Wireless Microphone Rule to Hit Churches, Schools, Other Venues
FCC change makes many systems obsolete, illegal.
BY ANSEL OLIVER, assistant director for News, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
he United States’ Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this year announced radio devices operating in the 700-megahertz frequency range are prohibited for personal use starting June 12.
For users, including Adventist church sound technicians, the new law means that many wireless microphones used by preachers, singers, and worship leaders could need replacing or altering.
Some churches are fortunate, owning units that operate in different frequency ranges. Others will need to replace or modify devices, a service that most manufacturers provide on warrantee-backed purchases. However, many companies are backed up on offering replacements, analysts say, and many users never registered their devices upon purchase.
The 700 MHz band includes frequencies from 698 to 806. The band is now used by public safety entities and commercial wireless providers, the FCC website states. Wireless manufacturers have traditionally also offered devices in other frequency ranges, in the 500 or 600 bands.
The FCC made the ruling in January, though many analysts said it was years in the making.
Some churches will soon have to scrap their entire array of wireless handheld and lapel microphones typically used during Sabbath worship.
‘We’ll have to replace all five of ours,’ said Maciek Misiak, sound manager for the Minneapolis First Adventist Church in Minnesota.
The impact is also being felt by venues such as auditoriums and schools. For now, though, it’s unclear how or if the ruling will be enforced.
“It will probably be more of a problem of other users coming through your system than you interfering with theirs,” said Greg Mace, sound manager for Adventist musical group the Heritage Singers.