Thousands of broadcasters from cable, local and foreign news media organizations, not to mention radio and live-stream bloggers descended upon our nation’s Capitol for the historical Presidential Inauguration of Donald Trump where Broad-Comm’s President, Louis Libin was the point person for all RF Coordination.
Libin coordinated thousands of wireless microphones, IEMs, two-way radios and IFBs for all events surrounding and related to the 58th Presidential Inauguration.
Libin, who headed the 2017 Presidential Inauguration RF Coordination and Planning Committee with the full support of the Capitol Police and the FCC, worked with all members of the broadcast pool, a group of news gathering organizations, to engineer an RF plan for all broadcasters that would protect the actual inauguration podium as well as the major network broadcasting pool to allow wireless users ample spectrum to operate their gear without interference.
Libin maintained an overall database consisting of thousands of assigned frequencies and established RF control points at Capitol Hill, the Newseum and the Press Filing Center on the Mall, dividing these areas into RF Zones. He implemented web based pre-registration and guidelines on the Broad-comm website and utilized gear approval stickers for those assigned frequencies. Libin also provided an RF Enforcement Team of more than 20 individuals consisting not only of his own Broad-Comm employees. Volunteers such as George Jewswvskyj of FoxNews, Kevin Parrish of MSNBC, Mike Foreman of VER, Henry Cohen from CP Comms, Gordon Capaccio from 3G, Jim Dugan from Jetwave Wireless and the local Washington D.C. RF Coordinator, Mike Rhodes, assisted Libin and Broad-Comm.
RF Enforcement Teams were located throughout the Welcome Concert at the Lincoln Memorial on the eve of the Inauguration to protect the Concert and shutdown any unapproved wireless devices that could potentially interfere with the evenings entertainment, as well as the Candle Light Dinner that followed at Union Station.
All in all “it was a smashing success” according to CP’s Henry Cohen, the project site coordinator for these two events.
Our Nation’s Presidential Inauguration draws worldwide media attention every four years, and on Inauguration Day, Capitol Hill is no exception, despite the prerequisite deadline to register all RF in advance. RF Enforcement teams roved the venue catching many foreign news crews recording live on frequencies allocated to the actual podium and immediately shut them down.
Another major area of RF Enforcement turned out to be the Press Filing Center and Media Risers located on the Mall off of 12th street where more than 2000 credentialed Press were anticipated.
“This is a key control point that, if unmanaged, could blow the entire Inaugural broadcast from Capitol Hill,” said Libin at his last RF Committee meeting at the Senate House.
Therefore, RF Enforcement was strong in and around the Press Filing Center on the days leading up the Inauguration, as well as the day of. Some 200 itinerant local news crews had to be told to use a cable in order to broadcast because the RF spectrum was basically full, and RF Enforcement Team leader, Robert Horton, reported the only alternative was to assign the wireless user a frequency he or she agreed to share with other local news organizations.
“The Parade Route posed its own special challenges as news crews flooded Pennsylvania Avenue and the various press risers along the way,” said Lee Miller, Broad Comm’s V.P. Of Public Relations, “but having a control point at the Newseum allowed us (RF Enforcement) a central location to monitor the the onslaught of news crews headed up the Pennsylvania Avenue and control unregistered RF users throughout the parade route all the way to the White House and Lafayette Park viewing site.”
This auspicious event concluded with the Inaugural Balls at the Walter Washington Convention Center where an RF Enforcement Team was there to assist Cohen in preventing any unnecessary interference from outside media sources as well as those media crews selected to attend the balls.
“This type of large scale event in a city like D.C. is an RF nightmare,” said Libin in the RF Committee’s planning phase. “And anything can go wrong; therefore, expectations need to be managed.”
As a result of careful planning and the cooperation of P.I.C., the Network Pool, the various production teams, and all the volunteers “this event was a success.”