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Report: NFL opposes FCC proposal that could affect wireless mics

Ed Hochuli

FILE - In this Dec. 24, 2011, file photo, referee Ed Hochuli (85) signals during the second quarter of an NFL football game between the Detroit Lions and the San Diego Chargers in Detroit. The NFL and referees’ union reached a tentative agreement on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012, to end a three-month lockout that triggered a wave of frustration and anger over replacement officials and threatened to disrupt the rest of the season. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)


The New York Times has a fascinating story on how the Federal Communication Commission’s proposal to auction off airwave space utilized by wireless microphone users is drawing pushback from numerous groups -- including the NFL.

“Despite NFL’s best efforts to manage its wireless microphones on its increasingly scarce spectrum, NFL has received numerous recent reports of wireless microphone interference during games, rendering coaches unable to communicate plays to their quarterbacks and referees unable to consult one another on calls,” the league wrote to the FCC, according to the Times.

As the story notes, wireless communication is very important to the league, with teams using the technology throughout games. Also, referees utilize such mics to convey their calls.

The Times reports that mobile-phone carriers would be a primary purchaser and consumer of the unregulated space now used by wireless mics.

According to the paper, the Broadway League, the trade association for Broadway’s theater community, also opposes the FCC’s plans, citing the risk of interference because of the reduced space in which wireless mics would operate.