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Plans Affirmed For 2018 ATSC Broadcast Television Conference

The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) has unveiled its plans for the 2018 ATSC Broadcast Television Conference, set for May 23-24 in Washington, D.C.

Keynote speakers will include the NAB’s Chief Technology Officer and the head of America’s Public Television Stations (APTS).

“With outstanding speakers and a focus on the opportunities brought about by ATSC 3.0, we look forward to an engaging conference that will help to lead the way for how new broadcast technologies can be put to use to inform and educate viewers,” said ATSC President Mark Richer.

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From www.Rbr.com

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ATBA Announces New Board Members and Executive Director

Advanced Television Broadcast Alliance (ATBA) is pleased to announce its new Executive Director and the election of two new members to its Board of Directors.

Louis Libin

Louis Libin, previous ATBA Executive Director, has been elected to the ATBA Board of Directors. In March 2018, he joined HC2 Broadcasting to lead growth for the company which currently operates 135 operational stations, including 4 full-power stations, 34 Class A stations and 97 LPTV stations. He is also the founder of Broad Comm, Inc., a technology consulting group specializing in cyber security, advanced television broadcast, interactive TV, intellectual property and wireless communications. He studied physics at Yeshiva University, Engineering at Pratt Institute, received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from California Miramar University and completed the Executive Management program of Optical Electronics and High Speed Videography at MIT.

Orlando Rosales

Orlando Rosales, founder of Media Vista which operates Spanish television stations and Multi-platform media in Ft. Myers-Naples, Florida, was also elected to the ATBA Board of Directors. Rosales emigrated from Maracaibo, Venezuela, and began D’Latinos as a local half-hour weekly program in 2002. It has since grown into a half-hour show aired every week day. D’Latinos has also diversified into a Spanish lifestyle magazine and created a Spanish website and portal, dlatinos.com. In 2010, the Spanish media company gained complete control of an Azteca America affiliate and in 2013 acquired Univision affiliates in Southwest Florida, Minneapolis and Kansas City.

Robert Folliard

Rob Folliard has been elected to continue as Board Chairman for ATBA. Folliard, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Gray Television, is responsible for legal matters at Gray's television stations, and oversees relationships with its MVPD partners, including negotiating retransmission consent agreements. Folliard received his Juris Doctor from George Washington University (summa cum laude) in 2005 and a Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt University in 1997.

Lee Miller

ATBA is pleased to announce the appointment of Lee Miller as the organization’s new Executive Director. Miller, also the CEO of MSGPR Ltd Co, has been involved in the Broadcast and Technology business for over 30 years. He has worked in commercial television news operations, creative services, promotions, public service and television network management. Miller serves on numerous boards and is the past chairman for the TV/Visual Communications Committee for the National Religious Broadcasters. Before his appointment to Executive Director, Miller served as communications director for ATBA. Miller attended Stephen F Austin State University majoring in Music Education, but took a career turn his last day of student teaching by taking a job in television.

The Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance is an industry organization comprised of over 3,000+ low power television broadcasters, translators, full power television broadcasters and allied industry organizations and companies. The goal of the Alliance is to preserve and promote the efficient and effective use of all television broadcast spectrum. Visit www.BroadcastingAlliance.org for more information and to join.

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LPTV DISPLACEMENT WINDOW – April 10 to June 1, 2018

The following notes are from the presentation by ATBA Board Member Michael Couzens at the LPTV @ NAB Roundtable Session he hosted on April 6,2018

Overview: All Low Power TV stations and TV translators eventually will have an opportunity to “displace” to a new channel, Channel 36 or below. Only those stations that were on the air and licensed as of April 13, 2017, may apply during this window. Construction Permit holders who haven't built, and un-granted applicants will need to wait for a later filing opportunity.

Engineering to Find a Channel

Displacement applications during the filing window must not be predicted to cause objectionable interference to other protected users, including full service TV, land mobile radio, and existing licensed prior-in- time LPTV's.

The FCC has provided a lay person's channel selection tool at https://data.fcc.gov/download/incentive-auctions/LPTV-Data.

