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Megachurch Minister Protests Use of 'White Spaces'

Kim Hart

You probably know him from TV -- the megachurch minister from Texas who never seems to have a shortage of motivational religious sayings. Now he's trying to make sure no one messes with those TV airwaves -- and more importantly, the microphones he uses during his services.

Joel Osteen sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission today in protest of the proposal by tech giants Google and Microsoft (among others) to use the unlicensed airwaves, known as white spaces, shared by wireless microphones to provide wireless broadband. The makers of wireless mics, which are used in concerts, Broadway shows, live broadcasts and church services, are concerned that sharing the airwaves will interfere with their signals and knock their productions off the airwaves.

"I am concerned that should the FCC turn a blind eye to wireless microphone use in Houses of Worship and open these respective frequencies to new unlicensed devices, the Commission will cause immeasurable damage to our ability to minister. Static and audio dropouts due to interference from an unlicensed mobile wireless device would create a devastating distraction," the letter states.

He continues:

"From what I have read about the testing conducted by the FCC there is clearly no reliable technology that can protect wireless microphones from the interference that comes from new portable devices operating in the same or adjacent channels as wireless microphones. We have worked diligently to coordinate the use of the wireless microphone systems that we deploy in each of our services. Adding new electronic devices to the mix would make our audio programming and coordination virtually impossible."

Osteen's church has 40,000 members, and the services are watched by another 7 million via TV broadcasts, he said.

The FCC is expected to release a report on its findings from the testing of these devices in a couple of weeks.

By Kim Hart  |  October 7, 2008; 1:47 PM ET  | Category:  Kim Hart
Previous: Google Wants You to Think Before You Drink and Send | Next: Chat with FCC's McDowell; Sees More Media Rules Under Dems

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Please email us to report offensive comments.

"Osteen's church has 40,000 members, and the services are watched by another 7 million via TV broadcasts, he said."

Well, then it sounds like the good Reverend can afford a new wireless mic or two. Quit complaining and just tell your congregation that each of the 40,000 members needs to throw an extra dollar in the offer plate. He'll make 40 grand, way more than enough to buy all the replacement mics for his abomination of a church.

Let the White Spaces be used for Wi-fi!!!

Posted by: Ryan | October 10, 2008 2:40 PM

I agree. It feels like we're not getting the full story here. Joel Osteen spends his time writing letters to the FCC about white space allocation because he uses a wireless mic in his own mega-services?

Another dimension or three to this, methinks.

Posted by: Todd | October 14, 2008 12:20 PM

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