SBE President Wayne Pecena Comments on the Passing of John Lyons

The broadcast engineering community was both shocked and saddened as we learned of the passing of John Lyons on Nov. 29, 2019. John was a bigger-than-life icon of the broadcast engineering community in New York City where he most recently led the design and build of state of the art TV broadcast facilities at One World Trade Center as the director of broadcast communications for the Durst Corporation. 2016 SBE Education SummitHis career accomplishments extended well beyond OWTC as his handprints were on all major New York City broadcast and communications facilities from Empire State to 4 Times Square.

John was a true friend of the SBE, having served on the board of directors from 1974 to 1978 and was elected a Fellow in 1977. My first interaction with John was in 2014 soon after it was announced that I was named the 11th recipient of the Radio World Excellence in Engineering award. When I received that award, his email to me simply stated, “Congratulations to #11 from #3.” John was the 3rd recipient of that award in 2006. His simple, no-nonsense and to-the-point email was reflective of his character.

In 2016, John hosted the SBE Education Summit at One World Trade Center. I have always felt his personal tour of the unbelievable broadcast facilities, then under construction, was a special occasion. Today, that time is to be cherished. (John is front row left in the picture of the Education Summit group above.)

We offer his family the most sincere condolences.

SBE Authorizes New Chapter: 106 Panhandle

The Board of Directors of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, the association for broadcast and multimedia technology professionals, approved the application for the newest SBE chapter, Chapter 106 Panhandle, which serves SBE members in the Florida Panhandle and southern portions of Alabama and Georgia. The action was taken at the Board of Directors meeting on Oct. 15, held during the SBE National Meeting in Madison, WI, in conjunction with the Broadcasters Clinic. Chapter 106 brings the number of active SBE chapters 115. The chapter leaders are Chair Mark Johnson, CSRE, of Linkup Communications; Vice Chair Alan Lane, CSRE, AMD, DRB, of Cumulus Media; and Secretary/Treasurer Ricky Carter of Alarado Media.

To form a chapter, a minimum of 10 SBE members must hold at least three meetings, and then submit an application to the SBE National Office. The application is reviewed and voted on by the SBE Board of Directors. Chapter 106 members met more than the required three times before submitting the chapter application. The organization process was also delayed by Hurricane Michael in 2018.

Commenting on the new chapter, SBE President Wayne Pecena, CPBE, 8-VSB, AMD, DRB, CBNE, said, “The SBE members in the Florida Panhandle area have been without a chapter for some time. The efforts of Mark Johnson and others in the area to organize a chapter have paid off, and all the chapter leaders and organizers deserve the credit for their work in establishing the chapter to serve SBE members in the area.”

Instructions to Download and Install Updated Security Firmware to EAS Units

(updated Nov. 5, 2019)

FEMA has released the new Federal Bridge certificate bundle for Sage and DASDEC users. The certification must be installed by Jan. 7, 2020, for the proper validation of CAP alert messages from IPAWS. The deadline was extended (from the original date of Nov. 8, 2019) after stations reported problems with installing the updates.

Sage Endec Users
Sage Alerting Systems will have the mandatory firmware rev 95 posted sometime on Nov. 1, 2019. To download the software, go to www.sagealertingsystems.com, and enter the serial number of your Sage unit. If you do not qualify for the free upgrade, you must first contact a Sage distributor, pay the required fee and they will unlock your serial number for the download.

Only Sage units with serial numbers between B417611 through B429999 qualify for free upgrade. You do not have to contact your vendor if your unit serial number is in that range.

You must download and install into the Sage unit before Jan. 7, 2020. If you have multiple Sage units, each download is keyed to the serial number. If you accidentally upload to the wrong Endec, nothing bad will happen, but the update will not succeed and you’ll get an “update failed” message in the history on the Version page.

Download the firmware to a PC, log onto the Endec with a web browser, then click upload firmware.

DASDEC Users

The new FEMA IPAWS Certificate for DASDEC/One-Net is now posted: www.digitalalertsystems.com/DAS_pages/resources_fsb.html. Instructions and download link for the bundle are found at that site.

This is a free certificate update, which may be used for versions 3.x and v4.x software. If you are running version 2.6 software, this certificate file should function as well.

Separately, note that FEMA’s upcoming TLS change is already supported in v3.x and v4.x software. If you are a DASDEC user, no further action is required for the TLS update. You do need to upload the certificate bundle for the new Federal Bridge Certificate by Jan. 7, 2020.

