Shure, Inc. is mobilizing the pro audio community in response to the Federal Communications Commission's proposed expansion of Part 74 licensing eligibility for wireless microphones.
The FCC has set a very short deadline of February 20, 2010 for wireless microphone users to submit comments regarding the importance to them of wireless microphones, personal monitor systems, intercoms and wireless assist devices in their businesses and productions. The FCC hasn't reviewed the rules for Part 74 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations, under which wireless mics are classified, since 1977.
"They were written for TV networks and broadcasters," explains Mark Brunner, senior director, brand management, for Shure. "They were the only people using wireless mics in 1977."
RF mic usage has grown almost exponentially over subsequent decades. A bill--HR 4353--submitted to Congress by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), proposes an expansion of the Part 74 rules to allow 13 sites of wireless microphone usage access to a geolocation database. The database is the FCC's proposed solution to the sharing of the RF frequency spectrum used by wireless pro audio products and proposed new unlicensed TV band consumer devices.
The categories outlined by Rep. Rush include amusement parks, fairgrounds, restaurants and museums in addition to theaters, arenas, convention centers and churches. Shure, through spokesman Brunner, is stressing the urgency with which interested parties should submit their comments regarding their particular use of wireless audio products to the FCC.
"But we're also recommending that anybody who might want to file and get some guidance contact Shure's counsel in Washington, DC [Tim Bransford at Bingham McCutchen, LLP]. He's up to speed on the issues and will help people put those comments into the proper format," says Brunner.
The second order of business, says Brunner, is for professionals working with wireless mic products to encourage co-sponsorship of HR 4353. "They should contact their local representatives and say, 'Take a look at HR 4353, it's important to me.'"
Comments may be filed electronically with the FCC at http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs
Tim Bransford, Bingham McCutchen, LLP