Spectrum allocated for studio-to-transmitter links is so crowded in the New York City area that Clear Channel Radio couldn’t find a way to shoe-horn in STLs for its HD channels. But it did find a solution that the FCC has OKed.
Clear Channel acquired two licenses in the Microwave Industrial/Business Radio Pool in the 11 GHz band (10.7-11.7 GHz). It then asked the FCC for a waiver to use them for STLs to deliver radio broadcasts to its transmitter sites atop the Empire State Building and Four Times Square.
The loss of the World Trade Center site in 2001 concentrated broadcasting transmitters in Manhattan at the Empire State Building and Four Times Square locations. Clear Channel stated in its waiver request that the concentration of transmitters at those two sites has taxed the usual STL frequencies to the point where the company was unable to find any channels in the 948 MHz band (944-952 MHz) that were available without causing interference to other users. It also provided the FCC with a study showing that there were no frequencies available in the 18 GHz band (17.7-17.8 GHz) and argued that the 23 GHz band was unsuitable due to rain fade and multipath induced fade.
Clear Channel noted that land lines are subject to infrastructure outages and that the FCC has made development of digital radio services a priority, so it said the requested waiver would further that priority.
The FCC agreed that Clear Channel had demonstrated that there was no reasonable alternative to the proposed use of frequencies in the 11 GHz band and that the requested waiver “would be in the public interest.” The waiver is granted.