2019-2020 SBE Board Takes Office, Committee Chairs Assigned

The Society of Broadcast Engineers, the association for broadcast and multimedia technology professionals, held its National Meeting Oct. 15 and 16 in Madison, WI, in conjunction with the Broadcasters Clinic. Among the events during those two days, the SBE Board of Directors met, and the SBE held its annual Membership Meeting.

At the Membership Meeting on Oct. 16, the 2019-2020 officers and directors were sworn in to begin their new terms. (The results of the SBE election were announced on Aug. 29.) SBE President Wayne Pecena, CPBE, 8-VSB, AMD, DRB, CBNE, also announced his committee chair appointments for the coming year, which were reviewed and approved by the Board of Directors at its meeting on Oct. 15. The committee chair assignments follow.

Committee Chair
Awards Tom McGinley, CPBE, AMD, CBNT
By-Laws Charles “Ched” Keiler, CPBE, 8-VSB, CBNE
Certification Ralph Hogan, CPBE, DRB, CBNE*
Chapter Liaison Mark Fehlig, CPBE, 8-VSB
Education Geary Morrill, CPBE, CBNE
Fellowship Troy Pennington, CSRE, CBNT*
Electronic Communications Roswell Clark, CPBE, CBNT
Finance Roswell Clark, CPBE, CBNT
Frequency Coordination Ted Hand, CPBE, 8-VSB, AMD, DRB
Government Relations Kevin Trueblood, CBRE, CBNT
International Charles W. Kelly Jr.*
Membership Steve Brown, CPBE, CBNT
Mentoring Chris Tarr, CSRE, AMD, DRB, CBNE
Nominations Jim Leifer, CPBE
Publications Jason Ornellas, CBRE, CRO
Social Networking Kirk Harnack, CBRE, CBNE
Sustaining Membership Vinny Lopez, CEV, CBNT
Technologies Shane Toven, CBRE, CBNT

On the committee assignments, President Pecena said, “The skill and experience of the SBE Board of Directors and committee chairs is wide and varied, and I look forward to drawing on their abilities to continue the forward progress of the SBE as we implement plans from the 2018 strategic planning conference and develop new opportunities for our members.”

President Pecena also appointed two directors to serve on the SBE Executive Committee, which also includes all the officers and the past president. Roswell Clark and Geary Morrill were appointed and approved by the Board, and they join Pecena, Vice President Andrea Cummis, Secretary Kevin Trueblood, Treasurer Ted Hand, and Immediate Past President Jim Leifer.

The national board of directors of the SBE is responsible for the development of policy and determines the programs and services the society provides to its 5,000 members.

* These committee chairs do not serve on the SBE Board of Directors.

SBE Enhances MemberPlus Opportunity

On Jan. 2, 2018, the Society of Broadcast Engineers, the association for broadcast and multimedia technology professionals, introduced the SBE MemberPlus member benefit. The enhanced member benefit allows Regular, Senior or Associate members to upgrade their membership with full access to the more than 80 Webinars by SBE. Response to the SBE MemberPlus program has been positive, and more than 1,000 members have added SBE MemberPlus to their regular membership.

SBE MemberPlusAt the SBE Board of Directors meeting, held Oct. 15, 2019, in Madison, WI, the program was further expanded to provide the member benefit to SBE Life members and SBE Student members, who previously could not participate in the program. Called SBE Life MemberPlus and SBE Student MemberPlus, SBE members in these two categories will be able to add the benefit to their membership beginning in January of 2020.

SBE MemberPlus has been available to Regular, Senior or Associate members for the cost of annual dues, plus $90; a total of $175. On Jan. 2, 2020, Life members will be able to add SBE MemberPlus to their membership for $90. Student members will be able to opt for SBE MemberPlus when they join or renew, also for $90. Existing SBE Life and Student members can add the option beginning Jan. 2 by contacting the SBE National Office by phone at 317-846-9000.

SBE President Wayne Pecena, CPBE, 8-VSB, AMD, DRB, CBNE, commenting on the member benefit, said, “The SBE educational efforts have grown significantly in recent years, and SBE MemberPlus provides the greatest access to our leading educational tool: Webinars by SBE. Providing access to Life and Student members allows younger, as well as more experienced SBE members, to continue learning by taking advantage of this popular benefit.”

Ennes Educational Foundation Trust Announces Scholarship Recipients

The Ennes Educational Foundation Trust™ has awarded four scholarships for 2019. Winners were chosen from applications received by July 1, 2019, from the previous 12 months.

