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RE: Re: WUNH-FM Off the Air

Leaving a dead-carrier (transmitter on, no programming) is indeed 
illegal.   If no one is in the studio, you must shut down the transmitter - 
UNLESS you have established the protocols for running unattended.  That means:

A: you must have a minimum of 20 hours of programming per week
B: you must have a means of automatically relaying/generating EAS alerts & 
tests (but not the weather ones I don't think - 90% sure of that)
C: you must have a means of raising/lowering power on the transmitter remotely
D: the system must be set up to contact a live person (via pager or 
cellphone) in case of a transmitter problem

There are no metering requirements anyone.  The only logs you must keep are 
EAS and tower light readings, and those must be kept for two years.   These 
rules apply to ALL FM and AM stations...with the sole exception being 
LPFM's IIRC.  I think the rules for minimum amounts of programming are 
waived and LPFM's do not have to generate weekly EAS tests.

These sorts of threads come up fairly frequently on radio-tech & pubtech : 
two engineering mailing lists I've belonged to for a couple years now.

WMFO has indeed been fined for this, I'm surprised WJUL, WPAA or any of the 
other stations have not.  Well, not really surprised...it's a "benign 
neglect" violation, something the FCC does not pursue on their own; they 
must get complaints from the community before they'll act.  I urge you to 
write to your local FCC office (the Boston one is in Quincy) and 
complain.  In my experience, if they get at least 3-4 complaints they'll 
send someone out within a month or two.   I'm not for getting stations 
busted but I am for forcing them to get their act together.

IMHO there is no excuse for any station to running dead carrier or even 
shutting down these days.  Programming sources abound on the 'net, and 
computer automation can be done VERY cheap.  (even a frickin' Winamp 
playlist will do - just remember to sprinkle in legal ID's so they'll play 
close to the top of the hour).  Most stations have some means of shutting 
off their transmitter now (if not they legally need to anyway) and it's not 
hard to wire in a silence sensor ($100) to a Radio Shack Home Automation 
Auto-Dialer ($300) that'll dial a pager and/or shut off the transmitter if 
there's dead air.   Virtually all EAS units can be set to broadcast alerts 
and generate tests automatically and can be set up and wired into the air 
chain in an afternoon, tops.

Aaron "Bishop" Read       aread@speakeasy.net
Fried Bagels Consulting   www.friedbagels.com
12 Walnut St. / Waltham, MA / 02453