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FCC proposal threatens wireless microphones

By James Palmarini posted Jul 19, 2013 6:31 PM


New FCC proposal could put wireless microphones at risk

Sometime in the next two weeks, there will be a Capitol Hill briefing that will address concerns over a new FCC proposal to move wireless microphones out of two safe haven channels established in 2009. The two channels were designated following an FCC sale of wireless microphone “white space” digital spectrum to private companies who intend to use the spectrum space for new personal handheld devices. The move into a new spectrum area required wireless microphone users—include schools, theatres, and religious institutions—to buy new equipment that allowed them to operate wireless devices legally.

Theatre educators, along with other wireless microphone users, incurred considerable unanticipated expense incurred to upgrade and/or buy new equipment. The FCC’s new proposal threatens to prompt a new round of expense and, potentially, audio interference with stage productions.

 The Wireless White Space Coalition (of which the Educational Theatre Association is a member), is seeking a full hearing of the FCC’s proposal to gain assurance that the new safe haven challenges will be maintained or, if there is spectrum relocation, legislation by Congress that allocates funding for theatres, churches, schools and other wireless microphone users to offset the cost of new equipment.  As part of this pro-active advocacy, Representative Bobby Rush (D-Georgia) will be introducing a House bill  that will require the FCC, to maintain the existing safe haven channels, and to authorize access to licensed users to the geo-location database that protect wireless microphone users from interference. The full draft of the bill is posted in our community library. While it might be premature to begin contacting your Congressional representatives, I wanted to make sure that everyone was aware of this threat to one of the cornerstones to theatrical production and education.



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