The Harold E. Ennes Scholarship, Robert D. Greenberg Scholarship and John H. Battison Founder’s Scholarship are awarded to individuals interested in continuing or beginning their education in broadcast engineering and technology. The Youth Scholarship is specifically for a graduating high school senior interested in broadcast engineering as a career. Each scholarship awarded this year is for $1,500.

Nick ChurchThis year the Harold E. Ennes Scholarship recipient is Nicholas Church of Rhinelander, WI. In May 2019, Nick began working as the director of operations and technology at WXPR-FM, the public radio station in Rhinelander, WI. He has a B.A. in music with a management studies concentration from St. Olaf College and is drawn to technology including amateur radio, micro-controllers, programming and creating efficiency through automation. After earning his SBE Certified Radio Operator, Nick began his broadcast education towards achieving the SBE Certified Broadcast Technologist and Certified Broadcast Networking Technologist certifications.

Chris GamelinReceiving the Robert Greenberg Scholarship is Chris Gamelin of Middletown, CT. His interest in broadcasting began when he was 12. He learned how radio worked and started his own internet radio station and collected money to build a professional studio. He has improved his radio skills at WNHU-FM, the University of New Haven (where he met John Ramsey) and WQUN-AM at Quinnipiac University. He is currently a student at the University of New Haven, hoping to finish his part-time schooling soon. John Ramsey, who is now a friend, encouraged Chris to get involved on the engineering part of broadcasting. He has since worked as an assistant engineer at Entercom, and is now a maintenance technician at WFSB-TV. He has since learned to operate UAVs as well.

Sadie LevyThe John H. Battison SBE Founder’s Scholarship has been awarded to Sadie Levy of New York, NY. She recently graduated from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, where she worked on various school productions as a Digital Media Department intern. Additionally, she was awarded scholarships to study digital electronics in pre-college programs at both The Cooper Union and New York University. This past summer, Sadie completed a media internship in a New York City government office. These opportunities made her realize that she would love to contribute to the exciting field of recording and new media. She plans to major in electrical engineering, with an interest in media production, at Northeastern University in Boston.

Andrew HellerAndrew Marcus Heller of Two Rivers, WI, received the Youth Scholarship. His father owns two AM radio stations today, and Andrew was the first person to turn on WTRW’s solid-state transmitter at age three, and then again, now WGBW’s 12 kW transmitter at Denmark, WI, at 11 years old. Andrew has been involved in his high school audio/video efforts, and was the director of the student daily announcements his senior year. With a 3.9 grade point average in his senior year, Andrew was accepted to the Science and Engineering program at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. He selected Minnesota because of its strong engineering emphasis.

SBE President Jim Leifer, CPBE, said, “Education is still one of the prime efforts of the SBE. These four rising engineering talents have earned their educational awards through the Ennes Educational Foundation Trust, and it’s an honor for us to help them achieve their educational goals in broadcast engineering.”

Defense Dept Taps SBE to Coordinate Frequencies Common to Broadcasters

Over the past several years, the Society of Broadcast Engineers has worked with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), which has been provided co-primary status with broadcasters in the 2025-2110 MHz Broadcast Auxiliary Spectrum (BAS) band as a result of the Advanced Wireless Services-3 (AWS-3) transition.

The DoD plans to deploy a number of training systems that utilize this spectrum it now shares with broadcasters. The SBE, DoD and the National Association of Broadcasters have discussed how broadcasters use this spectrum and its importance for electronic news gathering. It became clear to DoD officials that to operate their defense systems without causing or receiving interference, a substantial, national frequency coordination effort would need to be initiated, providing in some cases, near-real-time coordination. The DoD turned to the SBE for assistance.

The SBE has for many years facilitated a network of volunteer frequency coordinators, most through local SBE chapters, across the United States and its territories.

The systems the DoD intends to deploy potentially may be located at installations of all the military branches, including the Coast Guard, National Guard and Reserves. These installations are ubiquitous and located in both urban and rural areas. The DoD, with encouragement from the NAB, asked the SBE to employ a national frequency coordinator, paid for with DoD funds, who would work with our established volunteer coordinators, and cover the areas that don’t have their own local coordinator.

Through the DoD’s primary contractor in this area, Alion Science and Technology, the SBE has entered an agreement to provide national frequency coordination services that will mutually serve the needs of the DoD and broadcasters. The SBE Board of Directors approved the agreement in April of this year and work began in June.

To handle the added responsibilities, the SBE retained the broadcast consulting firm of Technical Broadcast Solutions, Inc., (TBSI) of Middletown, DE. Its principal is RJ Russell, CPBE, a 20-year member of the SBE and, until recently, SBE national vice president and chair of our Frequency Coordination Committee. TBSI is heavily involved in TV repack and ATSC 3.0 implementation work for clients and is taking on the SBE as a major client to serve as our national SBE Frequency Coordination Manager (FCM). Russell and SBE General Counsel Chris Imlay have worked on the SBE’s behalf with DoD officials and the NAB to develop a workable solution for this shared spectrum.

