FCC Bans Wireless Microphones

Well, not completely, however, the FCC ruling will impact you as a presenter.

Here’s the story in a nutshell. For the second time in less than ten years, the FCC sold off a large number of frequencies that were used for wireless microphones – everything from 600MHz and 700MHz – spectrum. Effectively, you now have fewer choices.

Why is it important and how will it impact you?

There are only so many frequencies for transmitting audio. As the number of frequencies available dwindles, those frequencies left become more and more crowded. It isn’t difficult to imagine the consequences of not having enough frequencies to go around.

The first consequence you will experience will be when two or more transmitters windup using the same frequencies. One will nullify the other and neither will be able to function – results, no wireless mic.  The second is when the second transmitter sends its signal to your receiver, and you begin to hear someone else talking to your audience; complete event interruption will be the result. 

Once either of these happens, you will have to hunt down the interfering transmitter and have the frequencies changed – something that many users of wireless microphones do not know how to do. More likely than finding the intruder, you will have to scramble to change your frequencies.  Sadly, this takes time. Your audience will have to sit idly by waiting for you to fix the problem.

This will increase your costs

These FCC changes force wireless microphone user (in 600MHz) to replace their equipment. This is a significant cost – tens of thousands of dollars. As a result, wireless producers are going to have to increase their prices.

The End Result

The result to you is inconvenience and added costs. This makes an effective and knowledgeable meeting planner and technical team more important than ever. A combination of both will help to mitigate costs and offer workarounds that will lessen the blow on your meeting budget. Most big box A/V companies won’t even acknowledge this problem much less let you know about it until you see the bill.

Wired Magazine

Here is a link to a much deeper look into the issue. It is an excellent article from Wired Magazine