry turf.

It was Donovan who started the public discussion (such as it was) about repacking channels for the DTV transition. While regulators and lawmakers obsessed over an end-date, Donovan and the MSTV engineering brain trust of Victor Tawil and Bruce Franca, said excuse us, but shouldn’t there be a plan for hundreds of TV stations moving to new channel assignments? Turns out they had one. Turns out it was a good idea.

Donovan was all over unlicensed devices like white on rice. He went up against Google, Microsoft, Dell, HP and others to protect broadcast signals from being disrupted by unlicensed gear allowed to share the same airwaves.

He was whipping up resistance in 2006, telling a gathering of sports TV executives to “get into the loop and into Washington.” He was incredulous that unlicensed devices might be released into the TV spectrum before the digital transition. They were not.

Despite the oceans of money behind unlicensed devices, they officially were not allowed into the market until two months ago. Many of the technical requirements therein arose from consistent hounding from MSTV.

Despite the façade of maturity on Capitol Hill, law is made primarily by people in their 20s using the latest iPhones and watching TV either at mom and dad’s or on a laptop. That Donovan, armed with dBm graphs and interference charts, could get any purchase at all is nothing short of a miracle.

Good luck, to you, Dave. And presumptuously speaking, on behalf of the broadcast industry, thank you.