Geotargetting boosters "zonecasting" Geobroadcast solutions

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Nathaniel Steele
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Geotargetting boosters "zonecasting" Geobroadcast solutions

Post by Nathaniel Steele »

I'd be interested in a discussion about this proposal:

https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/1031375982 ... NAL%5D.pdf

I think I'd have a number of concerns about this, but let me start off by saying I don't think this helps small market stations any. Maybe it could be a benefit to High powered stations in densely populated areas.

I assume this is a proprietary system since it's being pushed by one specific company, so will it be like the HD radio farce with it's annual licensing fees? I see no reason it should be locked to one companies system.

I see a nightmare come political season....Do cheaper geo targeted ads affect your lowest unit rate? Imagine the (Virtual) paperwork burden of dozens more political ad's, sold cheaply to local candidates.

They claim this will help underserved communities, but won't advertiser just want to target more affluent communities that have money to spend?

Where will all these boosters go? More "Tower" rent....

How to get the targeted content to the boosters? I can think of many ways, but it will bring more cost to the broadcaster

I'm sure there are more concerns, but that should start a discussion...
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kkiddkkidd
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Re: Geotargetting boosters "zonecasting" Geobroadcast solutions

Post by kkiddkkidd »

After having built exactly ONE synchronous booster, I can say that one was two in one... My first and last.

Audio timing, level and phase diversity was a nightmare to sync even on identical program audio. I can't fathom how they can keep the mod self interference to a tolerable level with totally different audio on co-channel boosters...

Color me skeptical.
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DaveSt
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Re: Geotargetting boosters "zonecasting" Geobroadcast solutions

Post by DaveSt »

To be honest I am shocked. Obviously I am not in the US, but I had always thought the FCC was a competent body with some really intelligent people. But reading the first few pages of that document, it looks like whoever wrote it thinks that because inserting local content in a DTV/ATSC 3.0 system works (and it can work well as DTV systems are designed to allow it) then it will work for analogue FM. I would hope there are some engineers at the FCC cringing when they read that. It must have been written by a marketing type person with no engineering knowledge.

And yes, SFN's for FM are a real challenge to make work in any acceptable way however identical you get the modulation.
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Re: Geotargetting boosters "zonecasting" Geobroadcast solutions

Post by TPT »

I've had a booster for years. The first time we used a Tepco unit that dropped the signal from the receiver down to IF, and connected to the on-channel transmitter via a long cable. Receiver on one side of the ridge, antenna aimed towards the main station, booster antenna and booster on the other side of the ridge, overlooking target city. Now the booster is fed by STL.

The booster is on the very edge of our 57 dbu coverage area (B-1), we use it to reach a county seat 25 miles out from our home county. But we sell regionally, not locally. Our pitch is our broad coverage area. Example: King's Furniture "in beautiful downtown Sistersville (WV)." Jim King runs the usual furniture in a town of 1,200 people, in a county with around 10,000. He decided to promote two-sided mattresses (as opposed to the foam wonders now sold that get squashed down after a few years. Our coverage got him an initial audience in the two cities in our region, Wheeling and Parkersburg, he began selling mattresses in both towns. From there he bought our Class A stations on either end of our coverage area, some TV, and other stations to expand what was now a regional business.

This also shows the flawed concept underlying geo-targetting. The assumption is that if you want to reach a specific narrow geographic area, you must focus directly on that area. Well--wrong. Many people in our area live in the country and shop and eat in the two bigger cities. North of us, just inside the booster's coverage, are a number chemical plants---staffed by folks who commute from the Wheeling area. In our home county we also have a number of plants--staffed by commuters from Parkersburg.

I grew up in Cleveland. When I was growing up, many people lived in my close-in suburb and commuted downtown. Now, except for lawyers and government, and some bank HQ's, many white collar jobs have moved out to the suburbs. More common for people to drive around town, or through town to work. Same for the remaining industrial jobs that haven't gone to China. So--who would you be "geo-targetting" with boosters? The folks who drive through one or more booster bubbles on their way back and forth from work?

