Monday, May 18, 2015

Your Project This Week: Protect Wireless Technology for the Performing Arts!

Editor's note: Below is a repost from The Performing Arts Alliance.  They are a national network of more than 30,000 organizational and individual members comprising the professional, nonprofit performing arts and presenting fields. For more than 30 years, PAA has been the premiere advocate for America's professional nonprofit arts organizations, artists, and their publics before the US Congress and key policy makers. Through legislative and grassroots action, PAA advocates for national policies that recognize, enhance, and foster the contributions the performing arts make to America.


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may soon rule on several proceedings that will impact the use of wireless microphones.

What’s at stake:

Chip McKenzie, touring company of MAMMA MIA. Image: Patrick Mansell
The FCC is proposing that entities using fewer than 50 microphones would not be able to register in a geo-location database which provides interference protection. This will affect many performing arts organizations, venues, and productions.

The FCC is also considering a longer-term home for wireless microphones in a different area of the broadcast spectrum. Moving within the spectrum would mean arts organizations would have to purchase expensive new equipment. Many already did this in 2010--spending $25K-$100K--when the FCC mandated wireless microphones vacate the 700 MHz band of the broadcast spectrum.

Why this matters:

Nonprofit performing arts organizations, commercial theaters, schools, and performers have all relied on wireless microphone technology which operates within the radio frequencies between broadcast channels of the television band. These frequencies are called “white space.” Wireless backstage communications systems also operate in white space and are integral to stagehands and technical crew. Interference to backstage communications could compromise the safety of performers, technicians and audiences.

What you can do:

Ask your Representative to protect wireless technology used in the performing arts!

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ), co-chairs of the Congressional Arts Caucus, are circulating a sign-on letter in the House of Representatives urging the FCC to protect wireless microphones. The letter will be sent to the FCC later this month. Ask your Representative to sign on to this letter by close of business on Thursday, May 21.

Speak up for performing arts wireless technology and contact your representative today!