Shure Asks FCC to Dedicate UHF Channel for Wireless Mics

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CHICAGO—Shure Inc. has filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission asking the agency to reverse its decision and guarantee at least one 6 MHz UHF channel in each market is reserved for wireless mic use.

The FCC recently terminated its Vacant Channels rulemaking initiated during the TV spectrum incentive auction. The rulemaking considered dedicating a UHF TV channel for wireless mic use.

The company told the FCC that now more than ever wireless mic users need clear spectrum. On one hand, reallocation of 600 MHz spectrum for mobile phones and the repack of stations into 500 MHz spectrum has reduced available spectrum. On the other, continued growth of broadcast, performance and sports production is requiring more wireless mic channels than ever, Shure said.

While the FCC identified 900 MHz, 1.4 GHz and 7 GHz as alternatives in 2017, Shure says these bands fall short of addressing the needs of wireless mic users because they don’t offer the same characteristics and flexibility as UHF frequencies.

Use by other industries licensed to operate in these bands means their use for wireless mics is conditioned on requests to share, which may or may not be granted, it said.

The 600 MHz duplex gap and VHF frequencies are helpful but are not alternatives to a dedicated UHF channel and the certainty that offers, Shure said, adding that a designated channel is also important for other applications, such as intercom, IFB and other wireless uses.

Without clear spectrum for wireless mic use, the integrity of a variety of productions, ranging from professional sports and concerts to live TV and theater, will suffer, Shure said.

“The amount of available UHF spectrum for wireless microphone use continues to shrink,” said Ahren Hartman, Shure vice president, Corporate Quality. “With the loss of 700 MHz, 600 MHz, and the DTV repack into 500 MHz, we are at an all-time low for access to UHF spectrum. However, the need for open and clear wireless microphone spectrum is higher than ever before.”

More information is available on the Shure website

Phil Kurz

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.