How to use this tool is the subject of a detailed Appendix to the February 9 window announcement. Unfortunately, this utility is a rough guide, It does not guarantee use of any channel or location. Instead, an engineering study must be prepared, using “TV Study” software:

https://www.fcc.gov/oet/tvstudy.

Generally, use of TV Study is a complicated art and may require the help of a telecommunications consulting engineer.

Anyone not having their engineering solution lined up by now is unlikely to be able to participate in time for the window!

Filing Strategy

The engineering exhibit should be prepared at the earliest possible date.

Deciding when to file gets complicated, however. Your filing becomes a public document during the window.

By filing early in the window, an applicant can alert competitors, with the hope that other applicants will chose other channels so as to avoid a conflict. But an early filing also may expose a desirable channel that your engineer found by dint of hard work. A competitor might adapt that work and deliberately choose that channel.

Given this, some may choose to file at the last minute, so their application cannot be copied. If that is your choice, filing on the very last day is not advised. In past windows, FCC servers have crashed under heavy last-minute volume. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to file, and being barred by a balky FCC web site.

Resolving Conflicts

Actual conflicts between filers – mutual exclusivity – by law must be resolved through an auction. To force stations, including existing analog stations, to actually bid for a secondary channel that could some day be displaced (again!) seems absurd, but that is the law.

To avoid this, the FCC will announce a post-window opportunity for stations in conflict to modify their engineering, probably even to different channels. And settlements, with a cap on the consideration paid, will be permitted.

The good news is that FCC staff no more wants to see these applicants sent to auction than you do. The bad news is that, in congested markets where channels are few, some auctions may become unavoidable.

Future Second Window

Once the claims for spectrum from this window period are settled – through uncontested “singletons,” technical modifications and settlements, a filing opportunity will open up for LPTV's and translators who were ineligible for this window. As presently planned, the second filing opportunity may not be a window with a fixed opening and closing. Instead

it could be that staff will announce a permanent sunset of the freeze on LPTV displacement applications and minor amendments. At that point the volume of applications will be constrained by the fact that the compressed TV spectrum from Channels 2 to 36 will have become highly saturated.

Milestones on the Road to this Window - References

FCC adopts a transition date, later determined to be July 13, 2021, as the deadline for analog LPTV stations to transition to DTV and for DTV construction permit holders to actually construct. Digital LPTV Transition, 3rd Report and Order, 30 FCC Rcd 14927, Dec. 17, 2015.

Media Bureau freezes filing of Low Power Television DTV Companion Channels, effective immediately, Public Notice, 32 FCC Rcd 566, January 19, 2017.

Media Bureau freezes filing for LPTV minor changes, effective immediately, DA 17-1227, Public Notice, December 20, 2017.

Media Bureau sets forth procedures for future filing window. Limits eligibility for the initial window to stations that were on the air as of April 13, 2017. Public Notice, 32 FCC Rcd 3860, May 12, 2017.

To stabilize the data base of primary stations who must be protected, Bureau briefly lifts the freeze on full service TV minor changes, November 28 to December 7, 2017. (After that full service TV's will ned to stay put pending the LPTV window.) Public Notice, 32 FCC Rcd 9328, Nov. 6, 2017.

Finally, on February 9, 2018, the Media Bureau announces the initial filing window, to take place between April 10 and June 1, 2018, Public Notice, DA 18-124.

Michael Couzens Oakland, California April 6, 2018 cuz@well.com

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Clients, Customers or Co-Workers – How to Treat Your Advertisers Like They Matter

More than thirty years ago I sold advertising for both a full-power television station as well as an FM radio station. (Note, I still provide advertising opportunities on our current stations but that’s a whole other column for the future) I built a great list with mostly solid, easy renewal advertisers.

But I never treated any of them like I believed that for one minute.

No, I didn’t pepper them weekly with calls or visits asking if everything was working. That approach can often backfire as well. Like chum (shark-bait) in the water when some folks sense any weakness or concern on another’s part they will attack. I never want the blood in the water to be a sale disappearing into the briny deep.

On the other hand I never took, or take, a client for granted.

How does one achieve that balance. Being a part of the ATBA I know there are folks involved with many more years of experience than myself in this arena. I welcome your feedback on this, or frankly, anything I contribute.