On taking on this important project, SBE President Jim Leifer, CPBE, said, “Part of the SBE’s mission is to create working alliances within the broadcast industry and with those who work in our space. Entering into this agreement serves to protect broadcaster’s use of spectrum and provides a needed service to our government. I am pleased that we are able to partner with the DoD’s prime contractor in this effort.”

Stations: Confirm Your Station is Compliant with EAS Updates

by Larry Wilkins, CPBE, CBNT, AMD
Chair, SBE EAS Advisory Group

The FCC and FEMA are in the process of making changes in the EAS and CAP system. Most of these changes concern security issues. To aid stations in understanding these changes and what will be required to keep your EAS units compliant, the SBE has gathered the following information.

A change in FCC EAS rules (Part 11) has come into effect that makes the validation of digital signatures in CAP messages a mandatory element. The FCC amended section 11.56 “Obligation to Process CAP-formatted EAS Messages” to add the following new paragraph:
(c) EAS Participants shall configure their systems to reject all CAP-formatted EAS messages that include an invalid digital signature.

The FCC has also changed its EAS rules to refine the time window within which an alert message is valid. The change is to 11.33(a)(10) “Message Validity”, where the existing sentence, “A header code must only be considered valid when two of the three headers match exactly;”, the FCC added: “the Origination Date/Time field (JJJHHMM) is not more than 15 minutes in the future and the expiration time (Origination Date/Time plus Valid Time TTTT) is in the future (i.e., current time at the EAS equipment when the alert is received is between origination time minus 15 minutes and expiration time).”

In a long-awaited move, FEMA is updating the IPAWS system with Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol. TLS is a cryptographic protocol providing end-to-end communications security over networks and is widely used for Internet communications.

The Federal Bridge Certificate Authority (CA) will expire on Nov. 8, 2019. Depending on the CA used by IPAWS, it may be necessary to provide a new CA for installation in all EAS decoders.

Finally, The FCC has put into effect a new false EAS alert reporting rule. Pursuant to section 11.45(b), an EAS Participant must inform the Commission if it discovers that it has transmitted a false alert. This rule provides that: No later than 24 hours of an EAS Participant’s discovery (i.e., actual knowledge) that it has transmitted or otherwise sent a false alert to the public, the EAS Participant send an email to the Commission at the FCC Ops Center at FCCOPS@fcc.gov, informing the Commission of the event and of any details that the EAS Participant may have concerning the event.

FEMA has indicated the target date to update the IPAWS server to TLS is Nov. 8, 2019.

What do stations need to do to remain compliant with FCC and FEMA guidelines?

Sage Alerting Systems Endec
Sage added support for the Part 11.33 15-minute change in its 89-34 release. Sage has supported the ability to validate the digital signature since 2012, it is enabled by default.

Sage’s September 2019 release, called Rev95, will support the TLS and certificate updates. This release will be mandatory. After the FEMA switchover, scheduled for Nov. 8, 2019, older versions of the ENDEC software will not be able to receive CAP messages from IPAWS. This will render the station in violation of FCC rules concerning EAS monitoring and logging.

Sage Alerting Systems has indicated there will be a one-time charge of $349 for the September release. The release will only be sold through their distributors. This update will be provided free of charge for ENDECs purchased new after March 1, 2018, (18 months prior to September 2019). Direct questions regarding these updates to Sage at support@sagealertingsystems.com or 914-872-4069 and press 1 for support.

Gorman-Redlich
Radio stations operating with E-prom V 9.5.8 and television stations operating with E-prom V 20.9.8 will remain compliant with the changes. Contact Gorman-Redlich at 740-593-3150.

DASDEC/One-Net
Units operating with software versions 3.1 or 4.0 will remain compliant with the items listed above. If an updated CA certificate for FEMA IPAWS is necessary, Digital Alert Systems will make it available to DASDEC and One-Net users as soon as possible at no charge.

While the upcoming FEMA TLS change can be handled by either v3.1 or v4.0 software, Digital Alert Systems wanted to let customers know about some of the additional features in v4.0. The v4.0 upgrade includes a complete OS upgrade (improved operating and security), Triggered CAP Polling, Blue Alert (BLU) event code support, and greater flexibility for future value-added enhancements. V4.0 is a highly recommended upgrade.

