Missouri Makes Broadcast History with ABIP

Hi there MBA members! Welcome back to the MBA blog. We are very busy this time of year planning your annual MBA Convention, but wanted to take a break to tell you about an important piece of broadcast history – and it all started right here in Missouri, back in 1994.

 

 

Before that year, stations had very few methods for ensuring that they would meet FCC requirements during an inspection – which could easily result in fines and lost air time while they scrambled to solve problems found. But in 1994, Missouri broadcaster Rod Orr, along with Jim Dailey of the FCC, proposed a new method – and today it is used all over the nation. ABIP, or the Alternate Broadcast Inspection Program, allows stations to go through regular “mock” inspections. These inspections do two important things for broadcasters:

  • They help broadcasters uncover areas where they aren’t meeting FCC standards, and allow them to solve the problems. Any issues found during these mock inspections are not reported to the FCC.
  • A successful mock inspection can be filed in the station’s public file and used in lieu of an FCC inspection – meaning that many stations can avoid FCC inspections altogether by going through these no-risk mock inspections.

It’s a pretty great system, and it all started right here.

Here’s how it happened:

June 1994: Discussions began between Jim Dailey (Engineer in Charge, FCC, Kansas City) and Rod Orr of the MBA, about ways to improve broadcast station compliance. One idea they discussed was a voluntary “mock inspection” program.

December 1994: The idea was presented to the MBA Board of Directors, who approved the concept, and sent it on to be discussed and developed by others.

January 1995: Very shortly after, a development meeting took place between a group of representatives from all over the broadcast industry. Among those in attendance were Jim Daily, Don Hicks of the MBA, Rod Orr, and Lloyd Collins (the consulting broadcast engineer) and Ray Rouse – who went on to be the first contractor inspector hired for this program.

February 28, 1995: The FCC began the pilot program, called the Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program. Missouri was the first state to offer the service to stations, and Kansas followed quickly after.

If you are interested in information on the program today, please contact Terry Beth Harper, Director of Member Services, at tharper@mbaweb.org, or by calling (573) 636-6692.