In my personal experience there are three ways to address those who come along side our stations financially in exchange for airing ads which promote their products and or services. (Please note: none of this applies to political ads which are another whole kettle of fish.)

Methodology number one – advertisers as “Clients”. This view can often sum up our relationship with a very savvy advertiser as well as an agency. They already know what they want, have a good idea (or we share it with them) how our station can help them achieve their desired result and have a fairly firm budget in mind. With these folks our main task as an outlet for their message is to provide up to date information regarding programming, reach and documentation (proof of performance) of our execution of the agreed upon placement/airing of their ads. Usually clients appreciate our touching base sporadically during a campaign if only to say thanks and ask if there’s anything we can do on our end to make a change they would desire in the schedule. This classification does not need to have their hands held during the process and appreciates the calm, confident professionalism that comes from a broadcaster that believes in their ability to deliver a desired audience.

Methodology number two – advertisers as “Customers”. Have you seen those recent ads for the national car buying/selling company where the guy with the chain saw is supposedly carving a tiger from a block of wood? He mentions that folks visiting a car lot don’t like to be “pounced on” like being the prey of a tiger. Same way, I have found, with many of our advertisers. Sometimes they have something in mind, oft times it is the very real need of promoting their products/services to our potential audience. While it’s true that virtually no sales are ever made without the “ask” it’s making that “ask” at the right place, the right time and with the right verbiage that makes the difference.

What is the right place, etc.? And what is the third methodology? You’ll need to either join the ATBA or stay tuned, if you’re already a member, to learn more.

Until then, keep your transmitter cool, your paperwork filed and the light on the top of the tower on,

Rod Payne

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The Most Overlooked Piece of Marketing in LPTV

The logo: it’s important for the large corporation and the small downtown shop. It’s really important for TV!  The logo is the primary identification for a television station, but many times in the LPTV world, it is the most overlooked piece of marketing. Let’s talk about why you need a logo, getting a logo on a budget, and some important considerations to keep in mind when choosing a logo.

The logo is your station’s face in the community. Your company identity is expressed through your logo. Traditionally, the logo has been a stylized version of the channel number. Today, that is still a good identity path, especially with the opportunity to keep your virtual number when you must move in frequency.

Your station needs a professional logo. Too many times we see a logo that is outdated and poorly designed. Professional design costs money. I understand, right now, we are all strapped for funds and the rebuild needs every dime. But wait, there is a positive side to investing in your station’s identity now. Looking good means more eyeballs. More eyeballs mean more advertising dollars. More dollars mean . . . you get the idea.

So how do we get a good design on the cheap? One of my favorite ways is by contest.  Set up a contest in the community inviting ad agencies and graphic designers to bring logo ideas to you.  The winner turns over a logo package, copyright and style sheet. They get in trade an advertising package they can use for themselves or with one of their clients. They also get the satisfaction of seeing their work on TV every day!

A second, and cheap, alternative is one of the many logo services out there that will give you multiple design ideas. You simply choose and pay for the idea you select. Those services can cost anywhere from $250 to $1200 for a finished design. Be sure to acquire the Illustrator and/or Photoshop layered artwork, and especially the copyright from your chosen designer.

Now that we know there are affordable options for a logo on any budget, let’s talk about the basics of the logo. Should it have my channel number? Call letters? City or network?  All are important things to consider but what if you are in a repack or sharing scenario where you won’t be able to keep your channel number?  Although your call letters or network name should be prominent, channel number is still the main identity element in your branding.  If the viewer doesn’t have your channel number, they can’t find you!  The channel number was so important, that in the early sixties, ABC Television had the idea of acquiring Channel 7 across the country. A design originally produced for Channel 7 in San Diego was soon copyrighted and rolled out for all ABC stations, and today the ABC O&O’s still use a form of the original Circle Number for their stations.

Another word on copyrights – don’t just pull a stylized station number graphic off Google.  Some graphic designers and networks take their image very serious and will pursue legal means to make you stop using their design!