And I haven't even targeted the idiocy of trying to get a bunch of boosters to work in flat country.

Geo-targetting will prove to be on the close edge to a scam. The target here are those sales managers promoted above their competence to GM. If we have a radio show this year, expect a flashy booth with a stack of black boxes and impressive maps showing all the money one can make by hitting a 4 block neighborhood with a geo-targeted booster.
Nathaniel Steele
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Re: Geotargetting boosters "zonecasting" Geobroadcast solutions

Post by Nathaniel Steele »

DaveSt wrote: Fri Feb 12, 2021 4:15 am But reading the first few pages of that document, it looks like whoever wrote it thinks that because inserting local content in a DTV/ATSC 3.0 system works (and it can work well as DTV systems are designed to allow it) then it will work for analogue FM. I would hope there are some engineers at the FCC cringing when they read that. It must have been written by a marketing type person with no engineering knowledge.

And yes, SFN's for FM are a real challenge to make work in any acceptable way however identical you get the modulation.
The document was written by the counsel for the Company that wants the rule changes, not the FCC. also AFAIK, there are very few real engineers left at the FCC. I've always heard analog boosters are a nightmare, even for the intended purpose of filling gaps. they propose intentionally overlapping signals.
Nathaniel Steele
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Re: Geotargetting boosters "zonecasting" Geobroadcast solutions

Post by Nathaniel Steele »

TPT wrote: Fri Feb 12, 2021 7:23 am I've had a booster for years. The first time we used a Tepco unit that dropped the signal from the receiver down to IF, and connected to the on-channel transmitter via a long cable. Receiver on one side of the ridge, antenna aimed towards the main station, booster antenna and booster on the other side of the ridge, overlooking target city. Now the booster is fed by STL.

The booster is on the very edge of our 57 dbu coverage area (B-1), we use it to reach a county seat 25 miles out from our home county. But we sell regionally, not locally. Our pitch is our broad coverage area. Example: King's Furniture "in beautiful downtown Sistersville (WV)." Jim King runs the usual furniture in a town of 1,200 people, in a county with around 10,000. He decided to promote two-sided mattresses (as opposed to the foam wonders now sold that get squashed down after a few years. Our coverage got him an initial audience in the two cities in our region, Wheeling and Parkersburg, he began selling mattresses in both towns. From there he bought our Class A stations on either end of our coverage area, some TV, and other stations to expand what was now a regional business.

This also shows the flawed concept underlying geo-targetting. The assumption is that if you want to reach a specific narrow geographic area, you must focus directly on that area. Well--wrong. Many people in our area live in the country and shop and eat in the two bigger cities. North of us, just inside the booster's coverage, are a number chemical plants---staffed by folks who commute from the Wheeling area. In our home county we also have a number of plants--staffed by commuters from Parkersburg.

I grew up in Cleveland. When I was growing up, many people lived in my close-in suburb and commuted downtown. Now, except for lawyers and government, and some bank HQ's, many white collar jobs have moved out to the suburbs. More common for people to drive around town, or through town to work. Same for the remaining industrial jobs that haven't gone to China. So--who would you be "geo-targetting" with boosters? The folks who drive through one or more booster bubbles on their way back and forth from work?

And I haven't even targeted the idiocy of trying to get a bunch of boosters to work in flat country.

Geo-targetting will prove to be on the close edge to a scam. The target here are those sales managers promoted above their competence to GM. If we have a radio show this year, expect a flashy booth with a stack of black boxes and impressive maps showing all the money one can make by hitting a 4 block neighborhood with a geo-targeted booster.
All the research (surveys of listeners) in that document are based on top 100 markets, This is clearly being targeted towards those markets. so if they get their way, and you have what 10-15 big stations in a major market, are they all going to have dozens of the boosters scattered about to target specific neighborhoods?

