Pro Audio Industry Moves to Protect Spectrum for Wireless Microphones
The pro audio, broadcast, theatre, and other key industry participants are working together to protect the remaining RF spectrum for production applications
The reallocation of wireless spectrum continues, says Mark Brunner, Senior Director of Global Brand Communications at Shure. During an industry teleconference in early August, 2013, Brunner outlined the most recent events related to wireless spectrum in the U.S., and how it affects users of wireless mics, in-ear monitors, intercom, and similar professional audio equipment.He reported that audio, broadcast, theatre, and other industry participants and trade associations are working together to protect the remaining RF spectrum for production applications, against a background of intense competition for that spectrum from broadband and other commercial interests. Both legislative and lobbying efforts are involved in the process.The teleconference first highlighted a newly introduced bill, H.R.2911 (visit link), sponsored by Illinois congressman Bobby Rush and introduced into the House of Representatives on August 1, 2013. This straightforward bill has two main aspects to safeguard the continued viability of wireless microphones. First, it would mandate that the two UHF television channels per market that have been proposed to remain dedicated to pro audio / production use as part of the national broadband plan will not be opened to unlicensed consumer and communications wireless devices. The idea to set aside two 6-MHz channels arose during the “white spaces” proceedings with the recognition that the use of wireless mics has value to society, and is widespread in entertainment, broadcast, news gathering, sporting events, houses of worship, and other activities.The second portion of the bill would expand the legitimate, licensed-use categories for wireless mics and similar devices beyond the original TV broadcast and motion picture production applications, as specified in the 1970’s-era FCC Part 74 regulations, to include shows, events, and other common uses. Ten new user categories are proposed within the bill: arenas, convention centers, amusement parks, educational facilities, houses of worship, lodging facilities, museums, outdoor venues, recording studios, and theatres. A panel meeting to discuss the issues occurred before the bill’s introduction, with representatives from Broadway, live audio production, news organizations, houses of worship, and equipment manufacturers.