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March 29, 2013

U.S. May Sell Airwaves That Help Broadway Sing

New York Times:

An hour before curtain at “Mamma Mia!” at the Winter Garden Theater on Broadway, Craig Cassidy, the head sound man, starts his nightly ritual of testing the wireless microphones that the performers wear hidden in their white spandex bell bottoms.

The run-throughs by Mr. Cassidy ensure that the microphones are transmitting on their assigned frequencies, a narrow sliver of the nation’s airwaves. The same process takes place every night at nearly four dozen other Broadway theaters, where an inadvertent twist of a dial can put a cordless microphone on the wrong frequency — wreaking havoc if it should send the harmonies of Abba in “Mamma Mia!” into the speakers of a performance of “Wicked” across the street.

“It’s quite a juggling act we have to perform in this area to coordinate the use of all of those microphones,” Mr. Cassidy said.

But Broadway producers are alarmed that this carefully balanced system is about to crumble. The Federal Communications Commission is considering plans to force the users of cordless microphones — not only Broadway producers but an unlikely alliance of megachurches and the National Football League — to move to a less desirable spot on the nation’s airwaves. The F.C.C., backed by Congress, hopes to auction off those prime airwaves now used by singers, preachers and coaches to data-gobbling smartphone companies, potentially for billions of dollars.

Read more.

Well I have always had problems with cordless mics and have stopped using them in the Harmony Sweeps. Several a cappella groups that used to insist on using them have now gone back to corded mics (love them SM 58s). Just yesterday a group was telling me about wifi cordless mics which sounds pretty good.

Posted by acapnews at March 29, 2013 12:00 AM