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Artists Industries Voice ‘White Space Concerns

By Clive Young. New York (October 28, 2008)--Pastor Joel Osteen, Guns n' Roses and Miley Cyrus probably couldn't agree on where to get a hamburger together, but Monday, they each were part of FCC filings that implored the governing body to take a broader view of what's at stake with its upcoming November 4 "White Spaces" vote.

By Clive Young.
New York (October 28, 2008)–Pastor Joel Osteen, Guns n’ Roses and Miley Cyrus probably couldn’t agree on where to get a hamburger together, but Monday, they each were part of FCC filings that implored the governing body to take a broader view of what’s at stake with its upcoming November 4 “White Spaces” vote.

Monday, October 27, was the last day that the FCC would take comments concerning the controversial vote on whether to allow the further development of unlicensed wireless internet devices that use ‘white space’ frequencies–devices which, to date, have not functioned properly in the FCC’s own testing. As a result, a deluge of letters and filings descended on the organization yesterday, as wireless microphone users and professional organizations vehemently made their voices heard.

More than 40 artists signed a letter against the vote and rushed legislation; among those signing were Cyrus, Guns n Roses, the Eagles, Maroon 5, Brooks & Dunn, EWF, Weezer, Tila Tequila, Bebe Winans, Rob Zombie, Clay Aiken, Jennifer Hudson, Neil Diamond, the Dixie Chicks, Morrisey, Megadeth and many others.

Driving the point home, the letter described a nightmare situation the devices could create for musicians, stating, “The thought of having to debate each night which band member gets to have the one wireless microphone that might be available in a given market on a given night is not a scenario we want to face, nor is it one that benefits the concert-going public.” The letter also demanded, “At a minimum, the FCC must require that all new devices be ‘tethered’ to a frequency database before transmitting any signals. Moreover, we implore the Commission to set aside a sufficient number of broadcast channels (no less than 8 in a market) that would be exclusive for wireless microphone operations.”

On the pro audio side, the Professional Audio Manufacturers Alliance filed a letter on behalf of its members, which include Beyerdynamic, Lectrosonics, Samson Technologies Corp., Sennheiser, Shure Inc, and Telex Communcations. The letter noted, “If the Commission…is insistent that it move forward in this proceeding by adopting an order on November 4th, the Manufacturers urge the Commission to implement, at a minimum, Shure’s proposal that would accommodate the Commission’s desire to open the TV spectrum to new uses without causing debilitating interference to incumbent wireless microphone users.”

Likewise, the Sports Technology Alliance, writing on behalf of Major League Baseball, NASCAR, the NBA, the NFL, the NHL, the PGA tour, the NCAA, and the Sports Video Group, also weighed in, expressing concerns that the vote be postponed, noting, “We strongly believe that the Commission should allow interested parties an adequate opportunity to review, analyze and comment on this important report and conclusions drawn from its laboratory and field testing before it brings its proposed order to a vote before the Commission.”

Letters were also individually filed by Joel Osteen, pastor of Lakewood Church; Rick Warren, Pastor of Saddleback Church; and John Hunt, Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Woodstock. Osteen’s strongly worded missive remarked, “From what I have read about the testing conducted by the FCC, there is clearly no reliable technology that can protect wireless microiphones from the interference that comes from new portable dvices operating in the same or adjacent channels as wireless microphones…. I urge the FCC to not authorize new unclienced wireless devices that will most certainly interfere with our ability to operate.”