Want to update/create a logo but Need an idea?  Searching the web is still a good resource for inspiration since there are no new ideas, just better use of an idea!  Here’s a great resource of some of the top number logos from a viewers survey. http://www.newscaststudio.com/category/design-by-numbers/

Here’s a list of things to consider about updating or creating your logo.

  • As you go through the evaluation process, think about the different uses of your logo. Does it look good on a shirt? A business card? Letterhead? Website?
  • Think about the tones. How does it look in color and in black and white?
  • Do you have horizontal and a vertical design of your logo so you’re ready for any eventuality? If not, it may be time to update.
  • Are you affiliated with a Network?  Many networks have style guides that dictate the use of the station logo in conjunction with their network.  Even many diginets have begun producing style sheets to help consistently brand the network programming.
  • And most importantly, be sure it will translate well on screen.  In the old days, colors in broadcast made a huge difference. (Remember chroma buzz?) It’s still important today as higher definition and new technology develops.

Consider your area also. Bright colors and busy logos are a hallmark of many European and Asian channels.  That would be very 70’s here in the states!  Today’s eyes like softer hues and more whitespace, but that doesn’t mean get rid of the red logo, just take your market tone into consideration!

Overall, BE CONSISTENT. Yes, I’m shouting, because it’s that important. Choose a logo style and stick with it. Don’t stretch or change the fonts from use on the air and then on your new golf shirts. This is your brand. You want people, even if they just see a glance of the logo, to think positively of your station, your programming, your advertisers, YOU.

 

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Dear Fellow LPTV Broadcaster and Industry Leaders,

The auction has ended and most of us are still here.  While it was not only our hope but the hope of many others that the auction would not take place . . . it did, but it did not have the devastating effect that it might have had. 

The world after the auction looks different and amazingly so has a very bright future!

What does that future look like?  Not only the amazing possibilities of ATSC 3.0 but the landscape of a nation of people who are increasingly cutting their cable cords and looking for free, over the air, broadcasting content.

That’s why it’s more important than ever that you join the Advanced Television Broadcast Alliance.  Our board of directors have a combined 500+ years of experience which beginning with your membership we are going to start making more available to our members on an increasing basis.

Soon as an ATBA member, you will be eligible to start tapping into not only this brain trust through unique services available only to our members but regular news updates regarding our collective broadcast future.  We are exploring new ways to tap into information from Washington as well as important updates that will benefit you right there where you live.

The need for the ATBA has increased with the new opportunities that are becoming available for those of us who still know that the future of LPTV, Class A and Translators is bright!  Are you selling your station to local sponsors?  Are you maximizing your spectrum to the advantage that you truly can?  Are you struggling with FCC rules and regulations that you either don’t understand or can’t get explained?

The ATBA is developing a database of information to help you find the answers you need! 

In addition we are still working with the true decision makers in Washington.  Your ATBA has earned the respect and the ear of the true movers and shakers that continue to shape our collective broadcasting future.

So what can you do to get involved and begin to take advantage of these, and many other, benefits?  Join the ATBA today!  Your membership benefits will include:

  1. Members only access to hundreds of years of LPTV experience through our new “Brain Trust”
  2. Early entry to our annual NAB LPTV evening event with access to our special event guest(s)
  3. Exclusive digital content regarding real world information you need to know
  4. Eligibility for recognition for your hard work through our ATBA LPTV Awards
  5. Access to equipment manufacturers with discounts available especially for ATBA members!

To be honest you can’t afford not to be a member of the ATBA! 

We’re making it affordable because it’s a win – win!  When you join, you’re going to receive more than just the benefits listed above but also you’ll be aligning with hundreds of others who, like yourself, have a vested interest in the continued forward movement of free, over-the-air broadcasting.  It’s a win for your ATBA because we will increase our strength through numbers as we grow together.

So what’s the next step?  If you’re ready follow this link http://www.broadcastingalliance.org/join-us/ to sign up.  If you have more questions please don’t hesitate to call a member of the ATBA board of directors by calling this number (877) 214-4277.   You’ll get a rapid response!

Thanks for taking the time to read this note and for your ongoing passion for the future of communication in this great country.

Respectfully,

The Board of Directors – The Advanced Television Broadcast Alliance