No Shure Thing: Company Seeks Wireless Mic Channel Ruling Reversal


WASHINGTON, D.C. — One of the world’s best-known audio equipment manufacturers has asked the FCC to reverse a decision made by the Pai Commission by reconsidering the merits it believes a dedicated UHF television channel for wireless microphone use would bring to its users.

Under former Chairman Ajit Pai the FCC declined to provide at least one “vacant” 6MHz UHF channel in each market for its exclusive use by wireless microphones.

It was tied to the FCC’s termination of a “vacant channels” rulemaking opened during its 600 MHz incentive auction.

Shure Incorporated disagrees with the FCC’s conclusions and rationale for terminating the proceeding. Now, with acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel at the helm, it believes a change from Republican to Democratic leadership may be ripe for a relook.

In a petition filed the Commission, Shure argues that the wireless microphone community needs clear spectrum now more than ever. That’s because, it says, the 600MHz band has been reallocated to mobile phone use. Add to that the post-spectrum auction “repack” of broadcast TV stations, which moved many TV stations to the 500MHz spectrum.

“At the same time, broadcast, performance, and sporting productions continue to demand more channels of wireless microphones than ever before,” Shure said.

It added that the “alternative” frequencies identified by the FCC in 2017 for wireless microphone use at 900MHz, 1.4GHz, and 7GHz “fall far short of addressing the needs of wireless microphone users. These bands do not have the same characteristics and operational flexibility as UHF frequencies. Because these bands are occupied by licensed users in other industries, access to these bands for wireless microphone use is conditioned on sharing requests, which can be lengthy and ultimately denied.”

Further, Shure argued that the 600MHz duplex gap and VHF frequencies offer interference and other considerations that constrain use. “Together, these other spectrum resources are helpful but are not practical alternatives to UHF, and the certainty of having access to at least one vacant UHF channel is important to meet demand for wireless microphone use. The designated UHF channel would also be important for applications that include intercom, IFB and others.”

Ahren Hartman, Vice President of Corporate Quality, commented, “With the loss of 700MHz, 600MHz, and the DTV repack into 500MHz, we are at an all-time low for access to UHF spectrum. However, the need for open and clear wireless microphone spectrum is higher than ever before.”

RBR+TVBR Washington Bureau