Audio Engineering Society

Chicago Section

Meeting Review, October 23, 2007

other meeting reports

10/23/07 Meeting Highlights
by Nick Kettman

On October 23, 2007, Ahren Hartman and Mark Brunner of Shure Incorporated shed some light

on the unfolding issue of “white spaces,” which refers to the allocation of television spectrum

following the digital TV transition scheduled for February 2009. Their presentation, titled

“White Spaces – Unlicensed Devices in the TV Spectrum,” described the various proposed

deployment options, identified key industry players and lobby groups, and explained some of the

steps Shure has taken to ensure that the needs of wireless microphone users are considered in any

new legislation. Ahren Hartman is Director of Platform Planning at Shure, and Mark Brunner is

Director of Public and Industry Relations.


Those in favor of opening the unused spectrum for broadband use include high-tech

manufacturing and software companies, as well as congressional representatives of rural areas

which tend to be underserved in terms of broadband deployment. These groups argue that

allowing unlicensed, personal devices into the spectrum will spur technological innovation and

provide economic benefits. On the other side of the debate are the “incumbents,” that is to say,

the users of wireless microphones and other devices which already operate in the unused

spectrum. These groups, which include broadcasters, professional sports associations, and

congressional representatives of areas such as Las Vegas and Broadway, insist that new

unlicensed devices must be proven to work without disrupting existing services before they can

be allowed into the spectrum. The FCC has tested several new interference protection

technologies, but to date none of these have proved to be acceptable.


Shure has been active in Washington creating awareness of the ubiquitous nature of wireless

microphone usage. It has assisted in mobilizing live sound companies, theaters, houses of

worship, and other user groups to voice their concerns to local representatives. Shure continues

to work constructively with the FCC in providing recommendations aimed at protecting existing

wireless microphone users.