While V4.0 is an optional upgrade, users should be aware that Digital Alert Systems has deprecated development support on v3.0. New feature requests, updates, and software revisions will only be provided within the Version 4.x series of software. Contact Digital Alert Systems at support@digitalalertsystems.com or 585-765-2254.


Information in this report was furnish with the permission of Digital Alert Systems, Sage Alerting Systems and Gorman-Redlich.

SBE Elects Wayne Pecena as President

The Society of Broadcast Engineers, the association for broadcast and multimedia technology professionals, announces the results of the 2019 election for the national board of directors. Wayne PecenaWayne Pecena, CPBE, 8-VSB, AMD, DRB, CBNE, was elected as the society’s president. Pecena is the assistant director of educational broadcast services at Texas A&M University where he serves as director of engineering for public broadcast stations KAMU FM & TV. He is a member of SBE Chapter 99 in College Station, TX.

Regarding the election, President-elect Pecena said, “I look to continue the strategic planning implementation work that began under President Leifer while insuring that future certification, continuing education, and professional service needs of all SBE members are met as our industry and technology continues to change.”

Others serving one-year terms as officers, which begin on Oct. 16, are:

• Vice President: Andrea Cummis, CBT, CTO; Chapter 15 New York; Roseland, NJ
• Secretary: Kevin Trueblood, CBRE, CBNT; Chapter 90 Southwest, FL; Ft. Myers, FL
• Treasurer: Ted Hand, CPBE, 8-VSB, AMD, DRB; Chapter 45 Charlotte; Charlotte, NC

      

Serving two-year terms on the board of directors, which also begin Oct. 16 are:

• Mark Fehlig, PE, CPBE, 8-VSB; Chapter 40 San Francisco; Walnut Creek, CA
• Charles “Ched” Keiler, CPBE, 8-VSB, CBNE; Chapter 53 South Florida; Ft. Lauderdale
• Geary Morrill, CPBE, CBNE; Chapter 91 Central Michigan; Saginaw, MI
• Jason Ornellas, CBRE, CRO; Chapter 43 Sacramento; Sacramento, CA
• Chris Tarr, CSRE, AMD, DRB, CBNE; Chapter 28 Milwaukee; Milwaukee, WI
• Dan Whealy, CBTE; Chapter 96 Rockford; Waterloo, IA

The national board of directors of the SBE is responsible for the development of policy and determines the programs and services the society provides to its more than 5,000 members. Those elected will begin their terms on Oct. 16, 2019, during the SBE Membership Meeting. They will join the other six directors who have another year remaining in their terms: Stephen J. Brown, CPBE, CBNT, director of broadcast engineering, Woodward Radio Group, Appleton, WI; Roswell Clark, CPBE, CBNT, senior director of radio engineering, Cox Media Group, Clearwater, FL; Kirk Harnack, CBRE, CBNE, senior solutions consultant, Telos Alliance, Nashville, TN; Vinny Lopez, CEV, CBNT, chief engineer, WSTM/WTVH/WSTQ-TV, Syracuse, NY; Thomas McGinley, CPBE, AMD, CBNT, president, McGinley Enterprizes, Missoula, MT; and Shane Toven, CBRE, CBNT, field engineer, Educational Media Foundation, Laramie, WY. Jim Leifer, CPBE, senior manager of broadcast operations at American Tower Corporation, Andover, MA, becomes the immediate past president.

The SBE National Meeting will be held Oct. 15-16, 2019, in Madison, WI, in conjunction with the Wisconsin Broadcasters Clinic.

SBE@PBS TechCon 2019 Videos Available

ATSC 3.0 and the rapid launch of NextGen Broadcast were the drivers behind the first-ever SBE/PBS TechCon collaborative tutorial day, which was held April 6, 2019, at PBS TechCon in Las Vegas. The day-long tutorial, Launching ATSC 3.0 NextGen Broadcast: A Tutorial, covered what ATSC 3.0 means for the future of broadcast. The presentations were recorded, and the SBE is now making them available for online viewing.

Six tutorial sections will be available. The first two are available through the SBE online registration system. They are Part 4: NextGen/ATSC 3.0 Transmitter Conversion and Part 6: NextGen Broadcast/ATSC 3.x Scheduler.

Registered attendees of the SBE @ PBS TechCon 2019 will receive an email with instructions on how to view the videos. Others can register to view the videos through the SBE Webinar library via the SBE website. The cost for SBE members is $59, non-members is $89. SBE members with SBE MemberPlus can view the videos for free.

The remaining four sections will be made available in the coming weeks.