back to article Ofcom makes space for luvvy radio until August 2021

Ofcom has ended various rounds of consultation by laying out its plans for the Program Makers & Special Event spectrum users, promising them priority access to interleaved spectrum and channel 38 until August 2021. Users will have to pay market rates, with Ofcom setting those rates based on what it thinks others would pay for …


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  1. Ian Ferguson

    Why we use analogue

    I work in touring theatre. We use still use analogue radios for two reasons: Firstly, we can't afford to upgrade (margins in the arts are extremely tight, and often charity-funded, so we have to justify every little expense); secondly, analogue transmissions may occasionally fade out a little with weak signal or inteference, but they won't fail completely like digital radios do.

    Anyone who has a DAB radio or Freeview TV in an area of weak signal will know what I mean; instead of static, the signal stutters or vanishes completely. We can't take that risk in the middle of a climactic aria!

    I don't see many productions or theatres moving to digital anytime soon, even if they can afford to.

    Aside - for the same reason, we use a new set of alkaline batteries for each actor's transmitter at the start of every show. I keep getting asked why we don't use rechargable batteries; we can't afford to let them run out during the show.

    1. Fenton

      Cross talk

      Do you have problems with cross talk? OK I have to use rather amature equiptment.

      There have been times where I was just about to launch into a solo when I have the local taxi company declaring a pick up coming through my amp ;o)

    2. Hayden Clark Silver badge

      Uniross Hybrios

      1) Don't go flat on the shelf

      2) Capacity equal to most alkalines.

      Charge them in a smart charger with a discharge/recharge cycle, and they'll last for ages.

      1. david wilson

        @Hayden Clark

        /Personally/, I'm a fan of Sanyo Eneloops.

        However, one problem with rechargeables is that they do need some small amount of effort to run the system, removing cells for recharging and making sure there's a bin full of charged cells for each performance.

        With the wasteful alkaline approach, all that needs to be done is empty out a device immediately before use, and fill with fresh cells.

        Also, in a busy place like a theatre, to be sure everything had been charged up, you might need somewhere to do the charging that you knew people couldn't mess about with. Even for a static theatre, that could be a pain, for somewhere that tours, it's quite possibly rather more awkward.

        Possibly you'd need 2 or 3 sets of cells per likely-device-in-use, plus a charging point per likely-cell-in-use, and that can come to a pretty large upfront cost (maybe £10-£12 per cell replaced?)

        Also, on the economics front, a lot can depend how honest everyone is.

        With an Eneloop AA maybe being ~10x the price of an alkaline Duracell Procell AA bought in bulk, you do need some confidence that cells won't end up being regularly 'borrowed' by one or other staff member, or thrown away because people thought they were alkalines (maybe a particular problem with some of the Duracell NiMHs which look a bit too much like the old-school alkaline cells).

        However illogical it might be, even if an average NiMH cell's lifetime was 50 cycles before disappearing, some managers would moan far more about paying to replace 'missing' cells that they thought should last for ever than they would at spending 5x the money on disposables.

        From what I've heard from relatives who worked in the theatre, illogical management isn't necessarily hard to find.

        1. jonathanb Silver badge

          Re: @Hayden Clark

          Also, you have to consider that it probably costs more to pay someone to recharge a battery than it does to buy a new Duracell.

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