Some 2 1/2 weeks ago, RBR + TVBR asked if radio stations that rely on the “AMC-8” satellite for their short-form or long-form programming were prepared for a much-discussed June 30 shift to a new main satellite for U.S. commercial radio networks.
On this date, AMC-18, at 105 degrees West Longitude, will become the primary satellite for stations that get programming from Skyview Networks, Learfield, Orbital Media Networks (OMNi), Premiere Networks, and Cumulus Media’s Westwood One.
That satellite will soon be replaced at the 105 position by the new SES-11. That transition is set to be seamless.
The transition from AMC-8 to AMC-18, however, is anything but.
“We are still at less than 50% compliance, so there is a long way to go,” warns Jana Polsky, Director of Communications at Westwood One.
“We too are under 50%,” says a Learfield representative. “It’s kind of typical in radio that nobody does anything until the last week.”
With 29 days and counting until AMC-8 dies, WW1 is trying to put an end to the procrastination. The company has again taken the lead in putting out a plea for stations to act now, rather than later, in repointing their dishes and ensuring no programming loss at the end of June.
“It is imperative that stations have a plan in place and conversations with their technical teams,” WW1 said.
That’s because engineers and parts may become scarce as the June 30 deadline fast approaches.
As of May 12, Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Skyview stood at 43% compliance for its affiliate stations. David Dickson, the company’s VP/Engineering, said at the time, “To my knowledge no other network has gotten to 50%.”
Dickson now says that Skyview has nearly 60% compliance with the AMC-18 transition—a sign it is seeing far more progress than its peers.
To aid stations, the alliance of syndication companies involved in the AMC-8 migration have provided vendor information for stations in need of one to re-aim their dishes.
This can be accessed at http://www.amc8migration.com/Vendors.html
Meanwhile, a Learfield representative points to some “really great” free Apps on iTunes (Sat Finder Light) and in the Google Play store for Android devices (Satellite Dish Pointer). Learfield uses the latter to point its downlink dish.
What other advice does this individual offer?
Charlie Cheapo and Miguel Tacaño have no excuse for opening the checkbook today.
“If you need to move your dish or you are getting a new dish, a lot of companies are offering deals right now, because of this [migration]. If you were waiting for budgetary reasons, now is the time to do it.”
For more information, including satellite vendors, a full list of frequencies for each network, or technical questions about satellite settings, visit http://www.amc8migration.com/docs/RNUG_FAQ.pdf