Add six-time Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein to the list
of those pressing the FCC to protect wireless microphones from interference.
The commission is currently figuring out where to fit
wireless microphone spectrum into the repacking puzzle that will be the
broadcast/wireless broadband/telemetry/wireless microphone/unlicensed device
spectrum band (below 600 MHz) after the broadcast incentive auctions.
According to FCC
documents, Fierstein was in Washington this week meeting with members of
the FCC's Incentive Auction Task Force and Commissioners' top staffers to ask
that the FCC create safe haven channels -- safe from interference, that is -- for
wireless microphones that are integral to Broadway productions (and NFL game
and other live event coverage, and church services).
Fierstein's message -- sandwiched between "insider anecdotes"
-- included that wireless mics relieve back (of the house) strain by not
forcing actors to play to the last row. "Actors can provide subtle,
nuanced performances with amplified sound that are impossible
[otherwise]," he suggested, according to a summary of his performance. He
also said that stage movements, prop control and pyrotechnics could be
dangerous or impossible without the cable-less mics.
And while the NFL also wants mics protected, Fierstein
pointed out that Broadway creates $12 billion in annual revenue, "more
than all New York City sports franchises put together."
Fierstein has friends in high places on the
issue. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) has just introduced a bill that would create
those safe haven channels, which
drew a letter of support from National Association of Broadcasters president
and former senator Gordon Smith.