I work in a small market, 2 of my 4 stations have some coverage in a major metro and were rated there, but we are very much small market stations. the overwhelming majority of our sales are within 20 miles. I've argued the same as you though I am by no means an expert on sales, that we should sell more down toward the big city. We have people commuting from our town that will be in our coverage area for an hour + commute. they drive right by your business 5 days a week. we simply do not have a lot of those businesses in our town, people will stop on the way home from work. Those of us who don't work in the city still drive out there to go to Best Buy or Target or whatever other place we don't have here. sure it's less compelling for city folk to head our way to eat at pops diner, but joes diner in the city might be a block from target and plenty of us might swing by if we knew it was there and they had joes famous apple pie...or whatever , you get the point.

Also after 2020 the last thing we need is lower advertising rates.
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Deep Thought
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Re: Geotargetting boosters "zonecasting" Geobroadcast solutions

Post by Deep Thought »

This is a licensing (as in royalty) play by IP pirates who somehow managed to trademark the term "single frequency network" as it applies to broadcast and also filed for a patent on "geo targeting" as it applies to broadcast. Neither are enforceable and they're trying to milk the cow before the farmer notices she's missing.

As a practical matter, FM boosters were created for a very specific purpose which this PRM is almost entirely outside the bounds of. I've been wrong before about what the FCC may or may not do but allowing this will require a massive shift in that paradigm, and all of the existing boosters will be eligible for the same treatment, including the ones which run as rimshots into cities like Phoenix and Las Vegas where the main, 100 miles away, is mysteriously always "broken".
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Re: Geotargetting boosters "zonecasting" Geobroadcast solutions

Post by TPT »

Replying to Nathaniel Steele (and typing with a pesky cat on my lap)..We have a B-1 that is 15~25 miles outside of our metro area (two city market).

We have successfully sold the car dealers over the years by pointing out the many people will travel to get the make and model they want. And many people do, and the car sales folks are impressed that "someone came all the way in from (tiny town 30 miles out) to buy a car.

Another revenue source are the trial lawyers. They have to caste a wide net, too, to get business.

As I state above, the value of radio is the broad reach it gives advertisers. Geo-targeting goes very much against the grain.
Nathaniel Steele
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Re: Geotargetting boosters "zonecasting" Geobroadcast solutions

Post by Nathaniel Steele »

Deep Thought wrote: Fri Feb 12, 2021 10:55 pm This is a licensing (as in royalty) play by IP pirates who somehow managed to trademark the term "single frequency network" as it applies to broadcast and also filed for a patent on "geo targeting" as it applies to broadcast. Neither are enforceable and they're trying to milk the cow before the farmer notices she's missing.

As a practical matter, FM boosters were created for a very specific purpose which this PRM is almost entirely outside the bounds of. I've been wrong before about what the FCC may or may not do but allowing this will require a massive shift in that paradigm, and all of the existing boosters will be eligible for the same treatment, including the ones which run as rimshots into cities like Phoenix and Las Vegas where the main, 100 miles away, is mysteriously always "broken".

Didn't know they tried to trademark those terms, which have been in wide use for a long time....interesting.

and on your second point, I wholeheartedly agree that it defies the very intent but it does seem the FCC is seriously considering allowing it...or, I've not really followed FCC proceedings much in the past is it normal for them to go through these motions even if they never intend to approve it?

They've already approved the experimental license for some testing haven't they?
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Deep Thought
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Re: Geotargetting boosters "zonecasting" Geobroadcast solutions

Post by Deep Thought »

Nathaniel Steele wrote: Fri Feb 19, 2021 4:02 pm They've already approved the experimental license for some testing haven't they?
Sometimes they give the petitioner enough rope to hang themselves.
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Re: Geotargetting boosters "zonecasting" Geobroadcast solutions

Post by TPT »

Believe the test station is in the San Francisco bay area. Hill country provides enough signal holes that boosters can be made to work, especially if the population is all in the valleys and there are no roads or houses on the steep hills surrounding those valleys.

But some of the propaganda for this system showed a half dozen boosters scattered across Chicago. No way is that going to work without some very interesting interference.

As I posted above--"click-bait" for sales guys kicked upstairs to the GM chair. A costly mistake in the making for small market operators who are not using "OPM"--Other People's Money.
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